Gladys: A Hard Lady To Love

THINGS took a Jeff Toobin turn at the NSW Independent Commission Against Conservatives last week when counsel assisting, Ian Robertson, pulled off a line of inquiry about Gladys Berejiklian’s sex life that feminists would have Twitter-fitted about if she was a Labor woman. The grainy zoom video of Robertson asking her ex, disgraced former Liberal MP Daryl Maguire, a series of questions about the relationship was invasive and sleazy. Did you love each other? Did you talk about having a child? Did you have a key to her house? Did you have physical intimacies? Was she good in bed? Okay, the last question is made up but that was the sort of adolescent trajectory Robertson was on. Adults understand what a relationship between a man and a woman usually entails. Presumably to delineate a terminus ad quem for the romance in order to establish how long Ms Berejiklian was in this possibly compromised situation, Robertson yesterday asked for a closed session. “I wish to do it by reference to some material available to me which is more appropriately dealt with in private than in public,” he said. That could only mean phone taps of intimate conversation.

While ICAC and its fan base of Gladys haters feel vindicated – her resignation looking less worthy of floral tributes than it did initially – there is no evidence that she committed any offences to enrich herself or her then sweetheart. Whether there is more than a bottle of Barry O’Farrell in not disclosing her relationship with Mr Maguire even as she was adjudicating the merits of his “pain in the arse” panhandling for his constituency – sometimes favourably – is another question entirely. It might seem that the complicating issue is the timeframe of their association – when did they become ‘former’ and just how ‘former’ were they? – but that technicality is unconvincing. When it comes to dispensing monies, the public would not consider the parties to an old affair any less impeachable than the paramours in a live one.

There is something unbecoming and grubby about tapping phones in a democracy. We hear about the gotchas but how many legally worthless hours have been taped on ill-founded suspicion? The argument for such powers is that corruption can only be truly rooted out if there is a star chamber above conventional due process. But that itself is corruption – of the rule of law. Hermann Göring built his power base on phone taps. So did J. Edgar Hoover. These are not great names on the roll-call of liberty. Is cornering an oafish influence-peddler like Mr Maguire worth it? Does having your day in court – if it comes to that – somehow set to rights the compelled, publicised assault you may have endured at ICAC beforehand? No and no. In any case, the worst venality in this country is the out-in-the-open variety. More than $400,000 of taxpayers’ money was gifted to Louise Milligan by the ABC’s managing director but it’s the Liberal lady being interrogated.

“Yeah but how many times are you in love with lots of people and, and it doesn’t end up in something more formal… More substantially, I’m a very private person and I didn’t feel the relationship had sufficient substance for it to be made public.”

But that is where my advocacy for Ms Berejiklian ends. Her crisis control interview with 2GB’s Ben Fordham after her relationship with Mr Maguire was exposed – a transcript of which is included in ICAC Exhibit 497 – blots her reputation more than a grant to a shooting club in Wagga Wagga ever will. It was an absurd attempt to finesse an exegesis of her behaviour wherein – strange to relate – she was both usurious inamorata and Virgin Queen. “I can formally say to people I’ve given up on love,” she claimed. “I’m just going to say I have always put my job first, rightly or wrongly, and that will now continue indefinitely.” All very Elizabethan and convenient. Putting your job ahead of the person with whom you’re sleeping (however “off-again, on-again“) – to the extent that you will not publicly acknowledge him – is not in the least bit noble or wise. A duality perhaps born of worldly ambition out of romantic insecurity, it is sad Ms Berejiklian had to be embarrassed by that tension in so public a way. There is a lot of good in her and she now has a new man. She can start being just a woman rather than a woman trying to stay on top.

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15 Responses to Gladys: A Hard Lady To Love

  1. Not Trampis says:

    Our gladys has a large problem.
    first she thinks it is perfectly okay to register her cousins but not her lover of 5 years . He excuses for not doing so were frankly laughable. The phone taps were only used because of her stubbornness on this issue.
    although she exhorted others to go to ICAC she saw no need to go herself.
    She told her chief of staff her relationship with Darryl was over when it clearly was not.
    She said she had fixed the hospital funding of $170. If it had gone through proper channels she would have said so. She said SHE had fixed it.

    Then the ICAC has to come to judgment on whether she is a reliable witness.

    she was never accused of corruption but possible abuse of public trust.

    She resigned. She was never forced to however after hearing her evidence her political future was looking bleak.

  2. dover_beach says:

    Excellent post, C.L. You are dead right about the studied indifference to a public enterprise paying the personal legal bills of an employee making libelous comments on a personal Twitter account. But look over there, a bottle of wine. It’s the theatre of probity.

  3. Terry says:

    ‘There is a lot of good in her…’
    I am unfamiliar with her new beau, and moreover, could not possibly care less…but if this statement is true then he must be a veritable Saint because on the publicly available evidence “Dear Gladys” is rotten to the core; sold herself to devils in fits of pride, hubris, and malice.

    Now, enough with the show trial. I am only interested in her answering for her crimes against humanity.

  4. Entropy says:

    Nah, she should be gone. I am sick to death of the political class: the politicians, their pimply faced advisers, the union factional warlords, corporate leaders and lobbyists all enriching themselves via big government enablement in all its forms.
    They are not patricians no matter how much they think they are, and taxpayers should not be expected to touch their forelock as they pass us by.

  5. Shy Ted says:

    No sympathy at all. While whether she was corrupt or not is a mere technicality or interpretation she’s being exposed for what she is. A typical politician. She has presided over all the illegality and cruelty the people of NSW have had to endure for the last 2 years and much as she decided not to take the advice of her COS she could have decided not to take the advice of CHOs and related. May she never get a moment’ peace in public ever again. Same for the rest of them, exposed by ICAC or not.

  6. Texas Jack says:

    Wasn’t Berejiklian Premier when NSW messed around oddly with abortion laws in the immediate aftermath of the 2019 election? Like helping Alex Greenwich out was by far the most important first order of newly elected government business? Right….

    Wasn’t Berejiklian Premier when NSW committed to parliament Matt Kean’s Energy Roadmap? The one with the assumed $32 Billion in private investment in renewables and pumped hydro plans for every gully between Kempsey and Coffs Harbour? The one the Barilaro Nationals lapped up like lime green Kool-Aid on a 45-degree midday?

    Wasn’t Berejiklian Premier when the Premier of NSW chose to install a former card carrying Communist as her Chief of Staff?

    Wasn’t Berejiklian Premier when the NSW gravy train for prominent lobbyists, a carry-over from the useless Baird and O’Farrell governments, helped prominent LINOs make lots and lots of money helping people figure out how to conjure amazing consulting gigs for firms going up against or into partnership with the NSW government? Hmmmmm….?

    If the madness of the Randwick Light Rail project wasn’t obvious ($3.1 Billion and years of public disruption to build 12 km of hopelessly slow trams), Berejiklian’s time as Premier presents as the final icing on the cake for the LINO brigade. They own her.

    I rate as far worse than USELESS.

  7. C.L. says:

    Another woman brought undone by careerism and politics.

  8. Tel says:

    There is something unbecoming and grubby about tapping phones in a democracy.

    I’m very much in favour of privacy, just so long as it’s available in equal measure to everyone and the wealthy and powerful elite don’t get to enjoy protections that ordinary people miss out on.

    https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/australasia/anom-app-phone-operation-ironside-australia-b1861529.html

    Anyone who didn’t raise an eyebrow at that, has no business complaining when the same thing happens to a politician. I would say it is ONLY when it happens to powerful people that privacy ever becomes a policy priority.

  9. dover_beach says:

    Entropy, no one is defending Gladys. It’s the presense of even more glaring corruption unremarked that galls.

  10. Lee says:

    O’Farrell and Gladys have gone down, but the far more egregious Andrews prospers, and is indeed about to gain untrammeled power undreamed of by any Aussie politician ever, including PMs.
    Go figure.

  11. C.L. says:

    She was all of those things, Jack.
    Not sure why this is being read (or not read) as an apologia.

    The conclusion is based on my belief that there is good in everyone.

  12. Entropy says:

    Good in a politician?
    Not for a long time.

  13. Entropy says:

    I think I will start calling my sister’s shtittyzu “the politician”. All Lucy until it sneaks under the chair and nips you before running away. And has an annoying hysterical yap at every bird that passes the window.
    One good thing about border restrictions is I haven’t seen that little rat for a long time.

  14. Texas Jack says:

    C.L. says:
    Not sure why this is being read (or not read) as an apologia.

    C.L., it might be just me, it usually is, but it might also be the three paragraphs you decided to devote to ever so gently reinstalling some tattered remnants of Saint Gladys’ halo.

    The ‘honest-woman-wronged’ routine is misguided. The point of Gladys’ Shame File is to remind people that Gladys was every bit as politically devious as the next LINO low-life; only in my opinion worse.

    I’m with you on the risks of ICAC surveillance running amok, and I had a genuine hope for Gladys to succeed when Baird pulled stumps, but it’s time people looked beyond those big doe-in-the-headlight eyes that seem to stomp in place, demanding sympathy. Time to realise that the Member for Willoughby was just another duplicitous political operator whole led with a massive progressive tilt that’s done the State no favours whatsoever. None.

  15. Ed Case says:

    Gladys and Darryl should be legends in Wagga, they’ve done more for the place than the last 47 Premiers put together.

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