Glad All Over

On the absurd investigation whose duration surpassed the Warren Commission’s nine months ago

I smiled at the Bolt Report’s wintry chyron last night – “Love does not excuse corruption” – as the man himself editorially endorsed the bunyip Berias of NSW ICAC who eavesdropped on, endlessly investigated and fraudulently condemned Gladys Berejiklian for her “serious corruption” in 2016-17. The then Premier’s backing for an electorally advantageous gun club and conservatorium in the Wagga Wagga seat of her secret boyfriend, MP Daryl Maguire, was so ‘serious’ that the commission admitted that no financial benefit was sought or gained by her and that nothing she did resembled a prosecutable crime. The findings in ICAC’s Operation Keppel report about Maguire’s leveraging of official business for personal profit may be more serious but only for him. “I’ve raised concerns about Tucker Carlson painting Ukraine as hopelessly corrupt and the Biden White House as liars,” Bolt wrote in April – presumably with a straight face. Ukraine is, in fact, officially one of the most corrupt nations in Europe and its president was named in the Pandora papers as an offshore cash hoarder. Love doesn’t excuse corruption, Andrew. If an Australian journalist is unwilling to dob on stranger Volodymyr Zelensky, Berejiklian’s failure to end her career and relationship by shopping an unethical beau to police deserves a measure of sympathy.

I have no loyalist’s brief to defend a former Premier who proved only slightly less indifferent to liberty and scientific reason than Labor loonies during the ‘pandemic’ and whose passive attitude to abortion law ‘reform’ in 2019 was deplorable. Nor does being a woman confer on Berejiklian special rights to leeway. For three main reasons, however – in addition to her irrefutable innocence at law – I am happier to give her a hand up than join the morally revolting mob pretending she’s “seriously corrupt.” First of all, that tawdry slur. Nobody calls Bob Hawke corrupt even though he took brown paper bags of money from Peter Abeles and other rich friends for decades. Having acknowledged that Berejiklian never finessed a red cent, does ICAC expect the public to believe she is as crooked as Askin and Wran? Pull the other one. This is dishonest, gutless, clearly partisan and defamatory. Being guilty of a serious infraction is one thing; implying Premier Berejiklian was not much better than the Queen of King’s Cross is idiotic. And you don’t have to rely on old history to see just how selective claims of corruption tend to be. Current affairs – especially in Canberra – will suffice. The going rate for abolishing an industry watchdog for the CFMEU is $5 million. Three million will buy you a ‘rape’ melodrama and a return to government.

Second, the acceptance today that star chambers should be empowered to lord it over parliaments – therefore being only tenuously answerable to the people – signifies not commendable reverence for accountability but a dangerous trust in imperious cabals. Captured ab initio by the lawyerly left, the permanent ‘independent’ commissions of inquiry in this country are contemptuous of natural justice. ICAC’s knicker drawer riflers used phone taps to chart Berejiklian and Maguire’s “physical and emotional intimacy” and released excerpts as an extra-judicial leg-spearing. They are a greater threat to democracy and the rule of law than private lovers and pork-barrelers. An Opposition that “keeps the bastards honest” – alongside a free press and the courts – constitutes an imperfect but superior Don Chipp ensemble than a pervy privy council.

Third, commentators usually find and even emphasise the humane angle to scandals of this calibre when the woman involved isn’t a conservative. When she is a conservative, merciless denunciation is the order of the day. Thus, Labor hagiographer Troy Bramston mocks “Saint Gladys” and argues there was never any doubt she was corrupt. You can believe that – in which case you must also believe corruption is no longer always unlawful – or concede Berejiklian is answerable for a lesser trespass. Bramston, however, touts a via media by imagining charges that might have been laid had she married Maguire and had children, “as she said she wanted to do.” This is like saying Mary MacKillop could have been done for bush-ranging had she joined the Kelly Gang. It was always my impression there was something slightly unrequited about Gladys; as if the career energy, intellect and drive that won her the premiership were never matched by a maturation of emotional know-how. Men sometimes choose to believe this about older single women because of their own sexual hubris or condescension. On this occasion, the inkling was accurate. The piggish belittlement she endured from pseudo-alpha “boss” Maguire proves she had no romantic confidence even within a milieu of dropkicks and that she felt insufficiently attractive to put her foot down. Having to resign may be the felix culpa of her ultimate fulfilment. I hope so.

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47 Responses to Glad All Over

  1. Christine says:

    Sickening – and laughable – to read Bramston’s declaration that the highest standards must be maintained … maintained?
    Maintenance went missing some time ago.

    That’s an attractive sketch of Gladys B.

  2. C.L. says:

    Portrait by Salvatore Zofrea (Archibald Prize entrant 2014).

  3. Christine says:

    This column is excellent.
    Much appreciation for the all the good within.

  4. C.L. says:

    Thanks, Christine.

    There is something about Gladys that makes me glad she’s out of politics.
    It’s a ruinous life and it was obviously no good for her at the end.

  5. jupes says:

    Excellent post C.L.. I was having similar (but broader) thoughts today so posted the following comment on Dover’s Cat:

    With Gladys all over twitter this morning, it got me thinking about what I see as a huge flaw in our legal system i.e. the ability to ruin someone’s life without a criminal conviction. With the exception of BRS, I make no judgement as to the examples below’s guilt or innocence. My point is, if they have committed a crime, get them before 12 of their peers and find them guilty before ruining their life.

    First Gladys. She has been found to be a corrupt liar but has committed no crime. What? If she has committed no crime, then she is innocent. If corruption isn’t a crime, then what is it? ICAC no doubt costs tens of millions, if not more, annually and they produce this garbage! It seems to me to be no more than a kangaroo court, full of pompous, vindictive legal types. End it now.

    BRS. Yes, he brought it upon himself by suing Nine, but the outcome seems entirely unsatisfactory. A judge has found him to be (probably) guilty of murder as per the standard of that court. Yet, if he ever is charged over the same alleged offenses (and he hasn’t been after over 6 years of investigation), he has to be presumed innocent. Leaving aside how he could get a fair trial in such circumstances, what if he is found not guilty? Does Nine’s ‘truth’ defence and therefore the judgement stand?

    Barry Cable. He was sued for the historical (1970s) grooming and rape of a 12 yr old girl. 4 other girls testified in his trial as witnesses, not claimants (or whatever accusers are called). Cable denied all wrongdoing. The judge found him guilty and fined him just under $1meg. Since then, the AFL has stripped him of his honours e.g. Legend status. I also recently read of a Scottish soccer player who had been found guilty in a civil court of rape, so had to leave Britain to pursue his career. He was signed to a Perth soccer club but was sacked due to complaints.

    There is a reason for the standard of ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’, but it seems there is an easier and more profitable option for potentially vindictive complainants to ruin someone’s life.

  6. Lee says:

    Meanwhile in Dan Andrews’ Victoria, he laughs and with massive contempt gives investigatory bodies and the ombudsman’s office the two finger salute.

    And the MSM largely let him get away with it.

    What do the likes of Bramston have to say about that?


    “I’ve raised concerns about Tucker Carlson painting Ukraine as hopelessly corrupt and the Biden White House as liars,” Bolt wrote in April – presumably with a straight face.

    The allegedly “far-right” Bolt wrote that?

    Who is he being briefed by these days?

    The Guardian?


  7. C.L. says:

    Great points, Jupes.

    …the ability to ruin someone’s life without a criminal conviction.

    Well, they’re doing it on purpose because they can.

    Louise Milligan had her defamation bill paid by taxpayers but a Victoria Cross winner has to come up with several million for Channel Nine.

    The rule of law is basically kaput in Australia.

  8. Buccaneer says:

    Bramston is an example of the media class that allows this rubbish to continue, no hard questions for ICAC who pronounce Gladys corrupt then obviously feel they have to justify it by publishing her private communications not by recommending prosecution.

    I note the same class of journalist had serious issues with the publication of the Higgins interviews, which turned out to genuinely in the public interest and indicated serious public corruption, corruption which the same journalist class now studiously declines to pursue. No such issues with publishing GBs private comms, even though Higgins pursued media attention at every juncture and GB did not.

    It’s hard to take this seriously when watching the kid gloves and running dead on so many obvious lefty cases of serious questions that should be asked of impropriety.

    Andrews x 5, the chook, the Calvary situation, the Higgins payment, how did the Obeid matter take so long, how did no alp premier go down? It goes on and on.

  9. rosie says:

    ICAC sounds furtive, nasty and very, very politically sided.
    Thanks for the insights CL.
    Gladys can afford to buy her own nice handbags on her salary.

  10. JC says:

    I always had a soft spot for Glad. Yeah, she locked down etc, but NSW was never as bad as the prison colony down south. I can’t believe she was painted as corrupt, but no law was broken. These ICAC contraptions are a blemish and ought to be closed down.

  11. Ed Case says:

    A Conservatorium of Music for Wagga doesn’t sound like a bad thing and neither
    does spending $5 mil on clay target shooting.

    You finish up woderin’ whether bthere’s an unofficial list of good things a Politician mustn’t do, and if they get caught, that’s the end?

  12. a reader says:

    If she’s smart she will have Margaret Cuneen on her team and get this sorted. I think she’s a decent human, not good at picking blokes, definitely not corrupt but also not one of our best leaders. She was better than many that have come before and will come after. She was pretty reasonable as treasurer and did a solid job sorting out 25+ years of union grift affecting the public transport sector in NSW. And whilst I suffered heavily under her COVID insanity and wanted her gone, I didn’t want her gone on bullshit “corruption” charges.

    Calling things like this corruption affects every legitimate corruption event in the same way that calling a lascivious look sexual assault/abuse trivialises every serious case of sexual assault/abuse

  13. Ed Case says:

    Looking at that portait of Gladys, either the artist was going thru a modest Norman Lindsay period, or …

  14. NFA says:

    Christine says:
    30 June, 2023 at 6:04 pm

    This column is excellent.
    Much appreciation for the all the good within.

    what Christine says…

  15. Christine says:

    The artist was going through a modest Norman Lindsay period.

    Lovely portrait (that I carelessly called a sketch)

  16. Cassie of Sydney says:

    Thank you C.L. I’ve written at length about this grotesque travesty on DB’s blog, but you, as always, say it so much better than I can or ever will.

    And make no mistake, this was a political hit job.

    Just think of this, three Liberal premier scalps, and yet, during the fetid, putrid and totally years of Carr, Iemma, Rees and Keneally, when Eddie Obeid was the boss, not one ICAC investigation, in fact it was sound asleep, it only woke up again in March 2011, when the Liberals won in a landslide.

  17. Dunny Brush says:

    There is absolutely no reason to disclose the human frailty of Gladys’ texts with Dazzler. They reveal absolutely nothing that could not have been described obliquely. ICAC should be ashamed of itself. Misogyny. But we know that.

  18. calli says:

    it only woke up again in March 2011, when the Liberals won in a landslide

    A corrupt institution tasked with investigating corruption. Thanks to Greiner who was, incidentally, its first scalp. How the Layba pardee laughed, and they’ve had it all stitched up ever since.

  19. NFA says:

    The more legislation we get, the less justice is available.

  20. calli says:

    Just perfect, C.L. He has his own style now. The disgust on the horses’ faces is priceless.

  21. Rafiki says:

    A finding of serious corrupt conduct looks to a person unfamiliar to the very complicated and expansive definition of corruption in the sections 8 and 9 of the ICAC Act 1988 as conduct that would be criminal. This is not however necessarily so, in particular where the conduct is a breach of the Ministerial code of conduct. The Commission follows the language of the definition. It is a problem known from the outset of the scheme, and should have been addressed by successive governments since 1988.

  22. Entropy says:

    Indeed rafiki.
    And further, the ICAC should be required to conduct itself in secret or its staff face penalties. These public show trials are a travesty.

  23. Cassie of Sydney says:

    I had some professional dealings with Ruth McColl over twenty years ago.

    A very unpleasant woman.

  24. Mantaray says:

    WTF is going on in this thread? Almost everyone reckons there’s no crime nor conviction, no charges…so no corruption? Zelensky, Biden, etc are all good guys in that case!

    Corruption “Any person who does something that causes or could cause a public official to behave dishonestly or show bias in the exercise of their official functions, powers or duties, could be engaging in corrupt conduct”

    Nought about crimes and convictions. Anyone defending Gladys has either lost their moral compass, or is far too keen on looking “smartarse” (this flip contrarian nonsense used to be for leftist Uni students only!)

    BTW: When Gladys ordered almost every business closed, and almost every citizen in NSW to keep 1.5 metre from every human they weren’t living with…but then was caught doing the horizontal fandango with Daryl, THAT was OK and NOT corrupt BS either, eh?

  25. C.L. says:

    1. No, her alleged sex life was not corrupt conduct.
    2. She did not “cause” anyone to behave dishonestly.
    3. “Showing bias” as a yardstick means every politician in the country is ‘corrupt’
    4. ICAC admits she has no case to answer in any court.

    Zelensky, Biden, etc are all good guys in that case!

    Leaving aside that Berejiklian hasn’t taken $5 million from the Chinese Communist Party or been named as an offshore money launderer, no, they’re not “good guys” but they haven’t been convicted of any crimes – which means people can make of their ethical standards what they will.

    I make of GB’s standards in relation to Maguire that they were flawed but not criminal, not self-aggrandising, not profit-making and not worth examining for 19 months.

  26. NFA says:

    C.L. says:
    1 July, 2023 at 10:04 am

    what C.L. says…

    The “investigation” was a legal travesty and should result in the disbarment of all involved.

  27. Buccaneer says:

    GB clearly should have disclosed the relationship with Maguire, this goes against the ministerial code of conduct. However, the appropriate place to prosecute that argument is the parliament, not ICAC and those breaches usually only result in resignation when their own party wants the offender gone.

    ICAC must be made to answer for essentially smearing someone with a label, then trying to excuse their actual lack of evidence and poor behaviour by publishing her private messages as some kind of schoolyard I told you so.

    We can already see that the NACC is extremely unlikely to investigate the Higgins payment and instead is already a tool to smear coalition politicians, the evidence for wrongdoing is in the public record with the Higgins payment.

  28. NFA says:

    and Mantaray,

    the crap, authoritarian, communistic crap that ALL Australian political leaders subjected Australians to in ‘the covid times’ had nothing to do with the subject.

    ICAC would never deal with something like that anyway.

    Their legal!

  29. Ed Case says:

    BTW: When Gladys ordered almost every business closed, and almost every citizen in NSW to keep 1.5 metre from every human they weren’t living with…but then was caught doing the horizontal fandango with Daryl, THAT was OK and NOT corrupt BS either, eh?

    Dude, the horizontal fandango isn’t illegal yet, plus you’re being presumptuous.

    The 1.5 m. rule made sense then, and if it’s true that the Vaxxed exude Spike Proteins, it makes even more sense now.

  30. Morsie says:

    Comments not allowed on Bramston article.Gutless.

  31. Rafiki says:

    Here’s a bit more. Sub-sections 8(1), (2) and (2A) of the ICAC Act, taken together define ‘corruption’ such that there are 50 plus discrete acts that fall within the definition. Mantaray has quoted only a few of them. But then section 9 states that “despite section 8” any conduct referred to in section 8 is not corruption unless it is also one of 4 alternatives: a crime, a disciplinary offence, a ground for dismissal, or conduct by a Minister or MP that breaches an applicable code of conduct. I think ICAC fingered Gladys under the 4th alternative.
    Note too that section 12 states that ICAC should focus on “serious corruption”. This probably why ICAC employs this language

    One puzzle I have. ICAC made an express finding that GB lied. One instance involved her refuting evidence of her former chief of staff, whose account ICAC found proved. Why is GB not to charged?

  32. Buccaneer says:

    One can only conclude that they don’t want to test the evidence of the chief of staff.

  33. Rafiki says:

    Can’t follow that Buccaneer. The chief of staff was questioned and convinced ICAC; why would the DPP be reluctant to call her as a witness?
    This matter is significant. GB insisted her version of the conversation was correct, and one would think there was thus a cloud of doubt surrounding the veracity of the chief. She has probably suffered more than GB from the delay. GB’s lying has caused that grief.
    On the dealy issue, ICAC is offering a proma facility good explanation.

  34. Buccaneer says:

    ICAC are not recommending charges, if the matter is substantial, as you insist, they would recommend charges, unless they don’t want that testimony tested.

  35. Ed Case says:

    Sarah Cruikshank only lawyered up after Gladys tried to throw her under the bus.
    Cruikshank still has a senior role in the Government, so she’s probably happy to let sleeping dogs lie, now that the Commissioner has cleared her name.

  36. Rafiki says:

    Lying under oath should be regarded as a serious matter. This practice, which is very common in courts and tribunals, undermines the pursuit of truth and justice. Condign punishment would often be appropriate. As with any crime, it’s the high prospect of detection and punushment that will be the deterrent.
    So I am puzzled that ICAC has apparently treated GB lightly. And Cruikshank’s feelings are a minor consideration.

  37. NFA says:

    Rafiki says:
    1 July, 2023 at 9:43 pm


    Is the ICAC legislation good law or not?

  38. Nix says:

    Gladys diverted taxpayer money in bulk at the behest of her lover. It’s corruption. Sad. But corruption it be. We need more of this, not this constant excusing of blatant dealing in public money.

  39. NFA says:

    crusada nixi,

    adjust your one eyed communist patch

  40. Buccaneer says:

    Lying under oath is a serious matter, one might have expected ICAC to recommend charges. Indeed, I’d be much happier if they had, instead, we have a situation where all Gladys appears to be guilty of is supporting the build of infrastructure in an electorate where the mp is her secret lover who also has some side hustles that appear corrupt and he will be charged for.

    Worse, ICAC tacitly concedes they have a weak case to call her seriously corrupt because they felt they needed to bolster their case, instead of letting their verdict and the hard evidence do the talking.

  41. Rafiki says:

    Allegations or suspicions of misconduct should generally be investigated by state authorities. A key problem is the extent to which the process is made known to the public. Arguments pro and con cut very many ways, although my bias is towards non-disclosure. I’ll just leave it to you to think about.

  42. Cassie of Sydney says:

    “Gladys diverted taxpayer money in bulk at the behest of her lover. It’s corruption. Sad. But corruption it be. We need more of this, not this constant excusing of blatant dealing in public money.”

    Ah yes, I remember the corruption of the Labor government in NSW from 1995 to 2011, when “Nobody’s Girlie” mentor, Eddie Obeid, filled his coffers with “public money”. ICAC wasn’t interested. It took an newly oxygenised ICAC, which only woke up, oddly enough, after the Liberals were elected in 2011, for ICAC to investigate Obeid

    Poor old Nixie, always looking for relevance, and always failing.

  43. Rafiki says:

    Section 12A of the ICAC Act requires ICAC “so far as practible” to investigate only “serious” or “systematic” corruption. It looks pretty useless as a guideline. Maybe its purpose is to afford to targets a basis to try to deflect ICAC. Whatever, 12A may explain why it labelled GB’s conduct “serious”. Otherwise, she might have alleged an excess of jurisdiction by ICAC.

  44. Mantaray says:

    Should’ve also added: the entire Optus scam whereby Gladys switched the entire NSW govt / public service to Optus from Telstra after decades of satisfactory performance by Telstra….and then Optus created a totally new position / job to pay Gladys half a million a year to do nothing.

    Corruption? No way! Not a crook from Day One at all.

  45. Buccaneer says:

    Otherwise, she might have alleged an excess of jurisdiction by ICAC.

    It’s hard not to suspect that ICAC doesn’t want that section to gather too much scrutiny.

    One might observe that ICAC was intended to be a mechanism to protect the people from the political class, it seems to be a partisan tool for politicians to further their own interests.

  46. Ed Case says:

    Basically, the Trade Union movement gives the ALP money, whereit’s originated, who wants to find out, meanwhile funding to the Liberals is mostly banned and heavily scrutinised.
    Creative types with a bit of go in them, like Daryl Maguire, are needed to find funding sources, the ICAC’s job is to act as watchdogs to hunt them down.

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