NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian fires back, survives no-confidence motions as Daryl Maguire appears at ICAC


NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has survived no-confidence motions in both houses in a day filled with angry exchanges over her relationship with disgraced former MP Daryl Maguire.

The motions were defeated 38 ayes to 47 noes in the Lower House, and 21 to 20 in the Upper House.

Wednesday saw the fieriest stoushes yet, coinciding with Mr Maguire facing an Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) inquiry where he admitted using his parliamentary office for business deals.

Ms Berejiklian appeared increasingly impatient at a coronavirus press conference, which warned of a major COVID-19 spike alert for Sydney’s south-west but then turned into questioning over the Maguire storm.

At one point she was interrupted by a journalist as she was answering a question over the Maguire relationship and beneficial access he may have gained because of his connection to Ms Berejiklian, she pointed a finger and angrily responded:

“Excuse me, let me finish, Let me finish, OK? I’ve given you your turn for the last three days. Let me finish,” she said.

“I know the people of this state know that I have done nothing wrong. I appreciate the questions you all need to ask and I’ve answered them in full detail, but you also have to respect my position as premier and let me do my job.”

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has weathered a tumultuous day.(AAP: Dan Himbrechts)

Maguire faces ICAC

Scrutiny continues over her “close personal relationship” with Mr Maguire, which ran for five years, including a time when he resigned from Parliament in 2018 after a previous ICAC inquiry where he admitted he had sought payment to help broker a deal with a Chinese property developer.

Daryl Maguire stands behind Gladys Berejiklian during a media conference.
Gladys Berejiklian and Daryl Maguire were in a relationship for five years.(ABC News)

During Mr Maguire’s evidence at the ICAC inquiry on Wednesday, he admitted failing to disclose his business interests and receiving thousands of dollars at his office as part of a “cash-for-visas” scam involving Chinese nationals.

Ms Berejiklian denies she had any knowledge of his wrongdoing.

The Premier hit back at reports during the press conference that her relationship with Mr Maguire made her a target of Chinese intelligence agencies.

“I say to that that’s complete rubbish. As the Premier of state, I pass security clearances that nobody else has to pass and I have access to information which assures me, which gives me assurance that what I need to be aware of and I always adhere to that.”

‘You’re going to defend him again?’

Later in Parliament, in another spikey exchange with Opposition Leader Jodi McKay, Ms McKay accused Ms Berejiklian of defending Mr Maguire.

Space to play or pause, M to mute, left and right arrows to seek, up and down arrows for volume.

NSW Premier and Opposition clash over corruption allegations

Ms Berejiklian had warned Ms McKay to be careful with her words because of the ongoing ICAC inquiry.

Ms McKay retorted: “You’re going to defend him again? Let’s defend him again!”

Ms Berejiklian responded: “I say to the Leader of the Opposition, stick to the facts. Stick to what is real. And also note, that there is nothing wrong that I have done, or ever have done, or ever will do.”

Ms Berjiklian threw a dart back and said the Opposition Leader had sat in a cabinet with disgraced Labor MPs Eddie Obeid and Ian McDonald.

Ms McKay retorted: “Unlike you, I reported it to ICAC!”

‘The end result was nothing’

In the press conference, Ms Berejiklian also threw a sledge at Mr Maguire himself, referring to him as “this gentleman”, then correcting it to “this person”.

“If I had any suspicion that any member of Parliament, whether it was him or anybody else was doing the wrong thing, or using their office for the wrong purposes. I wouldn’t have blinked.

“Of course, I would have reported that.

“But this gentlemen, well, this person, had access to so many people and the end result was nothing.

“He actually tried to get things done and he couldn’t get things done.”

When asked how did she not know about his undertakings, she said he had “fooled a lot of people”.

She was then asked if he had made a fool out of her.

“That’s for others to make judgment on,” she said.



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Michael O’Brien’s no-confidence motion against ‘dangerous’ Daniel Andrews fails, Victorian COVID-19 inquiry extended


The Victorian Opposition Leader has labelled Premier Daniel Andrews “dangerous and arrogant” during a failed bid to oust him from office with a no-confidence motion in Parliament.

Michael O’Brien’s move was labelled a “stunt” by Mr Andrews, and was easily defeated 44-23 during a marathon sitting of Parliament that stretched to 9:00pm.

The Opposition can only introduce one no–confidence motion of this kind in a parliamentary term, and it was doomed to fail due to Labor’s strong majority in the Lower House.

But before the motion, Mr O’Brien said there were a number of Labor MPs frustrated with how the Premier was operating, and he called on them to cross the floor.

“It’s quite clear that a lot of Labor MPs are privately very, very critical of the Government,” he said.

“The question is — are they prepared to put their money where their mouth is? Are they prepared to put their vote where the interests of Victorians are?”

When introducing the motion, Mr O’Brien delivered a scathing speech, describing the Government as “arrogant and incompetent” and “a danger to Victorians”.

“It gives me no joy to move this motion of no confidence of Premier Daniel Andrews and his ministers,” Mr O’Brien told Parliament. “But today in Victoria, circumstances are far from usual.”

Michael O’Brien hits out at ‘cavalcade of cover-ups’

Mr O’Brien said the Premier’s handling of hotel quarantine and the subsequent second wave had been a failure, which had let the state down “like no other government has done before”.

Michael O’Brien said Victorians had been served up a “litany of lies”.(AAP: James Ross)

“We are the live music capital, yet the music has stopped. We have the best dining in the nation, but restaurants and bars are closed.

“This is the legacy of the Andrews Government’s mishandling of the response.”

In the wake of the resignation of Mr Andrews’ top bureaucrat, Chris Eccles, Mr O’Brien called on the COVID-19 Hotel Inquiry to re-examine key witnesses.

“Victorians want answers, and they demand answers because Victorians have been the ones to pay the price for this Government’s failure,” he said.

“Have Victorians seen the truth? No. They’ve had an avalanche of amnesia, a cavalcade of cover-ups and a litany of lies.”

Mr O’Brien also said Mr Andrews had “taken [Victorians] for fools” after denying the Australian Defence Force was on offer to guard the quarantine hotels.

In response to the motion, Deputy Premier James Merlino said Mr O’Brien had launched a “tasteless, heartless stunt”.

“He’s not a man concerned by the health of Victorians — he’s a man obsessed with his own popularity within his own party,” Mr Merlino told Parliament.

Earlier, Mr Andrews criticised the Opposition’s “cheap politics”.

“I’m not concerned by it and I won’t be playing it because it doesn’t work against this virus,” he said.

Commissioner could face more questions over changed evidence

Victorian emergency management commissioner Andrew Crisp is among senior public servants also under pressure from the Opposition.

He could now be questioned before a parliamentary inquiry for a second time over his role in the state’s coronavirus response.

There had been calls for Mr Crisp to be re-examined after he retracted evidence he gave at the Public Accounts and Estimates Committee (PAEC) hearings on the Government’s COVID-19 response in August.

Victoria's Emergency Management Commissioner Andrew Crisp stands in front of a lectern.
Andrew Crisp changed evidence he gave about briefing the Emergency Services Minister.(ABC News: Sarah Maunder, file photo)

In his testimony, he claimed he gave regular briefings to his direct minister, Lisa Neville, on March 27 and 28, when the hotel quarantine program was being established.

Ms Neville contradicted his evidence when she told the separate independent COVID-19 Hotel Quarantine Inquiry that she did not receive any briefings from Mr Crisp in the early stages of the program.

Mr Crisp then altered his written statement to say he did not brief her on those dates.

The committee now says it will extend its inquiry, which could mean Mr Crisp will be asked further questions about the change in evidence.

“The additional hearings will enable the committee to get supplementary evidence relating to the response to this ongoing pandemic,” committee chair Lizzie Blandthorn said in a statement.

“There will also be a further opportunity for written submissions to be presented that can assist the committee in examining the various aspects of the response.”

The deadline for submissions to the PAEC inquiry has now been extended to November 30.



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No-confidence vote against Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews fails as coronavirus cases stay in double figures


A no-confidence motion against Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews dismissed as “cheap politics” by the government has failed.

The Liberal-National coalition on Tuesday moved a no-confidence motion against Mr Andrews over his handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

It failed with 23 votes for to 44 votes against on Tuesday evening.

Meanwhile, Victoria’s COVID-19 numbers continue their stubborn plateau, with 12 new cases announced on Tuesday.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews (left) arrives at a press conference in Melbourne, on Tuesday 13 October.

AAP

When introducing the motion, Opposition Leader Michael O’Brien said the premier bungled the hotel quarantine program, ignored offers of Australian Defence Force support and imposed tough coronavirus restrictions that “make no sense”.

“This government is hostage to a premier who is pursuing an elimination strategy that is only going to eliminate jobs, that is only going to eliminate hope, that is only going to eliminate the bright future this state deserve,” he told the Legislative Assembly.

The premier was not present as Mr O’Brien spoke.

Mr Andrews, who usually refrains from attacking the opposition and never refers to their leader by name, hit back at his daily press conference.

“He and the cheap politics he trades in is of no consequence when it comes to fighting this virus. His cheap politics is not a vaccine against this virus,” Mr Andrews said of Mr O’Brien.

He also criticised Mr O’Brien for “playing politics out of tragedy” when he held a press conference on Monday surrounded by 791 Australian flags – representing the lives lost during Victoria’s second wave.

Mr O’Brien insists a lot of families were “really pleased” their loved ones hadn’t been forgotten.

Deputy Premier James Merlino opposed the no-confidence motion in parliament, describing the move as a waste of time and energy, “designed to deflect from a leader of the opposition, who has lost the confidence of his own party”.

“A man so desperate to make some kind of impact, any kind of impact, that he’s taken to deliver cheap political stunts, tasteless, senseless, heartless stunts, exploiting the tragedy speaker, of grieving families and communities,” he said.

All lower house MPs were given at least 15 minutes to speak on the motion.

The Victorian Greens had earlier indicated they wouldn’t support the motion.

“The Liberals are using this no-confidence motion as a stunt to play political games with the pandemic, they want Andrews’ scalp,” Greens MP Ellen Sandell said.

“And right now, we think Victorians want politicians more to focus on how we actually get through this pandemic and out of restrictions.”

The opposition only has one chance to move a motion of no confidence in the premier each parliamentary term.

The next election isn’t until 2022.

In the months leading up to the 2018 election, then-opposition leader Matthew Guy moved a motion of no confidence over the misuse of taxpayer money in Labor’s rorts-for-votes scandal.

It failed by 49 to 33 votes.

Case numbers still in the double figures

Tuesday marked the sixth-straight day of cases in the double figures, as Melbourne residents anxiously await confirmation about which restrictions will be eased.

There was also one death in the latest update, taking the state toll to 811 and the national figure to 899.

Melbourne’s 14-day rolling case average has risen back to 10 and the city’s mystery cases are also up by two to 13.

The regional figures remain steady at 0.4 and none.

Mr Andrews has conceded Victoria’s roadmap out of lockdown will likely be redrawn and restrictions could be eased with daily COVID-19 figures in the teens.

The city needed a daily average of five cases as well as five or fewer mystery cases to move to the “third step” of the state government’s roadmap out of restrictions next Monday.

While those targets are now unachievable, the premier said some restrictions – mostly social-related rather than economic – will still be eased.

Mr Andrews acknowledged at some point Victorian authorities may have to “call it” and revise the target of five average cases per day.

People in Australia must stay at least 1.5 metres away from others. Check your jurisdiction’s restrictions on gathering limits.

 

If you are experiencing cold or flu symptoms, stay home and arrange a test by calling your doctor or contact the Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080. News and information is available in 63 languages at https://sbs.com.au/coronavirus

 

Please check the relevant guidelines for your state or territory: NSW,Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia, Northern Territory, ACT, Tasmania



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Andrew Crisp could be recalled to COVID-19 inquiry, Daniel Andrews faces no-confidence motion in Victorian Parliament


Victorian emergency management commissioner Andrew Crisp could be questioned before a parliamentary inquiry for a second time over his role in the state’s coronavirus response.

There have been calls for Mr Crisp to be re-examined after he retracted evidence he gave at the Public Accounts and Estimates Committee (PAEC) hearings on the Government’s COVID-19 response in August.

In his testimony, he claimed he gave regular briefings to his direct minister, Lisa Neville, on March 27 and 28, when the hotel quarantine program was being established.

Ms Neville contradicted his evidence when she told the separate independent COVID-19 Hotel Quarantine Inquiry that she did not receive any briefings from Mr Crisp in the early stages of the program.

Mr Crisp then altered his written statement to say he did not brief her on those dates.

The committee now says it will extend its inquiry, which could mean Mr Crisp will be asked further questions about the change in evidence.

“The additional hearings will enable the committee to get supplementary evidence relating to the response to this ongoing pandemic,” committee chair Lizzie Blandthorn said in a statement.

“There will also be a further opportunity for written submissions to be presented that can assist the committee in examining the various aspects of the response.”

The deadline for submissions to the PAEC inquiry has now been extended to November 30.

Opposition attacks Government’s ‘avalanche of amnesia’

The announcement came after the Opposition Leader, Michael O’Brien, once again called for the COVID-19 Hotel Quarantine Inquiry to be extended.

In an hour-long tirade after introducing a no-confidence motion against the Premier, Mr O’Brien told Parliament that Victorians had not been given the truth about the program’s failures.

Michael O’Brien said Victorians had been served up a “litany of lies”.(AAP: James Ross)

He said Mr Andrews and his senior bureaucrats had let Victorians down when giving evidence at the inquiry and they should be called again

“Victorians want answers, and they demand answers because Victorians have been the ones to pay the price for this Government’s failure,” Mr O’Brien said.

“Have Victorians seen the truth? No. They’ve had an avalanche of amnesia, a cavalcade of cover-ups and a litany of lies.”

Given Labor has a strong majority in the Lower House, the move was widely regarded a political stunt that was doomed to fail.

It was the only opportunity for the Opposition to introduce such a motion until the next election.

Mr O’Brien also said Mr Andrews had “taken [Victorians] for fools” after denying the Australian Defence Force was on offer to guard the quarantine hotels.

In response to the motion, Deputy Premier James Merlino said Mr O’Brien had launched a “tasteless, heartless stunt”.

“He’s not a man concerned by the health of Victorians — he’s a man obsessed with his own popularity within his own party,” Mr Merlino told Parliament.

Earlier, Mr Andrews criticised the Opposition’s “cheap politics”.

“I’m not concerned by it and I won’t be playing it because it doesn’t work against this virus,” he said.



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Coronavirus Australia live update: Gladys Berejiklian faces no-confidence motion as Victoria reports 12 new cases and NSW 13 | Australia news






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No-confidence motion to be moved against Gladys Berejiklian

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