Gladys Berejiklian will soon have her say at an inquiry investigating her secret relationship with former NSW MP Daryl Maguire, after he revealed they loved each other, contemplated marriage and discussed having a child.
Mr Maguire was the one originally under the microscope when the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption launched public hearings into his business dealings.
But when Ms Berejiklian last year sensationally revealed their clandestine relationship, it sparked a separate investigation into her own conduct, which resulted in her resigning as premier on October 1.
On Friday she will get her chance to answer the allegations against her.
The former Wagga Wagga MP on Thursday admitted the pair were in a relationship between 2015 and 2018, which became physically intimate.
He had a key to Ms Berejiklian's home, which he never returned, and they had contemplated marriage and discussed having a child together.
"You loved her?" counsel assisting the commission Scott Robertson asked.
"Yes," Mr Maguire replied.
"So far as you can ascertain, she loved you as well?"
"We had our moments but yes."
The former premier last year told ICAC the pair's relationship was not of "sufficient status" to disclose to anyone.
Under cross-examination from Ms Berejiklian's lawyer, Mr Maguire agreed the pair did not share finances or a diary, did not celebrate an anniversary and had not formally introduced themselves to each other's families.
He sometimes did not even let her know when he was in town.
Ms Berejiklian earlier on Thursday lost a bid to have ICAC hear details of the relationship in private because of the "humiliation and harm" the public evidence would cause.
Assistant Commissioner Ruth McColl denied the request, saying the matter was in the public interest as ICAC is investigating how the relationship may have impacted the way Ms Berejiklian dealt with projects Mr Maguire lobbied for.
The public hearings have focused on two grants - a $5.5 million upgrade to the Wagga Wagga Clay Target Club and a $20.5 million plan to build a recital hall for the Riverina Conservatorium of Music.
Mr Maguire on Thursday agreed he had been a "serial pest" to several ministers about the projects.
"I think the term was 'a pain in the arse', yes," he said, referencing evidence given by former deputy premier John Barilaro on Monday.
He conceded the relationship gave him greater access to Ms Berejiklian than other MPs, and in their private life he "encouraged" her to take a close interest in the projects.
ICAC aired several conversations he had with Ms Berejiklian about them, one in which he railed against bureaucratic red tape "typical of our bulls*** government".
But Mr Maguire denied he ever explicitly asked his partner to intervene, although he conceded he would sometimes communicate with her in the hope she would.
In one phone tap, Mr Maguire can be heard boasting to a business associate about having "tens and tens and tens and tens of millions" of dollars put away for projects in the electorate, and in another pushing Ms Berejiklian to promise a stadium for Wagga Wagga.
"Stuart's talking about putting one Dubbo," he said during the October 2017 phone call.
"F*** them. Wagga's where it's gonna happen.
"Keep listening to me and (Wagga) will be like the blazing star of the southern universe."
Mr Maguire agreed his advocacy for some of the projects was partly motivated by a desire to leave a legacy and boost his popularity in the seat so it would be easier for the next Liberal candidate to win.
Mr Maguire and Ms Berejiklian had previously spoken about him quitting at the 2019 election so they could be together publicly.
But even after Mr Maguire was forced to resign by damaging corruption allegations, he had Ms Berejiklian's ear.
She sought his advice on potential by-election announcements.
The pair can be heard talking about his top three funding suggestions in the phone taps played to the inquiry, which include a grant for the conservatorium.
"You just throw money at Wagga," Mr Maguire says during the phone call on July 30, 2018.
"I'll throw money at Wagga, don't you worry about that," Ms Berejiklian replied.
The pair also discuss the "bureaucrats" opposition to a stadium in the regional town.
"I can overrule them," Ms Berejiklian said.
Ms Berejiklian denies any wrongdoing.
Australian Associated Press
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