Disgraced Former State MP Admits to Funding Visa Scheme for Chinese Nationals

Australian Associated Press is an Australian news agency.
October 13, 2020Updated: October 14, 2020

Former Wagga Wagga politician Daryl Maguire—who New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian testified she had a personal relationship with—has confessed he used his parliament house office for personal business deals, including a “cash for visa” scheme for Chinese nationals.

Maguire faced the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) Inquiry on Oct. 14, two days after Berejiklian stunned her colleagues by revealing her five-year relationship with the disgraced former state parliamentarian as part of her evidence to the inquiry.

“Do you agree that while you were a member of parliament, you used your office in Parliament House in the course of seeking to pursue your own business interests,” Scott Robertson, counsel assisting the commission, asked.

“Yes,” came the reply from Maguire, who was the member of Parliament for Wagga Wagga from 1999 to 2018.

He also admitted he “should have” updated the premier about his conflicts of interest, as per his obligations under the NSW ministerial code of conduct.

Berejiklian re-appointed Maguire to a parliamentary secretary role when she became premier in January 2017.

Maguire said he had used his taxpayer-funded staff, email, and facilities for his business deals and once received deliveries of thousands of dollars of cash to his office.

The money was associated with a scheme that involved securing Australian visas for Chinese nationals.

Maguire also admitted secretly directing a company called G8way International, a central focus of the inquiry and a platform from which the then-MP sought to make personal profits.

“At least in part, your parliament house office became a part-time office for the G8way International firm, do you agree?” Robertson asked.

“Occasionally, yes,” Maguire replied.

The inquiry is investigating a range of allegations against Maguire including that he misused his public office to broker property deals in western Sydney that would financially benefit him.

On Monday, the inquiry heard intercepted phone conversations between Berejiklian and Maguire in which the premier said she didn’t need to know details about his business deals.

“I stuffed up in my personal life,” she said after the hearing.

“Had I known then what I know now, clearly I would not have made those personal decisions.”

On Oct. 13, Berejiklian said she was “absolutely unaware” of any alleged impropriety by him.

“If I was aware of any wrongdoing I would have reported it,” she said

The inquiry continues.

By Luke Costin