Gladys in fiery stoush with Mark Latham
Gladys Berejiklian has blasted One Nation NSW leader Mark Latham over his "bizarre obsession" with her defunct relationship with disgraced former MP Daryl Maguire, in a heated state budget estimates hearing on Thursday.
Ms Berejiklian was in a relationship with Mr Maguire from 2015 to 2020 and was a witness during a an Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) inquiry last year.
Mr Maguire admitted to running a "cash for visa" scam for Chinese nationals and to seeking payment for property deals while he was an MP.
Ms Berejiklian admitted to the ICAC she had been in a secret relationship with Mr Maguire in 2015, and it continued after he was forced to resign from parliament in 2018.
The Premier, who is not accused of any wrongdoing, told the commission the relationship ended a few months before the ICAC hearing began.
In the budget estimates hearing on Thursday, Mr Latham, appearing via video link, was among the MPs who were grilling Ms Berejiklian.
Mr Latham was asking about her knowledge of Mr Maguire's business dealings in Shenzhen, China, when a defiant Ms Berejiklian snapped.
"Firstly, can I say I find your obsession with my failed private relationship rather bizarre and disconcerting," she said.
Ms Berejiklian also battled with Labor's Adam Searle, who asked why the then-NSW treasurer attended a meeting with Mr Maguire on the Cobb Highway in November 2016.
The pair discussed a highway that was over 100 kilometres from then Wagga Wagga MP Maguire's electorate, but within metres of his investment property at Ivanhoe.
A month earlier, Mr Maguire had paid $8000 for a property a few hundred metres from the Cobb Highway.
Mr Searle was animated in accusing Ms Berejiklian of using her position to further Mr Maguire's investment.
"What you're suggesting is laughable and wrong and frankly offensive," she said.
That came moments after another fiery exchange with Shooters, Fishers and Farmers MLC Robert Borsak.
Mr Borsak suggested it was convenient Ms Berejiklian took annual leave in July 2018 when Mr Maguire resigned from his role as a parliamentary secretary due to ICAC's hearing.
"Why did you decide to take annual leave on the 13th of July, the day Mr Maguire was scheduled to appear at ICAC?" he asked.
Ms Berejiklian insisted she was told about the hearing while she was on annual leave, not before it.
"Surely, Premier, as Mr Maguire's secret lover at the time he would have given you a special briefing," Mr Borsak said.
"Absolutely not," she responded.
During the heated line of questioning, Ms Berejiklian was interrupted repeatedly and had a series of points of order called to allow her to finish answers.
The Premier held strong under fire, despite appearing stressed and flustered at times. She maintained she had not been accused of any wrongdoing.
At the end of the three-hour estimates grilling, Mr Berejiklian was offered the chance to ask any of her own questions.
"I have a pandemic and a few other things to worry about .. but thank you very much," she said as she declined.
Originally published as Gladys in fiery stoush with Mark Latham