Gladys Berejiklian saying Dominic Perrottet ‘just does what I ask him to’ shocked most, but has become a running joke between the NSW premier and his wife.
‘Why do you do what Gladys asks you to do and not what I ask you to do?’ Mr Perrottet said his wife Helen asked him.
The line was recorded from a phone call between Ms Berejiklian and her secret lover, corrupt MP Darryl Maguire, tapped by the Independent Commission Against Corruption when she was the NSW premier and Mr Perrottet was her treasurer.
NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet (pictured left) with his predecessor Gladys Berejiklian
Mr Maguire said Mr Perrottet told him there was no money in the budget for two hospital projects in his Wagga Wagga electorate, but there was for a planned crackdown on graffiti.
Ms Berejiklian responded: ‘I’ll fix it’.
She called back later and said: ‘I’ve already got you the Wagga hospital… I just spoke to Dom (Perrottet), and I said just put the 140 (million dollars) in the budget.
‘And he said “no worries” – he just does what I ask him to.’
Ms Berejiklian added: ‘We’re giving Wagga more money than ever before. I just got you the one hundred and seventy mill… you can’t tell me you’ve been hard done by.’
Mr Perrottet shared the joke between himself and his wife at a News Corp event on Friday.
The former premier has repeatedly stressed that she did nothing wrong and always worked in the best interests of the people of NSW.
NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet (pictured right), with his wife Helen. The couple shared a private joke about former state premier Gladys Berejiklian
ICAC counsel Scott Robertson told the corruption inquiry into Ms Berejiklian on Friday that Mr Perrottet was not under investigation.
‘There’s no suggestion in any of the material before this commission, in this investigation of any improper conduct on the part of (Mr Perrottet), I just thought I should make that clear,’ Mr Robertson said.
Other than the joke at Ms Berejiklian’s expense, Mr Perrottet said he would not be commenting on the ICAC proceedings.
‘That would be incredibly prejudicial as public hearings are underway and the independent commission will continue to do its work,’ he told reporters on Friday.
‘And ultimately, if there’s anything the government needs to act on, arising out of those public inquiries, we will.’
ICAC is investigating whether Ms Berejiklian breached the public’s trust while in a hidden relationship with Mr Maguire, including whether she had a conflict of interest in handling funding requests backed by him without disclosing their relationship.
Dominic and Helen Perrottet (pictured centre) with four of their six children
Ms Berejiklian’s legal team tried to have evidence from Mr Maguire heard in private, but this was rejected by ICAC Assistant Commissioner Ruth McColl.
ICAC subsequently revealed the former premier and the disgraced Mr Maguire discussed getting married and having a child.
On a tapped call Mr Maguire compared the ICAC to the ‘Spanish Inquisition’ and said they could be tapping his phone.
‘They could be taping your conversation with me right now. You wouldn’t know,’ he said.
You ‘can’t even have a conversation now, they’re taping it’, Mr Maguire said of the ICAC.
In another intercepted call, Ms Berejiklian said to Mr Maguire: ‘The bottom line is if you have done nothing wrong you have nothing to worry about.’
Gladys Berejiklian (pictured left) and Dominic Perrottet (right), the former and current NSW premiers
Opening evidence on Friday, ICAC counsel assisting Scott Robertson began with a killer question.
‘If you were able to have your time again would you disclose your close personal relationship with Mr Maguire?’ Mr Robertson asked.
Ms Berejiklian responded she didn’t feel it was a commitment she could share with her parents, Arsha and Krikor, or her sisters.
‘I didn’t feel there was a sufficient significance to be able to do that in terms of significance,’ she said.
The inquiry into Ms Berejiklian continues on Monday, which is expected to be the last day of public hearings.