Waleed Aly defends Gladys

Waleed Aly defends Gladys

The Project co-host Waleed Aly has come out in defence of former NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, saying the state’s corruption watchdog is “getting rid of” competent leaders.

Aly said the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) may “erode confidence” of the public in politicians.

Ms Berejiklian stepped down as Premier last week following the announcement from ICAC that she was being investigated in relation to former MP Daryl Maguire, who was found to have abused his position as a politician.

Previously, ICAC launched an inquiry into former Liberal premier Barry O’Farrell over his decision to accept a $3000 bottle of wine without declaring it, prompting his resignation.

“One of the interesting elements of this is ICAC is there … to give the public confidence in politicians and in the political system,” Aly said.

“But is there a danger though that it can do the opposite and ICAC may have done that by getting rid of premiers that are widely respected, seen as competent, and people who have been of integrity, seeing a premier in NSW disappear over a bottle of wine. It erodes confidence in the political system unnecessarily.”

Shadow Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus rejected the idea, arguing that ICAC wasn’t the one that “got rid of” Ms Berejiklian.

“I think that all politicians and all commentators need to be very careful not to attack these anti-corruption commissions simply because they don’t like what they’ve discovered or because they don’t like outcomes,” he said.

“Bear in mind the former premier of NSW, Gladys Berejiklian, resigned of her own volition. No-one forced her to resign.

“Nothing about the ICAC scheme required her to resign. So it’s wrong those people that are blaming ICAC because Ms Berejiklian’s no longer the Premier of NSW.”

“It was her choice to resign. A quite different course of action was available to her. She could have simply stood aside. Or she could have decided not to stand aside at all and undergo the investigation that’s now underway. 

“We don’t yet know the outcome of the inquiry.”

A public inquiry into the issue is due to commence on October 18, and is expected to last for about 10 days.

Ms Bereijiklian has denied any wrongdoing in relation to Mr Maguire’s actions.

Image: The Project

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