There has been much commentary about ICAC New South Wales overplaying its hand leading to the recent downfall of Gladys Berejiklian. The claim is that a ‘dodgy boyfriend’ and a few minor grants were her only indiscretions.
The reality is ICAC is not investigating her for her choice of boyfriend. That is an absurd conclusion to draw.
Under investigation are the $5.5 million grant to the Australian Clay Target Association in Wagga Wagga for its clubhouse and the allocation of $20 million to a Wagga Wagga music conservatorium. These are not small amounts, given it is public money.
The question regarding her conduct stems from Section 11 of ICAC which requires her to report any matter that she suspected was untoward. Many who listened to her phone remarks when she appeared before the ICAC last year would find it difficult to conclude that she was totally oblivious to what the former Member for Wagga was doing.
Berejiklian also bewails that this inquiry could not have come at a worse time. ICAC did not ask her to resign; she took that decision. It just so happens that ICAC by law is not permitted to defer or delay an investigation. To do so would sully its judgments with political overtones and undermine its integrity as an independent body.