Federal MP Bill Shorten has defended political opponent Gladys Berejiklian, saying she was “punching below her weight” after details of the premier’s relationship with former MP Daryl Maguire were revealed yesterday.
The NSW Premier was forced to lay bare her personal life after her five year secret relationship with Mr Maguire during an ICAC hearing into his alleged corruption.
Mr Shorten put aside political differences and expressed sympathy to the premier who is now facing mounting calls to resign.
“Can I take off my political hat, my Labor hat for a moment and just say I was surprised, but I don’t know, it’s all pretty human, isn’t it?” Mr Shorten told Today.
” I don’t hold that against Gladys. I mean, she’s a very dignified person,” he said.
“I think she would have been embarrassed by listening to the phone tapes of her conversation,” Mr Shorten said.
“She’s a smart lady who I think has been punching below her weight with perhaps a much more average guy.”
Ms Berejiklian and Mr Macguire were together in 2018 when he was forced to resign after a corruption inquiry heard secret recordings of him discussing potential commissions with a local councillor from property deals with a wealthy Chinese developer.
Ms Berejkilian described the events of yesterdays inquiry as “a personal nightmare” and admitted she had “stuffed up”.
“Hands down this has been one of the most difficult days of my life,” she said.
“I’m an extremely private person, and without question I stuffed up in my personal life, and I accept that.
“But I want to make this assurance to the people of NSW – I have always put the public first.”