NSW MP under pressure to quit politics

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The NSW opposition has called on a state MP to resign from politics altogether after secret recordings of him discussing potential developer “dividends” were played at a Sydney corruption inquiry.

Daryl Maguire stood down from the Liberal party on Friday night after fronting an Independent Commission Against Corruption inquiry but will remain in state parliament as an independent.

Acting NSW opposition leader Michael Daley said taking a “small pay cut” and going to the crossbench was “unacceptable”.

Mr Daley called on NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian to demand Mr Maguire resign from parliament immediately.

Mr Maguire was secretly recorded on several occasions trying to strike a deal in 2016 with then Canterbury City councillor Michael Hawatt, who is at the centre of an ICAC investigation.

The secretly recorded conversations were played during an ICAC hearing on Friday.

Soon after, the Wagga Wagga MP stood down from the Liberal Party and quit his role as parliamentary secretary for counter terrorism, corrections, veterans and the Centenary of ANZAC.

Mr Maguire told the inquiry he’d never done any business with Mr Hawatt and didn’t remember much from their “occasional” meetings.

Moments later, he was heard telling Mr Hawatt he had a client with “mega money” who would be interested in a site in Canterbury which had been approved for 300 units.

He asked the councillor what “margin” he would get from the “quick sale”, worth up to $51 million.

Mr Maguire denied he was an agent for the Chinese developer – Country Garden – but conceded he had “certainly sought to assist” them in purchasing sites in Australia and had become “great friends” with Country Garden’s Australian chief executive.

In another recording, Mr Maguire said he had asked the local government minister’s office to put forward Mr Hawatt on the new Canterbury-Bankstown advisory council.

The corruption watchdog is investigating claims of improper conduct at the now-defunct Canterbury City Council – in particular, the actions of two councillors, Mr Hawatt and Pierre Azzi.

Acting NSW Premier John Barilaro said Mr Maguire had admitted he’d done the wrong thing and was now paying the price for it.