The Project host Waleed Aly defends ‘respected’ Gladys Berejiklian

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The Project host Waleed Aly has jumped to the defence of Gladys Berejiklian and questioned whether NSW’s anti-corruption watchdog has done its job correctly.

In an interview with Shadow Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus, the journalist suggested that the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) has “eroded” the public’s confidence in politicians and political systems.

Waleed Aly on The Project.
Waleed defended Gladys Berejiklian during Wednesday night’s episode of The Project. Photo: Channel Ten

Gladys resigned from her position as NSW Premier last week after ICAC announced that they were investigating whether she was in a position of conflict between her public duties and private relationship with former MP Daryl Maguire.

The incident bears similarities to when former NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell resigned from his position in 2014 after being investigated by ICAC over a $3000 bottle of wine.

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On Wednesday night, Waleed questioned the anti-corruption watchdog, which is responsible for eliminating and investigating corrupt activities.

“One of the interesting elements of this is that ICAC is there to give the public confidence in politicians and in the political system,” he began.

“Is there a danger though that it can do the opposite and that ICAC may have done that by getting rid of premiers that are widely respected, seen as competent and people that have been of integrity?

“Seeing a premier in New South Wales disappear over a bottle of wine, actually what it does is it erodes confidence in the political system unnecessarily.”

Gladys Berejiklian.
Gladys Berejiklian announced her resignation last week. Photo: Getty

Mark Dreyfus disagreed with Waleed’s stance and said that both politicians and commentators shouldn’t be attacking ICAC just because “they don't like what they've discovered”.

“I think there's been some ridiculous criticisms made in recent days of the NSW ICAC which is simply doing its job,” he replied.

“Bear in mind that Gladys Berejiklian resigned of her own volition. Nothing about the ICAC scheme required her to resign. So it's wrong those people are blaming ICAC because Ms Berejiklian’s no longer the premier of New South Wales.

“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 that inquiry.”

The discussion comes shortly after Kyle Sandilands revealed that the new NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet wouldn’t be welcome on his radio show after learning about his conservative religious views.

“How can someone run a state like New South Wales and be anti-abortion and anti-gay rights,” Kyle questioned on Wednesday morning.

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