Tweed MP Geoff Provest arrives at NSW Parliament in September. Picture: NCA NewsWire / James Gourley
Tweed MP Geoff Provest arrives at NSW Parliament in September. Picture: NCA NewsWire / James Gourley

Local MP says ‘I feel sorry for the premier’

TWEED MP Geoff Provest has thrown his support behind Gladys Berejiklian despite the storm of controversy engulfing the NSW Premier.

An Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) probe into former MP Daryl Maguire this week revealed a secretive relationship between the NSW Premier and the former member for Wagga Wagga.

Mr Maguire, who is being investigated for alleged misuse of public office, had a close personal relationship with Ms Berejiklian which began in 2015. The premier said the relationship ended "a few months ago".

As a result of defending her relationship with Mr Maguire, Ms Berejiklian has survived two no confidence motions through the upper and lower houses on Wednesday.

Mr Provest said he believes Ms Berejiklian to have been a great leader through drought, bushfires and in particular the border issues stemming from the coronavirus pandemic.

"I feel sorry for the premier," he said.

"She has always been good to us in the Tweed, she will answer the phone to me at 4am in the morning or 11pm at night regarding issues or providing guidance. With local issues and the border restrictions she has advocated on our behalf with the Queensland Premier tirelessly.

"She has my 100 per cent support at the moment but it's an ongoing inquiry."

Having dealt with three prime ministers and almost 50 minister changes under Labor from 2007 to 2011, Mr Provest said he does not wish to relive the turmoil again.

"Things are very up in the air at the moment … I went through this in 2007 to 2011 and it was certainly not a pleasant thing," he said.

Mr Provest served as the deputy chairman on the committee reviewing the ICAC during the system's overhaul, resulting in the three new commissioners.

"Daryl Maguire gave evidence all of (Wednesday), (Thursday) and is expecting to on Friday as well," he said.

"ICAC is death by 1000 cuts.

"I think ICAC is very necessary. It is always an honour to be a member of parliament and you need to exercise that power with the best interest of NSW in mind. Full stop.

"Both sides of politics have shown they don't always do that. It wasn't so long ago we had scandals with Labor.

"Having said that I have the strong belief the majority of people are here for the right reasons to serve NSW and electorates."