'The crossbench is not a sin-bin': Calls grow for Daryl Maguire to quit parliament

14th July 2018

Source: Sydney Morning Herald | By: Deborah Snow | Posted: July 14, 2018

Veteran NSW Independent MP Greg Piper has joined the calls for disgraced member Daryl Maguire to leave Parliament altogether, in the wake of stunning evidence put before the Independent Commission Against Corruption.

Mr Piper and fellow independent Alex Greenwich are both unhappy about Mr Maguire moving to the cross-bench after he  resigned from the Liberal party on Friday, following admissions that he'd discussed receiving secret commissions on potentially lucrative property developments.

Mr Piper, the member for Lake Macquarie, said the cross-bench should be an “honourable place” occupied by MPs who had stood on the basis of community, rather than major party support.

“We are not just the place where disaffected or damaged stock from Liberal or Labor go,” Mr Piper said.

“I do believe the member for Wagga Wagga [ Mr Maguire] should consider his future and make a clean break of it, and give the people of his electorate an opportunity to have a say. I believe that if you have so offended against the standards expected of a parliamentarian, then you don’t just leave your party to save them the embarrassment. You probably should leave the Parliament.”

New South Wales Acting Opposition Leader Michael Daley also called on Mr Maguire to leave parliament on Saturday, saying the Premier should bring the full force of her office to the task of getting him to resign.

“The Premier needs to get on the phone today or do whatever she needs to do to tell Daryl Maguire that he won’t be sitting on the cross-benches for the next 9 months, he needs to resign from parliament … he is not fit to remain and if the Premier doesn’t require him to leave, she will have failed a significant test of leadership.”

Mr Daley conceded that Ms Berejiklian, who is currently on leave, had no power to compel Mr Maguire to depart Parliament but said she had not put enough pressure on him, suggesting it was because she was concerned about a by-election.

"The premier would be very fearful of a by-election nine months out but this is not about politics, it is about proper representation for the people of Wagga and faith in the parliamentary process.''

Independent member for Sydney Alex Greenwich shares the anger about Mr Maguire joining the cross-benches.

“The crossbench is for MPs who are neither in the government or the opposition, people who work with and hold accountable the major parties for their constituents” Mr Greenwich told Fairfax Media. “It shouldn’t be used as the sin bin for major party MPs that ICAC is looking into.”

Mr Daley would not be drawn on the parliamentary tactics Labor would resort to should Mr Maguire still be in parliament when it resumes in a couple of weeks’ time.

“I don’t want to pre-empt what parliament can do, but under the standing orders the Parliament has the power to compel a member to leave … let’s hope we don’t have to go there, that would be a very ugly scene to play out ” Mr Daley told a press conference in Sydney.

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