NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has managed to survive two no-confidence motions in both houses of parliament but the fight for her political career isn’t over.
Upper house crossbenchers on Wednesday withdrew support for government legislation unless she steps aside.
The intense pressure on her leadership ramped up on Wednesday as her former boyfriend Daryl Maguire headed back to the Independent Commission Against Corruption and admitted a string of corruption allegations.
The opposition no-confidence motion in the lower house failed along party lines but in the upper house the chair was forced to cast the deciding negative vote after a tie as crossbenchers made good on a threat to withdraw their vital support for the government.
Earlier in the day a visibly agitated premier mounted an impassioned defence of her integrity when she was confronted with questions from reporters about what she knew about the questionable business dealings of Mr Maguire during their five-year secret relationship.
“With all due respect, I’ve answered every question I’ve been asked the last few days. I’ve been very open about issues that are very uncomfortable to me,” Ms Berejiklian said.
“Never, ever have I tolerated anybody else doing anything wrong. And if I ever saw it or witnessed it or knew about it, of course I would have taken action.”
She was speaking at the same time Mr Maguire was being grilled in a return appearance at the ICAC where he admitted using his parliament house office for personal business deals and accepting thousands of dollars in a cash-for-visa scheme.
“Obviously he fooled a lot of people. Clearly he was conducting activities he shouldn’t have,” Ms Berejiklian said.
Their relationship has, by association, tarnished Ms Berejiklian’s previously unsullied reputation.
In parliament Opposition Leader Jodi McKay accused the premier of turning a blind eye to corruption.
“This is a premier who failed to act … and turned a blind eye to wrongdoing,” she told the NSW lower house on Wednesday.
“If the premier stays, your government is forever diminished.”
The premier’s coalition colleagues continued to back her leadership and Prime Minister Scott Morrison doubled down on his support in an effort to secure her job.