Triple M radio producer Jana Hocking
What you may have heard on Monday as the explosive details of NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian’s relationship with former Wagga Wagga MP Daryl Maguire were aired like dirty laundry at a corruption watchdog inquiry, was a collective sigh of relief.
That was the sound of every woman on planet earth letting out a knowing, sympathetic heave that could be loosely transcribed as: ‘Oh Gladys, we’ve all been there.’
Afterwards we gathered around the water cooler to discuss the details as if we had just watched the most scandalous episode of Married At First Sight.
Except this time the goss wasn’t about the former beauty pageant contestant who had just been screwed over by the plumber turned Instagram influencer.
It was about our Glady B.
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Gladys Berejiklian with disgraced Wagga Wagga MP Daryl Maguire, who is under investigation by the Independent Commission Against Corruption. The exposure of their half-decade love affair has made the Premier more ‘human’ than ever, Ms Hocking argues
The woman who has guided us so calmly and carefully through a pandemic, with a steady hand and a stern voice when we needed it most.
A fierce leader so brazen in her approach to tackling a crisis that she managed to keep NSW’s COVID numbers low in a way that didn’t feel like a dictatorship (cough, cough, Dan Andrews).
More in a ‘if you don’t wear a mask and stop putting your germs everywhere, I won’t be mad at you, just disappointed’ kinda way, which we all know is so much worse than a good telling off.
Many were shocked to hear she had forged a secret five-year relationship with a man who is currently under investigation by the Independent Commission Against Corruption. But not I.
Many wondered: ‘What makes a woman like Gladys Berejiklian, one of the most powerful leaders in Australia, fall for a dodgy guy? Even sticking by her man after she was forced to fire him?’
Well, you could ask the same of Hillary Clinton, who decided to stick by her philandering buffoon of a husband, or Sharon Osbourne who put up with years of antics from her rockstar trouble maker.
Or in fact, any woman with a pulse.
Yes, dear outraged viewers of this midday soap…. I mean, ICAC inquiry. It turns out our premier is indeed, human.
The Premier’s secret romance has already inspired street art, like this discarded mattress that was spotted in Marrickville in Sydney’s inner-west on Wednesday, October 14
Ms Berejiklian (left) and Mr Maguire (right) address the ICAC inquiry, which threatens to derail Gladys’ political career and force her resignation as New South Wales Premier
And like many of us, she’s fallen for the love bombing, lapped up the attention and handed her heart to a guy your friends so often tell you to stay clear of.
I too have been known to fall for a man who was a bit rough around the edges. A project. Someone I knew could be better under the right guidance and nagging. I’ve believed I can ‘fix them’ with the right amount of love and attention.
I still think back and shudder at the time I fell madly and stupidly in love with a guy who was no stranger to the criminal system.
I had made it into the university course of my dreams. I was so focused on studying and gaining internships that I had no time for a boyfriend, well apart from a cheeky fondle on the uni bar dance floor.
Then one night during term holidays, I went along to a friend’s gig and in he strutted.
Ms Berejiklian (far right) and Mr Maguire (far left) kept their love secret for five years, before their private correspondence was laid bare in the most public of fashions
Just like Ms Berejiklian (pictured outside the NSW State Parliament on October 13), Jana Hocking has also fallen for a man ‘a bit rough around the edges’
The strong, confident, slightly scary man of my hormonal dreams. He had just the right amount of cheeky banter to keep a girl interested.
And those deep blue eyes. We all know the type.
I was instantly hooked and he knew it. Over the next four years, while I was gaining a degree and working my butt off to land exciting jobs, he was picking fights, making bad life choices, attending court cases and eventually landed himself in jail.
Sure, I was book smart, but good lord was I lagging behind when it came to matters of the heart. When he got into another fight at the pub, my brain, my family and friends would all say ‘LEAVE HIM’.
But my heart said ‘nooooo, you can fix him! No one understands him like I do!’.
Ms Hocking (pictured in 2019) says Gladys’ escapades have made her relatable to women all over the world because millions before her have fallen for the ‘wrong’ guy
Yes, we’ve all heard it before.
So mortified was I to have a boyfriend who was in jail that for a year, while he was languishing in a prison cell, I was making up excuses about why he had missed yet another family birthday, christening or wedding.
So Gladys, I get it. You made a bad decision. As have many of us when it comes to that tiny beating thing in our chest.
So you didn’t want the world to know you were in a relationship. Fine.
We’ve all dated a bloke that friends have tut-tutted at, but let’s be honest. There’s something very alluring about a secret relationship, you saucy minx.
Ms Hocking empathises with the embattled Premier (pictured at a press conference on October 14), and says the scandal will one day fill the pages of Ms Berejiklian’s autobiography
I got a real kick out of sneaking out for visits. Plus, when all of this is over and everyone calms down, it will be a hell of a story to tell in your best-selling autobiography. I can see the book sales already.
You see, love can make us pick the strangest partners.
It’s human nature to want something we can’t have. That seems a bit naughty. More often then not, we want it more.
Thankfully, I discovered it was just a phase. And Gladys, I’m sure you will too.