NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has announced her resignation after the state’s corruption watchdog revealed that she was under investigation. The inquiry into Ms Berejiklian is expected to run for 10 days from October 18
The NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) is probing whether Ms Berejiklian breached public trust when she awarded grants to several community organisations between 2012 and 2018.
It will hold public hearings later this month to investigate whether there was a conflict between Ms Berejiklian’s public duties and private interests when she was in a personal relationship with then-MP Daryl Maguire.
Ms Berejiklian said she was informed of the investigation yesterday afternoon and overnight had made the “extremely difficult decision” to resign as soon as the Liberal Party could elect a new leader.
“It pains me to announce but I have no option but to resign from the office of Premier,” Ms Berejiklian said. “Standing aside is not an option for me as Premier of NSW. “The people of the state need certainty as to who their leader is during the challenging time of the pandemic.”
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Why is Gladys Berejiklian stepping down and what happens next?
Reading from a prepared statement, she said she regretted leaving while the state was still in the grip of the pandemic but the announcement by the ICAC had left her with no alternative. “My resignation as Premier could not occur at a worse time but the timing is completely outside of my control as the ICAC has chosen to take this action during the most challenging weeks of the most challenging time of the state’s history,” she said.
“Resigning at this time is against every instinct of my being and something I do not want to do.”
She announced she would also be resigning as a member of Parliament and would step down as soon as a by-election could be held. Ms Berejiklian said she was leaving politics as she did not want to be a distraction to the government as it dealt with the pandemic. She denied being involved in any corrupt conduct during her time in Parliament.
“I have always acted with the highest level of integrity,” she said. “I have absolutely no regrets during my time in public life. “My only regret will be not to able to finish the job to ensure the people of NSW transition to living with COVID.”
What Ms Berejiklian’s resignation means for NSW Parliament.
NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet thanked Ms Berejiklian for her “leadership and strength”. Former New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian’s personal approval ratings soared as she led her state through bushfires and a global pandemic, but it was during the times that she was most under pressure that she showed her inner steel.
“Over the coming days, I will be talking to my family and colleagues about how I can best serve the people of NSW to continue to achieve these aims.” Deputy Premier John Barilaro said Ms Berejiklian had led the state “through some of its darkest days”. “Everyone has the right to defend their name and I wish Gladys all the best for her future,” he said.
The Premier will be questioned about grants awarded or promised to the Australian Clay Target Association in Wagga Wagga and to the Riverina Conservatorium of Music in Wagga Wagga at a time when Mr Maguire was the local member.
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Scott Morrison paid a tribute to Gladys Berejiklian as NSW Premier resigned. The hearings will examine whether Ms Berejiklian breached the public trust by failing to report anything in relation to her then-boyfriend Mr Daryl Maguire that she suspected could constitute corrupt conduct.
The ICAC is also investigating whether Mr Maguire used his position as a member of the NSW Parliament to gain an improper benefit for himself and his associates.
The ICAC will hold public hearings as part of Operation Keppel from Monday, October 18.