1 October, 2021
Gladys Berejiklian has resigned as New South Wales Premier amid a probe by the state’s anti-corruption watchdog.
The Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) on Friday announced it would investigate Berejiklian for potentially breaching public trust regarding her relationship with former MP Daryl Maguire.
Berejiklian says she was on Thursday night informed ICAC would be announcing the investigation and said was given “no option” but to resign.
“The people of this state need certainty as to who their leader is during the challenging times of the pandemic,” she said.
“I cannot predict how long it will take the ICAC to complete this investigation, let alone deliver a report in circumstances where I was called to give evidence at a public hearing nearly twelve months ago.
“Therefore it pains me to announce that I have no option but to resign from the office of premier.
“My resignation will take effect once the NSW Liberal Party can elect a new parliamentary leader.”
It’s expected a party room vote will take place on Tuesday.
“My only regret will be not to be able to finish the job to ensure the people of New South Wales transition to living freely with COVID,” Berejiklian said.
Health Minister Brad Hazzard, Services Minister Victor Dominello and Environment Minister Matt Kean were in the room at the time of Berejiklian’s resignation for moral support.
Berejiklian will also resign from parliament, and will consult the Electoral Commission as to when it will be safe to call a by-election, given the COVID-19 situation.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison was giving a press conference at the same time as Berejiklian’s resignation, and described her as a “dear friend”.
“I have worked with her extremely closely and she has always been a vibrant spirit doing the best for the people of NSW,” he said.
“I know how much she is trusted and respected and I have no doubt Gladys will always conduct herself in a way that suits the integrity of the office she has held and I know how seriously she takes that trust.”
John Barilaro also issued a statement after Berejiklian’s press conference, saying in the five years he had served as deputy premier, she 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,” his statement read.
“Any speculation regarding Liberal Party leadership remains an issue for the Liberal Party.
“The NSW Nationals remain committed to a strong and stable NSW Coalition Government.”
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews, addressing the media shortly before the resignation was made formal, said he worked “very well with Gladys”.
“I’m not here to be running a commentary on her, other than to state the absolute fact: that I have always worked very closely with her and I find her to be a person of integrity and a person that works hard for her state and has been an important partner for us,” he said.
“That’s what I know.”
Berejiklian became premier in 2017 following Mike Baird’s resignation and was first elected to parliament in 2003.
In its statement, ICAC listed the key areas it was investigating Berejiklian for.
They encompass whether she “engaged in conduct” that would constitute a breach of trust by “exercising public functions in circumstances where she was in a position of conflict between her public duties and her private interest as a person who was in a personal relationship with the then NSW Member of Parliament, Mr Daryl Maguire”.
It will also probe whether she was “liable to allow or encourage the occurrence of corrupt conduct by Mr Maguire”.
ICAC will hold a public hearing on October 18.
It’s expected the inquiry will continue for about 10 days.
“The general scope and purpose of the public inquiry is to gather evidence relevant to the matters being investigated for the purpose of determining the matters referred to in section 13(2) of the ICAC Act.”
ICAC earlier this year found former Wagga Wagga MP Daryl Maguire gave false or misleading evidence to the ICAC during an investigation into alleged corruption at Canterbury Council.
It handed down its report into Operation Dasha in March, recommending the Director of Public Prosecutions look at whether charges should be laid against the man who was Berejiklian’s secret lover for five years.