NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian resigns amid ICAC inquiry

New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian has announced her resignation as Premier, saying she will leave parliament and bring an end to her political career.

The shock resignation came as the New South Wales Independent Commission Against Corruption announced it was investigating the Premier.

The Premier said she did not believe she had ever acted inappropriately but it would not be possible for her to continue in the role while an investigation was underway.

“I have made it clear on numerous occasions that if any of my ministers were the subject of allegations being investigated by an integrity agency or law enforcement, then he or she should stand aside during the course of the investigation until their name was cleared,” Berejiklian said.

“The reason for my stance was not to have made any presumptions, as to their conduct, but rather to maintain the integrity of the public office which has held, which that person is held whilst an investigation was completed.

“That same standard must always apply to me also as the premier, however standing aside is not an option for me as the premier of New South Wales as the people of this state need certainty as to who the leader is during the challenging times of the pandemic.

“I cannot predict how long it will take the ICAC to complete this investigation, let alone deliver a report in circumstances where I was first called to give evidence in a public hearing nearly 12 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 as soon as the New South Wales Liberal Party can elect a new parliamentary leader in order to allow the new leader and government, a fresh start.”

Berejiklian has been the state’s Premier since January 23rd 2017, when she replaced Mike Baird.  The Liberal government has been in power since March 2011 when it won a landslide election under the leadership of Barry O’Farrell. O’Farrell stood down in 2014 after it was revealed he had mislead an ICAC investigation.

The Premier said the decision to resign had been a hard choice but the statement released by ICAC had left her no option but to quit.

“As it is clear from the ICAC statement the issues it is investigating are historic matters that have already been the subject of numerous political attacks on me by opponents in the last twelve months. Many of the matters were the subject of questions I was asked by the opposition while appearing before an estimates hearing earlier this year.” Berejiklian said.

The Premier said she had always acted with highest level of integrity and resaid she regretted she would not be able to remain in the role.

In a statement ICAC said they would be holding further public inquiry into Operation Keppel from Monday 18th October, and the investigation would look into whether the Premier had breached public trust in relation to several grants that were awarded or promised to organisations between 2016 and 2018.

The corruption watchdog also stated it was looking into whether the Premier had failed to report a reasonable suspicion of corruption involving former MP Daryl Maguire. Berejiklian and the disgraced MP were previously in a secret relationship.

The Premier has denied any wrong doing.

Treasurer Dominic Perrottet and Tourism Minister Stuart Ayres have been tipped as possible contenders for the leadership position following Berejiklian’s resignation.

OIP Staff

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