NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced her resignation today after the state’s corruption watchdog said it was investigating her.
“It pains me to announce that I have no option but to resign from the office of premier,” Gladys Berejiklian said a briefing where she did not take questions from reporters.
“In order to allow the new leader and government a fresh start, I will also resign from the New South Wales parliament once I have consulted the electoral commission on appropriate timing for a by-election,” Berejiklian added.
The investigation heightens scrutiny on Berejiklian, who had faced mounting criticism over her government’s handling of the Covid-19 crisis in New South Wales.
“I was advised late yesterday afternoon the Independent Commission Against Corruption would today release a public statement in which it will state it is investigating allegations made about me concerning matters relating to the former member for Wagga Wagga,” she said in the press briefing.
“Many of the matters were the subject of questions I was asked by the opposition while appearing before an estimates committee hearing earlier this year,” she said.
“I state categorically, I have always acted with the highest level of integrity. History will demonstrate that I have always executed my duties with the highest degree of integrity for the benefit of the people of NSW who I have had the privilege to serve”.
“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. 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 was held whilst an investigation was completed. That same standard must apply to me as Premier”.
“My resignation as Premier could not happen 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 times in the history of NSW”.
“Notwithstanding the challenges of the last few years and few months in particular, I have never felt stronger, nor more confident in my leadership. I have absolutely no regrets during my time in public life”.
“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 has been elected five times as MP from Willoughby.
In a public inquiry scheduled for Oct. 18, the commission will examine whether there was a conflict between Berejiklian’s public duties and private interests. At the time, Berejiklian was in a secret relationship with state legislator Daryl Maguire, who was then member of parliament for Wagga Wagga.