Gladys Berejiklian will resign from her position as Premier of New South Wales and from the state’s Parliament after being advised that the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) was investigating her.
The outgoing Premier said she acknowledged the timing of the decision could not be worse, considering the COVID-19 situation in NSW, but that she had “no option” but to resign.
“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,” Berejiklian said.
“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.
“The people of this state need certainty as to who the leader is during the challenging times of the pandemic.”
Berejiklian is expected to resign as soon as the NSW Liberal Party can elect a new parliamentary leader.
“My resignation 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 in the state’s history,” she said.
“Resigning at this time is against every instinct in my being and something which I do not want to do.
“I love my job and I love serving the community, but I have been given no option following the statement that’s been issued today. To continue as Premier would disrupt the State Government during a time when our entire attention should be focused on the challenges confronting New South Wales.”
The move is in response to ICAC announcing overnight it is investigating whether the outgoing Premier breached public trust when she awarded several grants to community organisations between 2012 and 2018.
The body is probing whether Berejiklian was in a position of conflict between her public duties and her private interests - at the time she was in a relationship with then-MP of Wagga Wagga Daryl Maguire.
The ICAC will hold public hearings as part of Operation Keppel from Monday, October 18.
Help us deliver quality journalism to you.
As a free and independent news site providing daily updates
during a period of unprecedented challenges for businesses everywhere
we call on your support