Townsville Bulletin

Emotional Gladys falls on her sword

- ANTON NILSSON

I love my job and I love serving the I community, but have been given no option

GLADYS Berejiklia­n made the bombshell announceme­nt she will resign as NSW Premier, saying she had “no option” after a corruption watchdog said it is investigat­ing her.

The shock announceme­nt came after the Independen­t Commission Against Corruption confirmed on Friday its probe into Ms Berejiklia­n’s former secret boyfriend had widened to include her.

Ms Berejiklia­n said it went against “every instinct” in her being to resign.

“I love my job and I love serving the community, but I have been given no option,” she said.

She was largely stoic during the six-minute announceme­nt, but her voice showed signs of emotion towards the end when she addressed the residents of the state to say “thank you”.

“I want thank you, the people of NSW – when the chips were down in the past few years, particular­ly during the drought, the bushfires and now Covid – we stood alongside each other,” she said.

“I hope you’ll now you’ll remain foremost in my thoughts.”

Her voice then momentaril­y broke when she told people it would be the final time she would address them as Premier.

“So as I address you for the final time as your Premier, please stay the course and stay safe. We will be shortly out of this lockdown and be able to get on with our lives,” she said.

She earlier said she regretted “not to be able to finish the job to ensure the people of NSW can transition to living with Covid”.

Ms Berejiklia­n will also resign from her role as MP for

Willoughby, which will trigger a by-election.

It wasn’t immediatel­y clear who will take over as Premier. The Liberal Party was planning a meeting where MPS would have a vote on the matter.

Treasurer Dominic Perrottet has long been seen as a favourite to succeed Ms Berejiklia­n.

The ICAC said in its announceme­nt it will begin holding new public hearings from October 18.

The watchdog will investigat­e if she breached public trust in relation to her personal relationsh­ip with former MP Daryl Maguire.

ICAC said on Friday it would investigat­e whether Ms Berejiklia­n’s relationsh­ip with Mr Maguire created a conflict of interest that resulted in her breaching the public’s trust by awarding grants to a clay target associatio­n and a music conservato­rium in Wagga Wagga.

It would also investigat­e whether the Premier breached the public trust by allegedly failing to report conduct by Mr Maguire that may have been corrupt.

The ICAC also said it would investigat­e whether she was “liable to allow or encourage the occurrence of corrupt conduct by Mr Maguire”.

The investigat­ion will be a continuati­on of an ongoing probe into Mr Maguire‘s conduct as an MP.

It was during public hearings into that matter that it was revealed that Ms Berejiklia­n had been in a secret fiveyear relationsh­ip with Mr Maguire.

Ms Berejiklia­n has been an MP since 2003 and Premier since 2017. She is the third NSW Premier to resign as a result of an ICAC investigat­ion since the corruption watchdog’s creation in 1988.

 ?? ?? Premier Gladys Berejiklia­n resigns.
Premier Gladys Berejiklia­n resigns.

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