Gladys Berejiklian has resigned as NSW Premier, having made the announcement after the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) revealed it would investigate whether she had breached public trust when she was in a relationship with disgraced former MP Daryl Maguire.
“I’ve had to make a difficult decision overnight. I was advised late yesterday afternoon that the Independent Commission Against Corruption will release a statement today stating they are investigating me relating to matters involving the former Member for Wagga Wagga,” she said on Friday.
Berejiklian will also resign as the Member for Willoughby and will leave parliament as soon as a by-election can be held in the seat.
The ICAC issued a statement on Friday, prior to Berejiklian’s announcement, outlining that it would be holding a public inquiry from Monday, October 18 into Berejiklian.
It said it would be investigating whether Berejiklian engaged in conduct that “constituted or involved a breach of public 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”.
Berejiklian was first embroiled in the scandal involving Daryl Maguire in October last year, when she told an ICAC hearing that she was in a “close personal relationship” with Maguire for a number of years.
According to a statement from ICAC, Berejiklian will be questions about grants awarded or promised to the Australian Clay Target Association in Wagga Wagga and to the Riverina Conservatorium of Music in Wagga Wagga.
The ICAC will also investigate if she engaged in conduct that “constituted or involved the dishonest or partial exercise of any of her official functions and/or a breach of public trust by refusing to exercise her duty pursuant to section 11 of the Independent Commission Against Corruption Act 1988 to report any matter that she suspected on reasonable grounds concerned or may concern corrupt conduct in relation to the conduct of Mr Daryl Maguire.”
Speaking to the media on Friday, Berejiklian said: “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 NSW.”
“I do not want to be a distraction from what should be the focus of the state government during this pandemic, which is the well being of our citizens, it always has been and always will be.
“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. At times we all stumble, pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and start again stronger and wiser than before. I have done this many times, as we all have.
“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.”