Hard work and determination drive NSW’s new female Premier
When it comes to getting to the top, there’s much you can learn from Gladys Berejiklian.
The soon-to-be premier of NSW could hardly speak English when she started kindergarten in Sydney, but later became dux of her high school.
Berejiklian is expected to be elected unopposed to the Liberal party leadership in NSW this morning, after Mike Baird made the surprise decision to step down late last week. Berejiklian will be officially sworn in as Premier later today.
She’ll also become the second woman to serve in such a position in NSW – the first from the Liberal Party — and one of only a handful to have taken the top spot across the states and territories of Australia.
The daughter of Armenian refugees and the eldest of three daughters, Berejiklian worked a number of jobs ranging from ‘checkout chick’ to an executive with the Commonwealth Bank, before starting the political career she long dreamed about.
The member for Willoughby in Sydney’s north first won the seat in 2003 against a popular and well-known mayor. According to the Sydney Morning Herald today, she decorated a white delivery van with campaign posters that omitted her surname (too confusing and hard to remember, apparently) and got across the line with a narrow victory of less than 150 votes.
She also came to major prominence in NSW in the transport portfolio, one of the most challenging jobs in politics – at least in Sydney, where complaining about the rail and bus system is a local pastime. She then went on to become NSW treasurer.
Although she’s known for her likeability, hard work and determination, according to Fairfax papers today former premier Barry O’Farrell has said she doesn’t always put herself forward.
Berejiklian said on Friday that Baird was a “man of enormous integrity” who has made NSW an economic and infrastructure powerhouse. She described him as a great leader and friend, who’s shown compassion for the most vulnerable of people. “But I would like to make it clear that I will be standing for the leadership,” she said.
Baird immediately endorsed her candidacy for the leadership saying she’d be “an outstanding premier, no doubt about it.”
Berejiklian’s got a number of difficult tasks up ahead, including completing the controversial council amalgamations across the state – with the Nationals announcing late last week that it would pull its support in regional areas for the policy.