The NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has announced her resignation, after the state’s corruption watchdog revealed it was investigating whether she breached public trust.
- Gladys Berejiklian confirmed her relationship with Daryl Maguire during an ICAC hearing last year
- The inquiry into Ms Berejiklian is expected to run for 10 days
- Mr Maguire resigned after he admitted to a separate inquiry that he sought payment over a property deal
The NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) is probing whether Ms Berejiklian had a conflict of interest when she awarded grants to several community organisations between 2012 and 2018.
It will hold public hearings later this month to investigate whether there was a conflict between Ms Berejiklian’s public duties and private interests when she was in a personal relationship with then-MP Daryl Maguire.
Ms Berejiklian said she would resign as soon as the Liberal Party elected a new leader.
“It pains me to announce but I have no option but to resign from the office of Premier,” Ms Berejiklian said.
“Standing aside is not an option for me as Premier of NSW.
“The people of the state need certainty as to who their leader is during the challenging time of the pandemic.”
She said the ICAC announcement meant she had no alternative but to step down.
“My resignation as Premier 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 of the state’s history,” she said.
“Resigning at this time is against every instinct of my being and something I do not want to do.”
She announced she would also be resigning as a member of Parliament.
Ms Berejiklian said she was leaving politics as she did not want to be a distraction to the government during the pandemic.
She denied being involved in any corrupt conduct during her time in Parliament.
“I have always acted with the highest level of integrity,” she said.
“I have absolutely no regrets during my time in public life.
“My only regret will be not to able to finish the job to ensure the people of NSW transition to living with COVID.”
The ICAC will hold public hearings as part of Operation Keppel from Monday, October 18.
The Premier will be questioned about grants awarded or promised to the Australian Clay Target Association in Wagga Wagga and to the Riverina Conservatorium of Music in Wagga Wagga at a time when Mr Maguire was the local member.
The hearings will examine whether the Ms Berejiklian breached public trust by failing to report anything in relation to her then boyfriend Mr Maguire that she suspected could constitute corrupt conduct.
The ICAC is also investigating whether Mr Maguire used his position as a member of the NSW Parliament to gain an improper benefit for himself and his associates.
The inquiry is expected to run for 10 days and proceedings will be live-streamed via the ICAC website.
Mr Maguire, who Ms Berejiklian had a “close personal relationship” with for five years, resigned from Parliament in disgrace in 2018.
Ms Berejiklian confirmed at a corruption inquiry last year that she had been in a relationship with Mr Maguire since 2015 until a few months before the inquiry.
The former Liberal politician was the local member for Wagga Wagga in southern NSW for nearly 20 years before he resigned in 2018.
His resignation came after he admitted to a separate ICAC that he sought payment over a property deal.
Ms Berejiklian told an ICAC inquiry last year about her relationship with Mr Maguire.
“When I was asked to support this inquiry it became apparent to me that I should have absolutely no contact anymore and I ceased all contact,” Ms Berejiklian said.
Ms Berejiklian said their relationship wasn’t generally known among MPs and they sought to keep it private in part because it may have been awkward.
“More substantially, I’m a very private person and I didn’t feel the relationship had sufficient substance for it to be made public.”