Gladys Berejiklian resigns as NSW premier after anti-corruption watchdog announces probe

The NSW anti-corruption watchdog will investigate Ms Berejiklian for potentially breaching public trust over her relationship with former MP Daryl Maguire.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian speaks to the media during a press conference in Sydney, Thursday, September 30, 2021. NSW has recorded 941 locally acquired COVID-19 cases in the latest 24-hour reporting period. (AAP Image/Joel Carrett) NO ARCHIVING

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian speaks to the media during a press conference in Sydney, Thursday, September 30, 2021. Source: AAP

Gladys Berejiklian has announced she will resign as NSW premier after the state’s anti-corruption watchdog opened an investigation into her conduct.

The Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) said it would investigate Ms Berejiklian for potentially breaching public trust by failing to disclose her relationship with embattled former MP Daryl Maguire.

"I've had to make a difficult decision overnight. It pains me to announce that I have no option but to resign from the office of premier," she told reporters in Sydney later on Friday.

Gladys Berejiklian resigns as NSW Premier

"My resignation will take effect as soon as the NSW Liberal Party can elect a new parliamentary leader in order to allow the new leader and government a fresh start."

Ms Berejiklian said she'll also resign from the NSW Parliament after consulting the electoral commission on appropriate timing for a by-election.

"My resignation as premier could not occur at a worse time, but the timing is completely outside of my control," she said. 

The ICAC said in a statement on Friday that it was investigating whether Ms Berejiklian "exercised public functions" in a position of conflict between her public duties and private relationship with Mr Maguire, revealed in late 2020.

A public inquiry on the matter will be held from October 18, overseen by ICAC Assistant Commissioner Ruth McColl SC.

It is expected to last about 10 days.

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ICAC said Ms Berejiklian would be investigated over grant funding to the Australian Clay Target Association in 2016/17 and grant funding to the Riverina Conservatorium of Music in Wagga Wagga in 2018.

It plans to look into whether Ms Berejiklian's relationship with Mr Maguire, then the Wagga Wagga MP, affected those arrangements and constituted a breach of public trust or partial exercise of official functions.

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ICAC will also investigate whether Ms Berejiklian should have "suspected on reasonable grounds" that Mr Maguire may have engaged in corrupt conduct, and thus failed to report him to ICAC as required.

It will look into whether she "was liable to allow or encourage" his conduct.

In announcing her resignation, Ms Berejiklian denied any wrong-doing.

"I state categorically I have always acted with the highest level of integrity," she said.

"History will demonstrate I have executed my duties again with the highest level of integrity for the benefit the people of NSW for who I have had the privilege to serve."

Mr Maguire is accused of abusing his public office while serving between 2012 and 2018 as a state MP.

He's accused of using his public office and parliamentary resources to improperly gain a benefit for himself or for G8way International, a company Mr Maguire allegedly "effectively controlled".

Mr Maguire was forced to quit Ms Berejiklian's government in 2018 after a separate ICAC inquiry heard evidence he sought payments to help broker deals for property developers.

The pair's five-year relationship was kept secret until Ms Berejiklian disclosed it at an ICAC hearing in October 2020.

With SBS News. 


Published 1 October 2021 at 12:27pm, updated 1 October 2021 at 2:59pm
Source: AAP - SBS