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NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian resigns as ICAC reveals investigation

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has resigned on the back of the news of an Independent Commission Against Corruption investigation.

She will stand down as soon as a new leader is appointed and Ms Berejiklian will also stand down from her position in parliament as the Member for Willoughby once a by-election can be held.

Ms Berejiklian said at the 1pm press conference:

"As a leader of the NSW Government, I have expected the high standards of myself and my colleagues and made it clear on numerous occasions that if any of my ministers were the subject of allegations being investigated by an integrity agency or law enforcement, then he or she should stand aside during the course of investigation until their name was cleared.

"The reason for my stance was not to have made any presumptions as to their conduct but rather to maintain the integrity of the public office which that person has held wild investigation was completed.

"That same standard must always apply to me also as Premier.

"The people of this state need certainty as to who the leader is of the state during the challenging time for the pandemic. I cannot predict how long it will take ICAC to complete the investigation, let alone deliver a report in circumstances where I was first called to give evidence nearly 12 months ago. Therefore it pains me to announce I have no option but to resign from the office of Premier."

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian.

Ms Berejiklian said she stated "categorically I have always acted with the highest level of integrity. 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."

"I've had to make an extremely difficult decision overnight, one I feel obliged to do because of the love and respect I have are the people of NSW and the high regard with which I have the office of Premier."

She said the announcement couldn't have come at a worse time.

"My resignation as Premier could not happen at a worse time, but the timing is completely outside of my control as ICAC has chosen to take this action during the most challenging weeks of the most challenging times in the history of NSW.

"That is the ICAC's prerogative. Resigning at this time is against every instinct in my being and something which I do not want to do, I love my job, and serving the community, but I have been given no option following the statement issued.

"My only regret will be not to be able to finish the job to ensure the people of NSW transition to living freely with COVID."

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ICAC said in a statement today it is investigating whether Ms Berejiklian engaged in conduct that "involved a breach of public trust" during her secret relationship with former MP Daryl Maguire.

ICAC will hold a public hearing on October 18 under Operation Keppel, which is investigating whether Ms Berejiklian engaged in misconduct in connection with grant funding to the Australian Clay Target Association, or the Riverina Conservatorium of Music, in Wagga Wagga.

ICAC also said it was investigating whether Ms Berejiklian's conduct involved the "dishonest" exercise of her official duties by not reporting concerns over potential corrupt conduct by Mr Maguire, the former member for Wagga Wagga, who advocated for the grants.

In 2020 the Premier admitted at an ICAC hearing that she had been in a secret relationship with Mr Maguire for five years.

Ms Berejiklian has on several occasions been asked at press conferences in the past month whether she is a person of interest in the ICAC investigation but has not confirmed it.

Mr Maguire resigned under a cloud in 2018 after admitting to ICAC that he sought payment for a property deal.

Operation Keppel is also investigating whether Mr Maguire misused his office by obtaining benefit for himself.

This story NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian resigns as ICAC reveals investigation first appeared on Illawarra Mercury.