The NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has resigned amid a corruption probe.
Gladys Berejiklian has resigned as the Premier of New South Wales, just hours after the state’s anti-corruption watchdog announced she is the subject of a breach of public trust investigation.
“I have no option but to resign as Premier,” the outgoing Premier said in a brief press conference.
The move comes following the announcement that NSW’s Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) is actively investigation whether the Premier acted corruptly in several instances over the period of time from the 2012 to 2018.
While the matters being investigated by ICAC are historical, Ms Berejiklian said that had no option but to resign.
"Categorically, I have always acted with the highest level of integrity. History will demonstrate that I've always executed by duties with the highest level of integrity for the benefit of the people of NSW who I have the privilege to serve," she said.
"I have 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 until their name was cleared."
Ms Berejiklian said that standing aside was not an option for the Premier of NSW, citing the current COVID-19 outbreak.
She said that she doesn't know how long ICAC's investigation process will take, but said that her resignation will take effect as soon as the NSW Liberal party can elect a new leader.
Ms Berejiklian confirmed that she would also be resigning as a member of the NSW parliament, following consultation with the electoral commission about when and how a by-election could take place.
"My resignation as Premier could not occur at a worse time, but the timing is completely out of my control as ICAC has chosen to take this action during the most challenging weeks of the most challenging times in the states' history," she said.
According to ICAC, it will be looking to establish if Ms Berejiklian engaged in conduct that “constituted or involved a breach of public trust” when she exercised her public powers at a time when she was in a personal relationship with the then NSW Member of Parliament, Mr Daryl Maguire.
ICAC also said that they will be scrutinising how and whether the Premier awarded grants to the Australian Clay Target Association in 2016 and 2017, and the Riverina Conservatorium of Music in Wagga Wagga in 2018.
The anti-corruption watchdog added that it will be investigating whether the Premier “was liable to allow or encourage the occurrence of corrupt conduct by Mr Maguire.”
ICAC is also investigating whether Mr McGuire involved in conduct that represented a breach of public trust by using parliamentary resources to “improperly” gain a benefit for himself.
Public hearings for inquiry will begin on 18 October 2021.
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