Australia’s New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian resigns -
Australia’s New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian resigns
The leader of Australia’s most populous state quit Friday after an anticorruption watchdog revealed it was investigating her over a secret relationship with a former lawmaker, AP reported.
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New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian said that standing aside while the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) investigated her would distract her government at a critical stage of Sydney’s COVID-19 outbreak.
“Resigning at this time is against every instinct in my being and something which I do not want to do. But I have been given no option following the statement that’s been issued today,” the Australian Armenian politician told reporters.
ICAC, an independent state-based public sector watchdog, said it was investigating whether there was conflict between the popular leader’s public duties and her undisclosed personal relationship with former government colleague Daryl Maguire.
The five-year relationship that has ended became public last year when Berejiklian gave evidence to an ICAC investigation into whether Maguire used his position as a lawmaker to gain an improper benefit for himself and his associates. He resigned from Parliament in 2018.
Berejiklian will be investigated over government grants awarded or promised to community groups in Maguire’s electorate.
She said she had “always acted with the highest level of integrity.”
Berejiklian was a government minister in 2014 when then-Premier Barry O’Farrell resigned over an ICAC investigation into his failure to declare receiving a 3,000 Australian dollar ($2,800) bottle of wine on a gift register.
Berejiklian’s government colleagues will elect a new premier at a date to be announced. She would leave politics at a by-election which has yet to be called.
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