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Gladys Berejiklian parks home in Northbridge, Sydney, then flees across the bridge after being fired


I have had to make an extremely difficult decision overnight, but one that I feel obliged to do because of the love and respect I have for the people of New South Wales and the high esteem I have for the office from prime minister.

I was informed late yesterday afternoon that the Independent Commission Against Corruption would release a public statement today stating that it is investigating allegations against me regarding the former member of Wagga Wagga.

As will be clear from the ICAC statement, the issues it investigates are historical cases that have been the subject of numerous attacks on me by political opponents over the past 12 months.

Many of the cases were the subject of questions raised by the opposition when I appeared before a hearing of an estimates committee earlier this year. I want to be very clear: in all the decisions I have ever made as a minister or prime minister of New South Wales, my first consideration has always been the welfare and well-being of the people of this state.

I categorically declare that I have always acted with the highest level of integrity. History will show that I have always performed my duties with the highest degree of integrity on behalf of the people of NSW whom I have had the privilege of serving.

As the leader of the New South Wales government, I have expected the highest standards from myself and my colleagues. I have made it clear on numerous occasions that if one of my ministers were to be the subject of allegations under investigation by an integrity agency or law enforcement, he or she must remain on the sidelines during the investigation until their name is cleared. The reason for my position was not to have suspected their conduct, but to maintain the integrity of the public office held while an investigation was being completed. That same standard should apply to me as a Premier.

However, standing aside is not an option for me as Prime Minister of New South Wales. The people of New South Wales need certainty about who their leader is in these challenging times of the pandemic. I cannot predict how long it will take ICAC to complete this investigation, let alone deliver a report, in circumstances where I was first called to testify in a public hearing nearly 12 months ago. Therefore, it pains me to announce that I have no choice but to resign from the office of Prime Minister. My resignation will take effect as soon as the New South Wales Liberal Party can elect a new parliamentary leader.

To give the new leader and government a fresh start, I will also resign from the New South Wales Parliament once I have consulted the Election Commission on the appropriate timing for a by-election, given the COVID restrictions.

My resignation as Prime Minister could not have come at a worse time, but the timing is completely out of my control as the ICAC has chosen to take this action during the most challenging weeks of the most challenging times in NSW history.

That is the prerogative of the ICAC. Resigning at this point is against every instinct in my being and something I don’t want to do, I love my job and serving the community but I was not given an option after the statement issued.

Continuing as Prime Minister would disrupt state government at a time when our full attention should be focused on the challenges New South Wales faces. I don’t want to be a distraction from what should be the focus of the state government during this pandemic, which is the well-being of our citizens.

Despite the challenges of the past few years and especially several months, I have never felt stronger, nor more confident in my leadership. I have absolutely no regrets about my time in public life. Sometimes we all stumble, get up, vacuum, and start off stronger and wiser than before. I’ve done this many times, as we all have.

The only thing I regret is not being able to finish the job of getting the people of New South Wales transitioning to a free life with COVID.

However, I am confident that whoever succeeds me will be more than capable of continuing this job. Please give them your trust and confidence. We will come through this period stronger and more resilient and appreciate what really matters in life.

I feel strong, energized and optimistic about the future of this great state.

I want to thank the thousands of our frontline heroes who protected and sustained us through the darkest days in our state history. I owe you many thanks. Nothing we can say or do will prove the significance of what you have done.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the Liberal Party to whom I owe my career, the people of the Willoughby electorate who elected me five times as their Member of Parliament, my parliamentary colleagues for their support and hard work, my excellent and loyal staff, past and present, and all the professional officials with whom I have worked.

I also want to thank my family and friends who have given me unconditional support and understanding when I was not so present due to my responsibilities.

Most importantly, I want to thank you, the people of New South Wales. When the chips ran out in recent years, especially during the drought, forest fires and then COVID, we stood side by side. We have grieved and supported each other during these tragedies. I hope you know that in my mind you remain the first place. The courage you show every day in your life has inspired me every step of the way. The courage and support you have shown me has humbled me and made me a better leader and a better person. Serving you has been the greatest privilege of my life. Please know that every day I gave my all and worked as hard as I could to create a better future for our state and its people.

I truly believe that New South Wales is a place where everyone, regardless of their background and circumstances, has the opportunity to be their best and make a difference.

So as I address you as your Prime Minister for the last time, please stay on track and stay safe. Soon we will be out of this lockdown and we can move on with our lives. NSW and its people will emerge stronger from this lockdown and together we will build a future full of optimism and hope.

Finally, I would like to thank you again for giving me the honor of being your Prime Minister.


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