NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has vowed to continue on in the state’s top job, while TV presenter turned politician, opposition leader Jodi McKay, has gone for the jugular, labelling the Premier a “fraud” and calling for her resignation.
The attack followed evidence given at ICAC today where the Premier revealed details of her long-term personal relationship with disgraced former Wagga Wagga MP, Daryl Maguire.
Ms Berejiklian said the revelation of her relationship at today’s hearing had been devastating and a “personal nightmare”, describing today as the worst of her life at a press conference this afternoon.
“Where I have failed is in my personal life. I take full responsibility for that,” said Ms Berejiklian.
“I stuffed up in my personal life,” she said, adding that ICAC had not accused her of wrongdoing and she had not been obliged to disclose the relationship.
She went on to deny any wrongdoing in relation to Mr Maguire’s dodgy business dealings, saying she has always put the public interest first.
“It’s very difficult for someone in my position to have a private and personal life, and I’m very upset at what has transpired,” the Premier said.
“But I want to make this assurance to the people of NSW – I have always put the public first.”
“I have always made sure the public interest is first and foremost paramount in every single thing that I do. The integrity of the role I have – the office that I hold – is the greatest privilege of my life.
“And whilst I have made this mistake in my personal life, I intend to serve the people of NSW to the best of my ability.
“That’s what I’ve always done. I’ve sacrificed my life to public office, and I’m proud of that. The position I hold is a privileged one. It is an honour to serve the people of the state. And I look forward to maintaining my focus.”
“I want to say strongly to the people of this state – there is one way – one way – to come to the government to get things done, and that’s through the front door, through proper process.”
The Premier was this afternoon publicly backed by Treasurer Dominic Perrottet and Health Minister Brad Hazzard to remain in the top job.
Mr Perrottet said Ms Berejiklian was “somebody of the utmost integrity, honesty, and as somebody who has stood by her side as the deputy leader and Treasurer of this state, never have I seen someone work so hard – a person of high integrity, honesty, and somebody who puts the people of New South Wales first and foremost.”
Mr Hazzard said Ms Berejiklian had his full support, “I 100% back our Premier”.
Transport Minister Andrew Constance described the Premier as a “wonderful, wonderful leader”.
“Let’s call a spade a spade, this is a Premier who has worked her socks off for this state, and deserves enormous regard and respect, and will continue to do so, and that’s the important thing for the people of NSW,” said Mr Constance.
Opposition leader, McKay, had no such sympathy for the Premier’s position.
“The first thing Gladys should have done upon hearing about Daryl’s dodgy dealings is report it to ICAC,” said Ms McKay.
“That is the only acceptable course of action. She did not do that.
“This Premier is a fraud and today she’s been unmasked.”