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The resignation of Gladys Berejiklian will put the Independent Commission Against Corruption under heavy scrutiny after its decision to announce a probe of the NSW Premier gave her “no option” but to quit.
9News Political Reporter Chris O’Keefe said that if ICAC doesn’t have “slam dunk evidence” proving a link to corruption, the government would put pressure on the commission.
“Make no mistake — this is also a test for the Independent Commission Against Corruption,” O’Keefe said.
“ICAC knew their actions today would leave a locked down state without a leader in the middle of the most damaging health crisis in recent history, and they chose to proceed anyway.
“The feeling within government is if ICAC does not have slam dunk evidence that proves Gladys Berejiklian is either corrupt or has aided corruption, then the heat turns on the body itself and the taxpayer-funded lawyers who run it.
“The stakes are very, very high.”
Ms Berejiklian said her decision to resign was “extremely difficult” but said she had been left with no choice given ICAC announced a public hearing into her conduct.
She took aim at ICAC’s announcement, saying it “could not come at a worse time”.
“Resigning at this time is against every instinct of my being,” Ms Berejiklian said.
“I love my job and serving the community but I have been given no option.”
In a statement, ICAC said: “The Commission is investigating whether, between 2012 and 2018, the Hon Gladys Berejiklian MP engaged in conduct that…constituted or involved a breach of public trust by exercising public functions in circumstances where she was in a position of conflict between her public duties and her private interest as a person who was in a personal relationship with the then NSW Member of Parliament, Mr Daryl Maguire.”
ICAC will investigate any “position of conflict” between her professional role and her private relationship with Mr Maguire, then a member of state parliament.