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Gladys Berejiklian resigns as NSW Premier after corruption watchdog announces probe

Gladys Berejiklian has announced she will resign from her position as NSW Premier after the state’s anti-corruption watchdog said it would investigate her for potentially breaching public trust by failing to disclose her relationship with embattled former MP Daryl Maguire.

“I’ve hade to make a difficult decision overnight. It pains me to announce that I have no option but to resign from the office of premier,” Ms Berejiklian told reporters in Sydney on Friday.

“My resignation will take effect as soon as the NSW Liberal Party can elect a new parliamentary leader in order to allow the new leader and government a fresh start.

“I’ll also also resign as from the NSW Parliament once I’ve consulted the electoral commission on the appropriate timing for a by-election.

“My resignation as premier could not occur at a worse time, but the timing is completely outside of my control.”

The Independent Commission Against Corruption said in a statement on Friday that it was investigating whether Ms Berejiklian “exercised public functions” in a position of conflict between her public duties and private relationship with Mr Maguire, revealed in late 2020.

A public inquiry on the matter will be held from October 18, overseen by ICAC Assistant Commissioner Ruth McColl SC.

It is expected to last about 10 days.

ICAC said Ms Berejiklian would be investigated over grant funding to the Australian Clay Target Association in 2016/17 and grant funding to the Riverina Conservatorium of Music in Wagga Wagga in 2018.

It plans to look into whether Ms Berejiklian’s relationship with Mr Maguire, then the Wagga Wagga MP, affected those arrangements and constituted a breach of public trust or partial exercise of official functions.

ICAC will also investigate whether Ms Berejiklian should have “suspected on reasonable grounds” that Mr Maguire may have engaged in corrupt conduct, and thus failed to report him to ICAC as required.

It will look into whether she “was liable to allow or encourage” his conduct.

Ms Berejiklian will address the media on Friday afternoon.

Mr Maguire is accused of abusing his public office while serving between 2012 and 2018 as a state MP.

He’s accused of using his public office and parliamentary resources to improperly gain a benefit for himself or for G8way International, a company Mr Maguire allegedly “effectively controlled”.

Mr Maguire was forced to quit Ms Berejiklian’s government in 2018 after a separate ICAC inquiry heard evidence he sought payments to help broker deals for property developers.

The pair’s five-year relationship was kept secret until Ms Berejiklian disclosed it at an ICAC hearing in October 2020.