If we’ve learnt anything in the last two years, it’s that you can’t ever predict the future.
Just when we thought we were out of the pandemic, another wave came.
Just when we started to enjoy pre-COVID freedoms, they were taken away again.
And, just when Australia was starting to experience a successful period of political stability, that’s been taken away again.
Gladys Berejiklian is no longer the Premier of New South Wales.
She announced her resignation this morning due to a pending ICAC (Independent Commission Against Corruption) investigation regarding whether Ms Berejiklian engaged in conduct between 2012 and 2018 that constituted or involved a breach of public trust by exercising public functions. These investigations are centred around her personal relationship with disgraced politician Daryl Maguire.
I’m not going to offer too many thoughts now as this is still breaking news (and I probably should be writing a Uni essay), but here are my initial reflections.
One, why now? This is just about as worst timing as possible by ICAC. They knew should we be forced to resign after they announced the probe, couldn’t they wait just 2 more weeks?
Two, Gladys was left with no options. She had to resign. You can’t continue leading a state when you have a corruption watchdog hearing over your head. It’s an incredibly difficult decision, but she made the right one.
Three, we are now left with 3 men to take over as Premier (most likely). Dominic Perrottet, Stuart Ayres and Rob Stokes. I’ve listed them in order of what I think is most likely to least likely in becoming the new Premier. Perrottet and Ayres are both conservative Liberals with a strong focus on opening up businesses as soon as possible. Stokes is a more moderate candidate, but I believe he currently lacks the support from the sizeable moderate-right faction of the party.
Four, for the people of New South Wales, I honestly don’t think this changes anything too much. I don’t think any of these candidates will deviate significantly from the current roadmap, with Berejiklian already doing all the heavy lifting to get to this point. However, they will have the task of preparing the economic roadmap out of the pandemic.
Five, there is more news to come. A quiet week before the “re-opening day” or “freedom day” might have been nice – a chance to reflect on the difficulties of the next 3+ months. Instead, we can sit back and watch the Liberal Party fight for who will be the next Premier. Entertaining? Probably. Helpful? Unlikely.
Thank you, Gladys Berejiklian. Your passion, commitment and enthusiasm towards your role will be remembered. You haven’t always got it right, but when faced with dealing with a once-in-a-century pandemic, I think you’ve done a very impressive job.