Gladys Berejiklian: North Shore Reacts to Resignation of Premier

By North Shore Times | Friday, 01 October 2021

By David Barwell

* The Armenian community has led tributes to a “trailblazer” for millions as the north shore reacts to the resignation of not only the Premier but their MP. *

Community leaders on the north shore have told of their shock at the announcement Gladys Berejiklian will stand down as Premier and their MP.

Ms Berejiklian on Friday announced her resignation from the state’s top job amid ongoing ICAC investigations.

The news has sent shockwaves through the north shore where Ms Berejiklian has served as the local state MP, representing the seat of Willoughby since 2003.

In a statement, Ms Berejiklian said she would stand down as soon as a new leader is appointed and would also step down from her position in parliament as the Member for Willoughby once a by-election can be held.

Chatswood Chamber of Commerce Warwick Andison, who has met Ms Berejiklian on multiple occasions, said he was shocked by the news.

“I think stunned is the most appropriate description,” he said.

“It’s very disappointing – having met her through the chamber, she’s a honourable and very truthful woman and it’s a shame something in her personal life has led to this,” he said.

“The way she’s handled the Covid pandemic has been an inspiration to us all and having her as our local MP and Premier engenders a bit of security for all of us in the community.”

Ms Berejiklian resignation means residents in the Willoughby area could be faced with three trips to the ballot box within the space of a year – a state by-election, councils elections in December and the next Federal Election.

Willoughby Mayor Gail Giles-Gidney said there would be big shoes to fill.

“Gladys has been an amazing state member and in the tough world of politics has been there for the right reasons, a genuine want to help community,” she said.

“She has sacrificed so much and I owe her a deep debt of gratitude for her leadership during some of the toughest times and darkest hours in the state’s history.”

North Sydney Federal MP Trent Zimmerman expressed similar sentiments, saying NSW “could not have had a better Premier over the last 18 months”.

“Her tireless work and determination for the people of our state is something we have seen every single day. I am proud to call her a friend and mentor,” he said in a statement.

The news has also stunned members of the local Armenian community.

Haig Kayserian – executive director of Armenian National Committee of Australia based in Willoughby – said she had been a source of inspiration for the Armenian community across Australia.

“She used to be part of our association and we’ve always had a very close affinity with her – she’s considered a trailblazer for Armenians not just in Australia but around the world,” he said.

“She’s always stayed true to her upbringing – the fact she’s the grandchild of genocide survivors is never lost and she’s become an important public voice for issues of great importance to Armenian Australians.

“She’s considered the most powerful person in politics globally – she has led an economy that’s the size of a small country and a state with triple the population of Armenia.”

In a statement, Ms Berejiklian said she would consult the electoral commission on appropriate timing for a by-election given the current Covid restrictions.

“To continue as premier would disrupt the State Government during a time when our entire attention should be focused on the challenges confronting NSW,” she said.

“Notwithstanding the challenges of the last few years and few months in particular, I have never felt stronger, nor more confident in my leadership. I have absolutely no regrets during my time in public life.

“At times we all stumble, pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and start again stronger and wiser than before. I have done this many times, as we all have.”

Full story here.