• Tony Bosworth

Ex-Hawkesbury MP Perrottet a front-runner for NSW Premier as Berejiklian resigns and steps down

NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet - an ex-Hawkesbury MP - is a front-runner to become NSW Premier as Liberal Gladys Berejiklian resigns as leader and from the NSW Parliament, leading to a by-election in her seat of Willoughby.

NSW’s Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) is investigating Ms Berejiklian over whether she breached public trust when she awarded grants to several community organisations between 2012 and 2018.

The ICAC said it would probe whether Ms Berejiklian was in a position of conflict between her public duties and her private interests when she was in a personal relationship with then-MP Daryl Maguire.

“I state categorically I’ve always acted with the highest level of integrity,” Ms Berejiklian said this morning.

The ICAC will hold public hearings as part of Operation Keppel from Monday, October 18.

It remains to be seen who will put their hat in the ring for leader and Premier, though we are reliably told ex-Hawkesbury MP Mr Perrottet is a front-runner alongside Minister Matt Kean as his running mate.

The Liberals will hold a vote on Tuesday.

Treasurer Perottet is on the right of the party and at the moment the moderate faction – where Environment Minister Keen sits - are in control of the state Liberal party.

Liberal moderate and Planning Minister Rob Stokes has announced he’s throwing his hat in the ring too, and it’s likely Roads Minister Andrew Constance will take a punt also.

Mr Perrottet was the Liberal Hawkesbury MP – a position currently held by his ex-staffer Robyn Preston – between 2015 and 2019.

He was elected to the Liberal safe seat of Hawkesbury with 68 per cent of the two-party preferred vote, and left in 2019, when Robyn Preston was voted in.

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