WHILE the muddying of NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian’s public image came as a surprise to many, it had always been anticipated by her closest observers.
The premier had frequently confounded those who knew her – or thought they did.
With this week’s headlines revealing her secret affair with disgraced former MP Daryl Maguire – who’d turned his parliamentary office into a lobbyist shop – the only surprise were the details.
That it had happened wasn’t a shock. Something like this had become expected.
Hints that the premier wasn’t all she appeared have bubbled along for some time — though concerns were in whispers. When they did make the news, she was portrayed as the person fixing a problem rather than the one who’d actually created it.
It’s telling that Ms Berejiklian publicly instigated Mr Maguire’s removal from parliament, but then secretly continued their five-year relationship despite his inevitable date with the corruption commissioner.
Questionable judgement had become a worrisome pattern.
That the NSW Liberals almost tore themselves in two immediately after the Berejiklian government’s 2019 election victory was a clue that not all was right.
Within months of a hard-fought victory her Party was imploding.
Worse, Party volunteers felt tricked and betrayed. Many vowed not to return for the 2023 election campaign, which is death for a political Party.
What first triggered their anger was the legalising of late term abortions. This was not part of the Liberal Party’s manifesto when they had signed up. It wasn’t an election issue when they had spent their weekends door knocking. Nor was it ever mentioned by anyone while they handed out how-to-vote cards.
Yet, as it turned out, it was among the first pieces of back-door legislation allowed to be passed by the newly re-elected Liberal premier.
Watching her ministers celebrate and hoot their abortion “victory” with Greens MPs only added to the dismay.
“Where did that come from?” was a common response from many embittered Liberal volunteers. “I was tricked!”
Party members who had signed-up Christian family and friends as volunteers copped an absolute lashing. No one had ever dreamed Ms Berejiklian would become a post-election extremist. They still struggle to believe the deception.
LOVE IS LOVE
Next up were moves by the Berejiklian government in late 2019 to water down NSW’s bestiality laws.
Many in the Premier’s own Armenian community were dumbfounded – and personally embarrassed by cultural association.
These “immoral” law changes failed thanks only to the Greens and Animal Justice Party’s blocking them in the upper house.
And when red-faced “moderate” Liberals pretended the government was merely trying to clear courtroom backlogs, it emerged there were on average only seven bestiality cases a year. Seven! Hardly the cause of a judicial bottleneck.
But that’s only the start.
Reluctance to perform hazard reduction burns, global warming infatuation, the repeal of AIDS disclosure requirements to bed partners, turning a blind eye to homosexual indoctrination of children and a single-minded obsession with renewable energy had concerns really piling up.
These “secretive” and unwelcome policy positions didn’t just materialise by accident. They were formulated, or approved, by a premier capable of deceiving Party members, friends and community.
NSW One Nation leader Mark Latham has seen too much and has had enough.
“It’s absolutely laughable and absurd we are still talking about Gladys Berejiklian being in the premier’s office,” he told Sky News anchor Rita Panahi on Friday.
“She’s got a dozen serious breaches that require her to go and probably another dozen matters worthy of investigation.
“Gladys says ‘you know me, I work hard for the people of NSW’.
“Who does really know her?
“After the level of deception in keeping this relationship with her property developer boyfriend a secret for six years, every day for 2000 days leading a lie, a double life at the expense of the people of NSW.”
Mr Latham said the premier had lost touch with reality.
“This is the worst set of scandals since the Askin era and it’s laughable that anyone could defend her for a nano-second.”
One Nation has joined with the Shooters, Fishers & Farmers Party vowing to reject any legislation in the NSW upper house while Ms Berejiklian remains premier.PC