Monday, 23 January 2017

Armenian News ... A Topalian... Australia, Berejiklian NSW Premier...

Sky News Australia
Jan 23 2017
Berejiklian sworn in as NSW premier
Monday, 23 January 2017 

Gladys Berejiklian has been appointed Premier of NSW after winning leadership of the NSW Liberal Party.

Gladys Berejiklian has been officially sworn in as the Premier of NSW at a ceremony at the governor's house on Monday. 

Ms Berejiklian was elected as the liberal leader unopposed at a party room meeting on Monday following Mike Baird's surprise retirement announcement last week. 

Finance Minister Dominic Perrottet has been elected as the deputy leader of the NSW Liberal party. 

Nationals leader John Barilaro will remain as Deputy Premier. 

Ms Berejiklian held her first news conference as NSW Premier on Monday and thanked her NSW Liberal colleagues for trusting her with the position. 

The new NSW Liberal party leader has also pledged more infrastructure and a stronger economy will become hallmarks of her government. 

'I want to give this commitment today ... I will be governing for everyone, I'll be delivering for everyone. 

'I'm proud of the fact that NSW has the strongest economy in the nation.' 

Policy priorities that she vows to focus on are local infrastructure, housing affordability and continuing to build a strong economy. 

NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley said Ms Berejiklian needs to include services in her priorities. 

'The key services the people of this state rely on for a good life are failing...particularly our health and education systems,' he told reporters at a press conference. 

'If we can't build the schools we need now, when the rivers of gold from the Sydney property boom are flowing into the state coffers, when can we?' 

Mr Foley also questioned Ms Berejiklian's commitment to housing affordability. 

'We all know that when Rob Stokes brought suggestions to the cabinet-table to tackle housing affordability that it was blocked by treasurer Berejiklian,' he said. 

'She's been the person in the government who's stubbornly insisted that boosting supply is the only tool to solving housing affordability...well it's not, it hasn't worked. 

But Ms Berejiklian said she was open to other options, insisting that her job now as the new Premier is to make sure the community across NSW will get its fair share, and that her government will listen to their concerns. 

With two years until the next state election, Ms Berejiklian has time to impress voters and will seek to find her own way forward with other possible changes to freshen up the cabinet. 

A significant cabinet reshuffle is expected, with Health Minister Jillian Skinner and Community Services Minister Brad Hazzard tipped to be moved out to make way for new blood. 

Mr Baird revealed his surprise exit from politics last Thursday citing the serious health challenges his parents and sister were facing. 

His tenure ended on Monday after being in the top job for two years and nine months. 

As he left the party room following the short 10-minute meeting, Mr Baird said it had been a privilege serving as premier. 

'Words can't describe my gratitude. I will always reflect on it as a special time,' Mr Baird said. 

The state of NSW should be very pleased and delighted with Ms Berejiklian's appointment, he said. 


'I want to give this commitment today to those 7.5 million people, I will be governing for everyone, I will be delivering for everyone.' 


'My father was a boiler maker, a welder and one of the first jobs he did in Sydney was working on the Sydney Opera House. My mum left school at 15 to support her family and became a nurse. Both were shift workers and ... when I was older it wasn't uncommon for me to look after my family.' 


'When I started school I couldn't speak English. I know what a public education can do for somebody. If I didn't have access to that education, I wouldn't be standing before you here today. That is why you will have in me, the strongest supporter of Gonski.' 


'I am not going to judge anybody on their personal circumstances. I am here to govern for everybody and I hope that people judge me on my merits and what I can do.' 


'I am pretty much a regular girl who likes to do regular things.' 


'This is about the best people being on the paddock to take our state forward.' 


'The system we have in place hasn't changed for decades, in terms of how the states and commonwealth deal with each other and I have some strong ideas about what I would like to see happen.' 


'I have to confess there is one thing and Mr Trump and I have in common and that is the number 45 and it pretty much stops after that.' (Ms Berejiklian is 45th NSW premier, Mr Trump 45th US president). 

Sydney Morning Herald, Australia
Jan 19 2017
Hey, men in the NSW Liberal Party: here are five reasons to give Gladys the top job
Jenna Price

"Your time is now. You go, girl." 

Gladys Berejiklian received hundreds and hundreds of messages of encouragement and support on Thursday as soon as news broke that Mike Baird would step down as Premier. But there was one particular message from a former politician, a former colleague, who has deliberately kept herself out of the political limelight, until now. 

That message was from Robyn Parker, the former NSW minister for the environment, who says Berejiklian is worth shouting about. Parker has refused to comment publicly about politics since she left NSW Parliament in 2015 but she and Berejiklian started in Macquarie Street at the same time. And she, among others, have all the reasons why Gladys Berejiklian should be the next premier of NSW. 

1. Her time really is now. She was a strong contender when O'Farrell stepped down but the numbers didn't stack up. While we know the current NSW Minister for Transport Andrew Constance is busy counting votes, Gladys has spent her time in Parliament in charge of two major portfolios: transport and treasury. She's ready. She's also got a tonne of experience before Parliament. 

"The extra time has only given her room to grow and mature. She brought stability to her two major portfolios and we are reaping that in NSW," says Parker. 

"I think she would be outstanding. For her, it's not about political games, it's about delivering on the ground. It is about solid achievement and stability. I think as a role model for women, she shines." 

Like Parker, Anne Henderson, the deputy director of the Sydney Institute and author of Getting Even , has known Berejiklian for decades. She agrees the Treasurer is ready for the top job. "Gladys gave up a good career [in banking] to go into politics. She is a very experienced party member and has worked her way solidly through all the hurdles, been through the hard grind of politics. Gladys is good at all that stuff and she has done it forever. [Former prime minister John] Howard was the same." 

2. This is not about how women are better than men – no need to remind us of Margaret Thatcher or Pauline Nyiramasuhuko. But Berejiklian is not a man and that's a bonus. Her colleagues today described her as humble and hard-working without being self-deprecating. She doesn't do the big brash glad-handing thing that men do. Parker says: "She has substance over ego and made politics her life and NSW benefits from that." 

3. She's no social conservative. Even a Labor member of NSW Parliament describes her work on reproductive rights as excellent. "She was really good on Zoe's Law and that gives us more hope than the current crop. She is also really good on LGBTQi rights. She's been a strong voice for women within that quite conservative party room and she certainly stood up to them." Also, she's used compassion and refugees in the same sentence. And a former member of Parliament described her as a warrior for the moderate faction, which certainly needs warriors. 

4. She has an unpronounceable surname. Think that's trivial? She's in a party filled with straight white men with straight white names and those people don't represent us any more. Her surname is a metonym for Australia's multiculturalism. In her inaugural speech to Parliament in 2003, Berejiklian expressed her great good fortune at being born and raised in Australia to Armenian parents and said she was proud of her cultural background.

"This includes being proud of my surname. I thank the good people of Willoughby who voted for me, even though they could not pronounce it." 

Plus, her director of communication is Ehssan Veiszadeh, husband of Daily Life's Woman of the Year, Mariam Veiszadeh. 

5. It's OK. It's no longer a bad sign to have a women premier and she can actually do the job. In Australia, we have moved on from turning to women premiers only when the blokes have trashed the hotel room. Professor of government at the University of Sydney Rodney Smith says that while that was the case in the past, "the experience of women premiers has been much more diverse since then and this is not a crisis point in NSW politics. 

"It is not the case any more that you turn to a female premier when the regime is in trouble." So, this is not a case of a glass cliff and it's over two years until the next election. 

Plus Smith says Berejiklian has actual achievements under her belt including improving the economic performance of NSW compared to other states. Introducing the Opal card might sound easy but no previous transport minister ever pulled it off. And she did that. 

"She even managed to get transport off the front page," said Smith.

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