As someone who has known our new Premier, Gladys Berejiklian, since 1998 through Young Liberals, Gareth Ward MP is very proud of his friend’s ascension to the top job.
“I can’t tell you how strongly I feel about her personally as well as her style of leadership,” the Member for Kiama says.
“Glad is some who I think will inspire people. She has fought for everything she has ever achieved. When she came to this country with her Armenian parents she couldn’t speak English.
“She won her seat in 2003 by 144 votes, and has gone on to being a very strong and popular local member.”
Mr Ward is full of praise for her achievements as both Transport Minister and Treasurer, which he says have shown her intellect and capacity for work.
“I think she has demonstrated in both the service and the administration sides of government that she is incredibly competent and she will bring those skills to the office of Premier.”
He says she has been a frequent visitor to the Illawarra and Shoalhaven and understands the region’s particular issues.
“She was a great help to me when Blue Scope was facing challenges, and she put together the package of payroll tax deferals that I was working on as Parliamentary Secretary,” he says. “She listened to what I wanted at that time and helped me deliver it in the Parliament.”
The new Premier is yet to announce her Cabinet reshuffle, but ahead of it Mr Ward says being a local member will always be his number one focus.
“Labor has only put leaders in when they are down and out. We are changing leaders at a time when we are ahead in the polls and less than half way through the term. She has a real chance to put her stamp of authority on the state.”