Local News

Newly resigned NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has the best response when people ask her about marriage and kids

''Not all of us can plan how our life turns out.''
Loading the player...

Calm, controlled and focused. A “workaholic goody two-shoes”. Absolutely committed, perhaps too much, to her job.

Those are the words often used to describe Gladys Berejiklian who has just resigned as New South Wales Premier – and in fact, she would likely agree with that common assessment.

The resignation comes not long after the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption announced they were investigating her for engaging in conduct that constituted or involved a breach of public trust.

The 51-year-old is the first to acknowledge she has perhaps sacrificed a personal life – she is not married and does not have any children – in pursuit of her political career.

What drives her fierce work ethic? The knowledge that she is only alive due to pure luck.

“I’m very lucky… for me every day in life is a bonus. I had a twin sister and she didn’t make it,” she told The Australian in 2019.

“It was just luck that I came out first. Imagine if you had a twin – you came out first, they didn’t make it.

“I feel like I’ve got to justify my existence by sacrificing. So I don’t care if I’m not happy all the time. I feel like I’ve got to work hard.”

Ms Berejiklian’s parents are Armenian and her great-grandparents were victims of the horrendous Armenian genocide, which killed more than 1.5 million people between 1915 and 1917.

Her grandparents fled to the Middle East, and her father was born in Syria, later emigrating to Australia with his young family in search of a better life.

When she first landed in Australia as a primary school student, Gladys did not speak a word of English. She still speaks fluent Armenian to this day.

She soon found immense joy in her academic studies and quickly made sure she was always top of the class.

Ms Berejiklian joined the Young Liberals at university and the rest, as they say, is history.

Gladys became the NSW Premier in January 2017.

(Image: Getty)

Ms Berejiklian, the eldest of three sisters, has long fielded curious questions, particularly from other women, about her personal life.

As she puts it, life just had other plans for her.

“I think if an opportunity comes up you grab it. If something happens and you need to make a decision, make it. Had I met the right person? Of course I would be married. But that doesn’t happen for everyone at the right time,” told Mamamia.

“People are interested I get it, but people shouldn’t make assumptions about what decisions women make or don’t make. It might not be because they haven’t tried, or don’t want to, it’s just happened this way.”

She has previously opened up to The Australian Women’s Weekly about her “conscious decision” not to have children.

“I’ve never made a conscious decision to choose work over other considerations,” she said.

“It’s just the way it’s happened in my life and I’m very happy with where I am.”

Gladys says she never made a “conscious decision” not to have children, it’s just the way things panned out.

(Image: Getty)

Gladys confirmed that she was in a “close personal relationship” with her former colleague Daryl Maguire for several years.

The former NSW Premier made the revelations at the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) inquiry, which is currently investigating whether former member for Wagga Wagga Daryl Maguire used his position for personal gain, confirming their relationship began in 2015 and was severed in 2020.

“When I was asked to support this inquiry it became apparent to me that I should have absolutely no contact anymore and I ceased all contact,” the Premier explained during the inquiry on Monday October 12 2020.

Gladys also said she kept their relationship under wraps as she is a “very private person.”

“More substantially, I’m a very private person and I didn’t feel the relationship had sufficient substance for it to be made public,” she explained.

On October 1 2021, Gladys stepped down not only as Premier but from politics altogether after the state’s corruption watchdog revealed it was investigating her.

The secret boyfriend: Ms Berejiklian has told a corruption injury she was in a “close personal” relationship with her former colleague Daryl Maguire for several years.

(Image: parliament.nsw.gov.au)

In the past, Gladys has admitted her job means dating can be quite challenging.

“You do get quite guarded. I even wonder how a coffee with a good friend will be interpreted,” she told Whimn in 2017.

“I don’t worry about that too much. I’ve been in public life for long enough that I know you just have to live your life normally. That is what has sustained me. I have always been myself. I’ve taken the knocks on the chin because this is who I am.

“I’ve always been very self-aware. I know my shortcomings and what I’m good at. The more honest you are with yourself and the people who are closest to you, the more comfortable you are in doing what you need to do.”

Ms Berejiklian with New Zealand’s PM Jacinda Ardern.

(Image: Getty)

Ms Berejiklian makes an effort to avoid conversations regarding gender in politics, preferring to let her public achievements speak for themselves.

But during an exchange with a reporter during a press conference in 2017, she was repeatedly asked whether her single and childless status could have any negative political impacts.

“The obvious question is, do you think this is a disadvantage politically because people have kids and they have families and people identify with that?” the journalist asked.

Ms Berejiklian’s reply was perfect.

“Take me as you see me. [Her deputy ] Dominic Perrottet has made up for me, he has four kids,” she joked.

“I am someone who has always been myself. Not all of us can plan how our life turns out. I am a very happy person. If you asked me 20 years ago would my life look like this? It probably wouldn’t be how it looks like.

“But I am grateful for the opportunities I have had. I also want to say again, not because I have to but because I want to, the closest people in my life are my family. 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.”

Gladys resigned as NSW Premier on October 1 2021

(Credit: Instagram)

Related stories

Unwind and relax with your favourite magazine!

Huge savings plus FREE home delivery