Barry O’Farrell quits: Shoalhaven MPs shocked

Member for South Coast Shelley Hancock was devastated over the resignation of NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell.

“Barry O’Farrell has led this state over the last three years, to an economy that is now thriving, where businesses are confident, where unemployment is second lowest in the country, but Barry O’Farrell holds himself to the same high standards that he set for everyone else,” she said.

“I think as Tony Abbott said this morning it was inadvertent and misleading of ICAC. I really don’t believe he could recall this bottle of wine but it is a bottle of wine. But when you compare it to all the other issues with the former government and corrupt activities and how many of those ministers and members have been before ICAC for serious offences. This is something I’m devastated about.

“But Barry’s taken this decision as he sets such high standards for everyone else and he has to live up to them himself.

“It’s disappointing for me as Member for South Coast, he has been such a strong leader, an inspirational leader for all of us.

“We all put our faith in him and are all completely united behind him – now we have to find another leader.”

“We all put our faith in him and are all completely united behind him – now we have to find another leader.” - Shelley Hancock NSW MP

Mrs Hancock said she hoped the Premier would have toughed it out.

“Barry makes his own decisions, I think he could have toughed this out – he claims he doesn’t recall any thank you card. I don’t know all of the facts of this case, I just know if he makes a decision he sticks to that decision and I think it’s based on the fact he asked everybody else to have such high standards in relation to corruption, donations, everything, he’s trained us all to be that way,” she said.

“He felt the perception was there was some issue with a donation to him and he felt he had to resign.”

Mrs Hancock said in the scheme of things it was trivial in relation to what else had happened previously in the state.

“I certainly think it was inadvertent. I know Barry O’Farrell extremely well, to be a honourable and a good man and a honest man,” she said.

“This is such an unfortunate episode in the history of NSW, when the state is on such a roll in terms of our economic and business confidence.”

She said she had no ideas who might step up to take the top job, but there would be meetings over the next week.

Member for Kiama Gareth Ward

Kiama MP Gareth Ward said he was deeply disappointed with Premier Barry O’Farrell’s resignation announcement.

“Barry has been someone who has been enormously good to me and to our electorate,” he said.

“What he demonstrated today is that he is absolutely serious about holding himself to the standards he holds others.

“I’m enormously proud to have served in his government and look forward to continuing to argue for resources and support for our region, regardless who is in government or who is premier.

“Under 16 years for the former Labor government we didn’t get the funding for the Princes Highway, our hospitals or schools that the region needed – in three years we have turned that around and will continue to stand up for projects the region needs.

“While many may take advantage of today’s opportunity – Barry O’Farrell as a Premier has changed our state for the better.” - Kiama MP Gareth Ward

“Barry supported us, he has been good to myself and Shelley [Member for South Coast Shelley Hancock] and our regions and we supported Barry.

“It was not just rhetoric we are serious about our jobs and what we do for our community and he has helped us.

“When we came to government, we inherited a $55billion state debt, a $30billion infrastructure backlog and a $5.2billion deficit. It has been the O’Farrell Government that has worked hard to turn this situation around.

“While many may take advantage of today’s opportunity – Barry O’Farrell as a Premier has changed our state for the better.”

Shoalhaven Mayor Joanna Gash

Shoalhaven Mayor Joanna Gash said Premier Barry O’Farrell’s resignation was a great loss for NSW.

“I have known Barry for many years, I admire him and still believe in him,” she said.

“This is a very unfortunate incident but his morals and principles are such that if he feels he’s done the wrong thing he has to accept the consequences.

“For all the things happening over the past few years in ICAC, for a bottle of wine to lose your premier, something has to happen.

“I’m disappointed and upset about the whole thing.

“It’s very disappointing, he was a great premier. Things were certainly starting to happen in NSW.

“We have seen him on a number of occasions regarding developments in the Shoalhaven and he has always been very supportive.

“I’m devastated by this.”

Cr Gash hoped his removal would not have an effect on the Shoalhaven.

“We will have to wait and see who takes his place, I don’t envy the state for this, it is something that has to happen,” she said.

“They are big shoes to fill. The party will rally.”

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