BARRY O’Farrell’s shock resignation last week caught many people by surprise.
His replacement former NSW Treasurer Mike Baird was sworn in over the weekend and the government machine continues on.
Local state MPs shared their initial thoughts with us on the demise of their former leader.
Member for South Coast Shelley Hancock was devastated over the resignation.
“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 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 look at 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.”
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.”
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 of 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.
“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.”