Gladys Berejiklian has opened up about her personal struggle through the Covid and bushfire crises, and reveals how she actually felt more loved after coming under scrutiny about her relationship with ‘dodgy’ Daryl Maguire.
In a recent interview with former Liberal minister Christopher Pyne on his podcast, ‘Pyne Time’, the NSW Premier revealed that she followed a simple creed in order to get through what Pyne described as a horror year.
Ms Berejiklian told Pyne that the Covid outbreak early last year was ‘quite scary’. But she lived by a simple creed of getting on with life by putting ‘one foot in front of another’ and pushing through the dark times to get to better days.
‘You don’t realise how strong you are … ‘Even with the bushfires and the pandemic and the personal issues that I’ve had.
‘I never thought I’d be able to do the things that I had to do but you find that inner strength and that resilience,’ she said.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has revealed how she battled through the trio of crises that defined her 2020 – the bushfires, Covid and the ICAC investigation into her secret ex-boyfriend Daryl Maguire
Ms Berejiklian said that she actually felt more ‘loved’ after she testified in front of the corruption watchdog and revealed she had been in a ‘close personal relationship’ with Daryl Maguire (above)
In the interview, Pyne suggested that the public was sympathetic to Ms Berejiklian when she faced the Independent Commission Against Corruption late last year because the public had gotten to know her so well during the previous crises.
Ms Berejiklian agreed, claiming she felt more ‘loved’ after she faced the ICAC following revelations she had been in a ‘close personal relationship’ with the backbencher.
‘I know this sounds not logical but I actually felt loved after the event than before the event,’ she said.
‘I felt very fortunate but I also felt the bushfires and Covid gave people a chance because normally they only see ten seconds of you.
‘It gave people a chance to know who I am which is really hard in public life because it’s easy to be painted into a box or a corner, it’s an easy way to define people like us.
‘Because I had to deal with those things we didn’t expect, and whether people liked me or didn’t like me, I hope they feel they know me and I feel that’s why I was given that support which I’ve been overwhelmed by.’
The Premier said she told herself not to worry about what commentators, journalists and opponents would say about her decisions – just ‘do what is the right thing to do.’
‘The bushfires taught me that as well … even if the news you’re giving isn’t good you have to arm people with the information and tell them why you’re asking them to do something. And that engenders trust.’
Gladys Berejiklian (centre) with her sisters Rita (left) and Mary (right). The latter made headlines at the last election for telling a troll to ‘grow some pubes’
Berejiklian (back row) is the oldest of three sisters. The NSW Premier only revealed last year that she had a twin sister who was stillborn, who she learned of as a child
Throughout the podcast, the pair also discussed how her grandparents fled to Australia as refugees from Armenia, a landlocked Caucasus nation.
They were ‘survivors of genocide’, she said, with her extended family fleeing from the landlocked Caucasus nation for the Middle East.
According to her mother’s history, some 43 relatives were tragically lost in the first genocide of the 20th century.
Ms Berejiklian has previously recounted in a speech to the Sydney Institute how all four of her grandparents were orphaned by the crisis.
Her mother, Arsha, was born in Israel and her father, Kirkor, in Syria, before each clan separately migrated to Sydney’s north shore.
A historical photograph of Armenians killed in the genocide of 1915, more than a century ago
Men stand by skulls and bones of victims of the massacre in this undated historical image
Berejiklian (bottom right) with her parents Arsha and Krikor and sisters Rita and Mary
Somewhat unsurprisingly, Berejiklian was the school captain of Peter Board High School
The future Premier was the oldest of three sisters Rita and Mary, attended public schools and was elected school captain of her high school.
She went on to study at university and became the president of the state’s Young Liberals, worked at the Commonwealth Bank and was elected to the NSW Lower House in 2003, before becoming transport minister in the O’Farrell government, and prior to becoming Premier, Treasurer.
Driven by the loss of her secret twin
Berejiklian (pictured this week) told a reporter last year: ‘I had a twin sister and she didn’t make it… I feel like I’ve got to justify my existence by sacrificing’
The other personal revelation Berejiklian has only made in recent years was the fact that she was a twin – but her sister tragically died at birth.
‘I’m very lucky… for me every day in life is a bonus,’ Berejiklian told The Weekend Australian in an interview before the 2019 state election.
‘I had a twin sister and she didn’t make it. 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.’
Berejiklian told the newspaper that she only had learned she had a twin when an acquaintance came over when she was a child and asked: ‘Where’s the other one?’