FACT CHECK: Did Former New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian Resign After Receiving Millions Of Dollars From Pfizer?

Mecca Fowler | Contributor

An image shared on Facebook over 875 times claims former New South Wales (NSW) Premier Gladys Berejiklian resigned after an investigation found she received millions of dollars from Pfizer to push “draconian” vaccine mandates.

Verdict: Misleading

While Berejiklian did resign, it was not because she received money from Pfizer. Berejiklian resigned due to an investigation on whether or not she breached public trust.

Fact Check:

The viral Facebook post shares a screengrab of an Oct. 1 tweet seemingly celebrating Berejiklian’s resignation. The tweet reads, “Good News out of Australia! Premier of NSW forced to resign after an investigation found she & others in the govt. were receiving millions$ from Pfizer to push draconian vax laws. How much is Biden getting?” (RELATED: Did The New South Wales Government Text Residents That It Would Be Going Door-To-Door Administering Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccinations With Military Help?)

While Berejiklian did resign as the NSW premier, she did not receive funds from Pfizer. Berejiklian resigned on Oct. 1 after the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) announced it was investigating if she breached public trust in connection to grant funding while in a personal relationship with then-Wagga Wagga MP Daryl Maguire, according to Reuters. The alleged breach included approving grant funds offered to the Australian Clay Target Association Inc. and the Riverina Conservatorium of Music, both community groups in Maguire’s Wagga Wagga electorate, the ICAC said in an Oct. 1 press release.

All of the financial issues that the agency is investigating occurred before the COVID-19 pandemic began in late 2019. The investigation, known as Operation Keppel, began in September 2020 when the ICAC announced it was looking into allegations that Maguire used his public office to breach the public trust between 2012 and 2018, according to a September 2020 ICAC press release. Berejiklian in October 2020 was summoned to give evidence at an ICAC hearing where it was disclosed, and she confirmed she and Maguire had been in a “close personal relationship” since 2015, ABC News reported.

Berejiklian was state treasurer from April 2015 until she became premier in January 2017, according to The Sydney Morning Herald. While she was state treasurer, Berejiklian allegedly supervised a fund that set aside $5.5 million for the Australian Clay Target Association clubhouse, which Maguire asked her for help in doing, ABC News reported. At the 2018 Wagga Wagga by-election, which occurred due to Maguire’s resignation, Berejiklian pledged $20 million for the Riverina Conservatorium of Music, according to the outlet.

Berejiklian has refuted any misconduct regarding the ICAC investigation. “I state categorically I have always acted with the highest levels of integrity,” she said at her Oct. 1 resignation news conference, according to Reuters. The NSW ICAC will hold a public inquiry starting Oct. 18 to investigate her conduct, the Oct. 1 press release states.

Mecca Fowler

Contributor

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