Leader of Australia's most populous state quits

Tracy FergusonJan 21, 2017

SYDNEY, Australia-Gladys Berejiklian is set to become Premier of Australia's most populous state, New South Wales, according to Huffington Post Australia.

The current NSW Premier Mike Baird announced on January 19 that he will resign next week, saying that his parents' and sister's ill health were the main reasons for his decision.

She also was forced to deny calling Michael Photios, a lobbyist who is viewed as the eminence grise of the left faction of the party, after she head about the resignation.

Earlier on in the day Ms Berejiklian confirmed she will contest the leadership next week saying she had asked Finance Minister Dominic Perrottet to be her Liberal Party deputy.

Berejiklian said she had spoken to Constance, but would not comment on the discussion.

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"I'm very, very heartened by the support I've received to date from colleagues in the party room, and of course we have a way to go", Ms Berejiklian told reporters in Sydney on Friday.

Mr Baird's reign ends next week after being in the top job for two years and nine months.

After being prompted several times about what sort of Premier she would be, Ms Berejiklian said: "I have been in public life now for 14 years, and I have been a senior minister for six and there's pretty much a lot of stuff out there that people have a fair idea about the kind of person I am and how I apply myself to the job".

"Mike Baird has been an outstanding premier for the people of NSW and it has been an honour to serve as a local member and a minister under his leadership", Mrs Williams said.

It's still unclear if the treasurer will face any challengers but it's believed Transport Minister Andrew Constance has been sounding out support for a tilt.

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"If colleagues feel they want to put their hands up, no hard feelings it's a democracy".

Ms Berejiklian says she will spend the rest of Friday speaking to her colleagues about stepping into the leadership role.

She said it will "be weird" not working alongside Baird.

The current deputy leader was reportedly seen having coffee with Mr Baird just hours before he dramatically announced he was quitting politics.

"I was taken aback by the news he gave me but appreciate and understand all the reasons [for resigning] and respect his decision". We have one of the biggest transport and infrastructure renewal programs ever seen in Australia and I'd be honoured to see that through.

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