SYDNEY, Australia (A.W.)—Australian-Armenian Gladys Berejiklian was appointed the new Premier of the country’s largest state of New South Wales (NSW) on Jan. 23, following the resignation of former Premier Mike Baird.
The NSW Liberal Party met on the morning of Monday, 23rd January to choose its new parliamentary party leader, and elected the unopposed team of Treasurer Berejiklian and Finance Minister Dominic Perrottet, who will be Deputy. The 46-year-old granddaughter of Armenian Genocide survivors was therefore confirmed as the first female Liberal Party Premier and will lead the state of 7.5 million until at least the next elections in 2019.
The Armenian National Committee of Australia (ANC-AU) congratulated Berejiklian on behalf of the Armenian-Australian community, many of whom personally know the new Premier.
Berejiklian has been involved in many community Armenian community organizations since her youth, from her scouting and basketball days under the Homenetmen Australia banner, to her days as an outspoken up-and-comer in the Armenian Youth Federation (AYF) of Australia, all the way to her learning and practicing the political ropes as a Board member of the ANC-AU.
Before the community had an Armenian day school, Berejiklian attended Hamazkayin’s Saturday School during her student years and is fluent in Armenian, the only language she spoke until the age of five. She continues to be ever-present in the Sydney-Armenian community.
Since her election as the NSW State Member for Willoughby in 2003, Berejiklian has been instrumental in representing Armenian community concerns in Parliament and educating her fellow parliamentarians on issues of importance, including Federal Australian recognition of the Armenian Genocide and the rights to self-determination of Armenians of the Nagorno-Karabagh Republic (NKR/Artsakh).