It’s been a week full of surprising confessions from Gladys Berejiklian.
From her (eventual) acceptance that she failed to follow her own health advice, to her startling admission her Government pork-barrelled: it’s perhaps a sign the Premier has grown accustomed to a level of popularity untouched by scandal.
And when a leader is so emboldened, hubris can cloud good judgement.
Her decision to take a COVID test and then not self-isolate is at best a lapse in judgement and at worst blatant double standards.
Voters don’t like one rule for them and one rule for leaders — especially if those voters have lost wages, missed worked opportunities or personal celebrations because they did the right thing after having their COVID test.
The Ruby Princess fiasco aside, the electorate views Ms Berejiklian’s handling of the pandemic as hugely successful, even perhaps agreeing with the Prime Minister’s assessment of NSW having the “gold standard” response.
That’s what makes her not-so-splendid isolation decision so disappointing.
And it’s not the only decision that’s come back to bite her, with another problem that’s plagued her surfacing again.
Documents detailing the approval process for the $250 million community grants program were recovered.
The Greens and Labor had worked extremely hard to unearth the them, only to find in a parliamentary inquiry that they’d been shredded and electronically deleted.
When the Government was forced to digitally retrieve them, the documents revealed some of the grants were sent to the Premier for approval and that she had to change the guidelines to ensure the funding was legitimate.
She basically retrofitted the rules.
And most of the grants went to Coalition-held seats in the lead up to the last election.
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When confronted with questions from the media, the Premier conceded she was okay to call it pork-barrelling.
She insisted all Governments spent money to “curry favour” with voters.
That may be true, but it was a bold move for her to say so.
Perhaps it was a tactic Ms Berejiklian used to deflect from the act itself.
The risk the Premier faces is sustaining another chink in the political integrity she carefully cultivated before and after her historic 2019 election win.
The electorate likes her because she’s a school captain type — she works hard and does things by the book.
She survived the ICAC and the scandal of her relationship with Daryl Maguire by harnessing public sympathy.
The Premier may not find the same warmth from the public if they see a pattern starting to form.
There’s only so much political capital a leader can burn through, and popularity doesn’t last forever.
She should just ask her predecessor Mike Baird.