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Berejiklian rules herself out of Warringah tilt

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Gladys Berejiklian has made her first public comments on speculation she might run for the federal seat of Warringah – ruling it out. Photo: AAP
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Former NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian will not contest the federal seat of Warringah at next year’s federal election.

While there was speculation Ms Berejiklian could run for the pivotal Sydney seat, she told Sydney radio 2GB her next career move would not be in the political sphere.

“I won’t be contesting the federal seat of Warringah, or any other federal seat for that matter,” she said on Friday.

“I’m really looking forward to the next chapter, it won’t be in public life, it will be in the private sector.”

It was Ms Berejiklian’s first public comment on speculation she might make a run for Canberra at next year’s federal election.

She stood down as premier in October after the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption revealed she was being investigated.

Multiple federal MPs, including Prime Minister Scott Morrison, had encouraged Ms Berejiklian to run for the seat held by independent Zali Steggall.

On Monday, Mr Morrison endorsed Ms Berejiklian as a “great” candidate, while doubling down on criticism of the state anti-corruption watchdog.

“The way that Gladys Berejiklian has been treated has been shameful,” he said.

“I don’t call that justice.”

But by Wednesday, Mr Morrison was backing away. He said Ms Berejiklian would make a strong contribution to his federal team if she decided to run despite the ICAC probe – an investigation he has also dismissed as a kangaroo court.

“That’s a decision for Gladys, ultimately, and she may choose not to go ahead here, I suspect,” he said.

“That’s a matter for her and I respect her choice.”

Ms Berejiklian said she was grateful to Mr Morrison for the encouragement to enter federal politics.

“It wasn’t something that I intended to do. But out of respect for those people, I gave it some thought but decided against it,” she said.

“They urged me to give it consideration. I promised them I would, and I did, for a very short period of time.”

She has written to the speaker of NSW parliament, indicating she will formally resign as a state MP on December 30.

In Sydney on Friday, Mr Morrison said he wished Ms Berejiklian all the best for the new chapter of her life.

“Gladys Berejiklian blazed a trail for women in the Liberal Party. She’s off to blaze a new trail now,” he said.

New NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet has dismissed the ICAC criticism from his federal colleagues, saying the watchdog plays an important role in preventing corruption and uncovering corruption.

-with AAP