Gladys Berejiklian was elected Premier of Australasia’s largest state of New South Wales (NSW) following the resignation of Mike Baird.
Australia’s New South Wales Liberal Party met on the morning of January 23 to choose its new parliamentary party leader, and elected the unopposed team of Treasurer Berejikilian and Finance Minister Dominic Perrottet, who will be Deputy.
The 46 year old Berejikilian was confirmed as the first female Liberal Party Premier and will lead the state of 7.5 million until at least the ext election on 2019.
Berejikilian has been involved in many Armenian community organizations since her youth, from her scouting and basketball days with Homenetmen Australia, the Armenian Youth Federation of Australia and a Board member of the Armenian National Committee of Australia.
Before the community had an Armenian day school, Berejikilian attended Hamazkaine’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.
As a NSW State Member for Willoughby in 2003, Berejikilian has been instrumental in representing the 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 Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh.
The State of NSW has twice recognized the Armenian Genocide and has a Khatchkar in the Parliament House’s Peace Garden in memory of 1.5 million Armenians. NSW has also recognized the rights to self determination of the Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh-Artsakh.
ANC-AU Managing Director, Vache Kahramanian commented’ “Our community continues to be proud of Ms. Berejikilian as she is an inspiration to all Armenian-Australians. This latest achievement is testament to her hard work on behalf of the people of New South Wales since entering public office in 2003, and we at the Armenian National Committee look forward to continuing working with ther in the State’s highest office.”
Berejikilian has been awarded the Armenian-Australian Community’s Friend of the Year by ANC-AU, as well as earning a Medal of Gratitude by the President of Republic of Nagorno Karabakh, Bako Sahakyan.