On Monday, Gladys Berejiklian was elected unopposed as leader of the parliamentary NSW Liberal party, and therefore the first Liberal female premier of New South Wales.
Berejiklian has been in parliament since 2003 and served as transport minister, treasurer, and deputy leader. The 46-year-old is responsible for making the NSW economy the strongest in the country and has been behind some of the biggest infrastructure developments in the state.
But she's also an unmarried, childless woman.
So, logically, 15 minutes into her first press conference in the top job, she was asked about it.
Here's the full exchange:
Journalist: Julia Gillard was prime minister and she copped a lot of questions about her marriage status and her child status, many of them unfairly. How prepared are you for those sorts of questions?
Berejiklian: I have been in public life for a long time. I have been a senior minister for six years. I am ready for anything.
Journalist: So was Julia Gillard and she did get questions about it, and there will be questions about it. Are you prepared for those questions?
Berejiklian: Sure, ask me one.
Journalist: The obvious question is do you think this is a disadvantage politically, because people have kids and they have families and people identify with that like they did with Morris Iemma...
Berejiklian: Take me as you see me. [New deputy] Dominic Perrottet has made up for me, he has four kids. I am someone who has always been myself. Not all of us can plan how our life turns out. I am a very happy person. If you asked me 20 years ago, would my life look like this? It probably wouldn't be how it looks like. But I am grateful for the opportunities I have had. I also want to say again, not because I have to but because I want to, the closest people in my life are my family. I am not going to judge anybody on their personal circumstances. I am here to govern for everybody and I hope that people judge me on my merits and what I can do.
It is 2017. Smdh.
Alice Workman is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Canberra.
Contact Alice Workman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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