Lennox Head politician “stunned” by email leak

Catherine Cusack
Catherine Cusack Jacklyn Wagner

FRIDAY 2.35pm: LENNOX Head-based politician Catherine Cusack has spoken out about the email scandal which forced her to resign as Parliamentary Secretary.

Speaking exclusively to The Northern Star, Ms Cusack said she was "stunned" the email was leaked publically and apologised to Premier, Gladys Berejiklian and the State Government.

"I don't understand the leaks and I feel sorry for the Premier," Ms Cusack said.

"It's not my intention to hurt the government at any stage.

"(The Premier) did the right thing in accepting (the resignation)."

Ms Cusack said the Premier, who has been a close friend for decades, was "very generous" in her correspondence with the embattled politician in the past 24 hours.

Most importantly, Ms Cusack "apologises to the people in the Hunter region, who she was serving as the Parliamentary Secretary for Education and the Hunter.
"This error I have made has let a lot of people down," Ms Cusack said.

"It's very unhelpful for everyone."

Looking forward, Ms Cusack is focused on "tying up loose ends" before her resignation is finalised to ease the difficulties that may come with her "sudden departure".

Ms Cusack also expressed her thanks to former MPs Don Page and Janelle Saffin for their public support.

"In this difficult time, they would understand why I resigned," she said.

"I'm just grateful for their empathy."

Ms Cusack didn't rule out a trip home to Lennox Head and said a potential visit served as a silver lining within the ordeal. 


FRIDAY 10.30am: FORMER Federal and State MPs have thrown their support behind ex-Parliamentary Secretary to the Premier, Catherine Cusack following her controversial resignation from the post.

The embattled member of the NSW Legislative Council resigned yesterday evening after a scathing email was leaked criticising members of Premier, Gladys Berejiklian's cabinet.

After a 26-year career in politics, former Ballina MP Don Page worked closely with Ms Cusack over the decades.

Mr Page called Ms Cusack a "very capable person" and he is saddened to hear of her resignation as Parliamentary Secretary.

"I'm saddened to hear she's resigned because I think she has a lot to contribute," Mr Page said.

"I've never been part of the internal machinations of the Liberal Party.

"It's a rough game politics." 

President Page ALP Federal Electorate Council and former Page MP, Janelle Saffin wouldn't comment on what she said "seems to be with internal factional Liberal Party discord with Premier Gladys Berejiklian."

But Ms Saffin remains confident Ms Cusack will continue her dedication as a member of the Legislative Council.

"Catherine has been a committed and competent representative and no doubt will continue to do that as an MLC," Ms Saffin said.

Parliamentary Secretary for Renewable Energy and Northern NSW, Ben Franklin remained tight lipped and declined to comment on Ms Cusack's resignation.

Catherine Cusack was contacted by The Northern Star.

In a statement made to the ABC, Ms Cusack said: "All I want to do is apologise to all the people I have let down."


FRIDAY 8.15am: NORTH Coast-based Liberal MLC Catherine Cusack has resigned as Parliamentary Secretary after sending a strongly-worded email to Premier Gladys Berejiklian criticising the new cabinet.

Ms Cusack's email singled out Energy Minister Don Harwin, who was appointed to the cabinet in the most recent reshuffle and was also made leader of the government in the Legislative Council.

"We are working with Don's dreadful performance. As you know, he is no orator," the email said, according to Channel Ten.

"He's easily flustered; he's wafer thin skinned. This is all resulting in gross embarrassment in the upper house."

Mr Harwin was instrumental in marshalling the numbers for Ms Berejiklian to become Premier after the resignation of Mike Baird.

Ms Cusack also allegedly attacked Ms Berejiklian's statement that the cabinet was appointed solely on merit.

Ms Cusack threatened to quit the party and move to the crossbench if Ms Berejiklian repeated the claim.

"If you ever say again that you made these decisions on merit I swear I will resign from the Liberal Party and join the crossbench," she wrote.

Following the email scandal, Ms Berejiklian announced Ms Cusack's resignation yesterday.

"I have this afternoon accepted the offer of resignation from Catherine Cusack MLC as Parliamentary Secretary," she said.

Ms Cusack declined to discuss the details of her email, but told Fairfax Media: "All I want to do is apologise to all the people I have let down."

Ms Cusack was Parliamentary Secretary for Education and the Hunter.

Topics:  catherine cusack northern rivers politics

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