POLITICS packed a surprise yesterday in the form of Gladys Berejiklian's decision to resign as premier - and to exit parliament when she can - in advance of a formal ICAC inquiry into grant funding given or promised in the Wagga Wagga electorate when her secret lover, the disgraced Daryl Maguire, was its MP.
The Maguire Affair has dogged her since their relationship was exposed.
More recently, she strongly denied the expected ICAC proceedings were behind the strange way she said she would stop her daily COVID briefings - and then did not.
But yesterday she made it clear she felt she could no longer lead the state, given the tenor of the hearings starting on Monday, October 18: even if her description of them as "historic matters" was an attempt to downplay their continued relevance.
From one perspective, Ms Berejiklian has done what few politicians caught in the crosshairs do: she has walked before she was pushed.
Or at least that how it appears, on the surface, for now.
Ms Berejiklian has clearly had the control of her party room - and a popular mandate from the public, more enhanced than not by her management of COVID in NSW.
Still, there are senior Liberals in the Cabinet with the experience to take over in her absence. Planning Minister Rob Stokes has already confirmed his intention to run, and Treasurer Dominic Perrottet is also considering his options.
NSW Parliament has not sat since the Budget on June 24.
The government cancelled the September sittings over COVID but then announced it intended to reopen Parliament, as scheduled, on Tuesday, October 12.
Parliament's return, then, will see a new premier facing a recently installed Opposition leader in Chris Minns, a little past mid-way through the government's fixed four-year term, ending in March 2023.
The forthcoming ICAC inquiry will shape the final verdict on Ms Berejiklian's career in NSW politics.
Canberra could conceivably beckon were she cleared, but no one is speaking in those terms right now.
Instead, we farewell a sensible premier who has managed the state capably since January 2017, when she rose to replace Mike Baird.
The ICAC hearings will be closely watched.