Liberal Party’s major leadership move

·3-min read
Dominic Perrottet 2x Opps Lunar New Year
Natalie Ward will be the NSW Liberal Party’s next deputy leader after party rules were changed. Picture: NCA NewsWire/ Simon Bullard.

The Liberal Party’s most senior woman MP Natalie Ward has won her bid to become the Deputy Leader, after the party room overturned a rule which barred her from running.

Ms Ward will join form the senior leadership team for the NSW Liberal Party, alongside Opposition leader Mark Speakman, Leader of the Upper House Damien Tudehope, and Deputy Leader of the Legislative Assembly Robyn Preston.

Mr Speakman said he was pleased the Liberal party had “modernised” the rules to allow both MPs from the upper and lower houses to run.

“We have a great team going forward,” said Mr Speakman.

“We’ve now given the parliamentary party the choice of selecting its deputy leader from either house and we’ve now enfranchised upper house members to get a vote on that Deputy Leader position.”

Dominic Perrottet 2x Opps Lunar New Year
Natalie Ward will be the NSW Liberal Party’s next deputy leader. Picture: NCA NewsWire/ Simon Bullard.

Ms Ward said she was it was a “great privilege” and “great honour” to serve.

“We undertake to hold this government to account every single day for the people of NSW. That is our focus and I’m pleased to be apart of the leadership team,” she said.

“I’m grateful for the support of my party room colleagues and for each and every one of us who works incredibly hard for the people of NSW every day.”

This follows a party room ballot on Monday at 1pm, where MPs voted in favour of overturning the regulation. Following this, Ms Ward won the Deputy position with an “overwhelming majority,” Mr Speakman said.

Prior to the vote, a senior Liberal source believed the vote to change the rule could have been upended with a single vote either way, however, they believed the party would achieve the necessary two-thirds majority. At the bare minimum, the rule required a party consensus of 24 to 11 votes in order to be passed.

“My feeling is that it will probably pass but only just,” they said.

NCA NewsWire understands the Liberal Party’s moderate and centre-right factions were largely in support of changing the rule, while most of the right faction were opposed.

NSW Liberals
NSW Liberal Party leader Mark Speakman (right) and shadow treasurer Damien Tudehope (left) supported Ms Ward for deputy leader. Picture: NCA NewsWire/ Jeremy Piper

It’s expected the Coalition’s remaining shadow ministry will be announced on Monday afternoon.

As it stands Mr Tudehope has been appointed as the shadow treasurer, Matt Kean will be responsible for health and Alister Henskens will be the shadow attorney-general.

Nationals MP Bronnie Taylor has been appointed as opposition spokesperson for regional health, trade and seniors, and Sarah Mitchell will oversee education and early learning, and western NSW.

NSW Nationals Leader Paul Toole is also facing a leadership challenge at 2pm on Monday. Currently, he holds the shadow portfolio for police, and regional NSW.