NSW government rocked by shock resignation of deputy premier

·3-min read

The NSW Deputy Premier and Nationals leader, John Barilaro, has announced his resignation from state parliament.

Mr Barilaro said as the state prepares to emerge from Covid lockdown, it was time for a "refresh".

"I have decided now is the right time for me to hand the reins over to new leadership, and resign as Deputy Premier of NSW," he said in a statement.

Photo of NSW Deputy Premier and Nationals leader John Barilaro at a NSW Covid-19 health update.
NSW Deputy Premier and Nationals leader John Barilaro has announced his resignation. Source: AAP

"Serving as Deputy Premier of NSW, as Leader of the NSW Nationals and as the Member for Monaro has been the honour and privilege of a lifetime."

Mr Barilaro has called a Nationals party room meeting for Wednesday when he will formally resign and call for a ballot for a new Leader.

"Following that, I will work with the Speaker and the Electoral Commission in relation to a by-election for the seat of Monaro," he added.

"The next premier has big shoes to fill, but I wish them well and the best of luck, I will be cheering from the sidelines and I am excited for what is ahead under their stewardship," he said.

Mr Barilaro said he was deeply grateful to the NSW Nationals and grassroots members for allowing him to serve.

"People are sometimes quick to write off the National Party, but it's the Nats in government who are, and always will be, the praetorian guard of common sense," he said.

Leaving politics entirely

Speaking to reporters on Monday, he was quick to dispel any notion he would enter federal politics.

"I will be a keen watcher of politics but not a participant. I make this clear now, so I don't have to answer the question later: I have no intention and no will that I will be running for Eden-Monaro or for federal politics," he said.

“It has taken a toll. It is tough on anybody in public life, to continue in this role, especially under so much scrutiny, especially media scrutiny," he said.

“Five years or so is a very long time as a leader of a political party.

“I’ve given it everything I possibly could.”

Dominic Perrottet set for state's top job after Gladys resignation

The news comes just days after NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced she will be resigning after the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) confirmed it will hold a public inquiry into a potential breach of public trust.

She will also quit NSW parliament once a by-election can be held for her seat.

The conservative-aligned state treasurer Dominic Perrottet is tipped to take over the top job this week.

"Resigning at this time is against every instinct in my being and is something I do not want to do. I love my job and I love serving the community," Ms Berejiklian said on Friday.

Ms Berejiklian will be questioned on grants awarded or promised to the Australian Clay Target Association in Wagga Wagga and to the Riverina Conservatorium of Music in Wagga Wagga despite allegedly being involved in a secret relationship with a member of her government who formally represented electorates where the grants were directed.

The public hearing will commence on October 18.

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