Gladys Berejiklian Just Gave The Nats Until 9 AM To Decide If They Wanna Stay In Govt Or Not

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has responded to Deputy Premier (and NSW National Party leader) John Barilaro‘s announcement that he and his fellow Nats were leaving the coalition to join the crossbench. They now have until tomorrow morning to decide if they want to stay in government or not, and Berejiklian wants an answer by 9 AM sharp, apparently.

“It is not possible to be the Deputy Premier or a Minister of the Crown and sit on the crossbench,” Berejiklian announced this afternoon. Ooft.

“They cannot do both. If required, I will attend Government House tomorrow and swear in a new Ministry.”

Berejiklian added that it’s a long-established convention that cabinet members support all government legislation.

However, Barilaro’s previous announcement explicitly said he and his party colleagues wouldn’t support all government bills, nor would they attend party room meetings with the government.

The spat emerged over pending legislation that would increase the amount of trees classified as koala habitat in NSW, of all things.

The downside of this conservation policy, according to The Nats, is that it prevents these trees from being cleared and makes farmers responsible for managing koala populations on their land.

The Nationals have made clear they need to stand up on the issue or else “become the laughing stock of regional and rural NSW,” as Barilaro himself said last year.

Doing so may just cost them their position as a coalition member in the state government, but doing nothing could see them hemorrhage even more seats to upstarts like the Shooters, Fishers & Farmers Party, independent candidates and potentially even The Greens in the next state election.

Rocks on one side, hard places on the other.