Mere days after his Premier quit the job amid a fresh ICAC investigation, NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro has also announced his resignation to give the state “a refresh”.
Making the shock statement on Monday morning – a public holiday for NSW – Barilaro said he felt the time was right to step aside as both Deputy Premier and leader of the NSW Nationals Party.
“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 wrote.
“I have worked with three of the Liberal Party’s hardest working Premiers in Barry O’Farrell, Mike Baird, and particularly Gladys Berejiklian who steered this state through some of its darkest days.”
He has also called a Party Room meeting on Wednesday, where his resignation from the NSW Nationals will come into effect and a new leader will be elected.
Barilaro thanked the people of the Monaro electorate in the far south-eastern corner of NSW, and used his resignation to highlight some of the projects he was particularly proud of – including his time as the state’s Minister responsible for Disaster Recovery through drought, storms, floods, the Black Summer bushfires, and the COVID pandemic.
Let us not forget that he nearly brought the entire NSW Coalition to its knees over the “koala war” in 2020 though, where he threatened to dissolve the Lib-Nats group in an effort to block new policy to protect the habitats of threatened koalas.
His resignation will now spark a party election within the NSW Nationals to appoint a new leader, and a by-election is expected to be called to determine the new Deputy Premier of NSW.
This is now the third resignation within the NSW Government, with Berejiklian stepping down as Premier on Friday, and Transport Minister Andrew Constance looking to shift from state to federal politics to contest the seat of Gilmore – both sparking by-elections to find their replacements.
It’s not yet known who will be pushing to take the reins from Barilaro, but we’ll let you know as soon as we do.