Seismic shift in NSW politics or just a tremor?

What a difference a week makes in NSW politics

News
On the way in after the winning the last state election, now on the way out for the two (Berejiklian, Barilaro) on the right and one on far left previously (Blair). Second left (Perrottet) now in as Premier.

On the way in after the winning the last state election, now on the way out for the two (Berejiklian, Barilaro) on the right and one on far left previously (Blair). Second left (Perrottet) now in as Premier.

Aa

How will regions fare in the new change of leaders ?

Aa

The earthquake centred in Victoria two weeks ago was felt in four states. It was the strongest earthquake in Australia for 20 years.

That was quite a shock !

Fast forward to last Friday and out of the blue the NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced her resignation - not exactly a surprise after many rumblings over her relationship with disgraced Wagga Wagga MP Daryl Maguire - but a shock. She was named in an upcoming ICAC inquiry, and she was left with no choice but to go.

Now move to the quiet holiday October weekend and on Monday another shock.

Nationals leader John Barilaro resigns after five years as deputy premier and 10 years in parliament, saying he needs a refresh and had lost the "fight" to stay in politics. There were deep family reasons also behind it.

So suddenly, a seismic shift in NSW politics ! The Gladys and John show had successfully gone on for some time with just one major hiccup over Koala planning laws that eventually led to Barilaro taking a mental health break.

What many overlooked at the time was that Barilaro was sticking up for his constituency - farmers, and their right to control their own land rather than be subject to myriads of council caveats on development. It was a battle worth fighting for, for the NSW Nats, and showed Barilaro's leadership - not an inclination to divide the government.

At other times he's been accused of pork 'Barilaroing', dishing out bits of money from huge funds set up in the government such as the $4 billion Snowy Hydro Legacy Fund and the $1.5bn regional fund.

His political partnership with Berejiklian worked. He looked after the regions and helped with drought, and bushfire recovery, and she looked over the larger picture of running the state and helping NSW through drought, bushfires and the pandemic.

Barilaro did the unbelievable at the last state election, helping shore up Nats seats and thereby helping secure government for Berejiklian. His campaigning skills also helped secure an unlikely Nats victory in the Upper Hunter by-election in March.

Will the new team of Dominic Perrottet and Paul Toole have the same success ? Perrottet, a conservative, is a leap to the right, while Toole, a former mayor and teacher, is unknown on issues such as climate change action.

They both face decisive times. But hopefully, like the quake in Victoria, there's not much damage from this seismic shift.

Love agricultural news? Sign up for The Land's free daily newsletter.

Aa

From the front page

Sponsored by