John Barilaro has proclaimed he will resign as deputy premier of NSW and leader of the NSW Nationals, and that he would be “leaving politics”.
The decision comes only days after Gladys Berejiklian resigned as NSW premier amid an investigation from the state’s Independent Commission Against Corruption.
Mr. Barilaro said he would call a party room meeting on Wednesday to officially resign and call for a leadership ballot.
Deputy Premier John Barilaro has called time on his political career, refering to the tensions of media scrutiny and an ongoing defamation case as having negatively affected himself and his family.
Declaring his departure on Monday, Mr. Barilaro said he had been planning an exit from politics for some time however presented the move after the new resignations of Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Transport Minister Andrew Constance.
He told journalists on Monday his decision to leave politics was focused on personal reasons as opposed to Ms. Berejiklian’s sudden exit as premier.
He said he had been thinking about his departure for some time, with the timing presented by the reshaping of the state government’s leadership team.
“As we emerge from lockdown, we must embrace this time as a new beginning for our state, and welcome the opportunity it presents for a refresh,” he said in a statement.
“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.
“Serving as deputy premier of NSW, as leader of the NSW Nationals, and as the member for Monaro has been the honor and privilege of a lifetime.”
“There is never a right or wrong time to leave politics,” he said.
“[But] I genuinely think it is the right and proper thing, to be honest with people and not put my hand up.”
Mr. Barilaro said he trusted it was the ideal opportunity for a “refresh” as NSW plans to rise out of the lockdown brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Yes, it is a tough time, but I think it’s the right thing to do,” he said.
Mr. Barilaro will currently work with the speaker and electoral commission to coordinate a by-election for his seat of Monaro in southern NSW.
He has likewise precluded taking a slant at federal politics in the next election, following his exit from state parliament.
“I have no intention and no will that I will be running for Eden-Monaro or federal politics – I am leaving politics,” he said.
He previously declared last year he would run in the seat of Eden-Monaro before pulling out about 24 hours later.
Mr. Barilaro was first elected to the NSW parliament in 2011 and took over as deputy premier in 2016.
In a statement, Mr. Barilaro reflected on his time in politics, which included reactions to drought, the most exceedingly terrible bushfires in living memory, extreme storm and flood disasters, and a one-in-100 year global pandemic.
Yet, the son of Italian migrants likewise said his experience had been defaced by racism, portraying being exposed to revolting and vile commentary in an ongoing defamation case against YouTube personality Jordan Shanks.
“A young boy of migrant parents, I grew up, I understood what racism was,” he said.
“I didn’t think in 2021 that would continue. That in itself, can I say, was very difficult this year.”
Mr. Barilaro’s resignation comes in front of an NSW Liberal party room meeting on Tuesday to settle on Ms. Berejiklian’s substitution.
NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet has arisen as the leader to succeed Ms. Berejiklian and is interesting in his Liberal colleagues to back him after striking a deal to make Stuart Ayres his deputy.
The member for Monaro said he would call a party room meeting on Wednesday where he will officially resign and call for a ballot for a new leader.
The resignation of Ms. Berejiklian and Liberal MP Andrew Constance’s decision to stop state politics to run at the next federal election will likewise set up isolated by-election contests.
The Coalition presently holds a slim majority in the NSW Legislative Assembly making any likely loss of a seat significant.
It is the most recent improvement in a chaotic few days at NSW Parliament after Ms. Berejiklian was named as the subject of a public corruption inquiry to be held later this month.
The probe will analyze whether she penetrated the public trust or supported the event of corrupt conduct during her secret relationship with disgraced former MP Daryl Maguire.
Ms. Berejiklian resigned hours after the Independent Commission Against Corruption reported its investigation on Friday, saying she had “been given no option” however to resign.
NSW Transport Minister Andrew Constance likewise declared his resignation from state politics on Sunday, uncovering his goal to nominate for preselection for the federal seat of Gilmore with Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s backing.
After a deal was struck late Sunday, Treasurer Dominic Perrottet affirmed he would nominate to be premier with Jobs Minister Stuart Ayres his surprise running mate, but a ballot of Liberal MPs will be required on Tuesday, with Planning Minister Rob Stokes digging in and staying in the race.
In a statement on Monday, Mr. Perrottet said he was “deeply saddened at the loss of a close friend and formidable colleague” in Mr. Barilaro.
“However I know it is a decision John has been considering for some time, and I understand and support him in his decision,” Mr. Perrottet said.
“This is an important opportunity to inject new energy and leadership across the government so that we can continue the work of the NSW Liberals and Nationals.”