The New South Wales Government has been dealt another blow following the resignation of Deputy Premier John Barilaro on Monday.
The announcement follows the shock resignation of NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian on Friday amid an Independent Commission Against Corruption investigation into a possible breach of public trust.
In a statement Mr. Barilaro said he’s decided now is the right time to resign and hand over the roles of NSW Deputy Premier, Leader of the NSW Nationals and Member for Monaro.
“I have enjoyed every single day of it, but 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.”
Mr. Barilaro said his current defamation case defending himself against what he alleges are racist social media attacks was a big factor in his decision.
“As a young boy of migrant parents, I grew up, I understood what racism was, called many of those names. I didn’t think in 2021 that would continue, and that in itself was very difficult this year, and to be able to defend myself and continue with that case, I prefer to do it privately not in the public eye.”
When reflecting on his role as Member for Monaro over the last 10-and-a-half years, Mr. Barilaro said it had been the privilege of a lifetime.
“Some of my proudest moments include delivering five new schools; Jerrabomberra, Googong, Bungendore, Jindabyne and the School for Special Purpose co-located at Karabar.”
“It is the little things, and the beautiful people I’ve met, of whom I now call friends, that have made being the Local Member so special… To the people of Monaro, thank you for this honour.”
During his time as NSW Deputy Premier, Mr. Barilaro navigated regional New South Wales through the worst drought and bushfires on record, severe flood and storm disasters, and the COVID-19 pandemic.
He was also assigned as a member of the COVID Crisis Committee to construct the Nation’s roadmap out of lock down.
Despite speculation, Mr. Barilaro said he has no intention of returning to politics and will be moving into a new career.
“I turn 50 in November, maybe a bit of a mid-life crisis. But I am definitely thinking about what’s next. I’m going to take some out, but I genuinely won’t be running for Federal Politics.”
Mr. Barilaro will call a Party Room meeting on Wednesday 6 October to formally resign and vote for a new leader, while there’ll also be a by-election for his seat in Monaro.