NSW cabinet meets to thrash out bitter divisions

 

Liberal Minister Shelley Hancock launched a fierce defence of Deputy Premier John Barilaro in a fiery cabinet meeting later described by one attendee as an "airing of grievances".

In the first cabinet meeting since the government was taken to the brink of collapse, Liberal Member for the South Coast Ms Hancock shocked colleagues by speaking out in support of Mr Barilaro and passionately declaring he had "done an enormous amount for rural and regional NSW".

Her remarks are significant because a string of her senior Liberal colleagues had publicly and privately attacked the Deputy Premier last week, stopping short of saying they could work with him.

Ms Hancock was then followed by three Nationals Ministers who also spoke in support of the actions the Nationals had taken and the Deputy Premier: Water Minister Melinda Pavey, Mental Health Minister Bronnie Taylor and Education Minister Sarah Marshall.

 

Deputy Premier John Barilaro was the topic of much discussion at the latest cabinet meeting. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Bianca De Marchi
Deputy Premier John Barilaro was the topic of much discussion at the latest cabinet meeting. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Bianca De Marchi

 

The Nationals Ministers also made the point that it was not Mr Barilaro acting alone when the government was taken to the brink, but it was the Nationals acting as a team wanting results on the koala planning restrictions.

Another source said Ms Pavey "bravely" led the charge at the Monday night meeting, speaking of a need for respect amongst ministers.

In the same meeting, Transport Minister Andrew Constance raised his concern about the Nationals robocalling and texting his electorate, saying "respect should go both ways".

Mr Constance also told the meeting he was fed up with first term MPs "thinking they can just threaten to go to the cross bench".

Premier Gladys Berejiklian yesterday welcomed turncoat MP Leslie Williams to the Liberal party room and then told joint party room she believed the coalition could "work through anything together".

She said she'd had many Nationals mentors in her career and had offered the Deputy Premier "any formal support" he needed after taking mental health leave.

Originally published as 'Airing of grievances': NSW cabinet meets to thrash out bitter divisions



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