Dust off your rosary beads, a conservative Catholic who has openly declared that his faith shapes his politics has just taken over as the State’s Premier.
Former Treasurer, Dominic Perrottet, easily beat his Planning Minister mate Rob Stokes in a party room vote this morning to take the NSW throne.
The final vote was 39 votes to five, leading some politics watchers to ponder whether Mr Stokes’ had been convinced to toss his mask in the ring to give the impression of a competitive, democratic process.
‘I really appreciate the trust my colleagues have put in me today,’ Mr Perrottet said in a brief statement after the party room vote.
Mr Perrottet takes the tiller at a precarious time for the LNP following the resignations of the last premier, Gladys Berejiklian, her Deputy John Barilaro and Transport Minister, Andrew Constance.
‘Bugger, I’d only just figured out how to pronounce Barilaro’s name,’ one Echo news gecko was overheard saying when the Deputy Premier and NSW Nationals leader resigned yesterday.
Jobs Minister Stuart Ayres will become the new deputy leader and Matt Kean, who is the current Environment Minister, is expected to be promoted to Treasurer.
‘Unexpected change can bring uncertainty, and sometimes that can feel unsettling,’ Mr Perrottet said in a startling insight during a press conference following his ascension this morning.
‘But as hard as it may be, we all have a duty as a state to keep going. Today, begins a new chapter for New South Wales, and one that we will all write together.
‘Our first priority will be to continue the plan we have started; keeping people safe, opening up the economy and securing our recovery,” he said.
‘Up until now, all of our Liberal premiers have been infrastructure premiers … and that will not change with me, but I will also be a family premier, focusing on how we can make life better for working families, living the Liberal values of opportunity, aspiration and hard work.’
Exactly what being a ‘family premier’ actually entails remains to be seen, but one suspects it may be code for the religious-inspired conservatism that has characterised Mr Perrottet’s politics to date.
In 2019 he voted against decriminalising abortion in NSW.
In 2016, he declared it was time for a ‘conservative spring’ following the election of former US President Donald Trump.
Mr Perrottet described Trump’s win as ‘a victory for people who have been taken for granted by the elites’.
‘If you question man-made climate change, you are not a sceptic,’ the post continued.
‘If you support stronger borders, you are not a racist.
‘If you want a plebiscite on same-sex marriage, you are not a homophobe.
‘If you love your country, you are not an extremist.
‘These are mainstream values that people should be free to articulate without fear of ridicule or persecution by the Left.’