Dominic Perrottet is firming to become the 46th and youngest premier of New South Wales – with former Gladys Berejiklian backer and moderates faction MP Matt Kean to be his deputy, according to Sky News Political Editor Andrew Clennell.
“Perrottet, a 39-year-old father of six, is a former lawyer from the right wing of the party who has been the state’s treasurer and deputy Liberal Party leader since Berejiklian became premier in 2017,” Mr Clennell said.
“He and Kean believe they have the numbers for their ticket to win.
“Planning Minister Rob Stokes announced he was going to have a crack at the job but will he pull out if it becomes clear he does not have the numbers – in which case we’d have a premier earlier than the party meeting on Tuesday.
“Stuart Ayres is a man that moderates MPs heavily considered backing but he does not appear to have the support.
“The Perrottet-Kean deal appears to have been done some time ago after it became clear Gladys Berejiklian might fall over the ICAC scandal.
“Kean may not be treasurer immediately however … some tipping Perrottet will temporarily at least hang onto that role.”
Mr Clennell said Tourism and Jobs Minister Stuart Ayres potentially running for premier is “interesting” as the former sports minister could be called to appear at ICAC over a $5 million club grant in former Wagga MP Daryl Maguire’s electorate.
“My understanding is Ayres has been telling colleagues he advised Gladys Berejiklian against giving the grant so that should in no way prevent him becoming premier. Ayres did not return calls or messages on this yesterday,” Mr Clennell said.
“One powerbroker has told me they would like Perrottet elected unopposed just as Gladys Berejiklian and Mike Baird were before him at the party room meeting set for Tuesday, in the interests of party unity.”
Mr Clennell also said it would be an anxious wait for Ms Berejiklian whose conduct is being investigated for, among other things, according to ICAC, having “engaged in conduct … which was liable to allow or encourage the occurrence of corrupt conduct by Mr Maguire”.