A key Liberal minister who was set to retire from politics at the NSW election has backflipped on his plans, confirming he has asked for a place on the party’s upper house ticket.
Transport Minister David Elliott announced his retirement in October after it was confirmed his seat of Baulkham Hills would be abolished at the election following a redistribution process and he would not be able to get another one.
But on Monday, Mr Elliott confirmed to Ben Fordham on 2GB radio he had told the Premier he’d like to be “considered” for a nomination on the upper house ticket, replacing MLC Peter Poulos, who was suspended from the party following revelations he had leaked explicit photos of Hawkesbury MP Robyn Preston in 2018.
“I was sad to leave politics, but I accepted the circumstances in which I found myself, that was that my seat was abolished,” he told the program on Monday.
“I certainly can confirm I told the Premier that I would like to be considered … but I’m not going to spit the dummy.
“I accept the fact that politics is a brutal game and the fact that redistributions can destroy careers, it certainly ended mine.”
Mr Perrottet remained tight-lipped when quizzed about the upper house spot by reporters, however he spoke highly about the senior minister.
“David has made a significant contribution to the NSW parliament … he has a lot to be proud of in relation to the contribution he’s made, not just to his local electorate but also the state of NSW,” said the Premier.
However, he stopped short of throwing his support behind a potential nomination.
“That’s a matter for the organisation and they need to go through those processes and I expect them to do that as soon as possible,” he said.
Speaking at the same press conference, Treasurer and Liberal Party deputy leader Matt Kean said a “female should fill the vacancy,” ducking questions whether he supported Mr Elliott’s upper house ticket play.
“This is about what’s best for the state of NSW. I think it’s a great opportunity for a female candidate,” he said.
According to The Daily Telegraph, the Liberal Party’s Women’s Council president Jacqui Munro is currently the top choice among moderate Liberals like Mr Kean.
Mr Poulos’ departure from the campaign trail came the day after NSW Finance Minister, Damien Tudehope resigned from the cabinet after he was found to have owned $65,000 in Transurban shares in a family superannuation fund. Labor’s candidate for Monaro, and former Raiders star Terry Campese, also withdrew from the campaign after footage emerged of him at a sex party.
Addressing the litany of scandals that hit both political parties, Mr Elliott said it was a sign that Australian political parties needed to “remain competitive”.
“The problem is when we don’t have healthy competition for pre selections, we end up with duds,” he said.
“I’m not saying any of those four people were duds … but I can tell you they all made mistakes.
“At the moment, what we see in politics is people that are either inappropriate for public life, or they there for reasons that are not true and honest.”
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