Dominic Perrottet is set to become the next premier of NSW. Who is he?


Gregory Melleuish, University of WollongongIn many ways, this is the worst possible time for a new premier to take the helm in New South Wales. The resignation of John Barilaro as deputy premier creates an even greater mood of uncertainty and, perhaps, insecurity.

The state is due to open up, at least partially, in the next week, and with the end of lockdown will come a need for a different type of leadership than has been exhibited over the past few months. Gladys Berejiklian has done a reasonable job during the pandemic, as can be seen from the outpouring of support, even grief, at her decision to call it a day.

However, there have also been many complaints about her government’s actions, particularly in the western suburbs of Sydney. She has at times appeared to be the premier for the north shore and eastern suburbs. For any Liberal premier of New South Wales, such a perception is extremely dangerous as elections are won in outer suburban and regional electorates.

In the 18 months before the next election, especially given the slender Coalition majority in the Legislative Assembly, the new premier will need to ensure, or at least create the perception, that the government is working on behalf of all of the state.




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Assuming Dominic Perrottet becomes the next premier, it is worth asking what he brings to that position and how it will affect the politics of the state over the next year. It is also worth pointing out that Perrottet, along with Planning Minister Rob Stokes, is from the north shore. That probably explains why he chose to run with Stuart Ayres, who represents the western Sydney seat of Penrith.

Both Perrottet and Ayres are quite young: Perrottet is 39; Ayres 41. They represent a new generation of leaders.

Perrottet grew up on the north shore, where he attended Redfield College and Oakhill College. Interestingly, neither school plays rugby league, compared to St Dominic’s College, Penrith, which Ayres attended and which counts among its alumni Nathan Cleary, Des Hasler and Brad Fittler.

Perrottet’s father works for the World Bank and he is one of 12 children. The family are religious Catholics.

Perrottet’s further education and career indicate he followed in his father’s footsteps in another way. He studied economics and law at university before working as a commercial lawyer.

He was elected to the state parliament in the landslide of 2011, at the tender age of 29. He quickly advanced up the ministerial ladder, primarily in economic portfolios. He began with finance in 2015, before advancing to industrial relations and then treasury and the deputy leadership of the Liberal Party in 2017.

Perrottet’s rise demonstrates he is very capable and intelligent, and he has “topped the class” of those candidates who went into parliament in 2011.

Perrottet has risen quickly through the ranks since entering parliament in 2011.
Dan Himbrechts/AAP

But his career also says something about what it means to be on the right in the modern Liberal Party. In some ways, he resembles former Liberal leader Nick Greiner, as a highly financially literate technocrat who sees the world through a business lens. While Greiner’s policies resonated on the north shore and in safe Liberal seats, they were his Achille’s heel everywhere else. So in the 1991 election, Greiner increased his proportion of the vote in safe Liberal seats while losing crucial seats in other areas, leading to minority government.

The other important aspect of Perrottet’s persona is his conservative Catholicism. One of his original sponsors was MLC David Clarke, a well-known conservative Catholic and leader of the conservatives in the Liberal Party. He is pro-life and opposed to assisted dying.

Perrottet has claimed his personal religious beliefs do not affect his work in public life. In any case, he requires the support of the moderates, who hold quite different moral and social values, to get legislation through.

His economic and financial experience will be far more important for his role as premier. He is focused very much on the economy and, as treasurer, aware of the huge debt that the state has incurred. Back in July, he reportedly opposed the extension of the current lockdown. He has also indicated he could change the current roadmap out of lockdown in the state.

In what seems to have been the perennial issue of the pandemic – public health versus the economy – there is no doubt Perrottet comes down on the side of the economy.

Certainly, the economy will loom larger as the state comes out of the worst of the pandemic. It is also the case that a focus on the economy will win him plaudits from the north shore, which has suffered fewer COVID cases than other areas of Sydney.




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The problem is that the state still has to navigate its way through the lifting of restrictions and the consequences of that action. It is not clear, despite high levels of vaccination, that all will be plain sailing.

Berejiklian honed her public relations skills during the pandemic and demonstrated a capacity to reassure the wider population that there was light at the end of the tunnel. Even so, she did not reach everyone.

Perrottet is largely untested in these matters. He will need to reassure the people of New South Wales that his focus is not just economic and financial. He could well ponder the fate of Nick Greiner.

Gladys Berejiklian was able to reassure the people of NSW through the worst of the pandemic.
Joel Carrett/AAP

That situation will not be made easier by Barilaro’s resignation. It is still somewhat of a mystery as to why he resigned. Could he really have been pushed into resignation by a nuisance YouTuber?

Whatever the reason, it will make the job of the new premier all the more difficult as it will be a new leadership team that seeks to guide NSW through largely uncharted waters.

How this new team handles those circumstances may well determine the outcome of the next state election.The Conversation

Gregory Melleuish, Professor, School of Humanities and Social Inquiry, University of Wollongong

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Labor retains clear Newspoll lead with voters approving of AUKUS; Perrottet set to be next NSW premier


AAP/Dan Himbrechts

Adrian Beaumont, The University of MelbourneThis week’s Newspoll, conducted September 29 to October 3 from a sample of 1,545, gave Labor a 53-47 lead, unchanged from last fortnight’s Newspoll. Primary votes were 37% Coalition (steady), 37% Labor (down one), 11% Greens (up one), 2% One Nation (down one) and 13% for all Others (up one).

It is likely Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party makes up a sizeable fraction of the Others vote. UAP ads have been ubiquitous, and they won 3.4% at the 2019 election, more than the 3.1% for One Nation, although One Nation did not contest all seats.

49% were dissatisfied with Scott Morrison’s performance (down one), and 48% were satisfied (up two), for a net approval of -1, up three points. Anthony Albanese’s net approval improved one point to -10. Morrison led as better PM by 47-34 (47-35 last fortnight).

For the large majority of this term, each Newspoll has been conducted three weeks apart. The two-week gap this time suggests they will do more polls in the lead-up to the election, due by May 2022. Newspoll figures are from The Poll Bludger.

By 59-31, voters approved of the AUKUS agreement, though the question did not mention the time to get the new submarines. 46% thought AUKUS would make Australia more secure, 29% that it would make no difference and 14% thought it would make us less secure. By 75-15, voters thought China posed a significant threat to our national security.

Labor has had a lead of 53-47 or more in all Newspolls conducted since July, but I am sceptical this solid position for Labor will mean a victory at the election. Once vaccination targets are met and lockdowns ease in Melbourne and Sydney, the economy is likely to rapidly recover, boosting the Coalition’s chances.

Furthermore, the Resolve polls in August and September have been far better for the Coalition than Newspoll. As I wrote after the late August Newspoll disagreed with Resolve, the different message in Resolve should not be ignored.




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The Guardian’s datablog has 45.2% of the population (not 16+) fully vaccinated, up from 37.2% two weeks ago. We rank 33 of 38 OECD countries in share of population fully vaccinated, unchanged since last fortnight. The Age shows 56.5% of 16+ are fully vaccinated and 79.4% have received at least one dose.

Essential and Morgan polls

In last week’s Essential poll, the federal government had a 45-30 good rating on its response to COVID (43-35 in mid-September, 39-36 in late August). The NSW government’s good rating has surged 13 points since late August to 53%, while Victoria fell back to 44% good after rising six points to 50% in mid-September.

50% of Victorian respondents said they didn’t have confidence in their state’s roadmap out of lockdown, compared with 40% of NSW respondents.

A late September Morgan poll from a sample of 2,752 gave Labor a 54-46 lead, a 1.5% gain for Labor since the mid-September poll. Primary votes were 36% Coalition (down 2.5%), 36% Labor (up 1%), 12.5% Greens (down 0.5%), 3.5% One Nation (up 0.5%) and 12% for all Others (up 1.5%).

Essential vs Resolve’s issue questions

In Essential, the Liberals had a 15-point lead over Labor on national security and a 10-point lead on economic management, while Labor led by 13 points on climate change, and 18 on fair wages and workplace conditions. Since October 2019, Labor has improved five points on the economy.

Essential’s issue questions give very different outcomes from Resolve’s, where Labor led the Liberals by just one point on the environment and climate change in September. Resolve gives a “someone else” option, and people who support the Greens on this issue select “someone else”, but a large majority of them prefer Labor to the Liberals.

It is likely there is also a pro-incumbent skew in Resolve’s questions, as they use “the Liberals and Morrison” versus “Labor and Albanese”. Morrison has had large leads over Albanese as better PM, so this formulation likely skews towards the current PM.

Newspoll quarterly aggregate data: July to September

Newspoll provides state and demographic breakdowns from all its polls conducted during a three-month period. As reported by The Poll Bludger on September 27, the September quarter Newspoll data gave Labor a 52-48 lead in NSW, a two-point gain for Labor since the June quarter, and a four-point gain since the 2019 election.

In Victoria, Labor’s lead blew out five points from June to 58-42, a five point gain for Labor since the last election. In Queensland, the Coalition led by 55-45, a two-point gain for them since July, but a 3.4% swing to Labor since the election. In WA, Labor led by 54-46, which would be a swing of almost 10% to Labor since the election.

Perrottet set to become next NSW premier

Gladys Berejiklian announced she would resign as New South Wales premier on Friday, owing to ICAC investigations. Media reports, such as in The Guardian, indicate that the right-aligned treasurer, Dominic Perrottet, is set to be elected NSW Liberal leader and thus premier at a Liberal party room meeting on Tuesday under a factional deal.

Berejiklian is also resigning as Member for Willoughby (held by 21.0%), so there will be a byelection soon. There will be other byelections in Bega (Lib 6.9%), where the Liberal MP Andrew Constance has announced he will contest the federal seat of Gilmore, and in Monaro (Nat 11.6%), as Nationals leader John Barilaro is retiring. Other NSW MPs may quit in the near future, so there could be several byelections on the same date.

Nobody wins German election

At the September 26 German election, the centre-left SPD won 25.7% (up 5.2% from 2017), the conservative CDU/CSU 24.1% (down 8.8%), the Greens 14.8% (up 5.9%), the pro-business FDP 11.5% (up 0.8%), the far-right AfD 10.3% (down 2.3%) and the far-left Left 4.9% (down 4.3%).

The Left was below the 5% threshold, but won three of the 299 single-member seats to barely retain a proportional allocation of seats. Right-wing parties combined defeated the combined left by a 45.9-45.4 margin, and this is reflected in parliament where left-wing parties won 363 of the 735 seats, just short of the 368 needed for a majority.

No other party will cooperate with the AfD, but no government of the left can be formed. Protracted negotiations are likely to achieve a governing coalition. I live blogged this election for The Poll Bludger.The Conversation

Adrian Beaumont, Honorary Associate, School of Mathematics and Statistics, The University of Melbourne

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.