Can ‘Teflon Premier’ Dominic Perrottet regain power, or is he too attached to his team?

Little was known of Perrottet except that he was a staunch Catholic and the father of more children than could fit in a family wagon. His critics, including those within his own party, warned NSW had never known such a right-wing leader.


Perrottet does not hide his Catholicism or his unusually large family, but fears of his ultra-conservatism have not materialized. Instead, a strong sense of social justice has clearly driven some of its policies. When he was treasurer in 2019, Perrottet was determined to expand a free breakfast program in poorer public schools. Berejiklian hated politics. Despite her firm belief in the power of education, she could not comprehend that parents would not feed their children. Why should the government do this for them? But Perrottet, whose upbringing was inseparable from the Church, understood. For him, food poverty was an issue that should not be neglected. He prevailed and the program was rolled out in 500 schools, feeding thousands of children.

After Perrottet’s streak of crisis as the new prime minister (Omicron, floods, risky by-elections, a Jobs-for-the-Boys scandal and more floods), Perrottet finally had some clear air earlier this year and was gaining momentum Follow NSW poker machine overhaul case. That seemed to end when the focus turned to Perrottet and got personal.

And yet he weathered the storm. Instead of ending him, they humanized him. Politics is a popularity contest and Perrottet has managed to raise his profile and shatter some preconceived notions. A Labor strategist this week feared Perrottet could “make a Lionel Messi” – Argentina’s World Cup hero – and drag his team over the line.

But Perrottet’s government is aging, and his team is undisciplined. Little may have stuck with the Teflon premier, but the bigger test for voters on March 25 may be how much stuck with the team.

The Opinion newsletter is a weekly collection of views that challenge, support and inform your own. Sign up here. Can ‘Teflon Premier’ Dominic Perrottet regain power, or is he too attached to his team?

Callan Tansill

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