Why Dominic Perrottet doesn’t risk a reshuffle on election night

After weeks of facing the damaging fiasco of John Barilaro’s trade appointment, Perrottet was forced to leave the ministry after a review raised questions about whether he was staying his distance from the controversial US trade post that was hounding the government. Ayres has suffered in the back seat ever since and seethes that he was made a scapegoat.

A reshuffle is always stressful, which is why Perrottet no doubt refrained from doing so. Ambitious cloud judgments and fractional deals must be taken into account. It could be devastating to shift the deckchairs so close to an election, risking an internal war that already exists in some parts of the party.

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet (right) speaks with Stuart Ayres at a media event on Monday.

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet (right) speaks with Stuart Ayres at a media event on Monday.Credit:Kate Geraghty

Presumably Perrottet sees the benefit in having experienced hands argue the government’s position in the campaign rather than throwing untried new ministers into the white heat of battle. Ministers know what is expected of them and have the confidence to withstand most Labor attacks.

But it’s a risky move for a 12-year-old government looking to convince voters it’s new and fresh.

While it relies on old hands for merit, it also shows Perrottet’s lack of depth in his front bench should he defy the polls and win an historic fourth term. Another glaring problem he will have when choosing his new ministers in the event of victory is a lack of women.

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Despite watching her federal peers being brutally punished in May’s election for not taking women seriously, the Liberals’ NSW division has not learned its lesson.

With the exception of North Shore MP Felicity Wilson, all Liberal candidates for the blue-ribbon constituencies north of the Harbor Bridge (where the risk of blue-green candidates is highest) are male. In 10 out of 11 seats on Sydney’s north shore, the Liberal Party will be represented by men.

Perrottet tried to push the case for more women, but the factions prevailed. When he stamped his foot and demanded that the House of Lords ticket should represent society – that is, 50 percent representation by women – his own faction turned against him, threatening to leak details or worse – a photograph from his 21st birthday .Birthday party he was at to publish disguised as a Nazi.

Meanwhile, Labor has established its front bench since Chris Minns took the lead in June 2021, with the exception of hotheaded MP Walt Secord, who quit amid bullying allegations, and One Nation recruit Tania Mihailuk, who blamed the party to stand too close to the developers .

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Senior opposition politicians like Shadow Treasurer Daniel Mookhey, Street Speaker John Graham and Environment spokeswoman Penny Sharpe had 18 months to hand over their portfolios. But that’s not without its own problems. Only former leader Michael Daley, who led the party to defeat in 2019, has experience as a cabinet minister. If Labor wins, it will be a baptism of fire for the new front bench. The government is a very different beast than the opposition.

After Berejiklian’s stunning ouster, Perrottet needed to act quickly to establish himself as the fresh face who would deliver a renewed government worthy of another four-year term. But as the Federal Liberals have also learned, an election is about the future and Labor will certainly point out that under Perrottet it is not clear what that future looks like.

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https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/why-perrottet-won-t-risk-an-election-eve-reshuffle-20230124-p5cf51.html?ref=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_source=rss_national_nsw Why Dominic Perrottet doesn’t risk a reshuffle on election night

Callan Tansill

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