Dominic Perrottet vows 'unity and stability' as he enters race for next NSW premier

NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet says Stuart Ayres will also run with him on a ticket as his deputy.

NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet and NSW Western Sydney Minister Stuart Ayres.

NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet and NSW Western Sydney Minister Stuart Ayres. Source: AAP

NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet has officially put himself forward as a candidate to be the next premier of the state when the NSW Liberal party room meets on Tuesday. 

Western Sydney Minister Stuart Ayres, who also holds the portfolios for jobs and tourism, will run on the same ticket to be the deputy leader of the party. 

"We believe this is a team that will provide unity, stability and experience to continue the work of Gladys Berejiklian," Mr Perrottet told reporters.

Mr Ayres said he hoped to provide a more prominent voice for those in Western Sydney and others across the state. 

"This is a leadership ticket that everyone across NSW can support."

Mr Perrottet said another potential candidate for the role of NSW premier, Matt Kean, had offered his support for the ticket of Mr Perrottet and Mr Ayres. 

"Matt Kean is a very important part of this team and has endorsed this ticket to be put forward to the party on Tuesday," the father of six and a member of the Liberal Party's right faction said. 

"Over the last 48 hours we have consulted with our colleagues."

It is believed that Matt Kean will be backing the ticket with the plan to serve as the next NSW treasurer. 

Andrew Constance out of race, declares shift to federal politics

The leadership contest narrowed earlier on Sunday with potential candidate Andrew Constance declaring his intent to shift to federal politics. 

The NSW frontbencher will quit state parliament by year's end and seek to become the federal Liberal candidate for Gilmore.

The state transport minister says he will quit the NSW front bench in the coming week and plans to step down as the Bega MP by end of 2021, triggering a by-election.

Mr Constance came to national prominence amid the 2019-20 "Black Summer" bushfire season as he fought to defend his fire-hit community on NSW's south coast.

Gladys Berejiklian resigns as NSW Premier

He has been the Bega MP since March 2003.

"I love our region, its people and I could not be more proud to continue to serve. From Black Summer to the pandemic, we are the strongest and most resilient communities that you will ever see," Mr Constance said.

There are now four senior liberals vying to be the new NSW premier after the shock resignation of Gladys Berejiklian.

Former prime minister John Howard has thrown his weight behind Dominic Perrottet.

"I do think his background, his experiences as treasurer and very importantly his commitment to economic reform mean that he, of all of them, is the best person to take over the helm," Mr Howard told Sky New's Sunday Agenda program.

"We need to keep going with things like economic reform, he is very committed to taxation reform."

Former Australian Prime Minister John Howard
Source: AAP

Planning Minister Rob Stokes is so far the only senior cabinet minister to formally throw his hat in the ring, arguing he possesses "the right balance of experience, vision and integrity" needed to assume the role at such a pivotal time.

Another considering his options is Attorney-General Mark Speakman.

"I'm heartened by the encouragement I've received from colleagues to nominate and I'll have more to say tomorrow," he said on Saturday.

Tough job to replace popular leader

Whoever wins the leadership race has a tough act to follow.

A wildly popular premier, Ms Berejiklian since her resignation has been lauded by everyone from state Opposition Leader Chris Minns - who said he "cannot fault her dedication and hard work" - to Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who praised her "heroic" qualities.

Constituents on Saturday flocked to her home and office with flowers and balloons, while others put up handmade signs.

Messages and flowers outside the electoral office of Gladys Berejiklian, in Sydney.
Source: AAP

Ms Berejiklian announced her resignation on Friday after the state's corruption watchdog disclosed the 51-year-old was under investigation for potential breaches of public trust.

The ICAC says it is investigating whether she "exercised public functions" in a position of conflict given her secret five-year relationship with ex-MP Daryl Maguire.

Teary and at times angry, she said on Friday she had "no option" other than to resign but denied any wrongdoing.

She will also resign from parliament as soon as a by-election for her seat of Willoughby on Sydney's Lower North Shore can be held.

Additional reporting: Anna Henderson

Published 3 October 2021 at 10:15am, updated 3 October 2021 at 10:05pm
Source: AAP - SBS