Mike Baird New NSW Premier; Elected Unopposed With Gladys Berejiklian As Deputy

3.30pm – The NSW Liberal Party has elected Mike Baird unopposed as its new leader. Gladys Berejiklian has been elected deputy leader, also unopposed.

Baird

Baird was sworn in as the 44th Premier of NSW at 6.17pm today, replacing Barry O’Farrell, who resigned yesterday after giving misleading evidence to the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC). [Read more…]


Barry O’Farrell Resigns After Handwritten Thank-You Note For Wine Is Tendered At ICAC

The Liberal Premier of New South Wales, Barry O’Farrell has resigned, after a handwritten thank-you note for a 1959 bottle of Grange was tendered at ICAC.

The thank-you note was handed to ICAC this morning by Nick Di Girolamo, the chief executive of Australian Water Holdings. Yesterday, O’Farrell denied receiving the gift or phoning Di Girolamo to thank him.

O'Farrell

Thank-you note

O’Farrell described his behaviour as a “massive failure of memory”. [Read more…]


NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell Denies Receiving $2979 Bottle Of Grange; Bruising Encounter With Media After ICAC Appearance

The New South Wales Liberal Premier, Barry O’Farrell, has denied receiving a $2979 bottle of Grange from Australian Water Holdings in what has been described as an attempt to butter him up over a public-private partnership proposal.

O'Farrell

Appearing at the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC), O’Farrell said he could not recall a phone call on April 20, 2011 to the then chief executive of Australian Water Holdings (AWH), Nick Di Girolamo. He denied receiving the wine or calling to thank Di Girolamo. [Read more…]


Gillard Offers Western Sydney Motorway Funding With Conditions

On the first full day of her week-long campaign in western Sydney, Prime Minister Julia Gillard has promised funding for the western Sydney motorway network, provided the state government comes up with an acceptable business plan.

Speaking beside a noisy motorway with Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese and Labor MPs from western Sydney, Gillard stipulated several conditions for her government’s support for WestConnex project. [Read more…]


Gillard Claims Progress On NDIS And Power Prices Following COAG Meeting

The Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, has claimed progress on the National Disability Insurance Scheme and reform of the electricity market following today’s meeting of the Council of Australian Governments.

Julia Gillard

Gillard and the state and territory leaders reached agreement to establish a new Standing Council on Disability Reform. Gillard said: “The Agreement provides the foundation for all governments to work together to develop and implement the first stage of these important reforms.” [Read more…]


Gillard And O’Farrell Reach Agreement On NDIS Funding In N.S.W.

The Federal and New South Wales governments have reached an agreement that will allow for the full roll out of a National Disability Insurance Scheme in NSW by July 2018.

Gillard-O'Farrell

Speaking at a joint press conference today, Prime Minister Gillard and Premier Barry O’Farrell announced that the Commonwealth will provide $3.2 billion in 2018, 51.4% of the funding needed. NSW will provide $3.32 billion. [Read more…]


As NSW And Victoria Offer NDIS Money, A Political Win For Gillard

5.10pm – New South Wales has joined Victoria in offering to contribute to a trial of the National Disability Insurance Scheme. Prime Minister Julia Gillard has welcomed the breakthrough.

Julia Gillard

Earlier this afternoon, Premier Ted Baillieu announced that Victoria would contribute $42 million to the trial. Shortly afterwards, NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell offered to provide $35 million for a trial, less than the federal government was asking.

Speaking at a 5pm press conference, Gillard said: “I am now very optimistic that we will see NDIS launch sites in NSW and Victoria. We still have work to do with NSW but I’m optimistic. I want to see a robust launch site in the Hunter.”

O’Farrell tweeted: “Testing goodwill – both NSW and Victoria have come halfway and we now hope the Commonwealth will equally show a determination to end the impasse.”

The Victorian and NSW decisions represent an important political win for Gillard that comes after two days of pressure on the coalition premiers.

Nevertheless, the outcome is a tactical victory for Gillard. Whilst ensuring a full-scale trial of the NDIS is now likely in 2013, no decision has been made about ongoing funding.

Newspaper reports today on this week’s COAG meeting said the coalition premiers were willing to support a Medicare-style levy to fund the NDIS. The reports said Gillard rejected this out of fear that Opposition Leader Tony Abbott would mount another “great big new tax” campaign.

Unless Gillard can lock in a decision on funding, the final shape of the scheme will fall to the next government.

  • Listen to Gillard’s press conference (13m)