Meet the senior Cambridge-educated lawyer-turned-politician who will replace Dominic Perrottet as NSW Opposition Leader
- Mark Speakman elected new NSW opposition leader
- He is an ex-Attorney General and a high-flying lawyer
NSW’s Liberal party chamber has elected a lawyer and a moderate to lead the opposition coalition almost a month after its defeat in the state election.
Former Attorney General Mark Speakman won a party hall vote at the NSW Parliament as Liberal MPs met on Friday.
He had previously stated that he would run for NSW Opposition Leader on Friday morning as a number of MPs gave their support to the Cambridge-educated MP from Cronulla.
New NSW Opposition Leader Mark Speakman (second from right) with ex-Prime Minister Gladys Berejiklian and former Transport Minister Andrew Constance
“I work in a united team with Damien Tudehope and Natalie Ward,” Mr Speakman told reporters as he entered parliament with the pair.
Mr Speakman’s main competitor came from former cabinet minister and right-wing faction party Anthony Roberts, who signed earlier this month that he intended to run.
Alister Henskens, another ex-minister who tested his leadership chances after the March 25 election loss, declined to confirm before the meeting whether he would be a candidate.
MP Mark Coure said he would support Mr Speakman.
“I think he will do a fantastic job for the Liberal Party.”
Mr. Speakman gives a speech in his formal legal attire as Attorney General
Another former minister, James Griffin, said Speakman was the best man to hold the new Labor government to account.
Former deputy leader and moderate Matt Kean arrived in parliament with MP Chris Rath and both refused to say who they would support.
The party hall is also voting to replace Mr Kean, who stepped down in the wake of the coalition’s election defeat.
“The dust has had time to settle and we still have a lot of hard work ahead of us,” said Mr Kean.
“What we need is a strong, stable and sensible leader to hold Labor accountable.”
MPs continued to vote on other leadership positions as the meeting continued in the banquet hall.
Western Sydney Conservative MP Tanya Davies was tipped for the deputy role after she ran on a platform to regain seats in Sydney’s suburbs lost to Labour.
The Badgerys Creek MP made headlines last year when she caught COVID-19 after speaking at a rally against vaccine mandates outside the state parliament.
A challenge from North Shore MP Felicity Wilson was expected to complicate Ms Davies’ chances.
The name of newly elected Liberal MP Kellie Sloane was also mooted as a possible deputy, but she did not fight in Friday’s sitting.
Ms Ward, the former Secretary of State for Women’s Affairs, is favored to become Leader of the House of Lords, replacing ex-Chancellor of the Exchequer, Mr Tudehope.
Prime Minister Chris Minns said he had a shared responsibility to work with the new opposition leader to guide policy decisions and improve the state.
“All I care about is making NSW the best it can be… so I take the position seriously, it’s a very difficult job,” Mr Minns told reporters on Thursday.
Earlier this month, junior coalition partner NSW Nationals leader Paul Toole and deputy Bronnie Taylor re-elected at their own banquet hall meeting