John Barilaro gives evidence to NSW Parliament inquiry into $500k New York job over Jenny West
John Barilaro Finally Investigates After Getting $500,000 New York ‘Dream Job’ For Top Official
- An official promised a job in New York, which he then gave to Mr. Barilaro. was given
- Scandal sparked months of negative headlines for NSW Liberal-National Coalition
- It has already cost one minister, deputy Liberal leader Stuart Ayres, his job
Former NSW Deputy Prime Minister John Barilaro has begun providing evidence for an investigation into his appointment to a “dream job” in New York, for which he pays $500,000 a year.
In his opening statement, Mr. Barilaro said the upper house inquiry is “an inquiry to clear my name.”
He said being a former MP did not take away his ‘fundamental right’ to a presumption of innocence.
A senior official was initially promised the elite-level job in New York before it was given to Mr. Barilaro.
The now-vacated job as a Senior Trade and Investment Commissioner in America has seen negative headlines for the NSW Liberal-National Coalition government for two months and has already cost a minister his job.
Deputy Liberal leader Stuart Ayres resigned last Wednesday after a draft investigation into the scandal that Mr Ayres may have violated the ministerial code of conduct.
Former NSW Deputy Prime Minister John Barilaro is pictured leaving Australia’s Federal Court in Sydney, Wednesday, March 23, 2022
At a lengthy press conference last week, a stressed-looking NSW Prime Minister Dominic Perrottet said Mr Ayres’ “intention to resign follows a briefing I received yesterday afternoon from the Ministry of Prime Minister and Cabinet Secretary”.
“I then discussed the issues raised in that briefing with Mr Ayres,” said Mr Perrottet.
He added that the draft report “raised concerns about whether Mr Ayres had complied with the ministerial code of conduct”.
“When I referred these matters to Mr Ayres, he tendered his resignation from the ministry and as deputy leader of the parliamentary Liberal party,” said Mr Perrottet.
“An investigation is now underway into whether Mr Ayres has violated the ministerial code of conduct.”
The Prime Minister hinted that Mr Ayres had little choice but to resign, saying ‘very simply, I have based my decision-making on the information I have received’.
Ayres was NSW’s second ministerial casualty in just four days.
Perrottet has fired Eleni Petinos, NSW’s Fair Trading Secretary, over allegations of bullying.
Ms Petinos was accused of calling a staff member ‘ret**ded’ and ‘stupid’, allegations she vehemently denied.
NSW Prime Minister Dominic Perrottet (pictured) under pressure after alleged ‘jobs for the boys’ scandal
In a horrific few months before the Liberal-National Coalition, the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption also found former Secretary of State John Sidoti engaged in ‘serious corrupt behavior’ regarding family property.
And Kiama MP Gareth Ward resigned from the ministry and moved to the crossbank over a police investigation into him.
In March, Ward was charged with sexual abuse allegations against a man and a 17-year-old boy.
The nomination of the former Deputy Prime Minister of NSW and leader of the Nationals, Mr Barilaro, to a job in the US earlier this year was an escalating scandal for the government.
Barilaro and his new partner were filmed lunging at camera crews after being confronted outside a bar on Sydney’s northern beaches late last month, in a sign that the pressures of the situation may have touched him.
He was locked in a scuffle with two cameramen after being confronted on a night out, with police now investigating the very public altercation.