John Barilaro inquiry into $500K New York job as Labor question leaves former deputy premier furious
John Barilaro, the former deputy prime minister of NSW, finally lost his cool Monday afternoon after continued blows from Labor during the investigation in his nomination for a $500,000 job in New York.
A senior official was initially promised the elite trade job in New York before it was given to Mr. Barilaro.
The former NSW Deputy Prime Minister was due to take up the position in June, but resigned after intense media scrutiny revealed a number of questions about the job, with an investigation into the appointment commencing in late June.
Mr Barilaro was faced with targeted questions from the opposition for most of Monday during the inquiry and did his best to weather the blows and keep his composure when asked about his credentials for the job, how he would play the lucrative role. scored and whoever was involved with him winning the position.
But the opposition finally handed Mr Barilaro down by midday, prompting him to blow up the questioners and describe himself as “the victim.”
There were angry raised voices on both sides about the timing of his resignation from politics and when a submission to change the nomination process for the role was addressed by the Liberal National Cabinet.
An outraged Mr Barilaro said it was “disgusting” to suggest he was trying to change the process so he could apply and get the role he called a “s**t show” – from which he resigned before he ever recorded because of the scandal it caused in the past two months.
“I will absolutely refute that disgusting slur and accusation (that he changed the process to benefit himself),” he said.
Former NSW Deputy Prime Minister John Barilaro testifies during the inquiry into his appointment as Senior Trade and Investment Commissioner for America at NSW Parliament House in Sydney on Monday, August 8, 2022
He was then asked by Labor, ‘Which part is disgusting?’
He replied, “You think I’m corrupt,” and later added that he was “the victim…not the perpetrator.”
Mr. Barilaro was also rocked by questions about his relationship with Jennifer Lugsdin, whom he inquired about a job she was interested in and subsequently got.
Ms Lugsdin was his media advisor at the time he called on her behalf with Amy Brown, Head of Investment NSW.
Mr Barilaro said he could not remember when that conversation with Ms Brown took place but that he was not in a relationship with Ms Lugsdin at the time.
“I had no relationship with her when I was Deputy Prime Minister or Minister of Commerce,” he said.
Ms Brown later indicated that Investment NSW had asked Ms Lugsdin to make a conflict of interest declaration in December 2021, following media reports of her relationship with Mr Barilaro.
‘But we don’t actually have any data on that happening. Most likely because we ended her employment with us on December 22, which was just a few days later,” she said.
Labor MP Penny Sharpe said the opposition will present evidence when Mr Barilaro returns Friday, showing that Ms Lugsdin was involved in press releases advertising the New York trade role.
“We indicate that we are going to spend more time on this… and that’s how (Mr. Barilaro) found out about the job,” she said.
Johnn Barilaro was rocked by questions about his relationship with Jennifer Lugsdin (pictured), for whom he inquired about a job she was interested in and then got
“Someone you have a relationship with… was clearly aware of the different processes involved in advertising and the nature of this position.”
The research chair, Greens MP Cate Faehrmann, asked Mr. Barilaro if he “see why the public is suspicious of this whole process?”
“I absolutely understand. That’s why I’m here today, voluntarily, to explain the process,” he said, sitting in front of a sign saying “Intervene, Investigate, Inform.”
“It was a public service, an independent process. You cannot rule out the possibility that you are a former Member of Parliament.’
Mr Barilaro added: ‘I am the victim, I am not the perpetrator.
‘What did I do wrong? I was offered a job, I took the job… I can’t tell you what happened behind closed doors because I wasn’t involved.’
Amy Brown (pictured) witnessed the investigation into John Barilaro’s nomination for a $500,000 job in New York
Before the inquiry broke before lunch, Mr. Barilaro was determined not to name the third umpire in his application for the New York job, even though it had already been revealed that his other two umpires were senior official Gary Barnes and the US Ambassador to Australia. , Arthur Sinodinos, were .
But after contacting the referee – former NSW Prime Minister Mr O’Farrell – during the break, he was able to reveal his name when the inquiry resumed.
Mr Barilaro said Mr O’Farrell was ‘one of the reasons I got into politics. He inspired, he’s been a good friend,” he said.
“I have been fortunate to have met some wonderful people on my life journey.
“Mr. O’Farrell knew and knows my skills and abilities. He’s been a supporter and friend, and I asked him.’
As the pressure began to show on him, Mr. Barilaro said, “If I knew what I know now, I wish I had never applied (for the job in New York).
Former NSW Deputy Prime Minister John Barilaro is pictured during the inquiry into his appointment as Senior Trade and Investment Commissioner for America at NSW Parliament House in Sydney on Monday, August 8, 2022
“If I’d known what I know now, I wouldn’t have walked into that s**t show.”
He said this was because “the trauma I’ve been through over the past six to seven weeks is significant.”
While it is understandable there that Mr. Barilaro views recent events as “traumatic”, that was less the case when he said that in his application he “had no other information that no other candidate would have had”.
“I refute that I somehow used information that is not available to anyone else,” he said.
Sparks are sure to fly on Friday when Mr Barilaro returns to the inquiry, with Labor indicating many more tough questions to come.
Monday’s events appear to have been the calm before the storm.
John Barilaro’s opening statement to the NSW Parliament inquiry into New York’s Trade Commissioner role
“I refute any suggestion of wrongdoing. Refute the suggestion that I created the role for myself.
“I refute any suggestions that I sought special treatment during the application process to the public service, where an independent panel selected me on merit as the preferred candidate.
“We have heard from longstanding, professional senior officials that I was a credible and capable candidate with many qualities to fill this important role for the people of our great state.
“Therefore I have publicly ridiculed my credentials and application and what is nothing less than an abuse of my privacy.
“Let me make this clear. I applied as a private individual for a government position. Nothing excluded me from that.
“I followed the exact same process that others were offered.
‘I went through several interviews, psychometric tests and police checks. I was offered a job. I accepted the job. I then retired from this job.
‘From that moment on I have enjoyed what can only be described as personal hell, unfair and unjust.
“I look forward to presenting my case to this committee today.”