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Matt Kean set to become NSW Liberal Party deputy leader

Why Dom Perrottet has just signed his political death warrant: Warning that Premier’s choice of Matt Kean as deputy leader could alienate the party faithful: ‘So far left, so woke and so green’

  • Matt Kean, 40, has been elected unopposed as deputy liberal leader in NSW 
  • Premier Perrottet made sure by telling challenger David Elliott to stand down 
  • Mr Kean is a climate champion and will appeal to the centre ground
  • But there are fears the right-wing Liberal base will be turned off by him 

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NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet risks losing the support of some traditional Liberal Party voters by choosing leading moderate and climate champion Matt Kean to be his deputy.

Mr Kean was elected unopposed as deputy Liberal leader on Tuesday after right-winger David Elliott pulled out of the race saying the Premier didn’t want him.

The position had become vacant after Stuart Ayres resigned last week over allegations he was inappropriately involved in recruiting John Barilaro to a lucrative US trade role, allegations he denies.

As Treasurer and a leading moderate, Mr Kean was the obvious choice to complement Mr Perrottet who is from the right faction of the Liberals.

The Premier wanted to end internal division and avoid a ballot so effectively instructed Mr Elliott, who is from the centre right, to pull out of the race. 

Leading moderate and climate champion Matt Kean has been elected unopposed as Liberal deputy in NSW

Leading moderate and climate champion Matt Kean has been elected unopposed as Liberal deputy in NSW 

Mr Kean’s election will undoubtedly help the Liberals appeal to the centre – and particularly the climate conscious voters who helped turf out the Morrison government at the May federal election by electing teal independents in formerly safe Liberal seats.

The Treasurer was a big critic of the Morrison government on integrity and climate, declaring: ‘Not having solutions to the big challenges our nation is facing, like climate change, is not acceptable.’ 

And he has even espoused a vision of ‘new capitalism’ about charting the ‘environmental and social benefits of the decisions we take, not just the financial benefits’. 

However, some fear his election as deputy liberal leader may turn off the die-hard Liberals on the right of the party, pushing them to minor parties right-wing such as One Nation. 

Certainly NSW One Nation leader Mark Latham hopes this will be the case, describing Mr Kean as a ‘vote loser’ for the Liberals.

The Premier (right with Queensland leader Annastacia Palaszczuk) wanted to end internal division and avoid a ballot

The Premier (right with Queensland leader Annastacia Palaszczuk) wanted to end internal division and avoid a ballot

The Premier (right with Queensland leader Annastacia Palaszczuk) wanted to end internal division and avoid a ballot

‘All the feedback I get is that Matt Kean is a massive vote loser for the Liberal Party. He’s gone so far left, so far woke and so green,’ Mr Latham told 2GB radio.

The veteran politician believes the Perrottet government will probably lose to Chris Minns’ Labor in March.  

‘I think it’s another sign of a dying government. They’ve lost sense of where the electorate has got to. They have lost a sense of their party voting base,’ he said.

Earlier on Tuesday, Mr Elliott explained that Premier Perrottet had effectively told him to stand down from the deputy leadership race. 

‘He certainly didn’t tell me to withdraw, but he certainly said that he didn’t want to have a ballot. And I respect that,’ the frontbencher told 2GB.

‘I told him I respect his wish to pick his own deputy. I’ve had to eat some Humble Pie today.’

Under Treasurer Kean, NSW will spend an extra $38million on its electric car strategy this year, taking total investment to $633million in a bid to boost Australia's slow take-up of electric cars

Under Treasurer Kean, NSW will spend an extra $38million on its electric car strategy this year, taking total investment to $633million in a bid to boost Australia's slow take-up of electric cars

Under Treasurer Kean, NSW will spend an extra $38million on its electric car strategy this year, taking total investment to $633million in a bid to boost Australia’s slow take-up of electric cars

As Treasurer, Mr Kean has championed NSW’s green transition. 

In the state Budget in June, he announced an extra $38million for NSW’s electric car strategy, taking total investment to more than half a billion dollars.

The cash will be spent on rolling out more charging points in streets, apartment buildings and designated charging stations.

Mr Kean said rolling out more chargers will ‘allow more EV drivers to benefit from their cheaper running costs and a cleaner, quieter and more sustainable road network.’

He added: ‘You’ll never be far from a charger on our major highways, in regional destinations, apartment buildings and on kerbsides in metropolitan areas with limited off-street parking.’

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