New South Wales Treasurer Matt Keane elected State Deputy Liberal Party Leader

Treasurer Matt Keene was elected without a vote as Liberal Party leader as the New South Wales (NSW) Legislature resumes after winter break.

Government whip Nathaniel Smith announced Tuesday that Keane would take the position.

“There was only one candidate running for election, but our new deputy leader…was elected without a ballot,” Smith said.

The position was vacated last week after Stuart Ayers resigned from the Foreign Office over his involvement in former Deputy Prime Minister John Barillaro’s controversial appointment to the role of foreign trade.

The New South Wales Legislature reopened on Tuesday, putting the minority government in a tight spot trying to keep a string of scandals from progressing until elections in March.

The election of a new deputy leader was made de facto for the Liberal Party on Monday.

The only other person to raise his hand was the liberal Transport Secretary David Elliott, who did so hours after Keene announced his candidacy.

Ayers and former Fair Trade Minister Eleni Petinos will both move to the back bench when parliament resumes.

Ayers has been in the cabinet for more than eight years, but Petinos faces an easier adjustment in a cabinet less than eight months old.

After defending Petinos when allegations of bullying emerged from her office, leader Dominic Perrotet fired the minister following further information about her actions.

He could face questions about the details of that information from the opposition, and a spoiled crossbench in choosing which scandals to pursue.

Perrotet became prime minister in October after Gladys Berejiklian resigned amid a corruption probe, which has yet to be resolved.

Former Deputy Prime Minister John Barillaro has caused trouble for another, but almost simultaneous, resignation after being appointed Senior Trade and Investment Commissioner for the Americas.

He resigned from the role within two weeks of the appointment being made public in June, saying it had become “unacceptable.”

But questions remain about how he got the position, and the commission investigated the appointment at a hearing from Barillaro on Monday.

He said the investigation yielded no evidence that he had done anything wrong, but he regrets applying for the job.

The inquiry was separate from the Prime Minister’s and Cabinet’s review of the appointment, and the draft prompted Ayers to resign after confirming that he may have interfered in the hiring process.

Labor is looking to expand its probe to other foreign trade and investment announcements it has promised to repeal if it wins the March elections.

The government is also facing double scrutiny over its response to devastating floods that hit the state earlier this year.

The Prime Minister received reports from former NSW Chief Scientist Mary O’Kane and former Police Commissioner Mick Fuller, but has yet to make them public as promised.

The final report of another congressional commission’s investigation into the state’s flood response is due Tuesday.

A coalition government has ruled New South Wales since a landslide victory in the 2011 election, but the minority government is nearing the end of its third term after the Liberal Party ousted two party members. .

Kiama Rep. Gareth Ward was accused of sexual assault, and Drummoyne Rep. John Sidoti was recently exposed for corruption by the state’s integrity watchdog.

The prime minister said in July that he would seek suspension from parliament after Mr Sidoti refused to resign because of corruption he had vowed to fight.



Australian Associated Press is an Australian news agency.