The NSW Nationals will meet to elect a new leader on Wednesday following the resignation of John Barilaro, with Water Minister Melinda Pavey confirming his candidacy.
Melinda Pavey has been appointed head of the New South Wales Nationals following the resignation of John Barilaro, who would also see her become the state’s new Deputy Prime Minister.
Ms Pavey, who is the current Minister for Water, Property and Housing, confirmed her candidacy to Sky News Australia hours after Mr Barilaro interrupted his political career on Monday morning.
“I would love to be the leader of the Nationals and that’s why I came into your program this morning, I was clear, I contacted colleagues, I am the most experienced National Party MP in Australia”, Ms Pavey told Laura Jayes on AM Agenda.
“I think it’s time for us to have a great leader in NSW to continue the work of John Barilaro, this product differentiation, championing regions and fighting for that and I happen to be a woman too.
“It’s just about continuing to fight for our fair share, to continue to address the housing issues we now have in the NSW area.”
Ms. Pavey has served in the state parliament since 2002, first as a member of the Legislative Council before moving to the Legislative Assembly.
She won the seat at Oxley, on the north coast of New South Wales, in 2015 following the resignation of former Deputy Prime Minister Andrew Stoner.
If successful in her leadership bid, Ms Pavey would become NSW’s second female Deputy Prime Minister, after Labor Party’s Carmel Tebbutt.
Mr Barilaro, who had been deputy prime minister since November 2016, confirmed his resignation in a statement on Monday morning, just days after Gladys Berejiklian revealed she would be stepping down as prime minister.
“As we come out of lockdown, we must see this time as a new beginning for our state and welcome the opportunity it offers for a refresh,” he said.
“I decided that the time had come for me to hand over the reins to new management and to step down as Deputy Premier of NSW.
“To serve as Deputy Premier of NSW, as Leader of the NSW Nationals and as a member of Monaro has been the honor and privilege of a lifetime.”
NSW nationals will meet on Wednesday to elect a new leader who will also become deputy prime minister under the coalition deal.
Current Nationals Deputy Leader and Bathurst MP Paul Toole is also considering his leadership options.
“I am proud to work alongside John since we were elected together in 2011 and for the past three years as his deputy, and have seen the passion and ferocity he is thrown into every day.” , Mr. Toole said.
“Over the next 24 hours, I will be thinking about how best to serve our party and the people of NSW over the next period to build on the foundation he laid.”
Legislative Council member and Minister for Mental Health, Regional Youth and Women, Bronnie Taylor, said she had not ruled out the possibility of running as an MP or leader.
“I told the Upper House that the option for me to be chief was not there, but the option for me to run as deputy chief would be,” she said. at Sky News Australia.
“What happens beyond with the Monaro headquarters, with the management team, is the business of my colleagues – I owe them the respect to discuss it with them before discussing it publicly.”
Ms Taylor added: “You are not ruling anything out.”
Mr Barilaro is the third member of the coalition to resign in recent days, along with Ms Berejiklian and Transport Minister Andrew Constance.