As a parliamentary inquiry continues into the appointment of NSW’s former Nationals leader to a lucrative New York trade post, Premier Dominic Perrottet maintains his government is transparent.
Ex-deputy premier John Barilaro’s post-parliamentary career move to the Big Apple has been scuppered as questions continue to be asked of the state’s Liberal-Nationals coalition about the appointment.
Upper house MPs are using standing Order 52 to compel the government to hand over documents relevant to the appointment process for the post.
“My view is that any document (to the inquiry) that should be legally provided needs to be provided as quickly as possible,” Mr Perrottet told reporters in Tokyo, while on a 10-day trade mission to Asia.
‘Dates should be met’
“Dates are set and they should be met.
“There’s a whole lot of SO-52 (standing orders) that have been issued and my expectation is they should be complied with.”
The Premier’s trade mission has been overshadowed by more claims of nepotism and favouritism emerging from the upper house inquiry into Mr Barilaro’s selection for the choice role of Senior Trade and Investment Commissioner to the Americas.
Mr Perrottet opened the office for the state’s North Asia Trade Commissioner last week in Tokyo.
The upper house committee previously heard evidence from Mr Barilaro’s former chief-of-staff Mark Connell that the former deputy premier eyed the $500,000 taxpayer-funded job more than three years ago and planned to take up the role when he left politics.
Mr Connell said Mr Barilaro told him in April 2019 that the government planned to bring back a number of overseas trade postings, and he was “off to New York”.
Barilaro: It’s ‘fictitious, false’
Mr Barilaro disputed his former chief of staff’s account, describing the conversation as “fictitious, false”.
A separate Department of Premier and Cabinet review, initiated by Mr Perrottet, is also looking at the propriety of Mr Barilaro’s appointment.
“I have to receive the report, review it, reflect on it and then adopt recommendations,” the premier said.
Speaking at Ryu-Q Kan, one of the world’s largest underground drainage channels on the outskirts of Tokyo, the premier maintained his government was transparent.
“I will always err on the side of supporting independent processes,” he said.
Labor finance spokesman David Mookhey has said he looks forward to Mr Barilaro eventually being called to appear before the inquiry.