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Mike Baird's cabinet reshuffle a preparation for next election

ANALYSIS

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New cabinet for NSW

Premier Mike Baird says his new team brings experience and a hunger to transform the state.

PT0M0S 620 349

Mike Baird's first cabinet is indeed, as promised, a mixture of youth and experience.

Health Minister Jillian Skinner - one of the government's most solid if unspectacular performers - has survived. Youthful up-and-comer Dominic Perrottet has been brought into the fold and handed the important finance portfolio.

Facing a real contest next March: NSW Premier Mike Baird.

Facing a real contest next March: NSW Premier Mike Baird. Photo: Kate Geraghty

But there's also no denying the reshuffle has been undertaken with a close eye on next year's election.

For a start, two of the ministers whose performances Labor was lining up to highlight at next year's poll - Greg Smith and Robyn Parker - are gone.

Smith's ouster robs the opposition of the chance to accuse the government of having an attorney-general who is "soft on crime" and unwilling to drive through laws to ban outlaw motorcycle gangs and combat gun crime.

Resetting of negotiations: Brad Hazzard has been shifted from planning.

Resetting of negotiations: Brad Hazzard has been shifted from planning. Photo: Andrew Quilty

Parker's dumping sidesteps the line of attack that she was all about the annexation of public land for private use – as we saw former prime minister Paul Keating accuse her of, in his response to the draft masterplan for the Royal Botanic Garden and the Domain.

She was also the minister who oversaw introduction of hunting in national parks - albeit not to the extent demanded by the Shooters and Fishers Party.

Shifting Brad Hazzard from planning allows a resetting of the negotiation over the overhaul of the NSW planning system.

Hazzard's much-anticipated legislation is dead, having been amended by the upper house to such an extent the government couldn't bring itself to vote for it in the lower house.

Hazzard had knocked heads with both the Shooters and Fishers Party and Labor's Luke Foley over the legislation. The change will allow his successor, Pru Goward, a fresh start.

It's easy to see the elevation of Nationals MP Paul Toole to cabinet as a way of smoothing the way for the sale of the electricity poles and wires.

As a backbencher, Toole spoke strongly against any proposed sale. Bringing him into cabinet makes that far more difficult to do, once a decision has been made.

Elsewhere, rewarding key members of the talented, occasionally restive backbench - particularly Hornsby MP Matt Kean and Baulkham Hills MP David Elliott - with parliamentary secretary roles lets them know they are valued and marked for greater things.

That's not to say challenges don't remain. One of the portfolio appointments to watch will be Hazzard as attorney-general.

Smith was eviscerated by law and order hardliners both within his own party and sections of the media.

Hazzard is a lawyer – but unlike his predecessor, who served as deputy director of public prosecutions before entering politics, he has no coal-face criminal experience.

In NSW, the land of the political law and order auction, this could present some challenges.

In many ways, this is a reshuffle Barry O'Farrell could have been planning - minus, obviously, the new Treasurer and Premier - given the way it sets up the government for what is increasingly looking like a real contest next March.

The new cabinet 

Mike Baird
Premier, Minister for Infrastructure and Minister for Western Sydney.

Andrew Stoner
Deputy Premier, Minister for Trade and Investment, Minister for Regional Infrastructure and Services, Minister for Tourism and Major Events, Minister for Small Business and Minister for the North Coast.

Gladys Berejiklian
Minister for Transport,and Minister for the Hunter.

Adrian Piccoli
Minister for Education.

Mike Gallacher
Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Minister for Industrial Relations, Minister for the Central Coast, and vice-president of the executive council.

Duncan Gay
Minister for Roads and Freight.

Anthony Roberts
Minister for Resources and Energy.

Jillian Skinner
Minister for Health and Minister for Medical Research.

Andrew Constance
Treasurer.

Pru Goward
Minister for Planning, and Minister for Women.

Brad Hazzard
Attorney-General and Minister for Justice.

Gabrielle Upton
Minister for Family and Community Services.

Katrina Hodgkinson
Minister for Primary Industries, Assistant Minister for Tourism and Major Events.

Kevin Humphries
Minister for Natural Resources, Lands and Water, and Minister for Western NSW.

John Ajaka
Minister for Ageing, Minister for Disability Services, and Minister for the Illawarra.

Stuart Ayres
Minister for Fair Trading, Sport and Recreation, Minister Assisting the Premier on Western Sydney.

Victor Dominello
Minister for Citizenship and Communities, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Minister for Veterans Affairs, Assistant Minister for Education.

Rob Stokes
Minister for the Environment, Minister for Heritage and Assistant Minister for Planning.

Troy Grant
Minister for Hospitality, Gaming and Racing, and Minister for the Arts.

Dominic Perrottet
Minister for Finance and Services.

Paul Toole
Minister for Local Government.

Jai Rowell
Minister for Mental Health and Assistant Minister for Health

 

42 comments

  • I am not surprised by the removal of Greg Smith as Attorney General. The voice of reason against calls for mandatory sentencing. One who refused to go on a Law and Order crusade, but who helped bring a calmness to his portfolio. Supposedly the new AG will have to be seen as tough on crime, even though most crime categories are in decline.
    Is the removal of Greg Smith a sign the NSW Liberals are moving to the right? It is a sad day for NSW when such a fine minister is moved on. We can now listen to the new AG give his views on being tough on crime over the coalition's media outlet, 2GB. Greg Smith refused to be the stereo typical AG, and so he had to go. The electors need to be scared and the next AG will ensure we are suitable alarmed.

    Commenter
    Barry of Nambucca
    Date and time
    April 22, 2014, 1:06PM
    • Whole heartedly agree, the only one not shrieking "won't someone please think of the children"

      disappointing move

      Commenter
      AndrewL
      Location
      Surry Hills
      Date and time
      April 22, 2014, 2:05PM
    • Agree Barry and I love the irony of a 'silvertail' Premier who resides in Manly being the Minister for Western Sydney.

      Commenter
      Paul01
      Location
      Riverina
      Date and time
      April 22, 2014, 4:07PM
    • Yes, moving to the right. Sadly, this aspect is not mentioned by Nicholls. The coup isn't that overt, because of Baird, but the process continues in the sewer of the NSW Liberal Party with "its fake branches, stacked preselections, abuse of process, factional goons and subculture of turning politics into profit" (thanks, Paul Sheehan, for a bit of honesty for once).

      Smith to put a reasoned, sensible view on the populist drivel of mandatory minimum sentencing. Smith was targeted by shock jocks and the Daily Terrorgraph for being 'soft on crime' and so had to go. The LIberals want the bottom feeding support of the right wing media barkers. He had to go.

      Parker was a horrible dud. She had to go on performance, but of course the incompetence had a strongly ideological, partisan, nature-hating edge (she is a modern Liberal after all).

      Hazzard was a hazard in planning and a failure too - now AG? A factional stitch up or is the talent pool really that shallow? Or they want a head kicker for the shock jocks - whatever no doubt we will get the proper hairy chested 'tough on crime' rhetoric now.

      Yes, they will try to *buy* the silence of some of the restive...

      Commenter
      gh
      Date and time
      April 22, 2014, 4:10PM
    • alan jones/ ray hadlee, ministers for propaganda

      Commenter
      paff
      Location
      syd
      Date and time
      April 22, 2014, 4:24PM
    • "The voice of reason" I think had become the voice of evasion in the courts in my experience. Mandatory sentencing has a lot of flaws, but by god it's a lot better than the previous system of allowing the courts to release congenital murderers back into the community on a regular basis to continue to ply their trade.

      The riders on ABH and the 130am lock-outs are silly add-ons, but the bill as a whole is still better than what we had before.

      Commenter
      yogurt
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      April 22, 2014, 5:17PM
    • I totally agree, Barry. I'm not usually a LNP supporter but Greg Smith did a good job - an intelligent, considered approach rather than pandering to, and inflaming, the law and order lobby. Definitely a lurch to the right.

      Commenter
      Robo Sydney
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      April 22, 2014, 5:50PM
    • Wasnt Greg it was the government caucus who changed laws. Greg was just figurehead

      Commenter
      mylove4law
      Location
      Wyong
      Date and time
      April 22, 2014, 7:07PM
    • Smith was dumped because the Libs know he is having real problems with voters in his seat of Epping. The ETTT & NWRLs adverse impact on the area, & the lack of representation from the elected members (party first attitude) is seeing a real shift away from the conservative government. Watch the seat of Epping in next years election - high profile local Independent set to shake up the seat (if not win it)

      Commenter
      Mike
      Location
      Cheltenham
      Date and time
      April 22, 2014, 8:16PM
  • Another minister for Western Sydney who lives in the North shore!! But then again which minister from Western Sydney would be worthy?

    Commenter
    Julie
    Location
    Richmond
    Date and time
    April 22, 2014, 1:10PM

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