NSW Nationals leader and deputy premier John Barilaro has backed away from his threat to stop supporting government over the state’s disputed koala protection laws.
The backdown comes after Premier Gladys Berejiklian demanded a commitment from the Nationals that they would stay in the Coalition Government during crisis meeting talks held on Friday morning.
Ms Berejiklian issued a ultimatum to the deputy premier and his Nationals colleagues on Thursday after they threatened mutiny over the state’s disputed koala protection policy.
New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian issued a stunning ultimatum to her deputy and Nationals MPson Thursday
Mr Barilaro blindsided Ms Berejiklian, announcing his MPs would abstain from voting on coalition bills as they fought changes to the protection plan.
The move effectively robbed the government of its majority and provoked a stern response from the premier.
‘It is not possible to be the deputy premier or a minister of the Crown and sit on the crossbench’, Ms Berejiklian fired off in a media statement.
She said Mr Barilaro and his Nationals ministerial colleagues had until Friday morning to declare support for her government or be sacked from cabinet.
‘If required, I will attend Government House tomorrow and swear in a new ministry,’ Ms Berejiklian said.
Mr Barilaro appeared by Friday morning to be softening his stance, telling Sydney’s 2GB radio he thought the issue could be resolved but it may take time, possibly several weeks.
He also claimed the threat to sit on the cross bench had been misinterpreted.
‘What we said yesterday was that no one would go physically to the cross bench,’ Mr Barilaro said.