Barilaro opts out of Eden-Monaro

NSW Nationals Leader John Barilaro speaking to the media on Friday.

Deputy Premier, NSW Nationals Leader and state member for Monaro, John Barilaro, announced on Monday morning that he would not contest the federal seat of Eden-Monaro in the upcoming by-election, triggered by Mike Kelly’s resignation last week.

“After taking the weekend to contemplate a tilt for the seat of Eden Monaro, I have decided that I will not run as a candidate,” Mr Barilaro said on Monday.

“In politics, ego can quickly skew decisions, and sometimes make you forget what is best for yourself, your family and what could be the best outcome for the people of Eden Monaro.

“I have always worked and strived for outcomes, not titles – making a difference, not just accepting the status quo, and in this time of self-contemplation, it is clear I can do more as NSW Deputy Premier, Leader of the NSW Nationals and as the Member for Monaro.

“My decision was difficult but at the heart of it, I love NSW, and the incredible job we have done so far and I want to be here to face the challenges ahead as we rebuild from drought, bushfires and Covid-19.”

Mr Barilaro thanked those who had reached out to him with support and encouragement while making this decision, and Premier Gladys Berejiklian for her “gracious and gentle counsel”, as well as National Party colleagues.

“To the people of Eden Monaro, know that as the State Member I will continue to fight for you, regardless of boundaries, and as NSW Deputy Premier, I will continue to make our region the best it can be, for today and for our incredible tomorrow,” he concluded.

With the decision now made and announced to the public, Premier Berejiklian will have some comfort knowing that she will not have to deal with two state by-elections, just one – as Transport Minister Andrew Constance has announced he will contest the seat for the Liberal Party.

His state seat of Bega is safer than Mr Barilaro’s, which would risk falling to Labor or the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers party if he had decided to run. Additionally, the Premier holds a slim majority in the NSW Parliament, leading by only a few seats.