NSW Deputy Premier and National Party leader, John Barilaro, says his attack on the state’s conservative coalition government this week has been a total success.
Speaking to reporters at a news conference (main picture), Mr Barilaro said he had secured a major victory for the Nationals by threatening to split its governing coalition with the Liberal Party.
“It was a brilliant tactic, if I do say so myself, to pick a fight on the highly emotive topic of koalas and their potential extinction,” Mr Barilaro said.
“It certainly made everyone sit up and take notice, especially the Premier, Gladys Berejiklian.
“The fact she then called my bluff and forced me into a humiliating backdown was all part of my plan.
“You all must admit that I’m a tactical genius. I mean you saw what I did in the lead-up to the Eden-Monaro by-election.
“I contradicted the PM Scott Morrison on cuts to the ABC, then I started a vicious public brawl with would-be Liberal candidate and fellow NSW cabinet minister Andrew Constance over preselection for the seat.
“That worked out well after Andrew pulled the pin, another conservative candidate stepped in, and the seat ended up going back to Labor.
“That was a pity because as you know at the time I said I’m a can-do sort of guy and Andrew’s a can’t.”
Mr Barilaro said it was now time to move on from the fight over koala protections and land clearing.
“I look forward to continuing in coalition after having been ritually and very publicly humiliated by the Premier,” he said.
Asked exactly what the Nationals under his leadership were actually delivering to their rural and regional constituencies as a result of being in coalition with the Liberals, Mr Barilaro thought for several moments.
“I don’t want to sound immodest but you’ve all seen me in action,” he finally responded before correcting himself.
“Sorry, I meant to say you’ve all seen my inaction.”
Mr Barilaro then called a close to the news conference and walked off.