Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Liberal disunity on show in NSW

Echo NetDaily, 10 March 2017:

NSW Premier Gladys Berijiklian is without a parliamentary secretary after the shock resignation of Lennox Head-based Liberal MLC Catherine Cusack.

Divisions within the government are beginning to show, with the premier’s office on Thursday announcing it had accepted Ms Cusack’s resignation after an explosive email was leaked to the media.

The email, sent by Ms Cusack to the premier following a factional meeting on Wednesday night, strongly criticised the makeup of Ms Berejiklian’s new cabinet.

‘If the situation was not already offensive enough, if you ever say again you made these decisions “on merit”, I swear I will resign from the Liberal Party and join the cross bench’, Ms Cusack reportedly wrote.

She also took aim at Energy Minister Don Harwin, whose controversial promotion to cabinet has already ruffled feathers within the party.

ABC News, 10 March 2017:

Outspoken NSW Liberal MP Catherine Cusack has withdrawn her threats to move to the crossbench, but is standing by her criticism of Premier Gladys Berejiklian's Cabinet appointments.

Late on Wednesday night, Ms Cusack sent a furious email to Ms Berejiklian criticising her ministerial line-up, saying it was based on factions rather than merit.

"If you say one more time that the Cabinet is based on merit, I will resign from the Liberal Party," Ms Cusack wrote in the email.

The Upper House MP, who yesterday quit as parliamentary secretary, said she now regretted sending the damning email, calling it a huge error of judgement. But she said she stood by her comments about Don Harwin being selected as the state's new energy minister.

Ms Berejiklian suggested Ms Cusack's fiery email may be a case of sour grapes after being overlooked for a position on the Government's frontbench.

"I don't blame people for being disappointed for not being in Cabinet," she said.

"She is entitled to her opinion, but I don't support her views; all of my colleagues have my full support."

Social Housing Minister Pru Goward rejected Ms Cusack's suggestion that the Cabinet was selected based on factions rather than merit.

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