Posts Tagged ‘John Della Bosca’

The resignation of John Della Bosca has changed the political dynamic in NSW on a number of levels. Premier Nathan Rees has been forced to plan a cabinet reshuffle, promoting allies and demoting those who he perceives as being destabalising figures in caucus. Rees’ hold on the leadership of the Labor Party has also been affected by Della’s resignation, though perhaps not as obviously as some are suggesting.



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Any hopes John Della Bosca had of being Premier were shattered last night when it emerged he had an affair earlier this year with a 26 year old woman.

Late last night Della Bosca called Premier Nathan Rees and informed him he was resigning as Health Minister and leader of the the government in the Legislative Council. He also issued a statement:

Tonight I have advised the Premier of my intention to resign as health minister and leader of the government in the NSW Legislative Council.

At no time did I breach my duties as a minister or member of parliament. I took the decision to resign following a series of questions put to me about my personal life.

I do not want this issue to be a distraction to the government. I regret some personal decisions I made and I am deeply sorry for the hurt I have caused my family.

It has been a privilege to serve the people of NSW.

This is going to have far reaching political ramifications throughout NSW. The scandal sucks out whatever oxygen the Rees government had left and allows the Opposition to make mileage on what is often regarded as the most important issue of concern in the state – health. The timing of this allegation is a bit too convenient for it to be coincidental, given the weeks of leadership speculation and today’s caucus meeting.

Nathan Rees might feel as though he has some breathing room now that one of the top contenders for his job has been knocked out but there’s just too many other people calling for his scalp.

The other issue to consider is the government’s performance in the Legislative Council, where Della was leader. With four different micro parties and independents to deal with, Della, who was respected across parties and knew how to get things done, managed to deal his way through most government legislation. Now that The Shooters have gone feral and O’Farrell is willing to inflict maximum political pain regardless of his principles, the person Rees promotes will have to be much more capable than Rees himself.

Update: Attorney-General John Hatzistergos has been appointed care taker Health Minister pending a reshuffle.

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Reports tonight suggest that Premier Nathan Rees may reshuffle his cabinet as early as next week to flush out those plotting against him.

The NSW cabinet is a poisonous den comprising of at least half a dozen factions and sub-factions, most of whom are at war with each other. It’s fairly obvious why Rees would want to clean it out. The difficulty he faces is that he doesn’t have the numbers or the personal support to dictate to the party and hand out positions as he sees fit. His tenuous leadership is built on keeping powerbrokers on both sides happy and he simply can’t risk making any more enemies.

Rees’ goal is to crush the plot to unseat him. The problem is, there’s more than one plot. Sacking John Della Bosca or Tony Kelly would escalate tensions and probably bring on a spill sooner. The reports today were predicting that Energy Minister Ian Macdonald is in Rees’ sights. Macdonald has been tainted by an expenses scandal in which he spent $150,000 on various lunches – earning him the title of ‘Sir Lunchalot’. Macdonald is a weak minister and, following the scandal, electoral poison. Rees probably should throw him out but the fact that he’s close to Della Bosca means that any move against him will be interpreted as a warning shot against Della Bosca.

Nathan Rees has to be very careful. Given the continuous undermining of him by various elements within the party, he has a legitimate reason to reshuffle the cabinet and restate his authority. But if he goes too far he risks forcing his enemies to come out from the shadows, knives in hand.

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