Australia

John Barilaro wanted New York-based trade job years ago, former chief of staff claims

John Barilaro’s former chief of staff says his old boss told him three years ago he wanted a lucrative NSW government trade job in New York.
“This is the job for when I get the f*** out of this place’, the former staffer quoted Mr Barilaro, in a statement tabled in NSW parliament on Wednesday.
Mark Connell, who was working for the former deputy premier when he was trade minister, submitted the statement to .
Mr Barilaro —who — has denied the claims.

John Barilaro’s former chief-of-staff says his old boss told him three years ago he wanted a lucrative NSW government trade job in New York. Source: AAP / Bianca De Marchi

Mr Connell recounted a conversation with his boss in April 2019, following a meeting Mr Barilaro had with then-treasurer Dominic Perrottet and investment minister Stuart Ayres.

“He said, ‘I’ve just come from a meeting with Dom and Stuart regarding trade and we’re going to bring back the Agent General in London as well as a bunch of other postings around the world’.
“He then stated, ‘This is it, this is the job for when I get the f*** out of this place’.”
Mr Connell said he told Mr Barilaro the London posting would be filled before his retirement.

“Mr Barilaro then said, ‘I don’t want to go to London, f*** that, I’m off to New York.’

“Mr Barilaro responded and stated, ‘I’ll get them to put one in New York, that’s where I’m off to’.”
Mr Connell finished working for Mr Barilaro in December 2019 and said he felt compelled to disclose the information after learning of Mr Barilaro’s appointment in the media.
In a widely-reported statement, Mr Barilaro said Mr Connell’s submission was false.
“The conversation he has recalled is fictitious, false and only serves as a reminder as to why we had to part ways,” Mr Barilaro said.
“If this inquiry is genuine in its intent to understand the process and the truth by which I was appointed, then surely I would be called up to provide this detail immediately.
“The continued drip feed of select information from the inquiry into the public domain goes against all procedural fairness.”
Mr Perrottet issued news agency AAP a response to the allegations following their tabling before parliament.
“The former Deputy Premier, Minister Ayres and I had numerous discussions in 2019 in relation to the establishment of Global NSW and at no point in any of those discussions was it ever raised that the former Deputy Premier may want to hold a position as a trade commissioner,” he said.

AAP has also sought comment from Mr Ayres.

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