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Another candidate ranked ahead of former NSW deputy premier for NY trade posting


New internal government documents have revealed John Barilaro was not the preferred candidate for a New York trade posting.

Dozens of documents were released today as part of a parliamentary inquiry into the appointment of the former deputy premier to the $500,000-a-year job.

Two panel selection reports were released, however there are discrepancies between the two.

Former NSW deputy premier John Barilaro has settled his defamation case against YouTuber Jordan Shanks.
Documents reveal John Barilaro was not the preferred candidate initally for the trade positing. (Dominic Lorrimer)

One document shows Barilaro did not attract the highest interview score among the final candidates and was instead suggested for the “talent pool” instead of snagging the US trade commissioner role.

“The panel came to the view that John Barilaro did have some of the relevant capabilities and experience for the role,” the report read.

“However he had not worked internationally in a role aligned to the experience expected for a high-level STIC candidate.

“He would need to build a team without the business or departmental infrastructure he had previously.

“His lack of business development networks would mean that he would have a considerable learning curve in this role.”

In the second document, Barilaro is the “recommended candidate” for the trade posting.

Former deputy premier John Barilaro has since withdrawn from the role, citing media attention. (Dominic Lorrimer)

“The panel came to the view that John had highly relevant experience for the role,” the report said.

“The panel concluded that John had the right motivation, capabilities and experience for the role.

“While he has not lived internationally, he has successfully developed international businesses in both his roles in managing his own company in the private sector and in his capacity as deputy premier and trade minister for NSW.

“While he would have a learning curve on doing business in the US, he had a strong track record of building teams as well as operating in a dynamic environment and had a deep understanding of the NSW Trade and Investment environment.”

One of the key differences in the scoring on both selection reports was the rating on the candidate’s ability to “manage and develop people”.

In the first report, Barilaro met the rating but in the second he exceeded the rating.

Barilaro was awarded the job of US trade commissioner ahead of credentialed bureaucrat Jenny West.

He has since withdrawn from the role, citing media attention.

Ayres: ‘I have not done anything wrong’

Meanwhile, NSW deputy Liberal leader and Trade Minister Stuart Ayres has pushed back against accusations he used his influence to appoint Barilaro the lucrative envoy position.

“The key point here is there has been no direction to (Investment NSW CEO) Amy Brown about who she should employ,” Ayres said.

He said he did not have the power to “direct” Brown on employment decisions, but conceded that there would always be “discussion and engagement” about such high-profile decisions.

“I have not done anything wrong,” he said.

“There is no reason for me to stand aside.”

Stuart Ayres has rejected calls to stand down. (Dominic Lorrimer)

Ayres is under fire for his handling of the former deputy’s appointment, following accusations he used discussions with Brown to promote Barilaro’s standing as a candidate.

He rejected that accusation, saying he was only receiving updates of the process.

“I will continue to say this over and over again. A secretary or a head of an agency updating a minister is not a minister meddling or engaging or directing a person on how to do their job,” Ayres said.

“I do not have the legal capacity to do that.

“The CEO of Investment New South Wales is a highly qualified and highly credentialed public servant who does a great job.

“I have full confidence that they will make the decisions to employ the right people in the best interests of New South Wales.”

Mark Connell, in a written submission to the inquiry, claimed the conversation took place in April 2019 when Barilaro was the NSW trade minister.

Split picture of NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet and former Deputy Premier John Barilaro.
NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet is battling accusations his cabinet acted unfavourably to secure former deputy premier John Barilaro the plum job. (Supplied)

He said ministers responsible for trade and investment, including Ayres and then treasurer and now Premier Dominic Perrottet, held a meeting.

“After this meeting, Mr Barilaro came directly to my office,” Connell wrote in the statement.

“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.'”

Barilaro has rejected the claims.

In a statement, Barilaro said: “The conversation he has recalled is fictitious, false and only serves as a reminder as to why we had to part ways.

“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.”

Eleni Petinos sacked after ‘serious bullying’ allegations

Reports on Friday claimed she used the words “retard” and “stupid” towards staff while “yelling and swearing”.

Minister for Small Business Eleni Petinos speaks during Question Time at State Parliament House. Photo: Wolter Peeters, 16th February 2022, The Sydney Morning Herald.
Eleni Petinos has been sacked as a minister over bullying accusations. (Wolter Peeters)

Perrottet on Sunday night confirmed he had sacked the minister.

“Today I spoke with the Minister for Small Business and Fair Trading Eleni Petinos after some further matters concerning her were brought to my attention,” he said.

“In light of these matters, Ms Petinos’ service as a minister will cease with immediate effect, and I will write to the governor in this regard tomorrow.

“Minister for Customer Service and Digital Government Victor Dominello will assume Ms Petinos’ portfolio responsibilities.”

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