The 39-year-old devout Catholic father-of-six overwhelmingly won a Liberal party room ballot 39 to five on Tuesday morning to become the state’s youngest ever leader.
The outgoing treasurer defeated Planning Minister Rob Stokes, thanks to the support of the socially-progressive moderate faction in a leadership vote at Parliament House skipped by his predecessor.
Jobs Minister Stuart Ayres – the 40-year-old boyfriend of Foreign Minister Marise Payne, 57 – was elected deputy Liberal leader unopposed.
While Berejiklian came from the Liberal Party’s moderate faction and was unmarried with no children, Perrottet is the complete opposite – hailing from the right of the party and being an outspoken advocate of religious freedom.
In 2019, he voted against a bill to decriminalise abortion declaring he could not support laws that stopped ‘the beating heart of an unborn child’.
Now leading a very broad church, Perrottet declared he would govern for everyone regardless of their religion and hoped difference would be ‘treated with respect and dignity’.
‘I am very proud of the fact that I have a strong Christian faith,’ he said on Tuesday.
‘Does that in any way take away my capacity to serve as Premier?
‘Well, I do not think so, and I think it is a sad thing that some people do, but I think people right across our state, in the main, believe in freedom of religion and freedom of the opportunity to serve in public life regardless of what your ethnic background is what your religious values are.’
Asked about the gay and lesbian community, Perrottet said he ‘loved diversity’ and declared that as a parent, he wanted kids back at school.
‘It’s demanding being a parent. It’s a challenge for every, single parent across the state,’ he said.
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Gladys Berejiklian’s replacement as NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet is a proud social conservative who questions climate change , opposes abortion, loves Donald Trump and also a drink (he is pictured with his wife Helen and their children)
Jobs Minister Stuart Ayres – the boyfriend of Foreign Minister Marise Payne – was elected deputy Liberal leader unopposed (he is pictured left with his new boss)
The Liberal Party’s new leader in November 2016 laid out his conservative views in a lengthy Facebook post after Republican Donald Trump unexpectedly beat Democrat Hillary Clinton in the US presidential election.
He used the occasion to paraphrase Liberal Party founder Robert Menzies, Australia’s longest-serving prime minister, and disgraced US president Richard Nixon.
‘There is a silent majority, a forgotten people, who feel like the values they hold dear are no longer being represented by the political class,’ Perrottet said.
‘In fact these values and the people who hold them are looked upon with contempt.’
Perrottet also questioned the science of climate change, even though his anointed treasurer Matt Kean from the moderate faction is a fierce advocate for renewable energy as an activist environment minister.
‘If you question man-made climate change, you are not a sceptic,’ he said in 2016.
On Tuesday, he said NSW was on track to meet its net zero targets and described Kean as a ‘passionate’ advocate for the environment, with no major ministerial reshuffle likely.
‘When it comes to climate change, I believe our government is not just a national leader but a world leader,’ he said.
Intriguingly former Labor senator Sam Dastyari, who studied law two decades ago with Perrottet at the University of Sydney, recalled the future premier as a hard drinker who abstained from masturbation and didn’t believe in using contraception.
‘He didn’t believe in contraception, he does not believe in contraception,’ Dastyari told Kyle and Jackie O on KIIS FM in June 2018.
‘He doesn’t believe or he didn’t at the time believe in masturbation.
Now leading a very broad church, Perrottet declared he would govern for everyone regardless of their religion and hoped difference would be ‘treated with respect and dignity’
The youngest ever new premier of NSW Dominic Perrottet (right with outgoing deputy premier John Barilaro) apparently loves a drink
‘Dom was an old drinking buddy of mine back in my uni days , we used to get blind drunk together at Sydney uni, just horrible, and he was like this hardcore, Catholic, religious, but a big drinker.’
Dastyari recalled Perrottet even as a young man at university being opposed to gay marriage, which at the time was opposed by both sides of politics, and the idea of abortion.
‘The bit I remember him telling me at uni was – he was always a bit religious, he didn’t support marriage equality, didn’t support a woman’s right to choose,’ he said.
Like Dastyari and NSW Labor leader Chris Minns, Perrottet also led the young wing of his political party.
Before becoming a junior solicitor and later an MP, Perrottet was the leader of the NSW Young Liberals, taking over in 2005 three years after future cabinet minister Alex Hawke, who now holds the immigration portfolio, spearheaded a right-wing takeover of the youth movement from the moderates.
Intriguingly, former Labor senator Sam Dastyari who studied law two decades ago with Perrottet at the University of Sydney recalled the future premier as a hard drinker who abstained from masturbation and didn’t believe in using contraception
The 39-year-old devout Catholic father-of-six has overwhelmingly won the Liberal party room vote 39 to five, defeating Planning Minister Rob Stokes to become the next premier of New South Wales, thanks to the support of the socially-progressive moderate faction
Australian premiers in their thirties
Lara Giddings, Labor, Tasmania: age 38 in 2011
Wayne Goss, Labor, Queensland: age 38 in 1989
Brian Burke, Labor, Western Australia: age 36 in 1983
John Scaddan, Nationalist, Western Australia: age 35 in 1911
Newton Moore, Liberal Imperialist, Western Australia: age 35 in 1906
Hawke later split from the right, forming a breakaway centre-right faction, which Prime Minister Scott Morrison belongs to, and he is no longer close with Perrottet.
In July Perrottet, as NSW Treasurer, clashed with Morrison after he called on the federal government to reinstate JobKeeper wage subsidies during the early stage of Sydney’s three-month lockdown.
Political author and columnist Niki Savva, a former Liberal ministerial media adviser, revealed that in July, Morrison called Mr Perrottet a ‘f***wit’ during a heated discussion.
Asking about this on Tuesday by Sunrise host David Koch, Morrison said: ‘Well, Dom and I have been working together for years and we’ve known each other for a long time and we’ve got an honest relationship and we’ve got a lot done together.’
Perrottet acknowledged a clash with Morrison three months ago.
‘Disagreements aren’t a bad thing in their own way,’ he said on Tuesday.
Like Morrison in August 2018, Perrottet was elected Liberal leader with the backing of the moderate faction.
Both leaders are religious, social conservatives whose views are at odds with the more cosmopolitan and secular elements of the Liberal Party on the north shore and northern beaches – areas that overwhelmingly support gay marriage and climate change action.
Perrottet is himself one of 12 children, with his father John a director of the World Bank.
He became Treasurer in January 2017 when Ms Berejiklian replaced Mike Baird as premier.
As Treasurer, Mr Perrottet was reportedly more opposed to lockdowns within the NSW crisis cabinet but on Tuesday vowed to stick to the plan to end Sydney’s lockdown on October 11, the Monday after 70 per cent of the NSW population aged 16 and over was fully vaccinated against Covid.
Planning Minister Rob Stokes, an ideological moderate who was factionally unaligned, congratulated his opponent on his overwhelming party room win after losing in a landslide
He was first elected to Parliament in March 2011, when Barry O’Farrell’s Coalition swept to power in a landslide ending Labor’s 16 years in office.
During that decade, he has held three different electorates, Castle Hill, Hawkesbury and now Epping in Sydney’s north-west, switching seats at each election in 2015 and 2019 to the dismay of his Liberal colleagues.
Perrottet is now Australia’s youngest state premier since Lara Giddings first led Tasmania in January 2011 aged 38.
He is the first NSW premier under 40, with Nick Greiner, Nathan Rees and Kristina Keneally all at least a year older when they took the top job.
Stokes, an ideological moderate from the northern beaches who was factionally unaligned, congratulated his opponent on his overwhelming party room win.
‘Our party room has made their choice, and made it emphatically,’ he said.
‘I’d like to congratulate my great friend Dom Perrottet on being chosen as our new leader and becoming the NSW Premier.
Gladys Berejiklian (pictured on October announcing her resignation) skipped the Liberal Party leadership vote. The daughter of Armenian migrants, had almost five years as premier, making her the Liberal Party’s second-longest serving government leader since Robert Askin’s decade in power from 1965 to 1975
The Liberal Party’s new leader in November 2016 laid out his conservative views in a lengthy Facebook post after Republican Donald Trump unexpectedly beat Democrat Hillary Clinton in the US presidential election
‘Dom has proven himself as an outstanding Treasurer and will be a great Premier. He has my full support.
‘The community now rightfully expect us to get on with the job we were elected to do and ensure that we recover from the pandemic and regain our freedom.’
Perrottet is now the Liberal Party’s fourth premier since 2014, repeating the revolving door leadership that had plagued NSW Labor during its last six years in power.
After the lockdown ends on October 11, the Perrottet Government will be fighting a string of by-elections with Berejiklian resigning from her lower north shore seat of Willoughby.
Outgoing deputy premier and Nationals leader John Barilaro is also quitting politics.
Transport minister Andrew Constance is also resigning from his south coast seat of Bega to contest the overlapping federal electorate of Gilmore, held by Labor.
Health Minister Brad Hazzard is also in retirement age being 70.
Berejiklian, the daughter of Armenian migrants, had almost five years as premier, making her the Liberal Party’s second-longest serving government leader since Robert Askin’s decade in power from 1965 to 1975.
She is the third NSW Liberal premier the Independent Commission Against Corruption has brought down, with Greiner resigning in 1992 and O’Farrell in 2014.