The man of a big family who wants to be the premier of the family
He was promoted to first place only three years later when he became Minister of Finance and Services in the Baird government. When Gladys Berejiklian became Prime Minister in January 2017, he was elected Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party and assumed the portfolio of the Treasury.
Mr Perrottet, who turned 39 last month, will be the youngest person to become Prime Minister, a post created in 1856 when New South Wales was still a British colony.
But it was not all simple – Mr Perrottet’s political career nearly derailed in 2020 following revelations of financial mismanagement and underpayment of injured workers by state insurer Icare, which was created when ‘he was Minister of Finance.
Mr Perrottet is popular with business – one lobby group has said he has been “a big business advocate” throughout the pandemic and lockdowns – but others are cautious about how his personal religious values could influence broader political choices as prime minister. A devout Catholic, Perrottet voted against removing abortion from the state’s penal code in 2019.
During his political career, Mr. Perrottet presented himself as a reformer and at his first press conference as prime minister he identified John Howard and Paul Keating as role models.
Shortly after becoming treasurer in 2017, Mr. Perrottet told the Herald: “You don’t get into politics to stay still. You get into politics to reform.
But the management of the economic crisis, rather than the change of policy, dominated the management of the state coffers by Mr. Perrottet.
He claimed his first budget was “the envy of the western world,” but the financial crisis triggered by COVID-19 forced him to put aside the Liberal Party’s traditional playbook of surpluses and low debt.
The government spent billions to support the economy during the pandemic and the state budget slumped into the red. Mr. Perrottet now sees borrowing as an opportunity for the government because global interest rates are so low.
“When I look back over the past 12 months, I was taking an approach that goes against the grain in terms of what my natural disposition would be,” Perrottet said in June.
His hopes for reform have not been completely overshadowed. Last year, Perrottet unveiled his intention to replace the stamp duty with an annual property tax. If successful, the overhaul will be one of the biggest tax changes of a generation. On Tuesday, Perrottet said the government remained committed to this reform.
In his inaugural address to the Parliament of New South Wales, Mr Perrottet praised the “principles of free markets” and stressed the importance of enterprise and wealth creation.
He has been a strong proponent of privatization, once describing the coalition government’s asset recycling strategy as “the golden key that opened the door of opportunity for NSW”.
As treasurer, Mr. Perrottet oversaw several important transactions, including the privatization of the state land titles registry and the long-term lease of the giant WestConnex highway.
Prior to politics, Mr. Perrottet was a lawyer with Henry Davis York Lawyers, specializing in bank restructuring and insolvency law.
A prominent member of the right-wing faction of the Liberal Party, he has been involved in politics since joining the Young Liberals. He worked as a staff member of David Clarke, then leader of the conservative right-wing Liberal Party.
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