John Barilaro has survived a vote of no confidence in Parliament, but his leadership is under pressure after he refused to guarantee that he will keep the coalition intact.
In a heated exchange with opposition leader Jodi McKay during Question Time this afternoon, the controversial Deputy Prime Minister refused to guarantee that he would not leave the coalition.
“Will you never threaten to leave the coalition again?” Ms. McKay asked in Parliament.
“I’ll tell you what I’ll guarantee,” said Mr. Barilaro. “I guarantee I will work hard for the rest of the term.”
Asked again to confirm that he will not quit, he said, “My guarantee is that I will continue to work every day for the people of national and regional NSW, including the issues surrounding the koala SEPP (State Environmental Planning Policy)”.
NSW Labor’s motion of no confidence in Mr Barilaro was voted down in parliament on Wednesday afternoon, in a vote of 48 to 40.
He made a statement after the vote accusing Labor of carrying out a “political stunt”.
“The NSW Liberal and Nationals government is strong; this Parliament has shown confidence in me and I am proud to have 100 percent support,” the statement said.
“Labor has lived up to its reputation as a party today and has nothing more to offer than ineffective and hypocritical political stunts.”
Barilaro last week threatened to march his national colleagues to the cross-bank if no concessions were made to koala policy.
He withdrew after NSW Prime Minister Gladys Berejiklian issued him with an ultimatum to support her government or the national ministers would be dismissed from the cabinet.
Nationals are concerned that changes in the Koala Habitat Protection State’s environmental policy are limiting land use on farms and the ability to repurpose areas for development as more trees are classified as koala habitats.
Clarence MP Chris Gulaptis, who was the first national to threaten to sit on the cross bench over the policy, has confirmed that he will still walk if the policy is not changed.
– Additional reporting by AAP