In many ways, this is the worst possible time for a new premier to take the helm in New South Wales. The resignation of John Barilaro as deputy premier creates an even greater mood of uncertainty and, perhaps, insecurity.
The state is due to open up, at least partially, in the next week, and with the end of lockdown will come a need for a different type of leadership than has been exhibited over the past few months. Gladys Berejiklian has done a reasonable job during the pandemic, as can be seen from the outpouring of support, even grief, at her decision to call it a day.
However, there have also been many complaints about her government’s actions, particularly in the western suburbs of Sydney. She has at times appeared to be the premier for the north shore and eastern suburbs. For any Liberal premier of New South Wales, such a perception is extremely dangerous as elections are won in outer suburban and regional electorates.
Watch: Things you never say in 2021.
In the 18 months before the next election, especially given the slender Coalition majority in the Legislative Assembly, the new premier will need to ensure, or at least create the perception, that the government is working on behalf of all of the state.
As the new Premier of NSW, it is worth asking what Dominic Perrottet brings to that position and how it will affect the politics of the state over the next year. It is also worth pointing out that Perrottet, along with Planning Minister Rob Stokes, is from the north shore. That probably explains why he chose to run with Stuart Ayres, who represents the western Sydney seat of Penrith.