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Who is Dominic Perrottet? 5 things you need to know

·6-min read
Dominic Perrottet looks off camera while speaking at NSW COVID-19 press conference.
Dominic Perrottet has been named the new NSW premier. (Image: Getty).

NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet has been named the state’s next premier after Gladys Berejiklian dramatically stepped down on Friday.

The 39-year-old member for Epping beat Planning Minister and moderate Liberal Rob Stokes to the top job.

The father of six will be the youngest NSW premier in history.

Here’s what you need to know about Perrottet.

He’s a conservative politician and devout Catholic

Perrottet was born 21 September 1982 and studied at private schools Redfield College and Oakhill College. At the University of Sydney, he studied commerce and law and from 2005 was the President of the NSW Young Liberals.

He entered politics in 2010, winning the safe Liberal seat of Castle Hill.

He’s had a swift pathway to power since then, appointed Minister for Finance and Services in 2014 under then-premier Mike Baird.

In January 2017, he was appointed deputy leader of the NSW Liberals under Berejiklian. He was also appointed Treasurer and Minister for Industrial Relations.

Today, Perrottet is part of the state Liberal party’s right faction and has been vocally conservative. For comparison, Berejiklian and her predecessors Mike Baird and Barry O’Farrell were part of the party’s moderate faction.

He voted against decriminalising abortion in 2019 and has also claimed the confessional seal in Christianity is “sacrosanct”, even when it comes to disclosing child abuse.

That means he believes that information disclosed in the confessional should remain confidential between the priest and the person making confession - no matter how bad the confession is.

“I think having a Christian faith is part of who I am and inspires me to make a difference wherever I go,” Perrottet has said.

In a now-viral post from 2016, Perrottet said the election of former US President Donald Trump proved it was time for a “conservative spring”.

"If you stand for free speech, you are not a bigot. If you question man-made climate change, you are not a sceptic. If you support stronger borders, you are not a racist," Perrottet wrote. 

"If you want a plebiscite on same sex marriage, you are not a homophobe. If you love your country, you are not an extremist. These are mainstream values that people should be free to articulate without fear of ridicule or persecution by the Left."

The post has now been shared more than 3,300 times. 

"This is our new premier? How disappointing," one person wrote. 

"I'm fearful for NSW's future," added another. 

"Anyone who finds inspiration in the election of Trump debases democracy," one person commented on the post. 

However, many disagree. 

"Love him," one person wrote.

Perrottet has also questioned climate change and taken issue with the use of gender pronouns for gender non-conforming and non-binary people.

He loves a bit of tax reform

As NSW Treasurer, Perrottet has led discussions around changes to stamp duty taxes.

Under a plan discussed in June, first home buyers would be eligible for $25,000 grants designed to replace current stamp duty concessions.

Stamp duty would be phased out in favour of an annual land tax.

“There is widespread support for the proposition that NSW should move away from the existing property tax system, characterised by the large ‘upfront’ cost of stamp duty, towards an alternative system that makes home ownership more accessible, supports household mobility, and better facilitates economic growth and prosperity,” a progress report released by Perrottet in June read.

He has also led the national debate on whether the current GST framework is adequate.

In September, he dubbed WA Premier Mark McGowan the “Gollum of Australian politics”, due to the split of GST.

"You can just picture him over there in his cave with his little precious - the GST,” Perrottet said.

It’s been a sticking point for a while.

Perrottet said the current GST system is ripping off NSW, after being informed that the state would have to surrender $451 million in GST revenue from the NSW budget in the 2018-2019 financial year.

He’s called for a GST carve-up based on a per-capita count.

He thinks the welfare system is connected to higher rates of divorce

In a 2015 speech, Perrottet suggested that the decline in birth rates was partly due to the “meddling hand of big government”.

“Countries with large pension systems tend to struggle with fertility,” he told the Centre for Independent Studies.

“In essence, the welfare state was acting as a substitute for the family, crowding ­out its formation, and increasing rates of divorce.”

He quoted US politician Daniel Moynihan’s claim that “marriage was penalised and single parenthood subsidised”, and described lower socioeconomic status Sydney suburb Mount Druitt as a “tangle of pathologies”.

Pointing to the SBS TV documentary, Struggle Street, which was based on Mount Druitt, Perrottet said 20 per cent of homes in that suburb are public housing, while 50 per cent of tenants are single parent families.

"Once again we see the same 'tangle of pathologies' described by Moynihan: delinquency, dysfunction, crime and family breakdown. And with the same devastating effects,” Perrottet said.

“The well intended, but ham fisted intervention into social policy by governments is having very real economic consequences."

He was the architect of icare

Perrottet established icare in 2015 to replace the previous state workers’ compensation scheme, WorkCover.

However, a 2020 investigation by Four Corners, The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald found that icare had underpaid some 52,000 injured workers by up to $80 million.

The investigation also found insurance agents had been working the scheme for financial incentives.

A 2019 report from the State Insurance Regulation Authority also found that the systems used by icare were so glitchy, around 50 per cent of cases had allegedly been misclassified.

Icare employed a new CEO, Richard Harding, in January. Harding is now the state’s highest-earning public servant, taking home $821,000.

Icare and Perrottet have both said they’re committed to delivering better standards, while claiming that the ABC and Nine investigation overstated the severity of the issues.

COVID-19 track record

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Perrottet has been a strong proponent for opening up, and also fought to have the JobKeeper payments reinstated for locked down Sydneysiders.

“People are in danger of slipping through the cracks, particularly those on income support that don’t qualify for the current disaster payments,” he warned Prime Minister Scott Morrison in July.

And during the late 2020 Northern Beaches lockdown, he suggested that NSW Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant take a pay cut.

During the most recent lockdown, he introduced the NSW JobSaver program which kicked in as the Federal Government ended JobKeeper benefits.

The scheme, first introduced in July, offered payments of up to $500,000 a week for businesses affected by the lockdown, provided they maintained their staffing levels.

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