Barilaro decries ‘shitshow’, strangely forgets endorsing successful candidate for NY trade job

John Barilaro has fronted the inquiry into his appointment to the New York trade commission role, saying he regrets applying for the position.

Former NSW deputy premier John Barilaro gives evidence during the inquiry (Image: AAP/Bianca De Marchi)

John Barilaro has insisted to the NSW parliamentary inquiry into his appointment to a New York trade post that he was unaware his former deputy secretary Jenny West had been successful in applying for the job he was later handed — despite signing a brief endorsing her as successful.

Barilaro says he pressed ahead with his plan to change the process for appointing trade commissioners to political appointments, unaware that West — of whom Barilaro said he was a “big fan” — had been chosen by a recruitment panel and been offered the job by secretary Amy Brown. However, his signature appears on a brief endorsing her selection as the successful candidate. Barilaro says it was his electronic signature on the document and his staff had used it, and that he is unable to recall when he instructed his staff to add his signature to the brief.

The former deputy premier also said that there was no agenda about changing the status of the trade commission appointments except to attract better candidates for the roles, and he attached no urgency to the development of a cabinet submission despite asking for it to be done “ASAP”. “Everything is ASAP,” he said. Barilaro told the inquiry he had been intending to leave politics from June 2021 onwards, having never properly recovered from a breakdown in 2020.

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