In his first few days as NSW premier, Dominic Perrottet is already setting his stamp on the government of Australia’s most populous state. And it seems like he’s annoying all the right people.

The left-media were, of course, outraged from the get-go that a conservative (gasp!) Catholic (shock!) family man had become premier. “But what about the LGBT community!” they whined (I’m not making that up: at least one journalist literally said just that).

The rest of the mainstream media are shocked – shocked! – that Perrottet’s first full press conference was conducted without the angelic presence of a state health bureaucrat. It’s as shocking as if Ashley Bloomfield was somehow prised away from Jacinda Ardern’s side at a daily propaganda broadcast. Unheard of! The media haven’t been this discombobulated since Gladys Berejiklian cut off their drip of daily fear-porn.

The new Premier had plenty of back up at his first full-blooded press conference – four ministers in attendance – but the questions were all about the one person who wasn’t there: Kerry Chant.

Not inviting your chief health officer to the announcement of major changes to the state’s roadmap out of Covid was not a good look […] it was a misstep by Dominic Perrottet, though perhaps not on a par with former Premier Gladys Berejiklian’s brain-snap announcement last month that she was abandoning daily press conferences.

On the contrary, to many it seemed a very good look and a step in just the right direction.

One of the most irritating side-effects of the China virus pandemic is that unearned fame it has bestowed on bureaucrats. These unelected nobodies have been offered a dizzying chance at celebrity and they’ve taken to it like a louse to a bare bum. While it’s perhaps understandable that previously faceless bureaucrats have jumped at the chance for the sort of public adulation they clearly think they deserve, no matter how little they’ve done to earn it, it’s high time these media tarts were relegated back to the grey nothingness of cubicles and tea rooms that they came from. Most importantly, these jumped-up Little Hitlers need a sharp reminder of who’s supposed to be in charge, in a democracy.

If Perrottet’s presser is a sign that elected officials, not unelected bureaucrats, are in charge again, so much the better. At least the former can be thrown out by the people.

These were big changes […] Schools back earlier, masks off earlier, more home visitors, bigger weddings and funerals […]

The intent was to show that in the great battle of Health v Business, the new Premier was getting the state back to work – and in that, he succeeded.

The crisis cabinet was out: the Covid and Economic Recovery Committee was in.

The Australian

Perrottet’s other move might seem a bit more perplexing to conservatives.

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet, a conservative Liberal, has appointed Michael Coutts-Trotter, the husband of federal Labor frontbencher Tanya Plibersek, as the state’s top bureaucrat, the secretary of the Department of Premier and Cabinet.

Mr Coutts-Trotter, who has been married to Ms Plibersek, for two decades, has most recently been the Justice Department secretary and prior to that headed the Education Department […] the decision to appoint Mr Coutts-Trotter meant the axing of Ms Berejiklian’s appointee, Jim Betts, before he had even begun.

The Australian

Even leaving aside his marriage to a prominent Labor politician, Coutts-Trotter has, shall we say, a troubled past. As a teenager, he developed a heavy drug habit. At 19, he was convicted and served nearly three years in prison for heroin trafficking. But in the years since, Coutt-Trotter certainly turned his life around: he acquired a degree in 1995 and joined the public service.

As a public servant, he has carved out quite a career: first as Director-General of the NSW Department of Education, under Labor premier Morris Iemma. But despite teachers’ union concerns, Coutts-Trotter served the role well enough that he was appointed Director-General of the Department of Finance and Services by Liberal premier Barry O’Farrell. O’Farrell moved him to lead the Department of Family and Community Services in 2013, a position he kept under the next Liberal premier, Mike Baird. In 2019, another Liberal, Gladys Berejiklian, made him head of the Department of Communities & Justice (history is not without a sense of irony, clearly).

As one commenter noted, if Coutts-Trotter hadn’t “served numerous NSW Liberal Government ministers with distinction, he wouldn’t have got this job”.

And, maybe, for all the left-media hyperventilating about Perrottet’s Catholic faith, perhaps the NSW premier is leading by the cardinal Christian virtue: forgiveness.

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Perrottet Puts His Stamp on NSW Government

Lushington D. Brady

Punk rock philosopher. Liberalist contrarian. Grumpy old bastard. I grew up in a generational-Labor-voting family. I kept the faith long after the political left had abandoned it. In the last decade...