former deputy prime minister to appear as investigation continues

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Labor’s Daniel Mookhey asked John Barilaro about his use of New South Wales Department of Regional Secretary Gary Barnes as a reference in his candidacy.

This led to a heated exchange.

Mookhey: Did you at any time speak with Gary Barnes about your interest, your application or the process?

Barilaro: Not that I remember. I would have told him when I applied for the position that I had applied for the [role]naturally.

mookey What about [after your application]?

Barilaro: I believe Mr. Barnes informed me that he set up the referee, I must have a feeling that happened.

Mookhey: You created the NSW Regional Department?

Barilaro: Yes.

Mookhey: And you cast Gary Barnes for the role of secretary?

Barilaro: Yes of course.

Mookhey asks if then-Prime Minister Gladys Berejiklian and former head of the Prime Minister’s Department and Cabinet Tim Reardon resisted the nomination.

Barilaro: Not that I know.

Mookhey: You’re the reason he became secretary, and he’s a big reason you became the successful candidate for the Americas. Do you understand the perception that creates?

Barilaro: You cannot use this forum to defame people… This is an insult to a public servant who I believe has been in public service for over 35 years across the country and all colors of government.. To do this insult today, that somehow I did him a favor, because that’s what you’re referring to, and he did me one, is wrong. .

Mookhey denies that was an insult.

Both men also took issue with Mookhey’s suggestion that Barilaro used information he gleaned as minister for personal gain in the candidacy process. Barilaro insists that the information he cited was all in the public domain and that he had the right to apply as a former minister.

The investigation is now taking a lunch break. It will resume at 1 p.m.

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