Dominic Perrottet, who is set to replace Gladys Berejiklian as Premier of NSW after her shock resignation on Friday, is a man of deep faith, a committed Catholic with links to the conservative Opus Dei order.
Although Planning Minister Rob Stokes on Saturday declared he would also run for the Liberal leadership at a party-room ballot on Tuesday, Perrottet announced on Sunday afternoon that he would run with Tourism Minister Stuart Ayres as his deputy.
It is understood that this ticket will deliver the current Treasurer – who is backed by former prime minister John Howard as the best candidate for the job – the 24 votes he needs to become the next premier.
“We believe it is a team that will provide stability, unity and experience to continue the great work of Premier Gladys Berejiklian and our entire team to ensure that NSW comes out the other side much stronger,” Perrottet said.
As reported in the Sydney Morning Herald, if elected, the first significant test Perrottet will face as Premier will be to navigate the highly sensitive issue of assisted dying.
Alex Greenwich’s bill to legalise voluntary assisted dying is likely to cause great tension in the Liberal Party, with Perrottet and Stokes, a strong Anglican, set to oppose the bill. However, it is understood Perrottet will not stand in the way of a free vote on the issue.
Perrottet was brought up in Sydney’s northern suburbs in a large Catholic family, the third of 12 children. He attended the independent Catholic school Redfield College in Dural and the University of Sydney. He and his wife Helen have six children.
In his inaugural speech to parliament, the now 39-year-old father-of-six spoke of having to learn parenting skills early.
“For most kids, each new school term brought with it a new season. For me, it meant a new job rotation. I polished 12 pairs of shoes in summer. I packed 12 lunches in autumn. I changed 1200 nappies in winter and then changed them again in spring,” he said.
“I believe that the family is the cornerstone, the nucleus, of our society. As John Paul II said: As the family goes, so goes the nation and the whole world in which we live.”