Sunday, 7 September 2008

Meagher resigns to avoid Rees demotion

Reba Meagher ... advised to stand down

Mr Rees' re-shaped cabinet will be unveiled later today, although several other right-wing ministers could follow Ms Meagher's lead and bow out before they are pushed.

The embattled health minister stood down last night, after Mr Rees indicated she would be demoted if she stayed on.

It is believed she went to factional heavyweight Eddie Obeid to discuss her dilemma but he advised her to stand down.

Ms Meagher is one of several ministers that the former premier Morris Iemma had wanted to dump.

In a statement she said she has always done what is in the best interests of the ALP and the Government.

Several other right-wing ministers were under pressure to stand down last night including Graham West, Kevin Greene and possibly Tony Kelly, but it is believed Joe Tripodi might survive.

Some of the new blood being touted as their likely replacements are Steve Whan, Virginia Judge and Tania Gadiel.

All will be revealed at this morning's Caucus meeting, before the Premier's public unveiling later today.

Meanwhile, Opposition health spokeswoman Jillian Skinner says it is unlikely a new health minister can fix the problems in the state's hospitals.

"I think it's highly unlikely that anyone in the Labor Party will turn it around and partly because these are problems of their own making," he said.

"They've been sweeping them under the carpet.

"As long as you deny there are concerns and you don't listen to the clinicians and the others who are very important in the system, then there is no way of fixing them."

Updated: 11:32am (AEST)

'Soap opera over' as Rees names new cabinet

New South Wales planning minister Frank Sartor has been dumped under a reshuffle of the New South Wales Cabinet.

The Labor Caucus met this morning to decide the make-up of the new frontbench under new Premier Nathan Rees.

Health minister Reba Meagher stood down overnight before she could be dumped.

Former treasurer Michael Costa was also stood aside during the week.

But Ports Minister Joe Tripodi has survived, along with the Gaming Minister Graham West who was widely tipped to be axed.

Caucus chairman Robert Coombs announced the results after the meeting and says there were no challenges.

Mr Rees says from today, "it's game on and the soap opera is over".

"This ticket is a fresh start for New South Wales," he said.

"It's as simple as that. I'm very happy with the ticket.

"It's the combination I wanted. It's got the courage, it's got the talent, and it's got most of all the work ethic and that's what this exercise has been about."

The new Cabinet will be sworn in at Government House tomorrow.


Budget worse than expected - Rees

NEW South Wales Premier Nathan Rees says the economic outlook for the state is more bleak than he expected, and difficult decisions will have to be made.

Rees confirmed as new NSW premier
Mr Rees is currently the Minister for Water and Emergency Services and was widely tipped to put his hand up as a non-factional premier. His selection has emerged from a full Caucus meeting at State Parliament in Sydney.

NSW Premier Morris Iemma resigns
Mr Iemma faced a caucus revolt this morning and Mr Rees had the numbers to overthrow Mr Iemma.

Gone: NSW Treasurer Michael Costa has been sacked
New South Wales Premier Morris Iemma has sacked his unpopular Treasurer Michael Costa in the wake of the state's failed electricity privatisation push.

Carmel Tebbutt named NSW deputy premier
Ms Tebbutt left the frontbench 18 months ago for family reasons
Labor MP Carmel Tebbutt has been chosen as the next deputy premier of New South Wales.

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