The NSW government has sensationally dumped former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull from his role as chair of an advisory body on climate change.
The bombshell move was revealed on Tuesday just a week after Mr Turnbull was offered the role as chair of the NSW government’s Net Zero Emissions and Clean Economy Board.
“(Mr Turnbull) pulled my pants down within 48 hours of his appointment on an area that I take seriously,” Deputy Premier John Barilaro told 2GB.
“We are not proceeding with the appointment of Malcolm Turnbull as chair.”
NSW Environment Minister Matt Kean said in a statement the purpose of the board was to create jobs in low carbon industries and help the state reduce its emissions in ways that grow the economy.
He explained the board’s focus needed to be on facts, technology, science and economics and not on personality.
“Malcolm Turnbull has contributed much to our country and I know will contribute more into the future,” he said.
“However, no person’s role on the board should distract from achieving results for the NSW people or from the government’s work in delivering jobs and opportunities for the people of NSW.
“For this reason, I have decided not to proceed with his appointment as chair.”
Mr Barilaro revealed the decision while speaking on breakfast radio.
He and Mr Turnbull have clashed in recent weeks.
Mr Barilaro accused Mr Turnbull of having a “damaged ego” and of being “at war with the Coalition” after the former prime minister backed a call for a moratorium on new coal mines in NSW.
Earlier, Mr Turnbull said the coalmine proposals and approvals in the state’s Upper Hunter Valley were “out of control”.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian was probed about the sacking in a press conference on Tuesday. She thanked Mr Turnbull for all of his contributions but accepted what Mr Kean said in his statement.
“I want to thank him for all his contributions to Australia, his contribution to public life and all that he has to offer,” she said.
“(But) I accept what Minister Kean said in his statement, and that is, unfortunately for everyone concerned, it was proving to be a distraction.
“His statement stands on its own, and I think the comments he made in that statement were pretty true.”
Mr Turnbull told ABC radio on Tuesday that the Environment Minister informed him there was no conflict of interest between anything he had said or anything his wife Lucy had said “or what we have written about coalmining in the Hunter”.
“The net zero board has nothing to do with coalmining approvals for a start. But he said he does not want personalities to be a distraction,” Mr Turnbull said.