In what comes as another blow to New South Wales politics, the state’s deputy premier, John Barilaro has announced his resignation and departure from parliament.
The decision to step away from politics has come in the midst of a legal battle in which Barilaro is suing Jordan Shanks, popularly known as FriendlyJordies.
In today’s press conference, Barilaro announced his departure saying that “vile” and “racist” commentary contributed to his decision.
He said, “A young boy of migrant parents, I grew up, I understood what racism was, (I) was called many of those names, I didn’t think in 2021 that will continue.”
“That in itself, can I say, was very difficult this year, and to be able to defend myself and continue with that case, I prefer to do it privately and not in the public eye.”
“That has been a big reason for announcement, along with the opportunity that has now opened, that maybe now is the refresh,” he continued. “I don’t know how many of you can endure what I’ve endured online.”
“I feel for young men and women, young boys and girls that get bullied on social media.”
“As someone who’s been around the traps, a 49-year-old man that’s played it rough and tough, I’ve got to tell you that it’s made it very difficult for me, very, very difficult for me, when you get online and the abusive cop started by disgusting vile racist commentary.”
Barilaro also addressed the belief that his departure “somehow destabilises the government is not right”.
He said, “Yes, it’s a tough time but I think it’s the right thing to do, to be honest with the public that the fight’s over and I’ve lost the fight, and it is time for me to go and I think it is appropriate to be honest and that’s what I’ve done today.”