It's now 40 days and counting since John Barilaro's moment of glory turned toxic for the Perrottet government. The former NSW deputy premier's get-the-fuck-out-of-here dream job has become a daily waking nightmare for the government and is leading -- inexorably, one suspects -- to the resignation of at least one senior government figure: Deputy Liberal Leader Stuart Ayres, who has certainly misled Parliament.
Perversely, Ayres is pinning his salvation on all of us accepting that words such as "successful applicant" for a job don't really mean what they say, as he has argued in the case of senior NSW bureaucrat Jenny West, who was awarded the post of New York trade commissioner. West clearly had no idea as she excitedly told her family about their new future that Barilaro might have designs on the $500,000-per-annum gig himself, and was quietly using his ministerial role to change the rules on how appointments are made. A deputy premier is paid the comparatively paltry sum of around $340,000.
More inconsistencies in Ayres' story emerged yesterday with the release of emails showing he had suggested a name for the shortlist of candidates, contradicting his earlier claims of an independent, arm's-length process.