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Resignation of Premier Morris Iemma, New Premier Nathan Rees

September 2008

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Morris Iemma has today resigned as NSW Premier and as the Member for Lakemba. Iemma will be replaced as Premier by former Minister for Emergency Services and Water Utilities Nathan Rees.

Earlier today, Iemma told his Right faction colleagues he was willing to continue as Premier, but only if they agreed to a clean-out of senior positions, including Health Minister Reba Meagher and Community Services Minister Kevin Greene.

The Right faction were prepared to support Iemma, but not if he insisted on sacking senior members of the faction from Cabinet.  Iemma refused the deal and resigned as Premier.  He is the first Labor Premier to resign in 117 years.

Nathan Rees was elected as Premier with the unanimous support of the full Labor caucus.  Rees is the Member for Toongabbie and was elected to NSW Parliament in March 2007.  Prior to joining Parliament, Rees worked as a greenkeeper and garbage collector and as an advisor to Premiers Bob Carr and Morris Iemma.

Carmel Tebbutt has been elected as the NSW Deputy Premier.  Tebbutt was elected to the NSW Legislative Assembly as the Member for Marrickville in 2005.  From 1998-2003, she was a member of NSW’s Legislative Council and acted as the Minister for Juvenile Justice.  In 2007, Tebbutt was Minister for Education when she resigned from Cabinet to spend more time with her young son Nathan.  Her husband is Federal Labor Minister for Infrastructure, Anthony Albanese.

Both Rees and Tebbutt come from the party’s Left faction.  Rees has, however, unaligned himself from the Left faction following his nomination for Premier.  The NSW Right has held the NSW premiership since the 1970s.

NSW MLC Michael Costa has also been dumped as NSW Treasurer.  In a press conference earlier today, Costa said he was advised last night by former Premier Iemma that he was “not on his ticket”, in reference to the names of those to be included in the new cabinet.  Costa also detailed his concerns over the state’s ability to retain its Triple A credit rating, and the unaffordability of the Government’s plan for a metro rail system to outer northwest Sydney.

In a press conference this afternoon, Rees said a cabinet would not be elected by caucus until early next week.

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