In a dramatic backflip, Nationals leader John Barilaro has told the NSW Premier his party will remain in Coalition until the election, less than an hour after party sources said they would stand firm on their threats.
In a dramatic backflip, Nationals leader John Barilaro has told the NSW Premier his party will remain in Coalition until the election, less than an hour after party sources said they would stand firm on their threats.

NSW National Party backs down after koala stand-off

Nationals leader John Barilaro has walked into the office of Premier Gladys Berejiklian where it is understood he has agreed to remain in Coalition until the election.  

A Liberal source said Mr Barilaro has also agreed that his MPs will support all government positions.  

The dramatic backdown follows National sources indicting they would be holding firm on their threats after their 8am meeting this morning.  

Mr Barilaro and the Premier met for 25 minutes, the Nationals leader making several requests, a government source said, but the Premier did not agree to them.  

She asked him to ensure support for the Coalition until the election, to which he agreed, a government source familiar with the meeting said.   The source said it was a "complete capitulation" by Mr Barilaro.

  Negotiations on koalas will, however, continue.  

The meeting follows a text exchange between Mr Barilaro and the premier last night, whereby Ms Berejiklian asked if he wished to remain in Coalition while informing him that she would not be changing her stance.  

The NSW government was on the brink of collapse today with the Premier sharpening an axe to sack seven Nationals Ministers, including her deputy John Barilaro.  

In a stunning ultimatum in response to the National Party's meltdown over new koala protection rules, Gladys Berejiklian gave a deadline of 9am today for the renegade country MPs to fall into line or be fired from the frontbench.  

Earlier today, Mr Barilaro said he would wait until the 8am party room meeting with his colleagues to decide how they would respond.  

"I will trust the party room to make a decision that I will take to the premier. I don't know what it looks like and I'm prepared to accept that what we're doing is the right thing for regional communities," he told 2GB this morning.  

He denied National Party MPs would sit on the crossbench, saying this had been "misinterpreted" and he was "not here to bring down the government."  

"What we said yesterday is that no one would go physically to the crossbench but what was turned on us is that because we said we won't vote on government bills until this is resolved … that effectively the whole party was going to the crossbench.  

"We're not going to the crossbench, we're not sitting on the crossbench."

News Corp Australia


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