Read the bombshell texts sent by top female civil servant John Barilaro when he was hired for a $500,000 ‘dream job’ in New York
- Texts Show Government Officials Responding To John Barilaro . Appointment
- Barilaro was given a US trade role instead of a high-ranking official
- ‘This isn’t great,’ said Amy Brown, CEO of Investment NSW, after an investigation
Explosive text messages reveal officials’ reactions to John Barilaro’s appointment to a plum US trade role as the news trickled down to the government.
Investment NSW CEO Amy Brown texted colleagues a news article indicating that an upper house parliamentary inquiry would examine how Mr. Barilaro landed the role as the state’s senior trade commissioner in America.
“This isn’t great,” she wrote on June 20.
Investment NSW CEO Amy Brown said it was “technically” her decision to appoint John Barilaro to a US trading role
Former NSW Deputy Prime Minister John Barilaro was appointed to a $500,000-a-year job in New York City – and now says he’s a ‘victim’ of a political investigation
“No, but completely predictable,” Ministry Prime Minister and Cabinet Secretary Michael Coutts Trotter replied.
Mrs. Brown texted back, “We need to talk it through when I get it all together. Technically it was my decision.’
Deputy Secretary, Community Engagement at the Ministry of Prime Minister and Cabinet Kate Meagher replied: ‘Glad to help Amy’.
“Of course,” said Mr. Coutts-Trotter.
The texts, ordered as part of the House of Lords’ inquiry into Barilaro’s hiring, were published Tuesday evening.
Ms. Brown has maintained that it was her decision to appoint Mr. Barilaro during her appearance on three House of Lords investigations.
She admitted, however, that she was somewhat influenced when the government tried to convert the roles to ministerial appointments.
In May, the month before Barilaro’s hiring was announced, Ms Brown texted Mr Coutts-Trotter to let him know she had the green light from Prime Minister Dominic Perrottet to go ahead with the contract.
“I have been told that Prime Minister and DP (Deputy Prime Minister Paul Toole) are comfortable with the nomination of Barilaro… and I have requested that the formalization of the arrangements be continued (which I will do).”
Ms Brown previously told the inquiry that she approached Mr Coutts-Trotter to discuss the appointment and told him she was nervous about it.
“He didn’t say what he was necessarily going to do,” Ms Brown told the inquiry last Wednesday, noting she didn’t get a substantial response either.
Mr Coutts-Trotter was tasked by the Prime Minister with conducting a separate inquiry into the recruitment process, which is in fact being conducted by former Public Services Commissioner Graeme Head to ensure confidence in the process.
Mr Head will be paid $73,500 for conducting the investigation, excluding the costs he will be reimbursed.
Another exchange shows Kristoff Clark, director of Investment NSW Media, texting another media director, Sophie Hull, who previously worked for former Investment Secretary Stuart Ayres, and discusses a June 17 press release announcing the appointment of Mr. Barilaro is announced.
“Any aggressiveness from anyone?” asked Mr Clark on the day of the announcement.
“A little, but it’s fixed,” Mrs Hull replied with an emoji of a blushing smile.
“I wonder who Yoni heard from,” Mr. Clark added.
“I’m not sure who told Yoni. Probably Barra (Mr. Barilaro) himself,’ Mrs Hull replied, with the eye roll emoji.
The pair appear to be discussing a June 16 column by News Corp journalist Yoni Bashan, who reported that Barilaro was “on the move” after resigning from his job at Coronation Property.
The report was one day short of the government’s release.
Mr Barilaro was informed by the Director of Investment NSW, Kylie Bell, on 23 May that he was the successful candidate.
“I’m sending you a text to congratulate you and we are thrilled to have you as our STIC for America,” said Ms. Bell.
“Thank you Kylie,” Mr. Barilaro replied.