New South Wales elects new Pope

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The NSW Liberal Party this morning conducted a ballot to choose between two highly religious white men to replace Gladys Berejiklian following her resignation on Friday 1 October. Ms Berejiklian resigned in anticipation of an investigation by the ICAC and isn’t the first person to complain that an ICAC investigation into their behaviour was poorly timed.

In a contest that takes us back to the sixteenth century, there were two candidates to become Premier, the current Treasurer, Dominic Perrottet and Planning Minister, Rob Stokes, with Perrottet defeating Stokes 39 votes to 5. Dominic has more children than poor Rob had votes.

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Dominic Perrottet is a conservative, white male Roman Catholic, and is seen as a religious extremist opposed to progressive agendas, who welcomed the election of Donald Trump as “a victory for people who have been taken for granted by the elites in the political establishment for too long”, defended those who question “man-made climate change”, and as an opponent to gender equality.

A little like Gladys, as Treasurer he was able to survive the fiasco of the government’s Workers Compensation Insurer (“I (don’t) Care), and establish the Transport Asset Holding Entity, TAHE, described by former NSW Auditor-General Tony Harris as “a vehicle designed to own Sydney’s rail assets and to hide government rail transport expenses“.

Mr Perrottet has six children, which is a lot by any measure, and if you go to the Liberal Party NSW site for a profile on the Member for Epping, you find that “Dominic is married to Helen and they are the proud parents at Charlotte, Amelia and Annabelle". That must be a bit of a bummer for the other three kids.

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His opponent, former Minister for Planning and Open Spaces, Rob Stokes, is a conservative white male Anglican, with, amongst other things, a Degree in Theology, and is also seen as a religious extremist opposed to progressive agendas. Both voted against decriminalising abortion and will oppose a vote for assisted dying in a Bill being brought before the NSW Parliament by Independent member for Sydney, Alex Greenwich. John Barilaro, the resigning leader of the National Party, experienced the misery of an agonising inevitable death for a loved one, and realised the importance of assisted dying for those who choose it, neither of the candidates are prepared to provide that option, choosing the miserable, lingering agony of death. Lovely.

Hard to distinguish between the two candidates, in the sixteenth century cheeky Catholics took the Pope on and started the Reformation, and while there was a time back in the 1950s and 1960s when careers in the New South Wales Public Sector were affected by whether you were a Catholic or Protestant (or more accurately, a Catholic or Protestant bloke) those days are now well behind us - with the clear expectation that when this year’s Census results are released, we will see fewer than half Australians ticking Christianity. Ours is a changing society, but there was no evidence of that in the Liberal Party meeting this morning - more a choice between Tweedledum and Tweedledee.

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