There’s growing speculation former NSW education minister Adrian Piccoli is set to quit parliament, with the premier refusing to quash the rumours.
News Corp Australia this week reported Mr Piccoli intended to leave politics by the end of the year but the Murray MP has refused to comment publicly on his future.
Gladys Berejiklian has rejected suggestions even more Nationals MPs could follow his lead and make an early departure.
“You’ll have to speak to him about (his future), I share conversations with many of my colleagues and that’s a matter for him,” Ms Berejiklian told reporters in Sydney.
“I’m not really worried about anything in that regard. We’re a strong government working day in and day out for the people of NSW.”
Mr Piccoli’s retirement would trigger a fifth by-election in NSW in 2017.
By-elections are looming for the seats of Cootamundra and Blacktown following the resignations of Nationals MP Katrina Hodgkinson and Labor MP John Robertson, respectively.
Gosford and Manly were also re-contested in April with Labor and the Liberals each retaining their respective seats.
As speculation about Mr Piccoli’s future grows, political opponents are beginning to circle his regional seat.
The Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party is already eyeing Cootamundra and say they’ll contest Mr Piccoli’s seat of Murray if he does indeed retire.
“This is an electorate that we have been watching very closely for some time now,” Shooters and Fishers MLC Robert Borsak said in a statement.
“Adrian Piccoli’s resignation has been a long time coming.”
Mr Piccoli was appointed an honorary professor at the UNSW School of Education in April and is tipped to take up a full-time position there.
click here to read the rest of this story