Ex-finance minister to quit parliament
Greg Pearce, the former finance minister who lost his job after being accused of being drunk in parliament and over a series of “jobs for the boys” accusations, will retire from parliament.
The upper house MP told The Australian that he would go in mid-November and he had told Premier Gladys Berejiklian of his decision.
His former deputy chief of staff Natalie Ward, who is married to powerbroker Michael Photios’s business partner David Begg, is expected to replace him in the casual vacancy in the Legislative Council.
Mr Pearce served in the O’Farrell ministry from 2011 to 2013 and he was the architect of the O’Farrell government’s WorkCover reforms.
“I have decided to go because I think it’s really important someone with new enthusiasm is in place as soon as possible,” Mr Pearce said.
“It needs to be someone with skills, and hopefully a woman.
“I’m going in November. That gives me time to finish some commitments and gives the party time to make a selection.
“It’s been an honour and a pleasure.”
Mr Pearce was accused of being drunk at a late night sitting. He then travelled to a function held by powerbroker Michael Photios in Canberra and was forced to pay back travel entitlements.
At the time Mr Pearce claimed he had gone to visit the development Tralee, near Canberra, but reporters discovered it was a vacant site.
He was also at the centre of a series of jobs for the boys accusations, culminating in Barry O’Farrell sacking him from cabinet after Mr Pearce did not declare a SydneyWater board appointment recommendation he made involved his wife’s boss.
In recent months, Mr Pearce has helped advise the government on infrastructure projects in an informal role.
Mr Pearce entered the parliament in 2000 and therefore qualifies for a parliamentary pension.
It is expected it will be more than $130,000 a year.