John Barilaro ranked second after interviews for commercial role in New York, new documents reveal

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Former NSW deputy premier John Barilaro was ranked second on the shortlist after interviews for a lucrative New York-based trading position, but remained in the post after Investment NSW chief executive Amy Brown called for the results to be changed.

New documents released Monday show after interviews, a committee report dated March 25 ranked Barilaro second among candidates interviewed for the position.

By June 15 – just days before the job was announced – Barilaro had risen to the top spot.

Asked on Monday why Barilaro moved from second place to first, Trade Minister Stuart Ayres said it was Brown’s decision because she “didn’t believe” the initial report from the global recruitment firm that conducted the survey was accurate.

“I understand he emailed almost instantly to update [the recruitment company] he didn’t think it was an accurate representation and asked for it to be adjusted,” Ayres said.

“This is a decision for her. made that phone call.”

This week a parliamentary inquiry into the post will continue, with Brown appearing for the second time on Wednesday.

Ayres is under increasing pressure for his role in hiring Barilaro to the lucrative post of New York trade commissioner.

On Monday it revealed it had sent Barilaro a copy of the job advertisement for the New York role when it was published in the Australian Financial Review in December.

Ayres previously said Barilaro reached out to him via text in December to ask about the job. The minister insisted he informed him he could apply like “any other private person”.

Despite Ayres’ insistence that the decision to appoint the former deputy prime minister was made by ministers, the Guardian revealed that Ayres asked Brown to add a name to the shortlist during a meeting in February.

The minister continued to deny that he influenced the process, insisting on Monday that he had not “directed” Brown to add the name.

“Throughout this exercise and the formal activities that happen in the interactions between secretaries or service heads in particular and ministers, we will always have discussion and engagement,” he said.

“The key point here is that there has been no direction from me to Amy Brown as to who should be hired.

“It was just a conversation … deciding who gets on that list is not for me.”

He said the name he asked to be added to what Brown called in an email a “short list” was already one of the candidates being considered for the position.

Some senior ministers say privately that Ayres should stand aside until two separate inquiries into the post are completed, but the minister insisted he would not.

“I haven’t done anything wrong, I don’t need to stand aside,” he said, adding that Perrottet had not asked him to step down as deputy party leader.

Ayres’ press conference followed a lengthy statement released on Facebook on Sunday night in which he insisted the trade post had followed an “independent, transparent and merit-based selection process”.

Ayres again insisted that the first round of recruitment for the New York post had not found a suitable candidate, despite the Guardian previously revealing Ayres signed a brief statement saying former senior civil servant Jenny West had been selected as the “successful candidate” for the position last August. .

“Disliking Mr. Barilaro or his style of politics is not an adequate reason to reject his application, let alone to not select him for the role,” Ayres wrote.

“Every action I’ve taken has been to take the politics out of the recruitment of these roles and put the people of NSW first,” he said.

“I think I can tell everyone here that I’m not known as the standard-bearer of John Barilaro’s fan club, but he’s a private person and we need to be able to make sure that every private person who applies for the role gets a fair hearing,” he said at the time. .

But at the same press conference, Ayres also said that “politicians played no part in the selection and hiring process” of the New York commercial role and that any attempt by him to direct the civil service on hiring would amount to “an abuse of influence “.

Barilaro has already stepped down from the position, citing the media attention his appointment had garnered.

However, he said he “always maintained that I followed the procedure.”

The Guardian has approached Brown and Barillaro for comment.

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