Grylls backs Redman as next Nationals leader

DANIEL EMERSONThe West Australian
Brendon Grylls, resigning as Nationals Leader
Camera IconBrendon Grylls, resigning as Nationals Leader Credit: The West Australian

Brendon Grylls this morning reaffirmed his support for deputy Nationals leader Terry Redman to replace him at the helm of the party as he revealed Premier Colin Barnett had tried to talk him out of quitting the ministry.

Yesterday, Mr Redman declined to reveal whether he would stand to replace Mr Grylls, saying the party would work through the succession internally.

Speaking briefly on the way into the weekly Cabinet meeting, Mr Grylls said Mr Redman had been “generous” to not speak about his personal aspirations.

“But I’ve been on the record previously as saying Terry’s my deputy, he’s made a fantastic contribution and I think he’ll do a good job for the Nationals if my National Party colleagues support him in a vote,” Mr Grylls said.

Asked whether his vacancy in cabinet should be filled by a Nationals MP, Mr Grylls said his regional development portfolio had traditionally been held by his party and while he expected that would continue, it was not up to him.

Mr Redman again declined to comment on whether he intended to step into the leadership role.

Liberal ministers expressed shock at Mr Grylls’ decision to quit party leadership and Cabinet.

Education Minister Peter Collier said he was “genuinely disappointed” to see him leave the ministry.

“I’ve got a great personal and professional working relationship with Brendon and I’ll still work with him professionally and he’ll always be my friend, but I’m just really, really disappointed,” Mr Collier said.

“There will be an opportunity for someone else to come in, but I think we’ll just really miss Brendon.”

Mr Collier denied Cabinet would be weakened by Mr Grylls’ departure, but Deputy Premier Kim Hames said it would.

“There are strong people to take his place, but I think it does to a degree (because) he was an experienced, high quality minister,” he said.

“How can you say taking someone like that out doesn’t make a difference, but it always creates an opportunity for someone else to show their skills and talents.”

Dr Hames expected the vacancy to be filled by a Nationals MP.

“It has to be is my understanding,” he said.

Treasurer Troy Buswell said Mr Grylls had played an important role on the Economic and Expenditure Review Committee but there was no guarantee the new regional development minister would joint the Cabinet subcommittee.

“There’s no link between the ministry you hold and participation on EERC,” he said.

“I reflect on the extremely positive contribution (Mr Grylls) made to government over the last five years. I look at the positive contribution he’s made to regional communities, including my own (Vasse).

“I think it would have been a difficult decision for him to have made but obviously one for all the right reasons.”

Corrective Services Minister Joe Francis said being a minister was a “relentless” job.

Police Minister Liza Harvey said she rated Mr Grylls and his departure proved politics changed “every 24 hours”.

Leader of the House John Day also took a philosophical view.

“We live in a dynamic world, there are always new people coming along,” he said.

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