Two senior NSW government ministers are now at war over preselection for the next election

NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian.

NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet has sparked an internal war in the NSW government after announcing he will challenge fellow Minister Ray Williams for his western Sydney seat of Castle Hill ahead of the March 2019 election.

Williams, the Multicultural Affairs and Disabilities Ministers, has called on Perrottet to step down as Liberal deputy leader, and threatened to move a spill motion against him if the treasurer failed to resign.

Perrottet entered NSW politics in 2011 as the MP for Castle Hill, but following a 2014 redistribution, he was challenged by Williams and moved to the nearby seat of Hawkesbury for the 2015 election.

A term later, he wants to move back, implying that the commute is getting to him amid the pull of family and his job, having won the seat as a backbencher with three kids.

“I have three key commitments in my life: being a good husband and dad to five children, discharging my duties as Treasurer, and working hard to represent my electorate,” Perrottet said.

“While I have always done my best to balance these commitments, looking to the future I have been concerned that I would be unable to give the people of Hawkesbury the level of representation they deserve and best discharge my service to all of NSW as Treasurer.”

Nominating for his old seat is “not a decision I have taken lightly and comes after a great deal of reflection and discussions with my family and colleagues,” he said, but “in the best interests” of NSW residents, his family and the government.

There’s one other benefit after the Liberals suffered a 28% swing against it in the recent Wagga Wagga by-election – Castle Hill has a buffer of nearly 30% in favour of the government, while Hawkesbury’s is 17.8%.

Perrottet concluded his statement by saying that politics was tough and thanking Williams for his service to the people of NSW and the party.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said she had spoken to both the Treasurer and Williams “and reminded them that the people of NSW expect their government to be solely focused on delivering for the community.”

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