Abortion bill victory photo could put Gladys in firing line
EXCLUSIVE: Liberal ministers and backbenchers have vented their fury at Premier Gladys Berejiklian over her handling of the abortion bill, with a warning it could derail the government's agenda in the upper house through to the next election.
With the Premier out of the country on a trade mission to the UK, a number of Liberals unloaded on her decision to allow the Private Member's Bill to be rushed through parliament.
Counter Terrorism Minister and right-winger Anthony Roberts said his constituents were "ropeable" over a lack of public consultation on the bill and the fact it will allow gender-selective abortions up to 22 weeks.
"This has broken all land speed records from the announcement of the bill to jamming it through parliament - it is disgraceful," Mr Roberts said.
"The NSW parliament abolished the death penalty for murder in 1955 - in 2019 they reinstated it for the crime of being inconvenient or being a female."
Liberal MLC Matthew Mason-Cox said the government's program was now "under a cloud" because it had "alienated" conservative upper house cross benchers.
Mr Mason-Cox, who has crossed the floor to vote against the government in the past, said Ms Berejiklian could have stopped the bill from being introduced "on day one" but instead "joined the chorus to fast-track it through".
"I think it reflects poorly on her leadership. I think she's lost support within her party and the community over this," he said.
He said it would make it difficult for government to get its legislative agenda through the crossbench.
Shooters Party leader Robert Borsak confirmed the handling of the abortion bill had "undermined any potential for supporting them (the Coalition) over the life of this government".
"This government is sneaky, secretive, deceitful plays favourites and is prepared to do deals with elitist left inner-city dwellers, Animal Justice Party and even Greens to get their way, at the cost of rural and regional NSW," he said.
Another Liberal MP said there was "hot" anger among voters and warned the party was "losing supporters at a rate of knots".
"People feel betrayed and ignored, especially when it comes to something as emotional and important as this," the MP said.
MPs have also slammed an "undignified" photo showing Mr Greenwich, Health Minister Brad Hazzard and other co-sponsors of the bill cheering after it passed the Legislative Assembly on Thursday night.
"If you've split the community, why would you rub their face and your opponent's face in it by posting a celebratory photo?" one Liberal said.
Liberals are fuming over an apparent "sweetheart deal" Ms Berejiklian made before the election with independent Alex Greenwich, who moved the bill. In case of minority government, some believe the Premier offered to back Mr Greenwich in exchange for his confidence and supply.
"There is a dirty deal that's being done here because otherwise, why are we doing what we're doing?" one Liberal MP said.
Mr Greenwich and the Premier's spokesman both denied a pre-election deal.
The fate of the Abortion Bill is now with upper house MPs, who will hold a public inquiry this week.