Dominic Perrottet

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet and his puppet master, Michael Photios, the lobbyist who controls the NSW government

Dominic Perrottet owes his position as NSW Premier to Michael Photios who runs the biggest lobbying firm in NSW, and possibly Australia, which has corruption written all over it but it’s something that the old media rarely raises except for a mention here and there. This is important considering the Queensland government is currently having major issues with alleged corruption in relation to lobbyists influencing the Queensland government.

Gladys Berejiklian announced her intention to resign as NSW Premier on the 1st of October 2021 which was the same day the NSW ICAC announced that it was investigating whether Berejiklian breached public trust or encouraged corrupt behaviour during her relationship with former MP Daryl Maguire.

On the 5th of October 2021 the Liberal Party elected Dominic Perrottet as NSW Premier and one of the key players making sure that happened was lobbyist Michael Photios.

Michael Photios was a state MP in the NSW parliament from 1988 to 1999 when he lost the seat of Ryde but has continued to have huge influence within the Liberal Party. Michael Photios was forced to resign as the leader of the Liberal Party’s left faction in 2017 because even the Liberal Party could not hide anymore how dodgy it was to have a lobbyist is such a senior position within the Liberal Party. It was reported at the time:

NSW Liberal powerbroker, boss and lobbyist Michael Photios has resigned as the leader of the party’s dominant left faction, surprising even his close allies. Mr Photios received a standing ovation for his more than a decade in a post that carries considerable formal influence over party policy and preselections.

The move also comes as the role of lobbyists within the party has come under increasing scrutiny, particularly Mr Photios and his firm, Premier State, which enjoys large, $20,000-plus monthly retainers from major corporate clients including Telstra, the Hotels Association and The Star casino.

Former prime minister Tony Abbott told the ABC last year that lobbyists had too much control. “If you are making money out of the people whose preselections you control or influence, there is obviously a potential for corruption,” Mr Abbott said. (Click here to read more)

But when it came to Dominic Perrottet’s election as NSW Premier Michael Photios showed that he still ran the NSW Liberal Party.

The SMH reported: “Moderate powerbroker and former Liberal Minister Michael Photios was understood to be garnering support within partyroom for Mr Perrottet” (Click here to read more) and “Liberal powerbroker Michael Photios had been working the phones over the weekend to ensure Perrottet was installed as premier.” (Click here to read more)

Michael Photios is Chairman of PremierNational, which Photios set up, that is a lobbying firm and it says this on their website:

PremierNational is a specialist government relations and corporate affairs consultancy, operating on both sides of politics, right across Australia.

Founded in 2011 to service multi-national and Australian companies looking to connect with the NSW Government, PremierState quickly grew to become the state’s leading government relations firm, representing a diverse range of clients across all industry sectors.

PremierState successfully entered the federal government relations sector in 2013, and expanded again in 2015 with the addition of specialist crisis communications and agribusiness advisory arms. (Click here to read more)

From the dates it says that Michael Photios set up PremierState in 2011 which is when the Liberal/Nationals won the state government election and then the business went national in 2013 which is when the Liberal/Nationals won the federal election.

The whole business model for Michael Photios’s lobbying company PremierNational is getting favours for companies from the Liberal Party which Michael Photios controls so much he in effect appointed Dominic Perrottet as NSW Premier. It would be interesting to know how much influence Michael Photios had in installing Scott Morrison as Prime Minister and what payback he received.

As a side issue former Labor Party crook Graham Richardson is employed by PremierNational as a “Special Counsel”.

Queensland lobbyist issues

On Tuesday (28/6/22) the Coaldrake Review released a report into Queensland government corruption with the ABC reporting:

A review examining accountability issues in Queensland’s public sector has painted a scathing picture of its culture, saying it is “too tolerant of bullying” and is dominated by “short-term political thinking”.

Professor Peter Coaldrake released his final report titled Let The Sunshine In, which has made 14 recommendations designed to strengthen accountability and integrity mechanisms in the Queensland government.

Professor Coaldrake said there needed to be a requirement to register all professionals offering paid lobbying services for third parties, more transparent description of meeting purposes, an extension of ministerial diaries to include staff meetings with lobbyists and explicit prohibition of lobbyists “dual hatting” as political campaigners. (Click here to read more)

Queensland has also had an issue with “lobbyists “dual hatting” as political campaigners” the same as NSW but probably nowhere near as bad as the influence Michael Photios exerts on the NSW Liberal Party and also likely the federal Liberal Party.

If the QLD Crime and Corruption Commission is investigating lobbyists in Qld why is the NSW ICAC not investigating Lobbyists such as Michael Photios in NSW?

It was reported on the 18th of June 2022:

A report by Queensland’s Crime and Corruption Commission suggests the risk of corruption had “intensified” inside the state government, amid a surge in lobbying.

It found a small number of key groups and individuals appeared to have a “disproportionate amount of access” to the government and could be using those relationships to “influence government decision.”

“In some instances, the individuals or groups afforded access have long-standing and close political or personal connections with the decision-makers or government they are seeking to influence,” the report, published on Friday, said.

“Further, in some circumstances these individuals have been engaged by a political party or government agency while still involved in influencing practices, such as lobbying.” (Click here to read more)

The Queensland corruption agency (CCC) is at least investigating the issue of lobbyists’ influence on the government but not much seems to have happened in NSW since 2011:

The Liberal/National coalition was the 2011 NSW election with Barry O’Farrell becoming NSW Premier. It says on Michael Photios’ Wikipedia page:

In 2011, Photios was identified as a key member of both Liberal leader Barry O’Farrell’s kitchen cabinet and inner circle going into government. (Click here to read more)

Barry O’Farrell resigned in 2014 because of corruption and the following 2 NSW Premiers, Mike Baird (2014-2017) and Gladys Berejiklian (2017-2021) came from the same faction that Michael Photios has controlled for years so one has to expect he also controlled them as well.

And of course, we know from above that the current NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet owes his position to Michael Photios which should have every voter in NSW worried. 

If the NSW ICAC want to dig deep into NSW corruption Michael Photios and his lobbying firm PremierNational would be an obvious place to start.

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9 replies »

  1. Truely unbelievable is the issue of corruption in New South Wales and most probable Australia wide, wonder who really wields backroom power in Queensland, hopefully a name will surface very soon after release of the latest inquiry.
    No wonder Australia scores a mention in world’s most corrupt list within the top 20. Australia is a country which should be most wealthy rather than debt ridden at all levels, Municipal/State/Federal, a banana republic in the not too distant future.

  2. A couple of decades ago, I was a whistle blower in a private corporation scenario (mining) – ultimately I lost my job and was also man handled (shoved repeatedly against the wall) in the company boardroom by the company’s “industrial officer” while the manager and others were present – he was a large connected thug in an expensive suit. “They” have all the power. There must be legislated protection for whistle blowers. The manger was “done” by others some years later for fraud.

  3. The Fitzgerald report. Russ Hinz, Joh Beljelky QLD . Recent NSW labour. The Obeid family. The list goes on and on.
    Surely we need controls before they are elected.

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