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NSW Premier shows who's the boss -

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SHANE MCLEOD: To New South Wales where the smoke is clearing after the weekend's political
bombshell lobbed by Premier Nathan Rees.

He sprang a surprise at the Labor Party's state conference, successfully winning support from
delegates to be able to choose his own Cabinet ministers. And armed with that power, Mr Rees didn't
waste time using it. Within hours he'd axed two prominent ministers, stamping his authority on the
party and purging his Cabinet of some of those plotting against him.

But the move seems to have only increased speculation of a leadership challenge against Mr Rees.

As Brigid Glanville reports, the Premier will now be hoping he can boost his popularity with the
electorate and keep the plotters at bay.

BRIGID GLANVILLE: After 14 months in power, the Premier of New South Wales is showing who's boss.
Late yesterday his party was in shock as he sacked finance minister Joe Tripodi and primary
industries minister Ian Macdonald.

Nathan Rees used new powers given to him on Saturday at the ALP conference to choose his own
ministry. The shell-shocked party raised their heads from the trenches this morning to give their
say on breakfast radio.

Former health minister John Della Bosca - who quit from the frontbench in August over an
extra-marital affair - says he didn't speak out against the Premier's move. Mr Della Bosca told 702
ABC Sydney's he's a traditionalist.

JOHN DELLA BOSCA: The tradition that's been there for the Caucus to elect an executive who then
become ministry is pretty old and certainly sort of rooted in the idea of collective

But, you know, the times are changing and, you know, I said like everybody there at the conference
I was a little bit concerned at the suggestion that this change happen and obviously the change
happened with the support of the conference, and like everybody I just believe and expect it'll be
used very judiciously.

BRIGID GLANVILLE: For years right-wing power broker Joe Tripodi has had the support within his
party to get what he wants. He was shocked when he fronted the media late yesterday saying the
Premier gave him no reasons.

JOE TRIPODI: I have been an emphatic supporter of Premier Nathan Rees. On every occasion I have
supported him and I continue to support the Premier. I think that's the obligation of every Labor
member of parliament and I know for a fact that you all know that I've been nothing other than
loyal to Nathan Rees.

REPORTER: Will you move to roll him Mr Tripodi? Will you move to roll the Premier at some point?

JOE TRIPODI: That's just a ridiculous suggestion. I've accepted what the Premier's asked me to do
and I continue to show my loyalty.

BRIGID GLANVILLE: It's the public perception of Joe Tripodi that the Premier may want to get rid of
before the next election. Joe Tripodi has powerful friends and appearing at hearings at the
Independent Commission Against Corruption hasn't helped his reputation.

Mr Tripodi blames the media.

JOE TRIPODI: There's no doubt about it, the Sydney Morning Herald's given me a very hard time for a
very long time. The consequences of that, the cumulative impact of their witch hunt on me has had
that effect and there's no doubt about it that when you're around in public life for quite a long
time you do take hits to your reputation but I'd point to this - no media has ever been able to
criticise me on the quality of my administration as a minister.

BRIGID GLANVILLE: Voters won't have their say on the move until March 2011.

Dr Anthony Ashbolt is a senior lecturer in politics at the University of Wollongong. He says this
bold move won't do anything to help save Labor in New South Wales.

ANTHONY ASHBOLT: The problem isn't necessarily with particular ministers. There is a dearth of
talent in the New South Wales Labor Party. Let me put it as bluntly as that.

They really are searching around for people who can stand up and act as competent ministers and,
you know, there is a desperation to what Rees is doing. It's a sad reflection on the state of New
South Wales party politics generally but particularly in relation to the Labor Party.

BRIGID GLANVILLE: In a written statement Ian Macdonald says he will continue to serve in Parliament
until his Upper House term expires in 2015. Mr Tripodi will also remain on the backbench, no doubt
watched closely by the Premier.

SHANE MCLEOD: Brigid Glanville reporting.