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Rees loses fight for political survival -

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In a dramtic day for New South Wales state politics Premier Nathan Rees was defeated in a
leadership spill that saw Planning Minister Kristina Keneally take the top job. Deborah Cornwall
watched events unfold in Sydney today.


KERRY O'BRIEN, PRESENTER: To tonight's breaking story, Deborah Cornwall looks back on a day when
the now ex-premier Nathan Rees was replaced after 14 months by the state's first female leader
Kristina Keneally in very dramatic circumstances.

NATHAN REES, FORMER NSW PREMIER: I will not be handing NSW over to Eddie Obeid, Joe Tripodi or
Frank Sartor. I'm determined to restore integrity to the Government of NSW and I'll fight for that

SIMON BENSON, DAILY TELEGRAPH: You'd have to say it couldn't get any worse, but it could.

PROF. GREG CRAVEN, CONSTITUTIONAL LAWYER: The difficulty with governments is that they age at the
same rate as dogs, and this Government is now about 112 years old.

DEBORAH CORNWALL, REPORTER: It was the last hurrah from a deadman walking.

NATHAN REES: Ladies and gentlemen, throughout the past 15 months, my ability to do good has been
impaired at every turn. A malign and disloyal group, well known to the NSW community has made the
business of government almost impossible. The presence of such a group within the nation's oldest
and proudest political party is intolerable. Their treachery and disloyalty can be borne no longer.

DEBORAH CORNWALL: Rich stuff from a premier who'd stepped over the corpse of the elected leader to
get there only to face the same humiliating fate 15 months later.

And from the factional warlords who'd installed him: Joe Tripodi and Eddie Obeid.

NATHAN REES: Should I not be Premier by the end of this day, let there be no doubt in the
community's mind, no doubt, that any challenger will be a puppet of Eddie Obeid and Joe Tripodi.

DEBORAH CORNWALL: Speculation over who had the numbers for the top job kept changing today, with
former senior minister Frank Sartor the early favourite.

FRANK SARTOR, NSW LABOR MP: Can I get through to the gate.

REPORTER: do you think you'll you be Premier by the end of today?

FRANK SARTOR: No, no. Can I just get through, please?

DEBORAH CORNWALL: Only to be sidelined at lunchtime by growing support for the American-born
Planning Minister Kristina Keneally.

KRISTINA KENEALLY, NSW PREMIER: I am nobody's puppet. I am nobody's protégΘ. I'm nobody's girl, Mr

DEBORAH CORNWALL: The short disastrous reign of Premier Nathan Rees, signals a new low in the
deeply unpopular NSW Government.

REPORTER: You confident?


DEBORAH CORNWALL: A Government so fly-blown after 15 years in power, it now appears so consumed by
internal warring, it's all but given up on the business of governing.

PROF. GREG CRAVEN: There's nothing we can do about this, in NSW we have fixed terms for
governments. They were a fashion in the '80s, like leg-warmers and worked about as well. The result
is that a Government that has died can't even bury itself if it wants to. This will go through to
the end.

SIMON BENSON: I frankly don't think people care anymore. I think voters in NSW turned off this lot
a long time ago. And I don't think it's going to make any difference. They could put in Donald
Duck, I mean, it would still be the same, you know, circus that has been going on for the last

DEBORAH CORNWALL: Nathan Rees has been stalked by leadership rivals throughout his premiership.
Then two weeks ago he thought he had finally secured the lifeline he needed, demanding the state
party conference give him the right to pick his own ministers and rid himself of traitors in his

Joe Tripodi was the first to be speared.

REPORTER: Was axing Joe Tripodi worth risking your job for? Was axing Joe Tripodi worth risking
your job for

NATHAN REES: Ultimately the community of New South Wales will decide that.

DEBORAH CORNWALL: It was a crash or crash-through strategy that tonight ended in tears.

KEVIN RUDD, PRIME MINISTER: You know something about NSW, there are just too many days I find
myself being asked questions about this and I would frankly say to all those folk in the NSW
Government get your act together, get your act together.

SIMON BENSON: So it's death by 1000 cuts in NSW. No one can deny the significance and importance of
NSW to a Federal Government when they go to an election. They'll be particularly concerned about
the trashing of the brand in NSW. You'd have to it's almost beyond repair.

KERRY O'BRIEN: I think you could say the job is ahead of NSW's first female Premier. Search the
7.30 Report