MP to lose licence for speeding in ministerial car
Deputy Premier John Barilaro is about to lose his driver's licence after being caught speeding behind the wheel of a ministerial car days before he went on mental health leave.
Mr Barilaro has yet to pay the fine, which has been sent to the Department of Premier and Cabinet, and so his licence is not yet suspended.
The Daily Telegraph can reveal Mr Barilaro will lose his licence after he clocked up points for speeding and using his mobile phone behind the wheel.
A spokeswoman for Mr Barilaro said: "As is absolutely appropriate, the Deputy Premier will pay any fines and cop all penalties associated with the driving infringements."
Two of the offences occurred in the week before Mr Barilaro went on stress leave for a month, citing mental health issues.
But the spokeswoman said: "The driving offences in question did not contribute to his decision to take leave."
It is understood he was caught on camera speeding through the Harbour Tunnel on his way to North Sydney to collect food.
He was also caught using his mobile phone behind the wheel.
An earlier fine for speeding was recorded when he was driving his daughter to university.
The offences came at the end of a tumultuous time for the Deputy Premier, which included bushfires in his electorate and a non-fatal car crash involving his 19-year-old daughter
Domenica just hours before his beloved father Domenico died.
Just before he took stress leave Mr Barilaro revealed in an interview with The Daily Telegraph that he had received counselling for depression and struggled with the challenges of 2020.
"Everybody's had some level of trauma in their life," he said. "It's about how you manage it and for a long time I thought I could do it on my own - this year I couldn't."
Sources close to Mr Barilaro said "these infringements clearly show that the Deputy Premier was struggling with his mental wellbeing given the erratic driving behaviour".
His spokeswoman said: "The Deputy Premier is currently on mental health leave, which he has been open and transparent about.
"A number of factors over a period of time contributed to the Deputy Premier making the decision to take leave, including dealing with the aftermath of bushfires across the state, the prolonged drought, and the death of his father."
The spokeswoman made it clear that the driving offences in no way affected Mr Barilaro's role as Deputy Premier.
"The Deputy Premier will return from leave in the coming weeks," she said.
Sources inside Mr Barilaro's office said they were considering launching a data breach investigation to try to track exactly where the information about the Leader of the Nationals' loss of licence came from.
It is understood they were weighing whether to make a complaint to NSW Police over the matter.
They expressed concern that the level of detail of which The Daily Telegraph was aware of when it made inquiries about the licence loss, and they argued it could have involved a privacy breach.
Their concern will escalate an atmosphere of distrust between the Liberals and Nationals in Macquarie Street.
A separate source said Mr Barilaro was heard talking and complaining about the loss of points on his licence to other MPs in Macquarie Street in the days before he went on leave.
Originally published as Barilaro to lose licence after speeding in ministerial car