> John Barilaro vents after cameraman scuffle in Manly: ‘I’m being harassed’

John Barilaro vents after cameraman scuffle in Manly: ‘I’m being harassed’

John Barilaro has complained he is a victim of sustained and unjustified media harassment, after the former New South Wales deputy premier was filmed in a tussle with a news cameraman while out with friends in Sydney.
For weeks, the nature of Barilaro’s appointment into a plum state government trade role in New York City, which came with a $500,000 salary, has come under intense scrutiny.
Barilaro has since withdrawn from the glamour posting, but a parliamentary inquiry now underway is trying to eke out more detail into what was spiralling into a damaging scandal for Premier Dominic Perrottet.
Former deputy premier John Barilaro told 2GB radio he was being harassed by a cameraman and reporter while out with friends on Saturday night
Former deputy premier John Barilaro told 2GB radio he was being harassed by a cameraman and reporter while out with friends on Saturday night. (Supplied)
“I’m being absolutely intruded on and harassed and … the media are at the forefront,” Barilaro told 2GB this morning, breaking weeks of silence with an unexpected call to host Ben Fordham after the video of the Manly fracas emerged.

Barilaro said he was out on Saturday night for pizza and beers with friends when he was ambushed.

“To come out in the dark and to have a camera shoved in your face, a microphone in your face,” he said.

“At that point, you know, I asked him to ‘just to walk away, I’ve got nothing to say.'”

Footage of the incident showed Barilaro, lit up with a bright spotlight, trying to grab the camera while members of the public circled the pair and watched on.

“All I did was push a camera out of my way, I did not manhandle an individual,” Barilaro said.

“But I’ll tell you what, some of those in my party, as in those that were at dinner with me, they were pushed and barged out of the way.”

He claimed one of the friends had lodged a complaint with police.

Barilaro, who quit state politics in October, protested he should be left alone now that he is a public citizen.

He also vented frustration over not being invited to given evidence at the inquiry.

“I’m available to turn up to an inquiry hearing this week to tell my side of the story, and let’s do that before this gets even uglier,” he said.

“What occurred on Saturday night isn’t pleasant for me, nor the cameraman, I will say that, but at the same time I have every right to defend myself and protect myself and my friends.”

Police have confirmed they are investigating the fracas.

“Officers attached to Northern Beaches Police Area Command are investigating an incident that occurred about 7.30pm on Saturday 23 July 2022, outside a bar in Manly,” NSW Police said in a statement.

“Inquiries into the incident are ongoing and there is no further information at this stage.”

Since reporters began to look into his trade commission appointment, Barilaro said he had been hounded for weeks.

“I’ve kept my silence because I don’t want to prosecute this case in the public realm,” he said.

“It should be done at the inquiry, it’s what the inquiry was all about.

“But I have to be given that opportunity.”

The intrigue over Barilaro's New York job was beginning to become a big problem for NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet.
The intrigue over Barilaro’s New York job was beginning to become a big problem for NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet. (SMH / Rhett Wyman)

Barilaro claimed, given the chance, he could “actually clarify a lot of the mysteries” that have been swirling in media since the story broke.

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