31 January 2022

UPDATED: Giulia Jones quits as ACT Deputy Opposition Leader, Barr hints at 'relationship breakdown'

| Lottie Twyford
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Elizabeth Lee and Giulia Jones.

Chief Minister Andrew Barr said there had been rumours of unhappiness between Ms Lee and Mrs Jones for some time. Photo: Dominic Giannini.

UPDATED 5 pm: Chief Minister Andrew Barr has suggested a breakdown in the relationship between moderate Leader of the Opposition Elizabeth Lee and conservative Deputy Opposition Leader Giulia Jones could be behind the latter’s resignation from her position today.

Mr Barr made these comments before Mrs Jones released her official statement in which she claimed the reason for her resignation from the deputy leadership was to spend more time with her family.

“There have been rumours of a degree of unhappiness between the leader and deputy leader for some time,” Mr Barr said.

“They do come from different wings of the party. It’s clear the conservatives are unhappy and there has been, at the very least, a significant relationship breakdown.”

In a statement issued in response to Mrs Jones’ resignation, Ms Lee applauded her for making the decision she did.

The Chief Minister said while these matters are ultimately for the Canberra Liberals, he did not believe it was a good sign if the conservative faction could not be happy with a moderate leader.

“The Canberra Liberals have always been a very conservative party.” Mr Barr said. He also suggested Mrs Jones could be making a tilt at the leadership, but some sources have disputed this.

“Once again, the Canberra Liberals are a bitterly divided party. It’s an old adage in politics that if you can’t govern your party, you can’t govern your jurisdiction.”

A party room meeting is scheduled for tomorrow.

It’s still unclear if Mrs Jones will retain her portfolios or if there will be a reshuffle. Likewise, it’s unknown who will contest the position.

Mrs Jones has not responded to Region Media‘s request for an interview.

Giulia Jones

ACT Deputy Opposition Leader Giulia Jones has quit her position. Photo: Dominic Giannini.

11:30 am: Giulia Jones has stepped down from her position as Deputy Leader of the ACT Opposition.

In a statement, Mrs Jones said she had keenly felt the ongoing pressures of the COVID-19 pandemic and had taken the decision after “considerable reflection”.

She cited a desire to provide more support to her large family.

“I am most grateful for the care and commitment of my husband towards our family and feel that it is important to do more at home with them,” Mrs Jones said.

Mrs Jones and her husband Bernard have six children.

Mrs Jones will remain in the Canberra Liberals. She said she is “devoted to my electorate and want to ensure that the electors of Murrumbidgee continue to receive the strongest representation”.

READ ALSO Canberra Liberals more competitive after Elizabeth Lee steers party to middle ground

She thanked Opposition Leader Elizabeth Lee for how considerate she had been of her decision.

“I look forward to working with her, whoever is chosen as the new Deputy Leader, and the rest of the Liberal Assembly team as we continue to hold the Barr Government to account,” Mrs Jones said.

Mrs Jones and Ms Lee formed the first all-female leadership team in the ACT Legislative Assembly.

Ms Lee said the pair had achieved some great things together.

“I thank Mrs Jones for her service to our party as Deputy Leader and applaud her courage in coming to this difficult decision.”

Mrs Jones had held the position of Deputy Opposition Leader since October 2020 when she was elected to the post unopposed, replacing Nicole Lawder.

She is Opposition spokesperson for Health, Mental Health and Well-being and Multicultural Affairs.

It’s not yet known who will replace her as Deputy.

More to come.

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Capital Retro7:10 am 01 Feb 22

“Chief Minister Andrew Barr has suggested a breakdown in the relationship……….”

This would have to be Canberra’s worst kept secret.

Over two decades of dysfunction in the Canberra Libs and here we are again! The Canberra Libs and the small number of moderates in the party (if you can call them that) are flexing their muscles and had no choice but to push the ultra-conservative deputy Giulia Jones out. They knew they couldn’t win with Giulia! My suggestion is that all the current Canberra Liberals stand down and make way for a new breed of Liberal progressives, people like Gary Humphrey’s and Kate Carnell who always stood up for Canberra, particularly against the conservatives in the Federal government. They both had respect and clout in the party and still do. They wouldn’t have tolerated Zed and the Young Libs and their links to Britain and all those nasty divisive racial groups. Unfortunately for us the candidates for the Libs in the last election (those Liberal spares) waiting in the wings are all ultra-conservatives, carefully chosen by Zed and Alistair. I think the party’s over!

Capital Retro7:11 am 01 Feb 22

You are a Liberal voter of course, Estelle?

I don’t think AB should be making too many comments about the
factional leadership woes of the Libs. If he was to look over his left shoulder he’d realise that his own authority is subject to approval from the Greens.

I think AB should feel quite comfortable with his achievements! AB was also elected overwhelmingly at the last election, the only candidate to exceed a quota. The government has a governing agreement with the Greens and it is freely available on the ACT government website if you care to look.

Capital Retro7:39 am 01 Feb 22

AB was elected “overwhelmingly” in his own electorate only.

Any other stunning insights into how our elections work, CR?

Capital Retro1:34 pm 02 Feb 22

My comment was directed at Jack D. but your barbs are welcome too.

Maybe now she has some spare time she can go an learn how to park.

Oh how I miss the old Friday riotact bad parking pics, her vehicle made a very regular appearance.

They always have plenty of spare time in opposition JC!

The times I came across Giulia Jones, she was very friendly and also has friendly relations with the migrant communities. She has also been very active in the community throughout.

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