Whip's role not on Ward's agenda

Gareth Ward

Gareth Ward

Kiama MP Gareth Ward did not contest a ballot to become the NSW government whip at a Liberal party room meeting on Tuesday morning.

Instead, Camden MP Chris Patterson was elected to the position unanimously, allowing Mr Ward to return to his post as deputy whip.

The young Illawarra politician had been acting in the chief administrative position since disgraced Charleston MP Andrew Cornwell stood down amid Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) revelations last week.

Despite strong support from "a number of people", Mr Ward said, he never planned to stand as whip as he did not want it to detract from the representation of his Kiama constituents.

"I stood for Parliament first and foremost because I grew up in the community I live in today and love dearly," he said.

"I didn't run for Parliament to be a minister or be a whip, I ran to be in Parliament and stand up for my community.

"I know that because I'm young, people associate that with ambition. But the only ambition I have is to deliver results for my community."

Mr Cornwell and disgraced Newcastle MP Tim Owen resigned from Parliament on Tuesday afternoon after further developments at the ICAC.

Mr Owen confessed he lied about returning an envelope stuffed with $10,000 in cash to property developer and now Newcastle Lord Mayor Jeff McCloy.

Mr Cornwell, the former chief government whip, has admitted taking $20,000 from property developers.

Byelections will be held in both seats.

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