By Rob O’Brien
The former planning minister Kristina Keneally has become the first female Premier of New South Wales rolling Nathan Rees in a spill by 47 votes to 21.
The US-born Keneally will form an all-female leadership with Carmel Tebbutt – the first in Australian government history – but takes over a party divided along factional lines. She is the fourth NSW premier in four years.
During her first press conference as premier-elect, 40-year-old Ms Keneally thanked Mr Rees for his service before offering him a spot on her front bench.
"Nathan is a good local member and has been a good, faithful and hardworking servant of the party and he will have a place in my Cabinet," she said.
Ms Keneally was criticised for being a puppet of sacked minister Joe Tripodi and Eddie Obeid, but immediately rejected giving Mr Tripodi a spot in her Cabinet.
Ms Keneally told the press conference she wants to heal divisions within the party and win back public trust.
"My Government will be about driving economic recovery," she said.
"It will be about increasing jobs and prosperity for New South Wales families and it will be about putting care for the most vulnerable members of our community at the heart of what we do."
A visibly upset Rees told the media that he had fought to the end but did not reveal any details about what his future will hold.
"I’m going to take a deep breath for a few moments if that’s all right," he said.
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