A minister’s scandalous political history has resurfaced after she was sacked by NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet.
Workplace and Fair Trading minister Eleni Petinos, 35 – who was responsible for keeping the state’s workplaces safe – was dumped on Sunday amid allegations of bullying in her office.
The allegation adds to her troubled past that includes being swept up in a sexting scandal, vomiting in a government car in an incident that became known as ‘Barfgate’ and accusations she abandoned her electorate, during a bushfire, to watch the Commonwealth Games.
Daily Mail Australia takes a look at some of the political scandals surrounding Ms Petinos during her time in power.
Eleni Petinos’ scandalous political history has resurfaced after the NSW fair trading minister was sacked by premier Dominic Perrottet
Ms Petinos was identified as the person responsible for vomiting in a ministerial car after State of Origin II in 2017.
The then-member for Miranda, in Sydney’s south, was targeted in a Facebook post by Labor’s Walt Secord in a fake milk carton meme.
The carton referenced Ms Petinos as ‘missing’ after she seemed to disappear from the public eye following ‘Barfgate’.
‘Where in the world is Eleni? Patients and families want to speak to you about Sutherland hospital. Electors in Miranda are concerned about her whereabouts as she was last seen at the State of Origin with Deputy Premier,’ carton text read.
Ms Petinos demanded Mr Secord apologise for posting the image on Facebook, accusing him of defamation.
‘I note you have engaged in defamatory publications against me and I request that you provide an unreserved apology and withdraw the defamatory material,’ she wrote.
The then-member for Miranda, in Sydney’s south, became the target of a popular meme printed on a milk carton
Ms Petinos was once again dragged into the public spotlight after she was involved in a sexting scandal with then-innovation minister Matt Kean in 2018.
His furious ex-girlfriend Caitlin Keage exposed text messages sent from Mr Kean, who is now the Treasurer, to Ms Petinos. Kean said: ‘I need to f*** you’.
Ms Keage had posted the messages on Instagram along with the caption: ‘When your boyfriend cheats on you when you’re away with family’.
‘I was in Adelaide trusting my partner not to play up. But alas, here we are. Another minister getting away with his predatory behaviour.’
Ms Petinos denied the allegations saying she was saddened to ‘have been drawn into this relationship breakdown’.
Ms Petino was once again dragged into the public spotlight after she was involved in a sexting scandal with then-Innovation minister Matt Kean in 2018 (pictured, Mr Kean with ex Caitlin Keage)
Mr Kean’s furious ex-girlfriend Caitlin Keage exposed text messages sent from Mr Kean, who is now the Treasurer, to Ms Petinos. Kean said: ‘I need to f*** you’
The messages revealed Mr Kean told Ms Petinos he was ‘tempted to drive down to see’ her, just after 10pm on December 27.
She replied: ‘Miss me huh? lol,’ before he said: ‘Yup. Really need to f**k you.’
Ms Petinos said he already had ‘CK for that’ – a reference to Ms Keage – and when he asked, ‘is that a no?’ she replied: ‘It’s that time of the month’.
Mr Kean said: ‘OK come up later x.’
She later texted Mr Kean and said: ‘Just got your Christmas card you’re absolutely gorgeous – love you xx’.
Commonwealth Games flight
Ms Petinos then drew backlash after flying to the Gold Coast to watch the Commonwealth Games as a bushfire ravaged her electorate months later.
Ms Petinos went to see a netball game despite the deliberately-lit blaze burning in the southern Sydney suburb of Alfords Point, in her electorate’s west.
Ms Petinos then drew backlash after flying to the Gold Coast to watch the Commonwealth Games as a bushfire ravaged her electorate months later
Dominic Perrottet announced on Sunday night he had terminated the services of Ms Petinos (pictured, Mr Perrottet and Ms Petinos in 2016)
‘I am proud of my work while I served the people of NSW as Minister for Small Business and Minister for Fair Trading,’ Ms Petinos said (pictured, Ms Petinos at a swearing in ceremony at Government House in 2021)
‘I remained in constant contact with the Acting Minister receiving updates throughout the day,’ she told reporters at the time.
Mr Perrottet announced on Sunday night he had terminated Ms Petinos – after media outlets reported bullying allegations in her office.
‘Today I spoke with the Minister for Small Business and Fair Trading Eleni Petinos after some further matters concerning her were brought to my attention,’ he said in a statement.
‘In light of these matters, Ms Petinos’ service as a minister will cease with immediate effect, and I will write to the governor in this regard tomorrow.’
Ms Petinos issued a statement in response later on Sunday night.
‘Today I spoke with the Minister for Small Business and Fair Trading Eleni Petinos after some further matters concerning her were brought to my attention,’ Mr Perrottet said
‘I am proud of my work while I served the people of NSW as Minister for Small Business and Minister for Fair Trading,’ she said.
‘I fought hard for small businesses who are the lifeblood of NSW and I will continue to advocate for them regardless of my role.
‘The intense pressures and stresses of such important portfolios are significant for both staff and their minister. I thank my staff for their efforts in supporting me to deliver for the people of NSW.
‘I would never intentionally offend anyone or make them feel uncomfortable, and if I did I am truly sorry.
‘I pursue politics to make a positive difference and will continue to do so proudly as the Member for Miranda.’
Ms Petinos, who was responsible for keeping the state’s workplaces safe, last week rejected accusations of improper conduct linked to her office.
‘I value my staff and endeavour to provide a professional and safe environment for them,’ she said.
A report had claimed one of Ms Petinos’ former advisers lodged a complaint with the Department of Premier and Cabinet about being ‘relentlessly bullied’ by others while at work.
Ms Petinos has had up to eight staff members leave in the past seven months, according to reports. Mr Perrottet said it was ‘possible, if not probable’ that her workplace environment did not meet appropriate standards. Ms Petinos denies the allegations.
Minister for Customer Service and Digital Government Victor Dominello will assume Ms Petinos’ portfolio responsibilities.