THREE months after the drama and excitement of the Orange byelection, Shooters, Fishers and Farmers candidate Phil Donato made history on Tuesday when he was sworn into the NSW Parliament. The former police prosecutor was one of three members to be sworn in, in addition to Wollongong MP Paul Scully and Canterbury MP Sophie Cotsis, after he won the seat by just 55 votes.
He was the sole member to pledge to be faithful to the Queen, “her heirs and successors according to law” before taking his seat on the crossbench. He was also the only member to attract interjections from the floor of the parliament, prompting speaker Shelley Hancock to remind members to show respect.
This is a win for democracy and a win for the community.Member for Orange Phil Donato
Mr Donato said the Coalition’s earlier announcement to abandon the merger between Orange, Cabonne and Blayney councils was a win for the area and thanked those who supported him during the byelection.
“This is a win for democracy and a win for the community,” he said.
However, he said a watchful eye was still needed on the government going forward and he still opposed forced mergers in Sydney.
Mr Donato will deliver his first speech on February 22.