Mike Baird resigns as NSW Premier, retires from politics

The NSW Liberal leader says he was always in politics to make a difference and ‘then move on’

The New South Wales premier, Mike Baird, has announced his retirement from the premiership suddenly and unexpectedly on Thursday after a decade in politics and six years in government, the final three as premier.

Baird, the son of former state and federal minister Bruce, said he resigned to spend more time with his family, conceding that while his government had endured tough times politically, the health concerns he held for his family were “much tougher”.

“To be honest, at times I have been in pain not being able to spend the time that I should [with them] and this will change today. Whilst there’s much more to do, I strongly believe that there is a great team that I leave behind and they’re going to do many more great things for the state,” he said.

He said he was retiring two years out from an election in order to give his successor the opportunity to establish themselves in the job.

Mr Baird’s father, Bruce, a state transport minister who switched to federal politics, underwent open-heart surgery before Christmas. Mr Baird’s mother, Judy, has muscular dystrophy and requires 24-hour care. And his sister Julia, the journalist and author, is receiving treatment for cancer.

The Premier has, at times, acknowledged the impact of his job on his wife and three children, who were present at his press conference on Thursday.

Premier Mike Baird embraces his family after the press conference announcing his resignation. Photo: Janie Barrett
Premier Mike Baird embraces his family after the press conference announcing his resignation. Photo: Janie Barrett

The life and times of NSW’s 44th Premier

1980 – Begins high school at The King’s School in Parramatta.

1988 – Graduates from University of Sydney with a Bachelor of Arts (Economics).

1989 – Enters the banking world with a graduate job at the National Australia Bank.

1990 – At age 21, he marries Kerryn Wadeisha, and they go on to have three children: Laura, Cate and Luke.

1999 – Unsuccessfully runs for Liberal preselection for Manly, and returns to the banking sector.

1999-2006 – Forges a successful banking career that takes him to London and Hong Kong. By 2006, he is HSBC’s Australian Head of Institutional Banking.

2006 – Leaves the banking world again for another tilt at NSW politics, but after a brutal preselection campaign almost quits. John Howard convinces him to stay in the race.

2007 – Elected to NSW Legislative Assembly in the seat of Manly, ending a 16-year stretch in which independents held the seat.

2008 – Appointed shadow treasurer after holding the shadow portfolios of finance, energy, commerce and youth affairs.

2011 – Appointed treasurer after Barry O’Farrell takes the Coalition to a landslide victory.

2011 – Implements wages cap on NSW public service. No pay-rises above 2.5 per cent without productivity gains.

February 24, 2014 – Lockout laws implemented in Sydney CBD, but excluding the Star casino. The backlash would plague Baird’s premiership, earning him the epithet “Casino Mike”.

April 14, 2014 – Becomes the 44th Premier of NSW, after an uncontested leadership spill following Barry O’Farrell’s resignation.

November 25, 2015 – Announces the $10 billion TransGrid deal, leased for 99 years to a consortium of overseas and local bidders.

March 28, 2015 – Re-elected Premier after a “poles and wires” election campaign. Promises ambitious infrastructure agenda: including expanded WestConnex motorway, Sydney Metro projects, Parramatta light rail.

May 12, 2016 – Announces forced mergers of councils across NSW, with existing councils sacked and 19 new councils proclaimed. The policy triggers a wave of legal action, which the government is still fighting in the courts.

July 7, 2016 – Orders the greyhound industry be shut down from July 1, 2017, following an inquiry into cruelty in the industry.

October 20, 2016 – Announces the $16 billion partial Ausgrid deal, leased for 99 years to two Australian pension funds.

November 14, 2016 – Announces a new $10 billion metro rail line between Sydney CBD and Parramatta, funding by the electricity sell-off.

December 8, 2016 – Relaxes lockout laws, adopting a two-year trial of a later 2:00am lockout and 3:30am last drinks for live entertainment venues, and extending takeaway alcohol purchases to 11pm.

January 18, 2017 – Announces retiremnent from politics for good.

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About the Author: Akhtar Jamal

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