CONTROVERSIAL NSW Premier Mike Baird has announced his retirement, declaring he will be leaving the world of politics next week.
The unexpected decision did not come with a concrete explanation when posted to his personal Twitter account on Thursday morning.
“As I have reflected on the approaching halfway mark of our current term of government, and the opportunity it presents to refresh the Cabinet team, I have decided that this is the perfect time for me to hand the reins over to a new Premier,” his statement read.
“Next week there will be a Liberal party-room meeting and a spill of leadership positions.
“Following that meeting, I will resign from Parliament, effective immediately. It has also been an immense honour to represent the people of Manly since 2007, and my retirement from politics will enable fresh leadership for my community.”
Baird has faced stiff criticism in the past six months over a range of issues such as the ban on greyhound racing, lockout laws and council amalgamations.
Acting with former deputy Premier and former leader of the Nationals Troy Grant, Baird announced in July last year that greyhound racing would be banned in NSW from July 1, 2017.
The ban saw Baird’s approval rating fall from 61 per cent to 31 per cent by September, with his dissatisfaction rate more than doubled.
The ban was reversed in October following mounting pressure from the opposition, the greyhound racing fraternity and the general public who felt it was unnecessarily punishing the majority of participants who were abiding by the rules of racing.
Despite reversing the ban, the Nationals lost the Orange by-election in November to the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party’s Phil Donato, the first time the Nats had failed to fill the seat since 1947.
Consequently, Grant was forced to step down as Deputy leader, with his position filled by John Barilaro, his close friend, who also voted in favour of the greyhound racing ban when the legislation passed through parliament last year.
At this stage it is unknown who will replace Baird as the NSW Premier, however his resignation has been met with elation from many within the greyhound industry.
Prominent Central Coast breeder and trainer Noelene Holloway welcomed the news when informed by Australian Racing Greyhound.
“It is excellent news because the bloke was a disgrace – he had no time or respect for the greyhound owners and trainers [by announcing the ban],” she said.
“His retirement shows — thank God — we live in a democracy and it enforces that people still hold the power.
“Not only was it greyhound racing participants – but it was all people in NSW – he had no respect for anyone and just did what he wanted – he was a mini dictator.
“If he made his decisions to make a name for himself it certainly worked because he will be known as the worst premier ever.”
Fellow NSW trainer Amanda Ginn was gobsmacked at his resignation and was lost for words when quizzed for her response.
“They say if you make a wish 1000 times it will come true – but I still can’t believe it,” Ginn said.
“I honestly never thought it would happen…I’m ecstatic.”
Social media response to Mike Baird’s departure:
@mikebairdMP Sooo, what news is about to drop that you don't want to be around for? Not that I'm a cynic, but I'm a little bit cynical.
— vandenberglegs (@vandenberglegs) January 18, 2017
AustralianRacingGreyhound.com is back on Facebook. You can follow us here.