Mike Baird, the Liberal Premier of New South Wales, has announced that he is retiring.
Baird has been Premier since April 17, 2014, when he replaced Barry O’Farrell, who fell victim to an Independent Commission Against Corruption inquiry.
Baird took the coalition government to its second successive victory at the election on March 28, 2015.
Recent controversies, especially the proposed banning of dog racing, have impacted on the government’s popularity. It lost a by-election in Orange to the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers party last year.
Gladys Berejiklian is Baird’s most likely replacement. She is currently deputy leader, Treasurer and Minister for Industrial Relations.
The next premier will be the seventh in twelve years. Labor’s Bob Carr was the last premier to serve a full term. He retired in 2005.
At a press conference in Sydney, a tearful Baird said: “My father and my mother and my sister are going through a very serious health challenge…at times I have been in pain.”
He went on to say: “I didn’t want to become a career politician. I wanted to go as hard as I could for as long as I could and then step aside.” He denied he was cutting and running, citing his three years as Treasurer and three as Premier. He said he made the decision to resign in the last couple of weeks.
- Listen to Mike Baird’s resignation press conference (31m)