It seems that every time I pick up my pen to write this article, something interesting happens in politics. This time it is the surprise resignation of New South Wales Premier Mike Baird.
After serving as the local member for Manly for almost 10 years, Treasurer for 3 years, and Premier for just under 3 years, Mike Baird announced that he would be retiring from politics on the 18th of January to spend more time with his family, some of whom are suffering from serious illnesses. Late in February, he revealed that he was joining the National Australia Bank as the new chief customer offer, on an undisclosed, but surely healthy salary package. Some people have criticized the former Premier for taking on the new role, but I can see no problem with someone who accepts a job offer, especially one that pays well. As a high profile employee looking after customer relations however, he will be closely scrutinised.
This means there will be a by-election in the state seat of Manly held shortly. This promises to be a fascinating contest, not least of which is the battle in the Liberal party for the preselection of their candidate. Manly had proven to be a tough seat for the Liberals to win in recent times, with independents Dr Peter MacDonald and David Barr holding the seat from 1991-1999 and 1999-2007 respectively. Recent council amalgamations and the new Northern Beaches Hospital are local issues that may affect voters, while the greyhound ban (and subsequent back flip) and lockout laws are probably still important to many constituents. Traffic congestion is the perennial problem that we all suffer from in this part of the world, and expect more announcements around the ‘Spit Tunnel’ to start shortly.
Ron Delezio recently quit the Liberal party to run as an independent in the upcoming by-election, and this ensures that it will be a race to watch.
Briefly, Tony Abbott seems to be stepping up his commentary on his own parties performance in government, and this is, of course seen as an attack on Malcolm Turnbull. Abbott dosent seem to have the groundswell of support amongst the general public that Kevin Rudd did on his return as Prime Minister, but as always, this feud will be compelling viewing for all of us that watch this game.