News

Teflon Mike looks scuffed up, but he is still our PM in waiting

NSW Premier Mike Baird may be twisted up like a pretzel but he still has the look of a future prime minister.
NSW Premier Mike Baird may be twisted up like a pretzel but he still has the look of a future prime minister. Digitally altered

HE MIGHT be backpedalling like a cliff-top unicyclist, but Mike Baird is still our future prime minister.

The once-untouchable New South Wales Liberal Premier has endured his worst week in office, humiliatingly forced to concede he "got it wrong” on his hard-line vow to destroy the greyhound industry.

Party infighting and a massive voter backlash in regional areas have revealed Teflon Mike to be a mere human, but somehow he still comes out looking sincere.

And, despite a slight pong setting in, like a prime minister in waiting.

To get an idea just how bad an idea it was to wipe out greyhound racing without giving the industry a chance to clean itself up, listen to what upper house Liberal MP Peter Phelps had to say in parliament.

He blasted the "careerist weasels” on his own party's backbench for massaging the Premier's ego instead of telling him he was making a terrible decision.

The colourful wordsmith, already in the bad books for crossing the floor to vote against his party's ethanol laws in March, was brutal in his assessment.

He branded his party-mates spineless blancmanges (sounds delicious), bobble-headed appeasers of Executive diktat, utter gooses and lick-spittle yes-men.

He congratulated Baird for having the gumption to swallow his pride and change his mind.

"Well done, Premier, you are too good, too noble, too decent for the vast bulk of the backbench of your own parliamentary party,” Phelps said.

Baird is relaxing his lock-out laws at the same time. Why not do it all in one fell swoop?

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's own popularity slump has come about for the opposite reasons to Baird's.

Both men likely would have enjoyed having the same leadership style, but whereas Baird held god-like status among his party and was given carte blanche to make unilateral decisions, Turnbull's every move has been questioned and fought within his own party.

Baird mastered leadership by social media - announcing major changes such as the greyhound ban via Facebook before even his own Cabinet had any idea they were coming.

He makes a choice, runs with it and, until now, has gotten his way every time.

Turnbull has to run policies up the flagpole to gauge public and party support before inevitably deciding no one likes his idea and cancelling it.

Now both men have plunging approval ratings for opposite reasons. Baird has put his beliefs ahead of the public's and Turnbull is looking like a weak-kneed namby.

There is another possibility in the greyhound ban reversal - it could have all been a clever ploy to go to one extreme, rein it in and end up with a sport free from animal cruelty.

Wiping out an entire industry in less than a year is a ballsy move.

That Baird is sincere about stopping live baiting and the widespread culling of dogs deemed too old or too slow to race is beyond doubt.

This way, he can still ban the industry without reproach if and when it stuffs up again.

His admission that he "got it wrong” is a crock - the sport would be up in dust if he did not need the votes.

Turnbull and Baird could take a leaf out of each other's books and find some middle ground in their leadership styles.

Voters respect Baird for having the courage of his convictions, even if he does look foolish this time around.

But by the time he is running for prime minister, this whole shemozzle will be just a blip, a bump on his road to The Lodge.

And when he finally manages to sell off the state's poles and wires and set off on a $10 billion infrastructure spending spree, Teflon Mike will be back - albeit with a few scuff marks.

ARM NEWSDESK

Topics:  bill shorten casino mike comment greyhound industry greyhound racing greyhound racing ban malcolm turnbull mike baird nsw politics opinion prime minister strange politics teflon mike tony abbott



Skin clinic swims for charity

Toby Campbell, Natalie Le Breton, Dr Mark Groves and Tanya Priest from the Yamba Skin Clinic who organised the swim to raise money for Lower Clarence Relay for Life.

Swimming fundraiser a success for Yamba Skin Clinic

WIN a fishing trip, $5000 BCF voucher and get free stuff

Want to catch one of these big fellas!? Get your name into our competition to win the ultimate fishing holiday!

WERE running a stack of reely incredible giveaways!

Strange Politics: Follow Pauline on high and low roads

No need to choose - Pauline takes the high and low roads.

Enter Pauline Hanson - the political phoenix

Local Partners

Lifeguards commended after rescuing eight at Pippi

Lifeguards Harry Fahey and Mikey Gilliman talk about their 'textbook rescue' of eight swimmers while on patrol at Pippi Beach


5 things to do this weekend

Lower Clarence Relay for Life Swim

Looking for something to do this weekend?

Puppetry of the Penis secrets revealed ahead of show

The famed Puppetry of the Penis is coming to the Sunshine Coast for shows in Noosa and Caloundra.

WARNING: This interview contains adult themes and traces of nuts

Artist program to link to gallery theme

VALUABLE STINT: Indigenous artist Karla Dickens at work in Grafton Regional Gallery's studio during her 2010 artist's residency.

Gallery encouraging indigenous artists to take up residency offer

Jennifer Aniston wants to return to TV

Jennifer Aniston is desperate to make a return to TV

Madonna hopes for election unity

Madonna hopes Donald Trump's election will "bring people together"

JK Rowling rules out Cursed Child trilogy

JK Rowling has ruled out a 'Cursed Child' movie trilogy

Buckley's chance in psychological thriller

James McAvoy and Betty Buckley in a scene from the movie Split.

Broadway veteran back on big screen with James McAvoy

Daniel MacPherson: acting’s a bit like channel surfing

Australian actor Daniel MacPherson in a scene from the American TV series APB.

THE Aussie export talks about making his mark in the US.

Shopping isn't fun if you can see dead people

Lisa Marie Woodham will be giving readings in Gladstone until Saturday January 21.

Shopping isn't fun if you can see dead people

Thousands of jobs part of $1b retirement village project

THIS YEAR: An artist impression of the new Aveo retirement village in Springfield.

Aveo Springfield unveiled this month, homes ready by July

Rates safe from land value hike

DRIVING GROWTH: The Pacific Highway upgrade has been linked to improved land values.

Figures up in latest valuer-general report

KNIFE-EDGE: The housing tightrope we now face

Even the smallest interest rate rise will be hard for some to handle.

One if five home owners at risk, according to new analysis

Historical home leaves family's hands after 75 years

SALE CONFIRMED: The Gympie Regional   Realty team which sold the Ramsey property are (back) Mel Gastigar, Dorothy Palmer and Margaret Cochrane, with (front) home seller Terri-Jayne Ramsey.

Ramsey family played a huge role in Gympie's growth.

Pat Rafter's $18m Coast home proves hot property

PAT'S PAD: The Sunshine Beach home of tennis ace Pat rafter is on the market for a record price.

"It's a record for our company and for the Sunshine Coast.''

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!