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.


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

Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Who was Warriena Wright?

Gable Tostee (right)  logged back on to Tinder just days after Rrie Wright's death.

Wright was more than just the girl who fell from a balcony

Neumann vows to back JBS workers

The ongoing dispute between JBS Dinmore and workers continues.

Federal MP to meet with company's management

Plans to tackle two of Qld's biggest traffic bottlenecks

More than 148,000 vehicles travel through one section each day

Local Partners

Police defend Riverlink traffic ticket

Inspector Keith McDonald says police have a responsibility to crack down on car park traffic offences.

Barry Gibb is coming to Bluesfest 2017

FANS: Barry Gibb talks to a fan next to a cardboard cutout of his young self.

Aged 70, Gibb has re-launched his solo music career with a new album

Tim Finn headlining at Airlie Beach Music Festival

Music veteran Tim Finn from New Zealand will headline the Airlie Beach Music Festival.

Tim Finn: "It's the kind of festival that artists love"

CMC organisers: No more pre-sale tickets will be sold

US country music group The Dixie Chicks. Supplied by Chugg Entertainment.

UPDATE: Plenty of people unhappy with process

Selma Blair blames flight outburst on 'psychotic blackout'

Selma Blair

"I am someone who should never drink, and I rarely do"

Bob Dylan acknowledges Nobel Prize win

Bob Dylan has finally acknowledged his Nobel Prize win

WATCH: Trailer for Jackman's final Wolverine film released

First trailer for the last Wolverine film with Hugh Jackman.

Thrilling trailer promises a dark, dystopian finale for Wolverine

CCTV footage surfaces of Kim Kardashian West's robbers

The blurry footage shows three men on bikes and two on foot

Cathriona White's mother claims to have Jim Carrey's results

Jim Carrey and late ex-girlfriend Cathriona White

SHE claims Carrey exposed White to herpes, chlamydia, Hepatitis A

The Koi Boys are back with more covers and original songs

Former Voice contestants The Koi Boys have signed with Universal Music.

THE Voice favourites release their debut album today.

New $200 million development will create 580 jobs

Cassie And Josh with baby Alfie and daughter Andee. They have bought at new Lennox Head development Epiq.

Majority of new positions will be given to Northern Rivers locals

Cherrabah's mega resort plans axed

PLANS for a massive development at Cherrabah have been scrapped.

What our mayor thinks of the new draft SEQPlan

The plan to use the innovative technology as part of the new Maroochydore CBD was cemented on site today when Mayor Mark Jamieson and Envac Asia Region president Chun Yong Ha formally signed the contract for the $20 million underground waste collection system.

New plan accommodates Sunshine Coast Council's vision for growth.

Dusit Thani finance crisis 'just a small hiccup'

ON TRACK: Springfield Land Chairman, Maha Sinnathamby, Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale, Developer Richard Turner and Springfield Land Deputy Chairman, Bob Sharpless, at the recent resort sod turning ceremony.

Property developer says project remains firmly on track

Heavyweight enters real estate market

Des Besanko principal and director of Raine and Horne Springfield.

Major rebranding which has seen two big name brands merge

SEQ is the 'greatest market': property guru John McGrath

SPEAKER: John McGrath of McGrath Estate Agents is today's guest speaker at the Better Business Breakfast.

SEQ is the "greatest" real estate market, says property guru.