NSW Premier Mike Baird announced his resignation in Sydney today.
NSW Premier Mike Baird announced his resignation in Sydney today. DAN HIMBRECHTS

MPs say farewell to Baird

UPDATE 2pm: LISMORE MP Thomas George said New South Wales Premier Mike Baird has left big shoes to fill following his shock resignation today. 

Mr George praised Mr Baird for his efforts as premier, even referencing the harsh criticism the government faced during the short-lived ban on the Greyhound industry. 

"He was criticised when we made the greyhound decision but he was also criticised when he changed his mind," Mr George said.

"It takes a bigger man or premier to be able to stand up there to say we got this wrong and we're going to reverse it.

"It showed real leadership to say that we got it wrong."

Mr George said he'd seen Mr Baird move through the ranks of government over the past 10 years and thought he'd made a great contribution to parliament. 

"I've been in all this time in parliament and I've seen him go from a member of parliament to a shadow minister to a treasurer then to premier," Mr George said.

He said Mr Baird had devoted his time and effort to creating a better state. 

"He certainly leaving the state in a lot better shape," Mr George said. 

"Once we see the completion of the Pacific Highway we'll know that there's access through the whole area. That's been brought about through the good management and Minster of Roads Duncan Gay.

"I know here in Lismore and other areas the rebuilding of hospitals has helped rural and regional NSW especially."

Member for Lismore Thomas George in Lismore. Photo Marc Stapelberg / The Northern Star
Member for Lismore Thomas George in Lismore. Photo Marc Stapelberg / The Northern Star Marc Stapelberg

TWEED MP Geoff Provest said he would not be surprised if more resignations were on the cards in the wake of today's shock resignation by NSW Premier Mike Baird.

Mr Baird announced this morning he would step down from his position as premier and as Member for Manly next week following a Liberal partyroom meeting and leadership spill.

He was first elected to represent the electorate of Manly 10 years ago and became premier in 2014.

Mr Provest, who was also elected around the same time as Mr Baird, said while he was surprised by the announcement it was understandable.

"Mike Baird was elected 10 years ago and he always made it quite clear he was on a mission of reform," Mr Provest said.

"The state has got no technical debt at the moment and there is massive infrastructure spend across the state, so he has achieved a lot of what he set out to do.

"Obviously he is seeking fresh challenges. Politics is a very strange and brutal beast. Obviously he felt it was time to go."

 

Tweed MP Geoff Provest expects more heads to resign in NSW Government.
Tweed MP Geoff Provest expects more heads to resign in NSW Government. Liana Turner

However, Mr Povest said he expected more change in coming days.

"The pressure is on now. I would probably be game enough to say I don't think this will be the last resignation we will see," he said.

"There are a number of senior ministers that have been there a long period of time. Usually when you get a leader leave there is significant change. I don't think this is over by a long shot."

Mr Provest said this would give Mr Baird's successor time to establish him or herself in the leader's role, with two years still remaining in the term.

However, he declined to speculate on a potential suitor for the top job, although he said Treasurer Gladys Berejiklian was a "good, clever operator".

"The downside is you will have the factions out there with the knives out," Mr Provest said.

"But I am confident the new premier will be a good choice and I deeply hope they are supported by all of the Liberal Party."

Mr Provest said a party room reshuffle was also expected within the Nationals - currently led by Deputy Premier John Barilaro - after the Australia Day holiday.

"The resignation of Mr Baird has changed the board game significantly, it has shocked and surprised a lot of my colleagues," Mr Provest said.

Mr Provest said he had no thoughts of retirement himeself, and was dertermined to contest the next election, due in 2019.



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