New South Wales Premier Mike Baird announced his retirement from politics on Thursday morning, tweeting "it's been an honour to serve you, NSW." At this stage, there's been no indication who might step into the premiership. A new NSW Premier will be installed next week, after a state Liberal Party cabinet meeting and leadership spill.
Little explanation of why the Premier is stepping down was given in his resignation statement. "I have made clear from the beginning that I was in politics to make a difference, and then move on," Baird said. "After 10 years in public life, this moment for me has arrived."
While Baird's statement pointed to a number of achievements the Premier is proud of during his leadership, it includes no mention of the controversial NSW lockout laws, which he's been a strong proponent of.
Activist groups like Keep Sydney Open have strongly criticised the laws, which dictate that late night venues must close their doors at 1:30AM. Last December, Baird announced that the rules would be softened from January 2017 at "venues that offer genuine live entertainment, live performances, or art and cultural events". Laws around takeaway and home delivery alcohol have been extended from 10 PM to 11 PM across NSW.
Baird's statement also neglects to reflect on the NSW Government's now-infamous greyhound racing ban, which Baird initially championed but then discarded following heavy criticism from racing industry heavyweights. The latter policy backflip drove the once-popular leader's approval rating into decline during the later months of 2016.
You can read Premier Baird's statement in full here.
More as this story develops. Image via Flickr.