Mike Baird is the 44th premier of NSW since 1856, which roughly gives each holder of the office a term of three years and eight months. But indicative of the turmoil of recent times, he is the sixth in only nine years.
Bob Carr quit as premier in August 2005. Who has led NSW for the longest time since then? Morris Iemma. Iemma’s term of three years and one month just shades Barry O’Farrell, who served as premier for three years and 13 days.
The last time a premier remained unchanged from one election to the next in NSW was in the 1999-2003 Parliament.
Baird is youthful but a long way from being the youngest NSW premier. At 46 he fits firmly in the median age group of the 44 premiers. He is one of 22 people to have attained the position by their 50th birthday. The youngest premiers remain Nathan Rees (40 in 2008), Nick Greiner (nearly 41 in 1988), William Forster (41 in 1859) and Kristina Keneally (41 in 2009).
Mike Baird is the son of Bruce Baird, who was a minister in the Liberal governments of Nick Greiner and John Fahey (1988-95).
State politics in the past half-century has been characterised by long stints in office for the leader who brought his party in from opposition, followed by one or two short-term successors before the pattern began afresh. Now there are first-term governments in NSW and Victoria – and the Northern Territory – headed by people who did not win that initial election.
Just how rare that is can be gauged by the fact that only two leaders of first-term governments have been denied a chance of seeking re-election in the preceding 50 years (Frank Walsh in 1967 and Dean Brown in 1996, both in South Australia).