6 things you need to know about the new NSW Premier.

The new NSW Premier Mike Baird.

Treasurer Mike Baird became the 44th Premier of NSW yesterday afternoon, after he and Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian were elected unopposed to the Liberal Party leadership.

Baird replaced former Premier Barry O’Farrell, who resigned this week after giving misleading information to the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) about a $3,000 bottle of wine.

Apparently, the 1959 Penfolds Grange wasn’t even a particularly good vintage and would’ve been well beyond the optimum drinking timeframe.

Baird, 45, had a career in corporate banking before he entered politics in 2007 and represents the northern beaches electorate of Manly. Politics runs in the family, and his father – Bruce Baird – was a federal politician in the lower house during John Howard’s time.

He’s well-liked and considered to be very good at his job. That’s how he got the top spot.

Here’s what else you need to know:

1. He’s a committed Christian and once studied to be an Anglican minister.

In his maiden speech in the Parliament, he referenced his faith (and the work that his mother did):

As I also watched her regularly meeting with some of the state’s toughest women criminals to feed, encourage and love them, I learnt there is life and hope in those we are quick to dismiss… As I, my sister Julia and brother Steve looked at them, we saw a life lived in Jesus.

Good for him! Unless he lets his personal beliefs unduly interfere with his political role. Separation of Church and state, and all that.

Oh wait…

Mike Baird does not support marriage equality.

2. He does not support same-sex marriage.

Baird has voted against law reform which would allow same-sex couples to adopt in 2010 and also does not support marriage equality.

On top of that, he has implied that homosexuality is a ‘choice’. In 2012, he said, “I don’t in any way see that [opposing marriage equality] as a degradation or a reduction in rights for those who are choosing to live a homosexual lifestyle.”

3. He is inspired by Martin Luther King.

On his Facebook page, one of Baird’s “favourite quotations” is from Martin Luther King. “The mark of any man is not how he goes at times of comfort but times of challenge and controversy.”

Everyone read into that as much as you’d like.

4. He is anti-abortion.

He has a pro-life voting record, and has also voted against embryonic stem research and euthanasia.

Adult stem cells are used in therapies like bone marrow transplantation but the stem cells we’re talking about here are likely embryonic stem cells. Stem cells can now be artificially grown into specialised cell types and various tissues, such as muscles and nerves. 

5. He genuinely wants to help people.

Baird once spoke to Fairfax reporter Stephanie Wood about his struggle trying to choose between banking and a more meaningful, faith-based career.

“I’d always wrestled with, I guess, wanting to make a contribution… I questioned whether my day-to-day [work] was helping anyone, in any way, shape or form. We are not here for long and I don’t want to get to the end of my time here and look back with regret.”

Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Mike Baird used to go surfing together.

6. He’s got friends in high places.

Mike Baird’s sister is well-respected journalist and author Julia Baird, and he and Tony Abbott used to be surfing buddies. No word yet as to whether Baird will be a fan of the ‘running out of the water in speedos’ action shot, like his pal.

So, those are some of the complex beliefs that make up Mike Baird the Person. What elements of his belief will influence his time as Mike Baird the Premier, remains to be seen.

How do you think Mike Baird will perform as the new Premier of NSW?

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