News National Quiet, dignified exit for Baillieu

Quiet, dignified exit for Baillieu

Ted Baillieu
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Quietly, and without a fuss, Ted Baillieu made his way to the exit.

Mr Baillieu’s departure from Victorian politics is as low profile as the man himself has been in the 18 months since he was dumped as premier.

It stands in stark contrast with the drama of the previous two-and-a-half years, during which he led the Liberals to an unlikely election victory before being cast aside without the chance to serve a full term.

Edward Norman “Ted” Baillieu was born on July 31, 1953, the youngest of seven children and a member of Melbourne’s aristocratic Baillieu-Myer clan.

Educated at Melbourne Grammar, Mr Baillieu studied architecture at Melbourne University and business studies (real estate) at RMIT.

There followed a successful career in the property sector – he was a partner with Mayne & Baillieu Architects and director of real estate company Knight Frank Holdings.

Baillieu was elected to parliament in the blue ribbon Liberal seat of Hawthorn in 1999 – the election in which his political mentor Jeff Kennett suffered a shock defeat to Labor’s Steve Bracks.

He served under Denis Napthine and Robert Doyle during the party’s difficult years in the early part of the noughties, before becoming leader in 2006.

His Labor opponents immediately tried to dismiss him as “Ted the toff from Toorak”, but Baillieu performed relatively well, clawing back eight seats for the coalition at the 2006 poll.

Baillieu led the coalition to a shock one-seat election victory in November 2010 and became Victoria’s 46th premier.

But the slender majority made political life tough, and it didn’t take long for his government to lose its shine.

Budget cuts and long-running pay disputes with teachers and others took a political toll, and Baillieu was criticised by his side for his inability to sell the government’s message.

There were also concerns about his chief of staff’s dealings with a disgraced political staffer, and dissatisfaction from Liberal-turned-independent Geoff Shaw.

Nevertheless, it still took the state off guard when the party room told Mr Baillieu in March 2013 he no longer enjoyed their confidence.

He mostly held his peace on the back bench, but was unwittingly dragged back into the spotlight when an off-the-record conversation in which he criticised Liberal colleagues was leaked to party members earlier this year.

Mr Baillieu has led the Victorian Anzac Centenary Committee and repeatedly stated had no desire to rejoin the ministry.

His decision not to contest the November election was done with a simple statement on Friday, and was greeted with well wishes of those who ousted and replaced him.

In leaving, Mr Baillieu will get the peace and quiet he never received while leader.


Born: July 31, 1953

Education: Melbourne Grammar, Bachelor of Architecture from Melbourne University 1976, Certificate of Business Studies (Real Estate) from RMIT.

Personal: Married, three children. A member of the Baillieu-Myer dynasty, born wealthy and raised in Toorak. Keen long-distance swimmer.

Professional background: Architect, Partner with Mayne & Baillieu Architects; director of Knight Frank Holdings.

Political background: Victorian Liberal Party president 1992-97. Elected to the seat of Hawthorn in 1999. Elected party leader 2006. Elected premier 2010; resigned March 2013. Won’t contest November 2014 election.