In October 2016 Melinda Tankard Reist and the Collective Shout website posted that their new ‘ambassador’ Kerryn Baird had been announced at a fundraiser for the group held in Sydney’s Museum Of Contemporary Art. Kerryn has solid credentials on the Christian Right. She is the wife of then Liberal National Party Premier of NSW ‘Casino’ Mike Baird. The Bairds are both known for their wealth, old money connections, social conservatism, and right wing christian views including opposition to same sex marriage and to women’s reproductive rights including abortion. They met on a church camp where he was a ‘youth leader’.
Mike Baird had rapidly become the most unpopular state leader of NSW for many years, and was particularly on the nose that week when he announced he was reversing his opposition to the barbaric cruelty of the greyhound racing industry, in a startling backflip after making long, detailed and passionate public statements about his moral conviction that stopping the animal torture and deaths was “the right thing to do”. The move was deeply hypocritical even by current political standards. That may have something to do with the Collective Shout fundraising event he appeared at being effectively secret.
Collective Shout didn’t advertise or publicise the event anywhere, which is unusual for a lobby group who obsessively chase publicity and seek favour and influence with conservative politicians. To have an event with a state leader is something they’re clearly proud of, but decided not to publicise. There was a draft public invitation on their website, mentioning a $120 ticket price, but it was deleted. They obviously had second thoughts about it, or Baird’s people didn’t want to publicise his appearance at a time when he was attracting heated protest online and in the streets. As it turned out Baird was so toxic he resigned only weeks later, in January 2017, maybe to avoid scrutiny for possible corruption, or because he was making his own party unelectable.
Regardless, their new ambassador is a perfect representative for a christian censorship lobby group. The second article below also mentions Tankard Reist’s other ally in the NSW government “New finance minister Dominic Perrottet – a former protege of one-time ”religious right” faction leader David Clarke – attended Redfield College in Dural, a school run by the conservative Catholic order Opus Dei.”
Update – March 2017
Mike Baird took the golden ticket of a corporate job with NAB Bank in unseemly haste just a month after announcing he was leaving politics to devote time to his family. Cue more bad press for the Bairds, it’s certainly not a good look. And within a week Collective Shout have blanked out the bio on their website for their proud new Ambassador Kerryn Baird. Looks like she’s being erased…