The epic fight over the greyhound racing ban will mar departing New South Wales Premier Mike Baird's legacy, but one of his greatest triumphs was turning one of the most controversial issues in NSW politics for more than a decade into a nonevent. When Baird sold off another significant chunk of the NSW electricity network at the end of last year, this time to industry super funds, it drew barely a comment from either NSW Labor or the Electrical Trades Union -- despite being the issue Labor tore itself apart over, and lost party leaders for, at various points since the Bob Carr era.
It's quite a contrast from the hysterical, racist campaign Labor and the unions waged against privatisation before the 2015 election, with the CFMEU complaining about selling "our" electricity network to China and Labor telling blatant lies about the impact of privatisation on electricity prices. This was far from being an irrational resistance to privatisation: Labor and the unions were out to protect union jobs in the industry, putting the benefits to consumers of privatisation in a distant second place. The CFMEU is a major donor to NSW Labor, and so, too, is the Electrical Trades Union, which gave over $81,000 to Labor in the lead-up to the 2015 election.