MANLY MP Mike Baird today made a special appearance at the Sea Eagles’ season launch to kiss and make up with the club stalwarts he’s accused of abandoning.
No hard feelings: Zorba and Mike Baird shake on it. Picture: SIMON CHILLINGWORTH
It comes after Mr Baird - and the peninsula’s three other Liberal MPs - were thrust into an ugly war of words with the club’s media manager Peter “Zorba” Peters and coach Des Hasler at the Manly Daily’s state election forum on Monday night.
Flanked by a group of supporters, Mr Peters accused the MPs of riding on the club’s coat-tails while in Opposition and abandoning them now they were in a position to win government.
He demanded Mr Baird, who is likely to become treasurer if the Coalition wins government on March 26, to commit to funding of redevelopment of Brookvale Oval. At yesterday’s season launch, Mr Baird said he was a long-time supporter of the club and wanted to work with them to secure the funding.
“Someone described me coming down today as being one of the first parents that turns up to a birthday party to pick up their kids - everyone has a look and says oh really you’re here?” he told the crowd.
“Yes, this week there was a bit of argy-bargy but I want to pay tribute to ... Zorba, Kerry Sibraa and Dessie Hasler.
“During the week, after the forum we had on Monday, there was a hand of friendship that says listen we selectively need to work together on this solution - I 100 per cent agree. Should we win government then I give this commitment - I’ll work with you to get to the position that this club gets the stadium it deserves.”
The Sea Eagles are desperately trying to raise $20 million for the redevelopment of Brookvale Oval and are considering walking away from their spiritual home to take up residence at Manly Oval.
At the forum, Mr Peters said the state of Brookvale Oval was “embarrassing”.
Today he said his comments were out of line and made in the heat of the moment.
He said he rang Mr Baird to clear the air afterwards and was glad the MP could make it to the launch so they could speak in person. “We have spoken about it - it’s not a hassle - it was just passion,” he said.
“We are certainly going to correspond on the matter.”
Hasler dubbed the exchange a “healthy debate”.
“All parties concerned need to work in tandem and need to work in co-operation and I think that’s been stated pretty loud and clear today,” he said.