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Baird: ‘I’m not avoiding Abbott’

Premier Mike Baird denies his campaign is snubbing an unpopular Prime Minister Tony Abbott only days out from the NSW election.

Mr Baird was responding to Fairfax Media reports that voters in Coogee and Blue Mountains were receiving recorded phone messages — known as “robocalls” — from federal MP Malcolm Turnbull in the lead-up to Saturday’s poll.

Mr Abbott has largely been kept out of the NSW election campaign and didn’t speak at the party’s campaign launch over the weekend.

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“No, the prime minister has been with me on many occasions on this campaign,” Mr Baird told reporters in Sydney.

“Obviously there are people that we’re happy to use as part of that.

“I’m proud to have the endorsement of Malcolm Turnbull, I’m proud to have it from Julie Bishop, I’m proud to have it from the Prime Minister Tony Abbott.”

Mr Baird added that he was also proud to have the endorsement of former federal Labor minister Martin Ferguson who praised the premier on Tuesday for showing “courage” in arguing his case for leasing the state’s electricity assets.

The Premier has also dismissed claims that he is hiding details of a recent trade trip to China.

Mr Baird was repeatedly asked during a tense press conference to reveal details of his September trip to China after Labor senator Sam Dastyari accused the premier of failing to disclose who he met with in his official diary.

“There is a different process for international trips — that’s well established,” he told reporters on Wednesday, explaining why the details of his trip had yet to be fully disclosed.

Mr Baird was pressed further to reveal which companies and investors were present during a round-table meeting he attended on the trip.

He again refused to answer the question directly, insisting he may have met with “hundreds, if not thousands” of people during his time as treasurer and premier.

“I’m not going to get into the details of individual meetings, forums, a whole range of investment discussions I may have had,” he said.

A spokesman for Mr Baird said legal advice given to the Department of Premier and Cabinet indicated the release of ministers’ meetings while on official overseas missions should not be disclosed through the ministerial diary process as there is “appropriate disclosure” of such meetings through mission reports.

While the mission report for Mr Baird’s China trip outlines some of the key figures he met, it doesn’t include a full list of investors and businesses who held meetings with the premier and his delegation.

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