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Frankly Speaking

November 30, 2010

Frank Sartor, departing State politics at the election, can be proud of his work as Olympic-era Lord Mayor, his contribution to cancer research and his supportive role in saving the river red gums, the sizable nature conservation gain of recent years.

From his start as a minister, however (and I brought him into the cabinet as soon as he was elected to parliament in 2003) he started presenting with such a hangdog air that one wondered whether he might have preferred a different job. I saw him on TV recently announcing protection for frog habitats. He had such a miserable, half believing air about him I came close to shouting at the screen, “Liven up, Frank! That’s what Environment Ministers do! They save frogs! Do it and believe in it!”

All who appreciated how he fixed up the city for the Games wish him the best in his new life. (Originally published on 3rd December 2010).

  1. Christopher Brown permalink
    December 4, 2010 10:37 am

    Frank Sartor certainly was a cranky bastard at the best of times, sometimes bordering on obnoxious, but he was clean, smart, dynamic and charming also and would have made a great Premier of NSW. It was very unfair that a man that brought the City of Sydney back to surplus and out of the muck, should have had his reputation smeared – no doubt a disgusting part response by the chattering classes to his Italian heritage.

    The community perceptions of the planning portfolio (driven by a sanctimonious SMH, opportunistic Green political party/Liberal team and a regrettable donations scheme), and his obvious contempt for colleagues and stakeholders, killed his chances to lead the government. Ironically, it was alos his resistance to those within the Party who would have liked more favourable planning outcomes for mates that also hurt him.

    Mind you, Frank’s own opportunistic embrace of a section of the NSW Right that hardly eschewed his sophisticated view of life, politics and policy (The Trogs) came back to bite him. He must have really enjoyed the stimulating dinner party conversation among that suberban sub-Caucus of the ALP!

    Mind you, as for that stupid judge who introduced the ridiculous concept into the State lexion of “land bribe”, the less said the better – and the less chance I will be charged with contempt of the court. Suffice to say, a deal that brokered a significant conservation outcome in return for modest development approval (with full transparency) was a good application of public policy as opposed to the poor application of English that came from the judiciary.

    Vale Frank Sartor. You were the King of Sydney and our Olympic host were but denied the chance to be the Monarch of NSW. We will, however, be remembered for your personal crusade to put our State at the global forefront of the fight against cancer and as the Minister who finally managed to find the apropriate legislative balance between protection and promotion of our magnificent National Park reserves.

  2. graeme wedderburn permalink
    December 4, 2010 12:19 pm

    Good luck to Frank Sartor in his retirement from State politics. One of the better ministers in the government since 2003, Frank was fortunate to go straight into Cabinet under Bob Carr, though unfortunate to serve later in a Cabinet tyrannised by Michael Costa and Joe Tripodi.

    Frank deserves credit for many positive achievements as mayor and minister. He’ll now have time to reflect on them. But for the record, as Premier, Nathan Rees saved the River Red Gums on a recommendation from the Natural Resources Commission. And I should know, because I was one of the principal architects of the forestry and conservation decision Rees announced in December 2009.

    The decision on the River Red Gums was a sign that Labor was once again finding its feet as a government committed to protecting the environment in the tradition of the successful and popular governments of Neville Wran and Bob Carr.

  3. Raging Bull permalink
    December 7, 2010 7:51 pm

    While you are stating the facts for the record Graeme, you should probably point out that while Nathan Rees did ‘announce’ the red gums decision on his last day in Parliament, he underestimated the cost of securing the outcome by $50 million. You also don’t mention that this announcement could have been made 10 years earlier, but it was considered too hard and far more convenient if others had to finish it off for you.
    Further, I note there is no reference to the announcement just a month earlier re the introduction of a 60 cent gross solar feed-in tarrif, which you hailed as ‘the most generous in the country’. That ever so generous scheme for ‘average families’, like those in Mosman or Vaucluse, is now set to cost the environment portfolio hundereds of millions, or potentially billions of dollars. Congratulations on this legacy.

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