By Rama Gaind
PS News Books
The Fog on the Hill: How NSW Labor Lost its Way
By Frank Sartor (Melbourne University Publishing, $34.99, softcover, 373 pages)
Former NSW government minister Frank Sartor advises the ALP to reform the process of pre-selection, rethink the power held by unions and step back from constant engagement with the media.
The Fog on the Hill—cutting in many ways—was written because he was “frustrated by the superficiality of many of the key players in the political arena” and notes that there’s a pressing need to change the current mindset, and not just within the Labor Party.
As minister for a number of major portfolios in successive Labor governments, he was able to witness, first-hand, the workings of the Labor machine: the deals, the factions, the ineffectiveness and lack of forethought.
Frank Sartor tears into party and union officials, referring to some of them as “careerists for whom Labor values and ideals come second”.
No punches are pulled in assigning actions to a number of his former colleagues to illustrate the main players, their approaches and the origins of some of the major mishaps.
He takes the “opportunity to correct the record on a number of issues where I was personally involved” and is highly critical of the lack of policy development in his time in the NSW Labor government. Some MPs were more interested in power than in policy.
He also talks about the Federal Labor Government, is quite scathing of policy in Federal and NSW Labor - and cites the example of how the mining tax was dealt with, provides simple answers and highlights the need to be a “visionary”.
This political memoir, explaining how NSW Labor went off track, also sees the need for a serious sweep of reforms if the state is to achieve its “great potential”.
The longest-serving Lord Mayor of Sydney refers to politics as a “demeaning profession” where the big issue is authenticity.
The electorate needs genuine people at the helm.
To find out more about Rama Gaind click here.