It is now de rigueur to offer a raison d’etre or a cri de coeur to justify the imposition of yet another demand on the time and attention of the (intended) discerning, perceptive and generous audience.
While it should be assumed that I am intelligent, witty, unassuming, kind to small animals .. so let’s cut the red tape; I’ll meet you at O’Malley’s ….
Sorry. Where was I?
In mid 2010 I had intended to start this blog as a lead in to the NSW State Election on March 27. My good intentions were, however, diminished in the face of the soul destroying awfulness of the then Government, and in the small target approach of the Opposition, with a focus on local campaigning.
While very effective (and possibly more effective than its strategists might even have hoped) the Opposition’s campaign did not lend itself to continuing commentary.
But, now, with a new government and all the change and promise that holds, I thought I might give it another shot.
For a number of (enjoyable) years, I contributed items of observation and commentary on NSW politics to Crikey.com.au, under the pseudonym of “Boilermaker Bill McKell”, or “Boilermaker Bill” as the nom de plume became affectionately known in some quarters. Here I hope to recapture some of the flavour of those musings.
If I intend to be a critical and credible source of commentary I do believe it reasonable to be asked what political background and affiliations I might bring, as well as my professional background.
Over the course of my professional and community life, I have worked as a researcher and advisor to a Member of the Legislative Council; for the NSW Ombudsman, in its policing and child protection areas; at the Independent Commission Against Corruption; in other public sector agencies; local government; and non-government organisations and community groups.
This, of course, does not entitle me to any claim of expertise in those areas; it merely indicates the breadth of my experiences and interests in writing about public sector administration.
Between 1989 and 1997, I was variously (but never simultaneously) a member of the Liberal Party, the National Party and the ALP. I was not particularly active in any of them, never finding the right home for my own beliefs and personal ideology.
Broadly, I would describe my own views as being on the centre-right of what is generally understood to be the Australian political spectrum. The best expression of that is perhaps my voting in elections where several candidates are to be elected, such as for the Senate or the Legislative Council.
Here, I have voted for candidates from the ALP and the Coalition, and occasionally, a candidate for The Greens – and not in accordance with the ticket order or “How-to-Vote” instructions.
[After the book I had written was legalled beyond publication, I took myself to ….. never mind. I set myself to a new task … ]
Oh, and “The Rum Hospital”? After initially meeting at Government House, in 1829 the early Legislative Council started meeting at the Surgeon’s Wing of Sydney General Hospital – the latter known as “The Rum Hospital”.
The snapshot on this site features both the Legislative Council (and Governor Lachlan Macquarie) in the foreground – and Sydney Hospital to the rear. The photo is from the Sydney Meanderings website
The wing formed part of what continues to be the legislature building; and witnessed and has been part of the various triumphs, turmoil and testing times in the political history of NSW.
While I will comment on the broader scene, I have a special regard for the Parliament, and believe it to be somewhat neglected beyond the obvious events on any given day.
I hope, and will endeavour to ensure that this is a fair, informed and ultimately influential commentary on these times.