Choosing an Ombudsman: Revelations from the 1987 NSW Cabinet Papers

The choice for New South Wales’ Ombudsman in 1987 came down to a senior Departmental head and a solicitor with a familiar name in Labor circles; the latter promising a less contested relationship between the government and the Ombudsman’s Office after years of strife between the two.

Cabinet papers for the NSW Government, recently released under the “30 year rule” still applicable in NSW, offer an insight into the appointment of David Landa as NSW’s third Ombudsman.

While the selection panel narrowed the eventual choice to Landa, a prominent solicitor with strong Labor connections, and Trevor Haines, the then Secretary of the Attorney-General’s Department, an impressive shortlist was interviewed, with gender and (relative) youth no bar to inclusion.

However, reducing the eventual choice to Landa and Haines seemingly reflected a desire to create a more harmonious relationship between government and watchdog than existed during the term of George Masterman, QC, who held the post between 1981 and 1987. Continue reading “Choosing an Ombudsman: Revelations from the 1987 NSW Cabinet Papers”

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NSW Political Donations Reform – Background and Resources (Updated)

In May 2014, in response to the mounting revelations at the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) of breaches and circumvention of NSW’s electoral disclosure laws, particularly in respect of donations by prohibited donors, Premier Mike Baird announced a Panel of Experts to review the system of political donations. Continue reading “NSW Political Donations Reform – Background and Resources (Updated)”

Numbers of Ministerial Staff by State and Territory in 2011-12

Numbers of Ministerial staff drawn from the most recent, most authoritative source publicly available (Post updated after Queensland figures were updated in week of 8 October 2012) Continue reading “Numbers of Ministerial Staff by State and Territory in 2011-12”

Blue Books or Bland Books?

After months of wrangling, the O’Farrell Government has finally released several of the “incoming government briefings” – colloquially known as the “Blue Books” – given to it by government departments following the March 2011 election.

The Australian Financial Review had sought the release of these Blue Books under the Government Information Public Access Act (GIPA): the basis of NSW’s freedom of information regime. Continue reading “Blue Books or Bland Books?”

Wild Dogs, Opera Houses and Empire Building

Every first term government in its first weeks and months wants to “do more with less” to the size of government.

In recent years, with the infiltration of the Management Mechanics, it usually starts out as, say, half a dozen Mega-Ministries and 8 or 9 Super-Dooper-Departments.

Well, the O’Farrell Government hasn’t let NSW down. Continue reading “Wild Dogs, Opera Houses and Empire Building”