Politician of the Week – Barry O'Farrell

New South Wales politics is set to change, and Barry O’Farrell is front and centre in taking apart the Labor government.

There is an article about him in the SMH that has some brilliant quotes that makes him this weeks choice for the Whaleoil Politician of the Week award.

“Politics has virtually buggered this state,” he muses. “By that I mean that we have increasingly had decisions made on the basis of buying votes.”

“The old politics of smear and fear and untruths is the past,” O’Farrell tells the cameras. “It’s not the future of the state.”

Even Noreen Hay, sent to the backbench over the same wild celebrations in her office in 2008, may lose Wollongong despite her 25 per cent margin. “The evil queen,” O’Farrell calls her. “She’s old Labor, she deserves to lose.”

He also shows some smarts when it comes to real performance issues of ministers rather than made up scandals that have no relation on their abilities. This is a lesson that Labour in new Zealand needs to look very closely at.

Not on O’Farrell’s list of disgraced Labor ministers from down this way is David Campbell, the minister for transport until Channel Seven filmed him leaving a gay bathhouse last May. “Even in NSW politics there should be some lines,” O’Farrell says. “Whilst I would have sacked David Campbell for many things – the F3 debacle, his management of the rail system – what he ultimately resigned over was a personal issue.

“I do know I live in a state in which politics is incredibly brutal at times – a state in which over the last decade you think of the worst thing a government could do or a minister could do and it suddenly materialises on the front page of a newspaper – but his issue was not about the performance of his duties, and ultimately that’s what matters.”

That attitude shows a refreshing approach to politics. Instead of trawling through his opponents garbage and business and personal dealings he looks at their political management and portfolio management.

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story.  And when he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet.   Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet, and as a result he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist that takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him.  But you can’t ignore him.