FORMER premier Neville Wran should be the example followed by today’s politicians in the light of recent corruption investigations into NSW politics, according to one of Orange’s Labor supporters.
Former Labor candidate for Orange and Orange councillor Glenn Taylor said “Nifty” was the “ordinary man’s premier” and his passing on Sunday night was a loss.
“He was a giant of not only NSW politics, but Australian politics in general,” he said.
“He was the first politician I really, really admired.”
Cr Taylor met Mr Wran at a state party conference in Sydney several years ago and said he was “awestruck”.
“He was quite humble about it all - he said, ‘keep the good fight up’,” he said.
Orange ALP branch vice-president Joe Maric met Mr Wran during his time as a union official.
“He was a charismatic figure ... and if something needed to be done, it got done,” he said.
“He was very forthright on democracy in the party and never fearful of listening to the working man.”
Mr Wran’s Liberal successor, Nick Greiner, started the Independent Commission Against Corruption in 1989 following the Rex Jackson Affair, where Jackson was jailed for accepting bribes to release prisoners early, and the Street Royal Commission, where Mr Wran was cleared of allegedly trying to influence the outcome of the prosecution of rugby league administrator Kevin Humphreys.
With Eddie Obeid and Ian Macdonald still in the spotlight, and former premier Barry O’Farrell the latest scalp even without corruption allegations from ICAC, Cr Taylor said faith in politicians was at an all-time low.
“Politicians forget they’re there to serve the people, I think particularly on the Labor side, we’ve lost our way,” he said.
“We are there to give the less fortunate people in the community a fair go - politicians these days look after themselves.”
Cr Taylor said Mr Wran kept in touch with his working class background despite his education as a lawyer.
“He never lost touch with the working people, the traditional Labor supporters,” he said.
“We need some real people back in politics - people like Wran showed how it was done.”
The Nationals’ Garry West served as the member for Orange during the Wran years and a minister in the Greiner Coalition government, but declined to comment on Mr Wran’s legacy.
“He was a very formidable opponent in Parliament,” he said.