• Publication Date: May 8, 2006
  • EAN: 9781862876002
  • 336 pages; 6" x 8⅝"

The Wran Era


Product Description

For over a decade, from 1976 to 1986, Neville Wran led the most successful Labor Government in New South Wales history.

Now, for the first time, key ministers, advisers, public servants, party and union officials, and Wran himself, provide a critical retrospective on the era and its legacy today.

It was an era of unrivalled electoral success – four electoral victories were won, including two ‘Wranslides’ in 1978 and 1981. Wran was a hugely popular leader who galvanised Labor supporters around the nation, and provided the model for modern Labor leadership and government.

It was also an era of sound economic management and moderate progressive reform which transformed New South Wales in ways taken for granted today.

Significant policy achievements, and some mistakes, are noted in health, education, transport, conservation, consumer affairs, Aboriginal affairs, the status and rights of women, industrial relations, anti-discrimination and equal opportunity law reform, the arts and heritage protection, the public service, and electoral and institutional reform.

The contributions cover key policy areas, politics and elections. The candid views of the main players are balanced with those of academics, journalists and commentators. New interviews, original research and fresh analysis combine to provide a unique perspective on The Wran Era.

The Wran Era in the Paper…"The Balmain boy who became a Labor Party hero: Neville Wran dead at 87", The Australian April 21, 2014 Read full article…


Neville Wran


Mark Arbib





Troy Bramston

Part One: The Wran Era and Political Style

The Path to Power

Brian Dale

Elections, Policy and Politics: An Overview

David Clune

The ‘Wranslides’ and Electoral Politics

Antony Green

The Wran Leadership Model

Troy Bramston

Part Two: Managing Government

Working for Wran

David Hill

The Wran Cabinet

Rodney Cavalier

The Public Service

Gerry Gleeson

Neville Wran: The Voice of Sydney

Graham Freudenberg

Wran and the Media

Rodney Tiffen

Part Three: Policy and the Wran Government


Laurie Brereton


Michael Hogan


John Black

The Economy

Russell Ross

Policing, Law and Order

Andrew Clark

Social Policy

Gary Moore

Social Policy and the Reform Agenda

Frank Walker

The Environment: Reform, National Parks and City Decline

Jeff Angel

Women’s Policy: Courage with Caution – The decade in which NSW led the world in women’s rights

Carmel Niland

An Aboriginal Perspective

Pat O’Shane

Reforming the Institutions of Governance

David Bradbury

Neville Wran and the Labor Council of NSW

Michael Easson

Part Four: Reflections and Assessments

Reflections of a Minister

Terry Sheahan

An Assessment from the Outside

Dennis Shanahan

An Assessment from the Inside

Stephen Loosley

Appendix 1: Neville Wran’s Resignation Speech, 7 June 1986Appendix 2: Cabinets and Ministries 1976-86 Appendix 3: NSW Leaders of the Opposition 1976-88 Appendix 4: Election Results 1973-86

Notes and Additional Sources


This book will appeal more to Wran’s fans than his critics but it is a timely overview of the way that his leadership shaped New South Wales and how his style changed the way politics was played across the country. As someone who found Wran to be a charismatic and visionary politician, despite the inevitable missteps of his government, I found this book revealing, insightful and a reminder of what can be achieved when governments think it is important to strengthening the social fabric of our community, when idealism is married with pragmatism. – National Indigenous Times, 27 July 2006

While much of the material on Wran’s achievements and style will be familiar to students of politics, it has not been presented previously in such a comprehensive collection. What makes this volume unique is that contributors sometimes provide stimulating insights or provide genuine ‘inside dope’ on the politics within the Wran Governments … By gathering writers of diverse backgrounds, each producing largely original material, the editor has ensured a healthy range of perspectives … The volume provides excellent material for reflection and further research and so deserves to stand as an important addition to the historical record … If aspiring leaders manage to study only one premier or prime minister, Wran should be the one. – Tony Smith, Australian Review of Public Affairs, 18 June 2006

Thirty years after Balmain-born Neville Wran led the NSW Labor party to victory in May 1976, with a one-seat majority, it seems timely to reflect upon the performance of his governments. For the decade Wran was in power he transformed state politics in New South Wales … The three highlights in this eclectic collection come from Rodney Cavalier, Graham Freudenberg and Stephen Loosley. – Ross Fitzgerald, The Sydney Morning Herald, 10 June 2006

The collective contributions in this book suggest there is room for a re-evaluation of the Wran record … this book provides insights into an absorbing period in politics. – Mike Steketee, The Australian, 3 June 2006

It’s a must-have for anyone interested in politics. – Stan Denham, The Daily Telegraph, 20 May 2006

If there were a Neville Wran anywhere in Australian Labor politics today, you can bet he would be on a fast, sealed train to Canberra. "Nifty" was no also-ran, and, on the 30th anniversary of his coming, this collection of essays, reminiscences and reflections celebrates the decade that belonged to the master of "razzle dazzle".

It’s almost worth buying just to read Graham Freudenberg’s astute and evocative assessment of Wran’s key attribute – that he was the "voice" of Sydney.

As other commentators point out, including editor Troy Bramston, Wran was also the one who kept the flag of Labor flying in the darkest days after the Whitlam sacking when even some insiders thought the party might not survive. Divided into four sections – style, management, policy and assessment – it brings together a list of commentators that includes Laurie Brereton, Pat O’Shane, Dennis Shanahan, Andrew Clark and others. – Steven Carroll, The Age, 20 May 2006

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