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The rise and demise of Frank Sartor

While I was away Frank Sartor resigned as a Cabinet Minister. Frank started his career in politics in Newtown as a community activist fighting in relation to appropriate development. Fast News spoke to Bill Sheridan last month and he reminded me of some of the history of the inner city and the former minister reports Trevor Davies in The Fast News in the South Sydney Herald of October 2008.

Frank published an inner-city newspaper called The South Sydney Post and ran a resident action group. In 1983, it campaigned for road closures throughout Erko and Alexandria – this produced much opposition from the inner-city branches of the Labor Party.

In 1983 he, along with people like Bill Sheridan and Claire Vernon, was elected to the then newly merged South Sydney and City Council which had 27 councillors. What was Frank like as a progressive Alderman? His old mate Bill told of many calls happening at about 12am, asking Bill to do letter boxing. He was perfectly happy to go and do it, no matter what time. Bill said Frank was always someone who would stand by his mates.

In 1987, the Council was sacked, and Frank, along with Clover Moore, who was also a member of the sacked Council, campaigned against the Unsworth Labor Government.

Sartor also ran against Sandra Nori, the Labor candidate for the inner-city seat of McKell.

Fast forward to 2003. Frank became the Labor Member for Rockdale and a senior Minister in the Carr Labor Government. After last month’s change of Premier, Frank goes, and his career seems to be over. A man that started as a progressive inner-city activist, some would say, became an apologist for what appeared to be some of the worst reforms to the state planning laws and planning decisions the state has seen. However, since he left the Ministry, he has been quiet. 

However, on Thursday October 9, at 6.30pm, Frank is taking part in a forum on “Community Activism” with some inner-city activists. The activists are:

Meredith Burgmann (City of Sydney ALP Councillor), Kate Lamb (Willoughby Independent Councillor), Jan Macindoe (President Willoughby Council), Gary Moore (Glebe Society Director Community Services), Frank Sartor (MP for Marrickville).

Venue: Upstairs Function Room, Toxteth Hotel, 345 Glebe Point Road

Cost: $10/$5 Concession – raising money for East Timor Justice!

More Information: Kate Barton at

Source: South Sydney Herald October 2008