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History Project


This site is dedicated to original research and key online resources on Sir Robert Askin and his government.

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A History of the Askin Government

This dissertation is a comprehensive evaluation of the Askin Government from 1965-1975.

This PhD thesis was published by the University of New England (UNE) in 2014.

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In 1965 when Askin first won government he purportedly said, “think of all the money we will make” … and then we will bequeath it in perpetuity to all the good citizens of NSW.  Yeah, right!

…………………………………. 2017. Right!   (more than $10m)

Clearly his laconic quip was as innocuous as “run over the bastards”.

It seems that both sides of politics only have a sense of humour when it suits their respective agendas

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Sydney Noir
Book Review

Review by Ross Fitzgerald, Emeritus Professor of History and Politics at Griffith University in the SMH Spectrum magazine.

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You can also access this book review at Fitzgerald's personal website.

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Prominent current affairs think tank, The Sydney Institute, recently published a review of Sydney Noir

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Sydney Noir authors, Michael Duffy and Nick Hordern, addressed The Sydney Institute in September 2017 to speak of the Sydney they discovered.

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Gerard Henderson is the Executive Director of The Sydney Institute. "The Institute is genuinely pluralist and a wide and diverse range of views are heard at its forums."

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Henderson's article in The Weekend Australian, 23 Sept 2017, p.22, discusses how "the Left and the Political Conservatives defend their own".

You can read the full article online at the The Sydney Institute.

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Sydney Noir has also been reviewed by Blue Wolf's Janet Mawdesley.

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Bob Bottom


Bob Bottom OAM is Australia’s pre-eminent crime expert outside of law enforcement agencies, and through a series of ground-breaking articles and books in the 1970s and 1980s was largely responsible for alerting Australians to the existence of organised crime and for many government inquiries and royal commissions into the subject. In the words of Malcolm Brown in the Sydney Morning Herald, Bottom made "heroic, ground breaking efforts to expose organised crime" and "did more than any other single individual to bring crime and corruption to public attention in NSW in the 1970s and 1980s".

Bottom was interviewed as a primary source for the PhD thesis "A History of the Askin Government 1965-1975 and contributed the following statement on the Askin corruption myth.

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Robert Askin Corruption Myth

In a PhD published in 2016, “A History of the Askin Government 1965-1975”, it was concluded that the Askin corruption myth was based on unsubstantiated and uncorroborated allegations. The conclusion was reached after rigorous research including discourse with the key protagonists, David Hickie and David Marr. These reported allegations were a symptom of the vagaries of flawed journalism: inexperience, naivety, ambition and youthful exuberance. Since the corruption myth was propagated in 1981 it has become received wisdom and has often provided fertile ground for unsubstantiated allegations to be revived in order to facilitate numerous agendas.

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Two typical examples:

#1 The renowned journalist Kate McClymont’s “the investigative journalist's investigative journalist” article in the SMH on 28 Jul 2008 which begins with “The disgraced former Liberal premier Bob Askin”

Why disgraced? Because Bob and Mollie Askin left almost their entire estate to the NSW public health system.  OR – because of one exposé in 1981 edited by David Marr who refuses to engage in the topic every time corroborated and substantiated evidence is mentioned. It is noteworthy that David Marr has not held a position as editor since 1981.

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The Askin Corruption Myth


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Journalism might well be the first draft of history but with the passing of time, history becomes the judge.

The principal premise of the expose in The National Times and the book, The Prince and the Premier, was that Askin was the patron of organised crime in Sydney from 1967-68 until his retirement in 1975.

Where is the proof? Where is the corroborated, substantiated and empirical evidence which was the foundation for this claim?

We know where the money went: it was bequeathed in perpetuity to the citizens of NSW.

David Hickie (the young journalist in 1981) genuinely and graciously granted an interview for A History of the Askin Government 1965-75, for which the author, a student of history, was most grateful.

David Marr (the young editor in 1981) who was responsible for publishing the article, abruptly declined an interview. Marr, recently had no qualms in boasting - according to Mark Dapin, that “Askin was an absolute crook. Publishing Hickie's story within a few hours of Askins death is one of the best things I've ever done in journalism”.

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The article trashed the good fame and character of Robert Askin.

It is silly to mention the Askin corruption allegation without reference to David Marr, the principal protagonist (editor) in the expose. Case in point: Mark Dapin's Sydney Noir book review in The Australian, February 10, 2018, p.21.

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The allegation against Askin does not pass the scrutiny of time and history.  It defies logic and fails the "pub test". Why would the premier of NSW undertake corrupt activities with the intention of bequeathing the vast majority to the citizens of NSW.

Was Bob Askin a modern day "Robin Hood"?

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Askin Charitable Trust legacy

Sir Robert Askin and his wife Mollie established four charitable trusts to be managed in perpetuity by Australia’s oldest trustee company, Perpetual Trustees.

The largest of those trusts, the hospital trust, has contributed millions to the public hospital system in NSW including almost $1million to Sydney Eye Hospital.

The total of the balance sheets of the four trusts currently stands at over $10 million including $8.6 million in the hospital trust, $0.8 million in the Animal Welfare trust and $0.6 million in each of the Ballet and Opera trusts.

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​Follow our two favourite lovely old sock puppets “the Drovers wife” and the

“green eyed desiccated old billy-goat” where they’re up to pussy's bow

in the dramatic nail biting puerile saga.

Who will the cuddly snuggly old scallywags (sock puppets) morph into next

as they obsessively fiddle with their pet wiki sites?

Tune in for the next episode…where Bob and Molly Askin are on the - OTHER SIDE - WAITING - and they're licking their lips like old Madame Defarge - in anticipation

of the arrival of the two lovely snuggly, cuddly old "sockies" (sock puppets).

Will the drover's wife repent - or will the old darling get his comeuppance?

Will the staple recipe, for the delicious impeccable source be served up cold by Bob and Molly?

What about the green eyed desiccated old billy goat?
He squibbed on the chance to advance a fairer take on the Askin corruption myth.

Instead, he unashamedly slurped on a dish of the delicious, warm and runny impeccable source.

Will Bob and Molly strip him of his rancid billy goat beard?

Time will tell: but there is one thing for sure - Bob and Molly ain’t going nowhere.

They’re just biding their time - WAITING - and they're licking their lips.


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