John Sosso

Interviewed by
Helen McMonagle & Roger Scott
Dec 19 2011
John Sosso
Time Summary Keywords

John Sosso discusses his parents, with specific reference to his grandfather's life as a sugar cane farmer. He briefly recounts his education.


John Sosso describes the political leanings of his close family members, in particular the connection between politics and religion.


John Sosso discusses his initial political leanings and how they shifted, from being a member of Young Labor to the Young Liberals. He briefly notes the changes that have occurred in the Liberal Party since his teenage years.

Young Labor, Young Liberals

John Sosso details the various changes in Queensland in the past twenty years. He focuses on the state of public schooling, and how this connected to the vocational focus of the Labor Party. He discusses the attitudes of the Liberal and National parties.


John Sosso describes his post-University employment, and how he came to be disenchanted with a political career and the Liberal Party.


John Sosso discusses his law career with commercial and criminal work. He notes his relationship with 'Rat Pack' members Terry Lewis and Glen Hallahan.

Glen Hallahan, Terry Lewis

John Sosso describes his move into the public service and his working relationships with Brian Stewart and Kevin Martin. He illustrates the notion of the 'merit principle' and how a person came to be recruited into the service.

merit based selection, ministerial staff

John Sosso details his early years and responsibilities in the Queensland public service. He notes his role in the Land Sales Act and the last of the Australian Consititutional Conventions.


John Sosso describes his relationship with Premier Joh Bjelke-Petersen, noting his perceived liberal leanings in law reform. He notes reforms to provide birth certificates to transgender citizens.

Joh Bjelke-Petersen

John Sosso discusses his experiences before and during the Fitzgerald Inquiry.

Fitzgerald Inquiry, Tony Fitzgerald

John Sosso details his experience in the public service in the wake of the Fitzgerald Report. He notes the range of social change laws that were driven through during the Ahern era.

Fitzgerald Inquiry, Mike Ahern, Tony Fitzgerald

John Sosso details the tensions in the National Party after the Fitzgerald Inquiry.

Don Lane, Fitzgerald Inquiry, Russell Cooper

John Sosso details his involvement in the legislation removing Justice Angelo Vasta as a Supreme Court of Queensland judge.

Angelo Vasta, Harry Gibbs, Supreme Court, Wayne Goss

John Sosso discusses his experiences with the PSMC during the Goss Government. He notes the number of redundancies made during this period and the effect on the public service as a whole.

Goss Government 1989-96, Peter Coaldrake, Public Sector Management Commission, Wayne Goss

John Sosso describes his involvement and responsibilities in revising the Queensland Censorship laws relating to books and literature. He discusses the behaviour of the cabinet and Wayne Goss.

censorship, Di Fingleton, Wayne Goss

John Sosso describes his position and responsibilities when the Borbidge Government came to power.

Borbidge Government 1996-98, Joan Sheldon, Peter Ellis, Rob Borbidge

John Sosso details his involvement with drafting the Public Service Act. He highlights the tension between the Department of Industrial Relations and the Office of the Public Service.

Industrial Relations, Public Service Act 1988

John Sosso describes his involvement with the infamous hit list. He outlines Rob Borbidge's treatment of the Public Service throughout this period.

Borbidge Government 1996-98, Doug McTaggart, Hit List, Rob Borbidge

John Sosso details ways in which the Borbidge Government remedied relations with the Public Service. He states his views on the merit principle and advancement in the service.

Borbidge Government 1996-98, merit based promotion, merit based selection

John Sosso discusses the cause of the Borbidge Government's demise, focusing on delegation of responsibilities at the director general and ministerial levels. He discusses the role of Liz Cunningham.

Borbidge Government 1996-98, directors general, Liz Cunningham

John Sosso discusses the state of the Borbidge Government's public relations department and how this contributed to its demise. He notes the loss of central control by the Borbidge Government.

Borbidge Government 1996-98

John Sosso details the economic climate of the Borbidge years. He also notes the rise of One Nation, gun laws and the Wik decision. He discusses the merits of the Borbidge years.

Borbidge Government 1996-98, gun laws, One Nation, Wik Decision

John Sosso discusses his role in the Premier's Department at the conclusion of the Borbidge Government and the issue of Native Title. He describes the personality of Rob Borbidge.

Borbidge Government 1996-98, Native Title, Rob Borbidge

John Sosso describes his dismissal at the hands of the incoming Beattie Government. He details his difficulties in initially obtaining work, and highlights his post-government roles.

Beattie Government 1998-2007, Glyn Davis

John Sosso details his position and role within the National Native Title Tribunal.

Indigenous Affairs, Native Title

John Sosso briefly discusses his disappointment at the lack of completion in the proposed light rail system for Brisbane, as well as other public transport ventures.

public transport

John Sosso describes his pride in the reform of the Residential Tenancies legislation, particularly the Mobile Homes Bill.


Interview ends