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Friday, November 07, 2014

Former NSW commissioner Ken Taylor was fair and forgiving

The NSW IPC note on the death of former Privacy Commissioner and Acting Information Commmissioner Judge Ken Taylor describes him as "well-respected and fair." 

I can attest to that. 

Despite the fact that I'd had a crack at him about his low profile as privacy commissioner, and his selection as the person to get things established at the new information commission before it opened for business, Judge Taylor and Nigel Waters who undertook the preparatory work subsequently engaged me to make a start on guidance documents on the interpretation and application of the new GIPA act and agency responsibilities.

The judge must have swallowed hard when my name cropped up but in my formal and other contact with him in the course of doing this work (a fair bit of which didn't see the light of day) he had the good grace not to mention or take exception to what I had said previously.

I first encountered Ken Taylor in the nineties when Chief Judge of the District Court Reg Blanch asked me to help develop some performance indicators for the court, to bring his 'planning committee' consisting entirely of judges along with the idea that 'management' mattered and all judges had a responsibility to manage court resources. And if the court didn't develop ideas about managing and measuring performance, others were keen to do it for them.The exercise was close to a first for courts in Australia. 

Reg Blanch loved this stuff. His colleagues didn't. 

With the exception of Ken Taylor who took a real interest and proved a valuable ally to Reg in making these then radical ideas stick.

Vale, and condolences to his family.

This is the citation for Ken Taylor's Member (AM) Order of Australia award in 2012.

His Honour Judge Kenneth Victor TAYLOR AM(Mil) RFD,
For service to the judiciary, to the law, and to the community through contributions in the areas of privacy, freedom of information, health and patient care matters. Judge Taylor was appointed as a Member in the Military Division of the Order of Australia in The Queen’s Birthday 1995 Honours List for his outstanding service to the Royal Australian Navy and the Royal Australian Navy Reserve Force, particularly in facilitating the integration of the two units into a total combined force.
Acting Judge, District Court of New South Wales.
Judge, District Court of New South Wales, 1991-2010.
Judge, Drug Court of New South Wales, 2008.
Acting Justice, Supreme Court of New South Wales.
Privacy Commissioner, Privacy New South Wales, 2008-2010; involved in the combination of the Information and Privacy Commissioner.
Acting Information Commissioner New South Wales, 2009; involved in the establishment of the Office of the New South Wales Information Commissioner.
Commissioner, NSW Law Reform Commission, 2008-2009 and 2009-2010.
Commissioner, Health Care Complaints Commission, 2004-2005.
Deputy Chairperson, Medical Tribunal, 1998-2010.
Deputy Judge Advocate General (Navy), 1998-2002, 2003-2004 and 2004-2006.
Barrister, 1981-1991.
Other awards/recognition include:
Reserve Force Decoration, long service award presented to officers in the Reserve elements of the Australian Defence Force.

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