In memoriam: John Nethercote

Dr Gordon de Brouwer PSM

John ‘JR’ Nethercote (Image source: The Sydney Institute)

Australia is mourning the loss of John ‘JR’ Nethercote, who passed away in early May 2022 at the age of 74.

A renowned political historian, public servant and expert on government administration and parliament, John was known amongst his many friends and colleagues as an outgoing, exuberant character, who was generous with his time and expertise. John had an unquenchable desire to learn and to be better informed.

He was closely involved with the Institute of Public Administration Australia from the 1970s (when it was the Royal Institute of Australian Public Administration) to the 2020s. From 1980 to 2000, John was the Editor of the Canberra Bulletin of Public Administration, published by the ACT Division of the  Institute  and subsequently assisted with editing the Australian Journal of Public Administration.

In three decades in the Australian public sector his assignments included the Public Service Board, the Royal Commission on Australian Government Administration, the Defence Review Committee, the National Inquiry into Local Government Finance as well as the Parliamentary Service where he was secretary to the Senate Standing Committee on Finance and Public Administration in 1987-88. He also worked for a time with the Public Service Commission of Canada.

Since leaving the public service, John served as an adjunct Professor at the Australian Catholic University, edited numerous books and contributed book chapters and articles for journals on political institutions, government and politics, and contributed to The Sydney Morning Herald and ABC Radio.

John was made a Fellow of the Institute of Public Administration (FIPAA) in 1991 for services to IPAA and public administration.

Our condolences go out to his family and friends.