Synopses & Reviews
Once touted as a future prime minister of Australia, former Western Australia premier Brian Burke has had an extraordinary political career. This is the first major biography of this charismatic and influential politician who—even when out of power and disgraced—pulls the political strings in WA and beyond. As premier, Burke was one of the key players behind the mineral boom that became the infamous WA Inc in the 1980s. After a high profile inquiry, he was jailed for corruption in 1994 for and then again in 1997. Most men would have sought a quiet life after losing their reputation, but Burke took advantage of his connections to become a ruthless behind-the-scenes powerbroker in WA politics, business, and unions. With his capacity to deliver fundraising largesse to the Labor Party, his control over pre-selections, and a cadre of mafia-like devoted supporters, Burke is truly the godfather of WA politics.
The most popular premier in the nation in the 1980s, Brian Burke went to gaol twice after the scandals of WA Inc. His reputation was thought to be damaged beyond repair, but he became a successful lobbyist for some of the most powerful corporations in the country. As the Corruption and Crime Commission steadily closed in on him he was shown to be running a virtual shadow cabinet in his home state.
Quentin Beresford tracks the rise, fall, resurrection and then collapse of the man in the Panama hat, examining what it is in Burke's personality, the nature of Labor party factionalism and the business community that brought him such power and influence across the country.