19/06/2007 - 22:00

Last hurrah for Brian Burke

19/06/2007 - 22:00


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Former premier and political lobbyist Brian Burke heads the group of people who have fallen off the list of Western Australia’s most influential in the past year.

Last hurrah for Brian Burke

Former premier and political lobbyist Brian Burke heads the group of people who have fallen off the list of Western Australia’s most influential in the past year.

Mr Burke’s spectacular fall from grace followed a covert Corruption and Crime Commission inquiry, which found that Mr Burke and his business partner Julian Grill went to extraordinary lengths to get results for their numerous clients.

They also went to extraordinary lengths to hide their activities, famously giving former small business minister Norm Marlborough a secret mobile phone.

The state government responded to the lobbying controversy by establishing a register of lobbyists.

Premier Alan Carpenter explicitly excluded Messrs Burke and Grill from the register, making it extremely difficult for them to continue their lobbying business.

The casualties from the lobbying controversy included three state government ministers who had dealings with Messrs Burke and Grill – Mr Marlborough, former resources minister John Bowler, and former environment minister Tony McRae.

The most surprising casualty was former federal minister Ian Campbell, who was compelled to resign for political reasons after it emerged that he had hosted a 20-minute meeting that included Mr Burke.

The lobbying controversy has also damaged the careers of several ministerial advisers and senior bureaucats, most notably the Department of Industry and Resources deputy director general Gary Stokes, who has taken leave from his position and is not expected to return.

Former federal opposition leader Kim Beazley has dropped off the list of WA’s most influential people, after being replaced by current leader Kevin Rudd in December last year.

Mr Beazley will retire from politics at the next federal election, due in October.

Some of the state’s most senior public servants have moved on over the past year.

Education Department director general Paul Albert resigned after being caught up in a political controversy, while Planning and Infrastructure Department boss Greg Martin has announced that he will be joining a transport research group in September.

In the business world, the main exit from the most influential list was former Alinta managing director Bob Browning, who has moved to the US to take a senior role with Perth boat builder Austal.

Another big change was the Roberts family’s decision to sell their 26 per cent stake in construction and property company Multiplex Ltd for $1.2 billion.

The sale has crystallised a huge fortune for the three children of company founder, the late John Roberts.

It has also resulted in former managing director Andrew Roberts, former executive director Tim Roberts and former executive Denby Macgregor leaving the company.

The Roberts family will be among WA’s most wealthy people, but like Perron Group founder Stan Perron and Cape Bouvard founder Ralph Sarich, they are expected to be relatively passive property investors and developers.


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