Lobbyists have come to the fore in WA’s present climate

A VERY bright spotlight has shone on the lobbying activities of former Labor Premier Brian Burke over the past six months.

Along with business partner and former State Government Minister Julian Grill (who also acts on his own for some clients) Mr Burke has lobbied Ministers and political advisers on a wide range of issues, including retail trading hours, the composition of a new racing industry body, Portman Mining’s plan to expand iron ore mining at Koolyanobbing, payroll tax re-forms and regulation of intrastate air services.

The controversy over Mr Burke’s lobbying culminated in Premier Geoff Gallop issuing a directive banning all Ministers and their staff from meeting with Mr Burke and Mr Grill.

It remains to be seen how they will cope.

They may continue to be influential by setting strategies and providing advice without actually attending meetings.

Former State MP and former ALP State secretary John Halden (pictured top right) has teamed up with former politics journalist Anne Burns to establish Halden Burns.

Clients include Multiplex, the Coral Coast Marina Development, Alcoa, Telstra and Cable Sands.

Megan Anwyl is another former MP who has moved into the lobbying game as the WA representative of national firm Hawker Britton.

Her clients include Dampier Nitrogen, which is hoping to establish a gas project on the Burrup Peninsula, Burswood and railcar manufacturer Bombardier.

Former ALP national secretary Gary Gray is now principal strategic adviser for Woodside.

Mr Gray does not describe himself as a lobbyist.

Nevertheless, his political connections would be invaluable, especially with the possibility of Shell launching another takeover offer for Woodside once outgoing managing director John Akehurst leaves the company.

Nick Catania (pictured bottom right) was a Minister in the WA Labor Governments of the early 1990s. He currently wears many hats, including Mayor of the Town of Vincent and lobbyist for Epic Energy.

Former Premier Richard Court and former Opposition leader Barry MacKinnon, through his business Barmac Consulting, also provide lobbying services.

Mr MacKinnon partners with former Labor leader Ian Taylor on selective projects and previously partnered with former Labor Minister Bob Pearce, who now runs the Forest Industry Federation.

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