08/11/2006 - 17:01

Norm Marlborough and Brian Burke - the history

08/11/2006 - 17:01


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Norm Marlborough and Brian Burke

Norm Marlborough and Brian Burke - the history

When new Labor leader Alan Carpenter appointed Norm Marlborough to cabinet he also reversed previous premier Dr Geoff Gallop's ban on ministers dealing with Brian Burke and fellow lobbyist and former state minister Julian Grill, he made the point .

At the time, Mr Marlborough said he could see "no reason to change my friendship with Mr Burke or Mr Reynolds".

"Most fair minded people would realise that friendships can be separate from work and that's how my friendship with Mr Burke has always been and it will continue to be," Mr Marlborough said.

"The first priority I have is loyalty to the premier and loyalty to the government."

But his links to Mr Burke were well documented (having served as a parliamentarian in a Burke government in the 1980s and remained quite unashamedly in close contact), even if no-one expected him to install a hotline to his mate when he became a cabinet minister.

Just after his appointment, Mr Marlborough embarrassed many in the government by claiming Mr Burke was a genius, according to reports from the Sunday Times.

He was also reported as saying that he was wrongly kept out of the previous cabinet because of Dr Gallop's obsession with keeping the state government at arms length from Mr Burke and the era of WA Inc that he represented.

It has taken just nine months to reveal how wise Dr Gallop was in this respect.

"I met Burke in 1976 and I knew then I was dealing with a political genius who had no bounds to his skills and ability. He was phenomenal," Mr Marlborough was reported as saying.

"There is a view that exists that if there had not been an economic crash in the 1980s, Brian would have been an absolute hero."

In February, Mr Marlborough's revision of history included his view that the WA Inc royal commission was biased against Mr Burke, that Mr Burke should never have been jailed and the good things had been buried.

"I said, `The Labor Party is a family. What happens if, let's say, an uncle who is part of that family gets jailed for robbery? You don't, the day after he gets jailed, talk about the family as if he was never there'."

H said Mr Burke, who was best man at his wedding, had "... never asked me to compromise myself politically".

"It's never happened and it never will," he told the Sunday Times back then.



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