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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

a political firestorm? « Previous | |Next »
March 2, 2007

It had to happen. Kevin Rudd's squeaky clean image (good Christian family man) was too good to last. It is now tarnished by guilt by association with a scandal ridden Brian Burke. Rudd's political honeymoon is over. He's a politician---albeit a clever one---like any other.

Bill Leak

I saw yesterday's question time where Rudd's three meetings with Burke in 2005 organised by Graeme Edwards was thrown in his face, and then linked to the Rudd's leadership ambitions as a potential challenger to WA-based Labor leader Kim Beazley. Anyone who is fingered by, or seeks help from, Burke is morally and politically compromised, claimed Peter Costello. It was a case of throwing dirt (innuendo--touting for favours for leadership is the implication) at Rudd's bad judgment and hoping that some of the mud sticks.

The Coalition charge is that Rudd looks 'shifty' --walks both sides of the streets-- and they now have something to work with. The media loves it. What is not mentioned by the Canberra Press Gallery is the unregulated lobby industry in which former politicians from both sides of politics work in in their life after politics. John Warhurst in the Canberra Times makes a distinction in lobbying between that which is secretive and self-interested and that which is public and altruistic that is concerned to make a contribution t to the betterment of society. Of the former, Warhurst says:

The self-interested faces belong to individuals like the secretary of the Victorian Police Union, Paul Mullett, and the former premier of Western Australia, Brian Burke. It shows how lobbying is so commonplace that it becomes business as usual. Special interests don't just allow the parliamentary or ministerial due process to take its course. They get heavily involved in attempting to influence the process in any legitimate way they can.

Yet little is said about this kind of lobbying in the media, despite their knowledge about how a great many decisions are shaped behind closed doors and without the interest groups having to face public scrutiny of their claims and arguments. Very little is said about the need to regulate the lobbying industry amongst politicians, even though it is ALP policy.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 5:45 AM | | Comments (23)


This could also blow up in the Government's face.

They are already overplaying their hand, in my opinion.

If it is the worst that can be thrown at Rudd, he is sailing ok.

I think he has handled the situation quite well, to date, while the Coalition has looked over eager and full of hubris.

At the monent they look like the worst school yard bully who just caught the school nerd punching someone. They have run off to tell teacher, but everybody knows that they are the bigger problem.

If you want to know about undue influence, what about Walker and co now, and Dick Hohnen in the past.

Both cases where Howard has ducked revealing actually what was said, and with far more reaching effect on Australia.

Sadly, the journo's love mud slinging more than fact finding.

It says something about the Government's current position when yesterday's tirade against Rudd was considered their best day in parliament this year! It might be a little more newsworthy if they were winning points on some real issues...

It also says something about Rudd's character that he was willing to say "Yes, I made a mistake". How many pollies are doing that these days...


There is a big stench around Brian Burke----and I presume Rudd was dining with him to seek support and votes for his leadership challenge to Kim Beazley. I also presume that Graeme Campbell was acting as facilitator.

isn't the sort of political lobbying that Burk specializes in a real issue? Doesn't it represent a corruption of the democratic political process?

Brian Burke was and always will be I think a nice bloke to talk to. As a junior Polly and living in one of the poorer suburbs of the time Balga he was a very hard working and well liked member.
Every Saturday he would light the Barby in his back yard and would feed anybody who turned up regardless of who they were. He was always barefoot himself and his wife and kids were always helping out(7 kids from memory)
It was no surprise to anybody that he went on to be Premier because he had that sort of knockabout aussieness but also he was Smart. I think his background was in Political Journalism.

Yes it ended badly for him and some of it was his fault some wasn't but lets not forget that things were done differently back then. I don't think he was anywhere near as crook as Peterson was up here and he got away with it.
Lots of people seem surprised that he is still hanging round the political scene. Well Der! He just stuck to what he knew he was good at.
As I said before Brian would have a lot of freinds in and out of politics because he is a nice bloke.
And anybody who thinks Rudd didn't run around promising everybody everything so as he would have the numbers to roll Beazley is an Idiot!

Rudd's tactic of taking questions from the press and remaining largely quiet in the parliament is either really smart or really dumb.

It might be that he is going to be able to cut through all the noise of the chamber and speak directly to the media and people appearing like the statesmen he presents himself as.

But it also suggests a man scared to face the questions as they are put to him. I would think this is not the most attractive feature for a man who wants to lead the country and who would know a PM can't always pick and choose the time to answer tough questions.

To early to tell yet but interesting to watch.

Kevin Rudd, Brian Burke and the Constitution


As I stated below;

Awaiting you response and possible list of names with allegations of Members of Parliament criminal activities, association and other relevant matters,

End quote

Because of this severe attack upon Mr. Kevin Rudd in an absurd manner

It is quite different when somebody is lobbied by a
convicted criminal like Brian Burke. Brian Burke has
been convicted of fraud and he has served time for his

Therefore, he had served his punishment and as the Framers of the Constitution made clear (see below) entitled to better himself. If everyone who committed a crime was denied to talk to members of parliament then who are they representing. Indeed, they could not even talk to many of their own criminal elements of parliamentarians.

It will come as some considerable concern to members
of this House to know that, whilst Mr Burke was
under a ban and whilst the member for Perth was refusing
to deal with him, there was a member of this House
who was flying into Western Australia regularly to
meet with Mr Burke, and that was the Leader of the

Well, while it might be have appropriate for the WA Government to take that action in view that Brian Burke was formally a member of that Parliament I for one see nothing in it that Kevin Rudd (not even then being a Opposition leader) or anyone else for that matter then could not have meetings with Brian Burke, as long as the meetings were not for the purpose of criminal conduct!

If John Howard was not able to talk to criminals he may be unable to talk to many members of his government/party/coalition. Ample have been leaving the parliament because of criminal conduct and as such he was associating with people who were committing crimes, notably, so to say, right under his nose, and so was not smart enough as a leader to realize they were doing so.
At least Kevin Rudd has no such known record!

Whatever Brian Burke is accused of, unless it can be shown that Kevin Rudd at the time participated in criminal conduct no one could hold it against him that he had conversations with Brian Burke.

If every Member of Parliament has to be exposed for having at some time had a meeting or otherwise was to have been associated with criminals, such as those convicted of criminal offences such as spousal abuse, fraud,, etc, then few Members of Parliament would be left to discuss matters with.

If peter Costello, Joe Jockey, John Howard have such a pleasure to expose the fact that Kevin Rudd had a meeting with a person who had previously paid his dues to society, then lets expose also their meetings with criminals, including fellow party members, the employment of people engaged in criminal activities and other criminal conduct by themselves.

I would invite anyone to pass on information to me and I would be willing to publish it all in my books!

Below I am quoting various matters including what the Delegates at the Constitution Convention stated. And what appears to me that John Howard is a murderer no less then Carl William the underground criminal is, just that at least Carl Williams admitted to it, and is known to have working for him people such as the likes of the former chairman of the AWB involved in the AWB bribing scandal, and various ministers and public servants involved in the travel rort scandals, he did show that he had no problems dealing with Mal Colston when he was alleged to have ripped of the taxpayers in the travel rort scams, such as voting for the sale of Telstra.

When I look at the conduct of Kevin Rudd at the time of the meetings held in 2005 it appears to me that Brian Burke had served his sentence and was not charged with any crimes then. Now one ought to read the text of the debates of the framers of the Constitution that they made clear that once a person had served his sentence then he would even be allowed to sit as a Member in the Federal Parliament.
How many current Members of Parliament have restraining orders out against them one may ask. How many have other

I have just completed my latest book;

For the quest of JUSTICE, in different ways. Book on CD.
ISBN 978-0-9580569-4-6 was ISBN 0-9580569-4-3

And it happens to show what kind of criminals we have in the Federal Parliament;
After all writing out bad cheques is a criminal offence. Spousal abuse is a criminal offence. Assault is a criminal offence. Drug related charges are criminal offences. Shoplifting is a criminal offence.etc.

QUOTE Chapter 050F
Gary, what is this about political credibility ?

INSPECTOR-RIKATI®, the email I received indicates that the Federal Members of Parliament have the following related to them;
· 36 have been accused of spousal abuse.
· 7 have been arrested for fraud.
· 19 have been accused of writing bad checks
· 117 have directly or indirectly bankrupted at least 2 businesses.
· 3 have done time for assault
· 71 cannot get a credit card due to bad credit.
· 14 have been arrested on drug-related charges.
· 8 have been arrested for shoplifting
· 21 currently are defendants in lawsuits.
· 84 have been arrested for drunk
Moment, isn’t the Constitution prohibiting anyone being bankrupt from being a Member of Parliament?
Actually the section 44 you refer to is as follows;
(iii) is an undischarged bankrupt or insolvent; or
and also then consider;
(ii) is attainted of treason, or has been convicted and is under
sentence, or subject to be sentenced, for any offence
punishable under the law of the Commonwealth or of a State
by imprisonment for one year or longer; or
but the part to “bankrupt” refers to financially bankrupt not as I think you are considering to “moral bankrupt”.
Well, aren’t John Howard and his cohorts morally bankrupt?
Well, in my view they are but as a constitutionalist I have to go by what the intentions of the Framers were not what contemporary views are. It is bad enough that the High Court of Australia comes up with this contemporary view nonsense but reality is that like it or not we are bound by the intentions of the Framers.
END QUOTE Chapter 050F

The parliament does not provide enough space to give a 40 minute account.You only have 30 secs-I minute to refute ways in which you have been misinterpreted by another member.

Rudd had no choice but to front the media and take questions. It shows the importance of the media.

it was WA Inc that bought Burke down in WA.

Burke's government was too close business and saw itself as an extension of business. Business then meant a shady Alan Bond and Laurie O'Connell.

It was the ALP under Carmen Lawrence that tried to clean things up.

Both Brian Burke and Julian Grill are under scrutiny by the state's Corruption and Crime Commission.I guess that Bjelke Peterson was the beginning of attempts to address corruption in state governments.

Yes he did the wrong thing and paid the price for it.
I knew him when he first entered politics so thats what I remember.
What we have seen here though is that "Kev the Rev" is going to be completely swayed by popular opinion.

Its good to see that others are commenting on your Blog now. Peole must be getting sick of me and you disagreeing!

Paul Rodan in The Age observes:
By my reckoning, one state government (WA) is irredeemably corrupt, two (Queensland and Tasmania) have major problems in that regard, and Victoria's "secret" police union agreement suggests Steve Bracks is no Mr Clean. NSW, at the very least, seems to attract some extraordinarily low life to its parliamentary ranks. This leaves only South Australia as passably respectable....

There needs to be a major shake up with councils too..There should be some sort of watch dog for them.
Perhaps a rabid dog tethered in chambers would be a start.

Gary, I guess I was referring to the opportunity he had to make a post-Question Time personal statement which he chose not to do. I agree the 30 second answer is not the best way to address a serious question but he had potentially more time than that at his disposal.

Is Rudd a Dud?

yes there is that space post question time to correct the way an MP has been misinterpreted. Presumably the judgement was made that it was best to do this outside Parliament in front of the Canberra Press Gallery to show that he nothing to hide and that he showed character in admitting his mistake and taking all the questions.

The story had gone beyond the confines of Parliament and it had to be headed off.

I do agree tha the strategy in Parliament on Thursday was not a good one. The ALP questioning was carried by Anthony Albanese trying to through a bit of dirt at the Coalition. It didn't succeed.

Rudd did say at the press conference on Thursday in Canberra just after Question Time, that Howard had attacked his honesty and that he was here to defend his honesty. So the issue that on the table is one of character-Rudd's honesty. Rudd put it on the table.

Rudd is currently being questioned about this honesty in terms of the dinner at Perugino Resturaunt in Perth in 2005.Rudd is playing naive on this---he innocently went to the dinner, and that he was not aware of how the dinner was promoted by Burke amongst his mining company clients. Rudd insisted that he had attended the dinner purely as a guest of his friend WA federal MP Graham Edwards and had had no knowledge of Mr Burke's involvement in organising it.

We know that the dinner was not a fund raiser as none of the businessmen paid. We know that Rudd was a guest of honour. On the other hand, given Burke's track record, Burke could have played games of deception to organise this particular dinner.

I see that Senator Ian Campbell, the human services minister, gets the axe to ensure that Kevin Rudd continues to feel the heat from the blowtorch. Howard continues to occupy the high moral ground in the who-met-Brian Burke saga.

G.H. Schorel-Hlavka
you write:

Whatever Brian Burke is accused of, unless it can be shown that Kevin Rudd at the time participated in criminal conduct no one could hold it against him that he had conversations with Brian Burke.

The issue isn't about criminal conduct--no one that I can see is accusing Rudd of that. Rudd is dissembling --he cannot have been unaware of Burke's grossly improper and reprehensible conduct as WA Premier in the freewheeling 1980s.

ALP politics in WA still operates through a culture of patronage dominated by factional warlords such as Burke and WA construction union chief Kevin Reynolds. Burke is toxic and exercises a lot of covert power amongst the old mates. Yet Alan Carpenter declared WA Inc dead and buried in early 2006 despite confidential cabinet discussions being leaked, sensitive cabinet documents revealed, and Burke and Grill 's strategy to take over the ALP in WA over the next 15 years.

The ALP factional system in WA is corrupt, sleazy and rotten. Rudd got into bed with them, however briefly. It wasn't for just conversations.

The situation is close to the "Getting Silly" stage now with pollies shivering in their boots uttering Yes! I rode in an elevator with Big Brother Burkey in 2002 but I swear I was looking the other way and when I did notice him there I got out and took the stairs 27 floors.
Lets not forget that we ARE talking about the Labor Party here, a cacophony of Lunatic Pigs swimming in their own bile. So no surprises that this sort of things going on. At the time I think Rudd had firmly a publicly stated that Beazley had his Full support and was a long way off having the numbers to challenge for the leadership.
I am unsure as to who Burke was backing in the leadership challenge but know doubt that will come to light soon if it hasn't already.

Howard sent a message to his troops to dispel the rumblings within the Libs in the sacking this week and I think it most likely worked.

I see that the Howard Government is continuing to make a frontal assault on Rudd's honesty and character, even going so far to claim that Rudd had appeared to have put himself in debt to the disgraced former premier and had not told the truth about their meeting.

The 'debt bit' is a long bow. The Canberra Press Gallery say that we need to wait until the next opinion polls before they can anything useful. I presume that the 'debt bit ' refers to the underlying allegation against Rudd is that he corruptly used Burke to assist him in removing fellow West Australian Beasley from Federal Labor leadership thus enabling Rudd to ultimately become Prime Minister. Presumably, Burke was to receive benefit, if he assisted Rudd to become Prime Minister.

How about the Canberra Press Gallery looking at political lobbying. Why their silence around that?

Why doesn't the ALP address the issue around this vis a vis its own high profile staff--eg., Max Moore-Wilton and Arthur Sinodinos.

Well if your going to assume All lobbying is nefarious then All donations to political parties are too?

I don't make that assumption.I referred to the distinction John Warhurst made in the Canberra Times re lobbying between that which is secretive and self-interested and that which is public and altruistic that is concerned to make a contribution t to the betterment of society.

I also asked in this post about the point at which legitimate lobbying that cuts through endless red tape and set up meetings with key bureaucrats and MPs becomes perverted and compromises the Westminster system in Western Australia.

With the use of the word "your" I was referring to people in general not actually You.

I think the Libs are getting into the " The devil you know is better than the devil you don't" stage now.
That is my assumption with the events of the last few days. While it is a bit over done there is no doubt that it has tarnished Rudd's Tin Tin appeal.

people in general make a distinction between consumer advocates, business lobbies technical advisory groups etc lobbying government and departments on the one hand; and those who write government policy (the high energy groups, pay money to get a hearing and direct influence, and the revolving door between government and the private sector on the other hand.

A blind eye is turned to the distinction.