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Brian Burke
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Brian Burke

Brian Burke recently published his autobiography, A Tumultuous Life, which deals in detail with his colourful and often controversial life and career. It outlines his childhood as the son of a federal Labor MP, his time as a newspaper, radio and TV journalist, his entry into politics and emergency as WA Labor leader, his two landslide election successes in the 1980s, the wide-ranging social and economic reforms of his governments, his association with the high-flying businessmen of the 1980s – including Alan Bond, Laurie Connell and Robert Holmes a Court

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Brian Burke Travels from WA
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Brian Burke's Biography

Brian Thomas Burke is a former Labor Premier of Western Australia (1983 – 1988) and Australian Ambassador to Ireland and the Holy See (1988 -1991).

 

Some years after leaving office, Burke was charged with misusing his travelling allowance and was sent to prison. As soon as he learned of the “double dipping”, all allowances were repaid in full. The charges Burke faced – which probably would not be laid today - were not a result of the so-called WA Inc. royal commission that was set up to investigate the government’s links to business and from which there were no findings of corruption by the commission.

 

Burke returned from Ireland, where he was Australian Ambassador, to defend his reputation at the royal commission.

 

His jailing had a devastating impact on his life and on his family, particularly his wife, Sue, who he met at school and to whom he has been married for more than 50 years. They have six children and 19 grandchildren.

 

Burke recently published his autobiography, A Tumultuous Life, which deals in detail with his colourful and often controversial life and career.

 

It outlines his childhood as the son of a federal Labor MP, his school days in Perth, his courting of Sue Nevill, his time as a newspaper, radio and TV journalist, his entry into politics and emergency as WA Labor leader, his two landslide election successes in the 1980s, the wide-ranging social and economic reforms of his governments, his association with the high-flying businessmen of the 1980s – including Alan Bond, Laurie Connell and Robert Holmes a Court - his time as Ambassador to Ireland and the Holy See, his grilling at the royal commission, his court appearances, his time in prison, his career as a lobbyist, and his ongoing battles with the WA Corruption and Crime Commission, which he has challenged for using dubious tactics to damage people’s reputations without laying a charge.

 

About A Tumultuous Life, which he wrote himself, Burke says: “I have written it with honesty and candour. It will open some wounds, but hopefully heal others.” A Tumultuous Life is very readable and has received wide praise.

 

Burke is a knowledgeable, interesting, humorous and entertaining guest speaker – not surprising, given that he was considered an outstanding speaker and debater in WA Parliament, and a brilliant political strategist. While he is no longer a member of the Labor Party, Burke maintains connections across the political spectrum. He is a well-informed, insightful and astute observer and commentator on the Australian political scene.

 

Brian Burke is happy to speak about his book and its many subjects of interest, or on historic and current matters of political interest, and about the politicians involved. He will suggest a topic if asked and always takes questions from the audience. Always prepared to address difficult subjects frankly and without fear Brian Burke is regarded as an excellent after-dinner speaker.