Media tart, sycophant, hypocrite – and Queensland premier – Peter Beattie will be leading the mourners at Joh Bjelke-Petersen’s funeral today. Beattie was heckled yesterday at the Labour Day March in Brisbane for attending, but he has always had an affection for the corrupt authoritarian. After all, he did approach Bjelke-Petersen when he was ALP state secretary, after the Coalition split in 1983, with an offer to support a minority National Party Government.

There was a fascinating pair of articles on Joh in The Australianlast weekend. Former National Party leader Doug Anthony defended Joh, saying he was never convicted of anything. In contrast, The Oz’s Queensland senior reporter, Tony Koch, went through the detail of the Fitzgerald Report into corruption in Queensland and reminded us once again of just what happened on Joh’s watch.

Under the Westminster system, the bloke at the top is responsible for what goes on under him. Joh has a hell of a lot to answer for. He deserves no tears. Let’s not forget the seriousness of some of the events that happened under Joh’s corrupt regime. The Whisky au Go-Go firebombing back in 1973, which claimed 15 lives, occurred because of underworld turf wars. Peter Beattie likes apologising, so will he apologise to these people’s surviving relatives for the crocodile tears he shed for the man whose dereliction of duty contributed to their deaths? Of course not. Live redneck voters are way more important.

The Labor leader who brought an end to the 32 years of corruption in Queensland, Wayne Goss, made it pretty clear what he thought about things on the ABC’s Inside Businesson Sunday. He’s not mourning Joh, not mourning his regime and definitely won’t be in Kingaroy today:

ALAN KOHLER: Just finally, how did you feel this week when Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen died?

WAYNE GOSS: Well, I think that you have to extend your sympathy to his family. I was one of a number of people who fought for a very long period of time to end the Bjelke-Petersen era, that is in government. We did that back in 1989 and I’m pleased we did.

ALAN KOHLER: Do you think he should get a state funeral?

WAYNE GOSS: Oh, that’s a matter for the premier. I’m not able to go, I’ve got other commitments.

Indeed. And so, no doubt, do a number of other people.

Peter Fray

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