The white shoe brigade is alive and well and doing great business in its traditional heartland.

The Perth branch office of Spivs Inc is headed by Brian Burke, the one-time Labor premier who was jailed in 1994 for rorting his travel expenses and jailed again in 1997 before a second conviction was quashed. In the latest astonishing revelations before WA’s Corruption and Crime Commission, we learn that Burke was apparently pulling the strings of several Labor cabinet ministers and even allegedly paid Liberal powerbroker Noel Crichton-Browne $2,000 a month to get Liberal MPs to move motions favourable to Mr Burke’s client IMF.

Former Queensland Minister for Health, Gordon Nuttall, presides over his state’s branch office. He’s keeping busy outside office hours too, facing off 35 counts of corruptly receiving payments totalling $300,000 from mining magnate Ken Talbot between 2002 and 2005, apparently for advice rendered.

The booming economies of the wild west and the deep north are keeping many people in jobs, including some of those old occupations where there don’t seem to be any apparent skills shortages. Even in an era of high tech and smart education, some old-style attributes are still the most effective.

Peter Fray

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