Brian Burke has done untold damage to the art of lobbying. No, it’s not the revelations about the unsavoury tactics that’s worrying his fellow practitioners. The reputation of the lobbyist was low enough already. Tales of coercion and a little bribery and corruption will have merely confirmed the opinion of political observers about what goes on in the sordid world of political persuasion.

The reason for the angst of lobbyists is that the man was so damn successful. The recent evidence to the West Australian Corruption and Crime Commission suggests that the great man never failed! Clients throughout the nation will no doubt be on the phone to their political consultants this morning demanding to know why they did not achieve similar results.

It’s certainly an extraordinary story that is unfolding out west. Have a listen yourself to some of the tapes released by the Commission showing the former WA Premier at work chatting to the now retired state minister and Brian Burke mate Norm Marlborough. You can access them through The Australian‘s website here. Fascinating insights that will be the basis for an excellent lobbyist’s handbook.

Rarely if ever can a lobbyist anywhere have had so much influence on a government as Burke had in WA. The case for controls on the contact between lobbyists and politicians and public servants grows stronger with every revelation.

Peter Fray

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