Corrupt, convicted, conniving – and convivial company? Almost 12 months after the issue was first raised the question still remains: why did St Kevin agree to dine with Brian Burke?

Last year Rudd said:

Would it have been better for me not to have met with Mr Burke had I known what Mr Burke was up to at the time? Of course … with the benefit of 20-20 hindsight, of course I would not have met with Mr Burke.

Forget about hind – or any other sort of sight. Blind Freddy wouldn’t have gone anyone near Brian Burke because of the stench that’s been hanging around the former West Australian premier for close to 20 years.

Burke left office way back in 1988 under a darkening sky. The WA Inc storm broke soon after. WA taxpayers were left with a billion-dollar damage bill. And that was just the start.

In 1994 he became the first head of any Australian government to go to prison when he went to jail for misusing parliamentary travel expenses. He was jailed again in 1997 after being convicted of stealing more than $100,000 from the Labor Party to buy stamps for his personal collection, although this conviction was later quashed on appeal.

Brian Burke had been political poison more than a decade before Kevin Rudd started dealing with him over a dinner.

Why on earth would an ambitious politician from the other end of the country have anything to do with the bloke?

Burke has always sought out weak and compliant people – or people prepared to compromise their integrity in pursuit of power.

St Kevin has put himself into this latter category – and compounded his guilt by failing to confess his sin.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey