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The Great Burke Debate

All constituents should have access to all parliamentarians, regardless of the constituent’s background, according to Senator Andrew Bartlett, Deputy Leader of the Australian Democrats.

A spokesman for Senator Bartlett stated that the Democrats did not have a policy of their elected parliamentarians, or members of the Democrats, being prohibited from contact with former Western Australian Premier, Brian Burke.

Senator Bartlett also stated that a person’s criminal or other background should not preclude them from their right to meet with parliamentarians, whether state or federal, government or opposition.

Western Australian Premier, Alan Carpenter, did not respond to written questions regarding his government’s policy on members of the Labor Party, including elected members, having contact with Mr Burke, or other convicted criminals.

Mr Carpenter also did not respond to questions as to why he reimposed the ban on Mr Burke, after lifting it ten months earlier when he was elected Premier, why he lifted the ban in the first place, or whether the ban would remain if Mr Burke was cleared of current corruption allegations.

However, in a press release dated 20th March, Mr Carpenter issued a ‘Contact with Lobbyist’s Code’, which stated that lobbyists must now apply online to the Department of Premier and Cabinet to be included on a Register of Lobbyists.

Mr Burke and two of his associates were the only lobbyists disqualified from the register, effective before it came into being, according to the press release.

Western Australian Opposition Leader, Paul Omodei, also did not respond to written questions regarding the Western Australian Liberals’ policy on their members having contact with Mr Burke, lobbyists or persons with criminal convictions.

In response to Mr Carpenter’s Register of Lobbyists, Mr Omedei stated, in a media release also dated 20th March, ‘Whether lobbyists declare their clients on a register or not will not stop dodgy Ministers acting inappropriately.’

Craig Hill
30th March 2007

About Craig Hill

Social Justice Campaigner, Writer, Teacher and Business Consultant. Lived in China and USA. Dealing with disability. My articles have been cited in New York Times, BBC, Fox News, Aljazeera, Philippines Star, South China Morning Post, National Interest, news.com.au, Wikipedia and many other international publications. Please consider donating, to support our social justice campaign, by clicking on the "Donations Page" button in the top menu.


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