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Brian Thomas Burke (Labor)

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Brian BurkeFebruary 19 1983 - February 25 1988

Brian Burke was a journalist before entering politics.

He swept Labor to victory for the first time in nine years when he became Premier. He was just 36 years old when he took office. He was sworn in on his birthday and became WA's third youngest Premier.

From the start Burke nominated five years as his term of office, saying he would step down on February 25, 1988 - his 41st birthday. He was the State's 23rd Premier when he was sworn in and at the time hailed as a bright, politically astute man.

During his term, WA experienced a surge in the corporate world with rising stocks and share prices. The 80s were considered boom times throughout the nation until the biggest share market crash in history in 1987 that wiped out many of the high flyers.

Burke's premiership was characterised by his association with big business and putting government and business into deals together. Ultimately, the deals caused great losses for the State and became popularly known as "WA Inc".

Burke resigned as Premier before the full force of the deals and losses were known. His premiership - and downfall - was linked with the likes of Alan Bond and Laurie Connell, and the disastrous Rothwells merchant bank collapse and attempted rescue by the government.

He resigned to become Australia's ambassador to Ireland but was forced to resign that job as details of the WA Inc scandal emerged.

He was later charged with offences that resulted from a Royal Commission into the period and spent seven months in gaol in 1994.

 

Acknowledgement of Country

The Government of Western Australia acknowledges the traditional custodians throughout Western Australia and their continuing connection to the land, waters and community. We pay our respects to all members of the Aboriginal communities and their cultures; and to Elders both past and present.