Occident Prone

Welcome to Australia’s wild West

Posts Tagged ‘Lobbyists’

7 ways to survive WA’s gas crisis

Posted by occidentprone on June 24, 2008

The state government tells us the gas crisis will last another six months. As winter gives way to spring, and then summer we will all still be ignoring pleas to ease back on energy use. But if you do want to do your bit and halve energy consumption between now and December, as suggested by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, here are some tips to help you on your way. 

  1. Pull on a jumper, turn off unused lights, don’t leave appliances plugged in, all that stuff.
  2. Throw off the electric blanket and switch off the heater: Ask a colleague for a threesome. Although not official government policy, it is endorsed by the Energy Minister who would if he could.
  3. Fill your car up with petrol then realise the “gas crisis” isn’t the worst thing to happen this year.
  4. Come summer there are a whole lot of other problems that come with keeping cool. In extreme heat tempers fray so we can all be charitable by lifting a colleague’s top for a little temporary (light) relief. 
  5. Sort your Apache Energy blasts from your Apache Indian’s boom shak alak. Easily confused, but no, dodgy sub-continent hip hop is not responsible for this crisis. Maybe in India he has a lot to answer for but we are blaming the American gas company for this.
  6. Leave the house and use someone else’s energy. If you are in any position of power you could get a lobbyist to take you to lunch, but only if you can stomach an hour of staring into the sweaty, puffy face of the ugly side of business. Life is full of such trade-offs.
  7. Stay home, turn off the lights, computer and telly and curl into the foetal position. Accept that we are stuffed. Uncurl only to vote at the next state election.

Posted in Perth, Politics, West Australian politics | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Umm ahh John McGrath

Posted by occidentprone on June 12, 2008

WA Liberal MP John McGrath says he has no idea Brian Burke might have had a commercial interest in a subject when Burke gave him material to table a motion in Parliament.

It’s an easy mistake to make. Burke, renowned for his philanthropy and generosity, could well have taken time out to pull together a few words on a worthy cause – in this case road safety. McGrath is right, how could he have known he was dancing with the devil? Except that Burke is the busiest lobbyist in the state – where could he find the time, that he and McGrath are opposite sides of the line, that Burke was representing a client who sold radar detectors, that ummm, you know – it’s Brian Burke.

Former West sports reporter McGrath can’t possibly be the naif he claims. He was a journalist for many many years – maybe he even worked with Burke? And even in the sports department of a news outlet, word filters through of the big news – political corruption, royal commissions, premiers jailed, that sort of thing.

Still, you’ve got to give the man the benefit of the doubt, even if ex-leader Paul Omodei can’t. Emboldened by the fact that he’s dead man walking, Omodei did the “Liar Liar Pants on Fire” dance in Parliament yesterday. 

Former Liberal leader Paul Omodei accused his one-time mate John McGrath of lying today in a heated exchange over dealings with bogeyman Brian Burke.

“Are you calling me a liar,’’ Mr McGrath asked Mr Omodei as the two faced off in State Parliament. 

To which Mr Omodei said: “Yes I am.’’ 

Liberals were left red faced and Labor MPs left smiling after the curse of Mr Burke divided the conservatives – instead of the State Government. (Source: PerthNow)


Anthony Fels committed exactly the same crime as McGrath, but with the aid of Noel Crichton-Brown not Burke, and was stripped of his responsibilities. On ABC Fels says Buswell was gunning for him at the time, he should be gunning for McGrath now. 

Fels and McGrath were newbies in Parliament when they agreed to act as lobbyists’ mouthpieces, pretending the words and thoughts were all their own. The question is this: Are more experienced pollies telling Burke, Grill and NCB to piss off because they know better, or are they just better at putting things in their own words and covering their tracks?


Posted in Media, Perth, Politics, West Australian politics | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Lobbyist is a dirty word

Posted by occidentprone on June 4, 2008

Alan Carpenter’s decision to cut John Halden off from handling Karen Brown’s election campaign is all about perception.

Halden used to be an MP and now he is a lobbyist. Brown used to be a journalist, then a lobbyist and is now a would-be MP. Carpenter used to be a journalist, then an MP, then Premier facing the unloseable election and now it’s all falling apart at the seams.

Lobbyist is a dirty word around here. The job has long been seen as a mix of politics, commerce, spin and the occult conducted in the netherworld ‘twixt dark and light, public and private, parliament and Perugino’s. It is done most effectively when lobbyists move as shadows but as soon as daylight is shone on their manoeuvres they lose a little of their power.

For Brown, who is an intelligent, honourable and ethical woman who has happened to dabble in all the dark arts – newspapers, lobbying and now politics – it’s not enough to do the right thing. She has to be perceived to be doing the right thing and keep well clear of Halden. He has admitted to receiving leaks from Cabinet – well who hasn’t these days – and he could well taint Brown’s campaign, which would be a shame because she is a quality candidate.

Perception makes all the difference. It’s like the nuance between sexually harassing staff and just making an off-colour joke. But that’s another story.


Posted in Media, Perth, Politics, West Australian politics | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Who is that man in the panama hat?

Posted by occidentprone on April 29, 2008

Beady eyes, bloated features and tentacles that extend everywhere. How the blazes did Brian Burke get so powerful? And even more intriguing is this: How is it that politicians and bureaucrats cannot stay away from him?
Of course the two are linked – he has sway because the pollies don’t mind being used as pawns and they fall for his charms (apparently he has some) because they feel he can deliver what they want.
The media talks about his Svengali features but he’s more a Faustian devil.
As reported in The Australian today, WA Education Minister Mark McGowan is one in a long line to talk soul with the man in the panama hat.
McGowan claims to have been exempt from wise Dr Geoff Gallop’s ban on any contact with dodgy brothers lobbyists Brian Burke and Julian Grill. Bad move, Minister. You’re talking semantics when you should be thinking ethics.
Will McGowan be another notch on Burke’s enormous belt, a tally of tainted bureaucrats and disgraced pollies … and that’s just since he’s been released from jail.
Ah, the State of Excitement – why would you be anywhere else?

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