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ECU Professor releases first comprehensive Brian Burke biography

Friday, 01 August 2008


Edith Cowan University's (ECU) Dr Quentin Beresford, an Associate Professor of Politics, has written the first comprehensive biography of disgraced former Labor leader Brian Burke.

Piecing together the life of one of Western Australia's most notorious political figures, The Godfather: the life of Brian Burke was released this week.

The Godfather tracks the rise, fall, resurrection and then collapse of the man in the Panama hat, examining the elements of Burke's personality, the nature of Labor party factionalism and the business community that brought him such power and influence across the country.

In preparing the book Professor Beresford interviewed people from all parts of Burke's life and examined the many thousands of pages of transcript from his appearances at three official inquiries.

"The Godfather analyses Burke's calculated search for power and wealth, and why the very skills that brought him success also led to his many falls from grace," Professor Beresford said.

"It also delves into the ways Burke used the media to mask his real intentions and motivations, and how the media were crucial to both his rise and fall"

ECU's Vice-Chancellor, Professor Kerry Cox said scholarly works of this nature provide a valuable capture of strengths and weaknesses of a modern democracy in the advanced world.

"Professor Beresford's work will contribute to a better understanding of an interesting and controversial period in Western Australia's political history.

"It will be an authoritative source of material and analysis for leaders in the years ahead," he said.

Professor Beresford is also the author of the award-winning biography Rob Riley: an Aboriginal leader's quest for justice.

The Godfather: the life of Brian Burke is published by Allen and Unwin and is available now.

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