ROTARY OF PERTH PRESIDENT ELECT’S UPDATE - 12TH SEPTEMBER 2017

Last Friday, we were treated to very frank presentation of "A Tumultuous Life" by the past premier of Western Australia, Brian Burke. In his own words, he was a very "special person", having had an audience with the Queen and not too long after that, enjoying free board and lodgings at one of Her Majesty’s exclusive facilities. It may be that most members were somewhat taken aback by the frankness that when it came question time, we didn’t really know what to ask. .........

ROTARY OF PERTH PRESIDENT ELECT’S UPDATE - 12TH SEPTEMBER 2017

Last Friday, we were treated to very frank presentation of "A Tumultuous Life" by the past premier of Western Australia, Brian Burke. In his own words, he was a very "special person", having had an audience with the Queen and not too long after that, enjoying free board and lodgings at one of Her Majesty’s exclusive facilities. It may be that most members were somewhat taken aback by the frankness that when it came question time, we didn’t really know what to ask. Or was it because he demonstrated that he could be as sharp as he had always been in question time that we were afraid that an inappropriate question or statement made could lead to our own embarrassment?

Image may contain: 1 person, sittingWhatever it was, there was no doubt after listening to the man that he did what he thought was best for the West Australian people at that time and doubts only crept in after a retrospective analysis. All actions taken would have been considered appropriate based on facts available to him at that time.

He was frank in admitting that it was not just winning office that was important to him, but had made it his mission to destroy the Liberal Party, knowing that there could have been strong Liberal supporters in our midst. At the same time, it was pleasing to note that openly Liberal Rotarians were able to take that sitting down and smiling, showing that indeed, we can work together to serve the community regardless of our political persuasions.

Despite the seriousness of some of the stories and their impact on Brian’s life, and on that of people around him, I found Brian’s recount of his cell mate’s request for assistance in gaining an exotic bird license most amusing. I find it fascinating to contemplate the possibility that some of WA’s top businessmen may be willing to exchange $40,000 for coloured feathers. Perhaps we need to better hone our skills at fund-raising.

"…leaving Wooroloo tired and worn out with worry… Sue and I stopped to watch our son Joe at soccer training". In conversations with Brian and Sue during lunch, it was clear that they were both very proud of their family; married for 54 years, 6 children and 19 grand-children. Brian was certainly a family man and acknowledged how having the girl, who nearly became a nun, on his side helped him through the ordeals. Just flip open the book and you’ll see Sue’s picture right near the front. If all husbands and wives had relationships like this, perhaps half of our community’s problems can be prevented.

Last Friday, I enjoyed the company of a past Premier who should have been remembered for numerous significant contributions to the state, but is instead remembered by many for the wrong reasons. Even when exonerated, it is hard to realign human perceptions. This should make us all the more careful about what we say of others in public, especially with the easy reach of today’s social media tools that travels in our pockets.

P.S. "A Tumultuous Life" by Brian Burke. I’d put that on the "must read" list for all West Australians.

Yours in Rotary, Wesley Sim- President- Elect- Rotary of Perth 2017/2018

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