Four Corners - Dark Arts, The
So you want to build a giant development on an idyllic sweep of beachfront. Who are you going to call? That was the question facing developers Canal Rocks when their controversial $300 million plan for 230 houses, 360 tourist units and more than 100 hotel rooms at sleepy Smiths Beach on WA’s south coast was rejected. They called Brian Burke and his sidekick Julian Grill.
Burke, Labor ex-Premier and ex-prisoner, and Grill, former minister of WA Inc days, set to work. Behind the scenes they enlisted pro-development candidates for the local council. Then they reactivated a dormant "independent action group" through which the developers could secretly fund the candidates’ election campaigns. But someone was watching and listening… Unknown to Burke and Grill, WA's Corruption and Crime Commission was quietly conducting interviews and tapping phones.
Four Corners follows the progress of the Smiths Beach project, a textbook case in political lobbying. Step by step, using released phone taps and re-enacted testimony of witnesses at the CCC, including Burke himself, reporter Liz Jackson shows how Burke and his associates cajoled support and bolstered key supporters of the project. This report reveals the danger that behind the scenes lobbying can present to democracy and good governance.
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