Author(s): Brian Burke
A Tumultuous Life is my story of my interesting, colourful and controversial life starting in the political cauldron of the Split tearing apart the Australian Labor Party in the 1950s, when I was a young child loving, talking and listening to my father, Tom, who taught me so much about politics and life. It continues through: The Catholic school system to my life in the media; Ten years on the opposition benches in State Parliament and five years as Premier of WA. The mad excitement, the conspicuous consumption and the excesses of the Wild West in the'80s with all of the colourful, larger-than-life characters; Winning - and losing - the America's Cup.; My appointment as Ambassador to Ireland and the Holy See; My very personal look at prison life from the inside - mostly sad but often hilarious; Reinventing myself as a lobbyist advising people like Andrew Forrest; My 8 year battle with the Corruption and Crime Commission; and the Achievements and failings of a youthful premier. When prominent people reflect on their lives, they are often asked what they would have done differently. "Nothing," they almost always reply. "I wouldn't change a thing." Well, that's not me. With the benefit of 20/20 hindsight, I would have tried harder to do many things better, hoping for different outcomes, and I'd have run a million miles from some other things. But I'd not run from the love story of two 16-years-olds who met at school, married at 18 and who, with six children and 19 grandchildren, in 2016 celebrated 51 years of marriage. That's when I'd say, "I wouldn't change a thing." My story will open some wounds; hopefully it will heal others. I have written it with honesty and candour, and I will be ever grateful to the people of WA for their support and their trust. That so many believed I breached that trust is a burden I will always carry.