Politics in Queensland is about as sleazy as politics gets. The Sunshine State gave us The Moonlight State and the subsequent Fitzgerald Inquiry Into Police Misconduct; and even now, Ministers are being thrown into jail for accepting bribes.
But for sheer corrupt chutzpah, it’s hard to go past Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen, who was the state’s Premier from 1968 to 1987. The ABC’s obituary (he carked it in 2005) lists his sins:
a Queensland defamation jury found in 1992 that industrialist Sir Leslie Thiess had in 1981-84 bribed Bjelke-Petersen generally ‘on a large scale and on many occasions’; specifically, to procure Government contracts involving Winchester South, Expo ’88, a Gold Coast cultural centre and three prisons.*
In 1989 the Australian Broadcasting Tribunal, then under the chairmanship of Deirdre O’Connor, found that in 1986 Bjelke-Petersen had placed then Channel 9 owner Mr Alan Bond in a position of ‘commercial blackmail’ when Bond improperly agreed to pay $400,000 as an out-of-court defamation settlement. […]
And in Bjelke-Petersen’s 1991 ‘hung jury’ perjury trial 10 jurors (excepting juror Luke Shaw) believed that the former premier had ‘knowlingly lied on oath’ to the Fitzgerald inquiry (into police and political corruption) by denying the circumstances surrounding his receipt of $100,000 in cash from property developer Robert Sng.
And he had a distinctive interview style. Here he is on A Current Affair at the tail end of his career, denying absolutely everything (and having a go at the interviewer!)…
…and here he is on sketch comedy show Fast Forward. Sort of.