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Tuesday, 27 February 1973
Page: 20


Mr BERINSON (Perth) - I should like to add a brief tribute to those already paid to the late Mr T. P. Burke. Tom Burke held the seat of Perth for the Australian Labor Parry from 1943 to 1955 and when he lost that seat it took the Labor Party 14 years and a major redistribution of boundaries to regain it. He must have served his constituents very well because even after all this time I find that I am never introduced as the member for Perth to a group of people within the inner city area without someone making the comment: Yes, that was Tom Burke's seat, was it not? and just as inevitably comes the further comment: 'He was a good man'.

I did not know Tom Burke when he was a member of this Parliament but men who did tell me that his view was respected in the Parliament and within the Parliamentary Labor Party. It has been said also that had the Labor Government been returned in 1949 Mr Chifley would have wanted him in that Labor Cabinet. But that was not to be. The

Labor Party lost government in 1949. Tom Burke lost his own seat in 1955 and then followed a rather peculiar period in which he found himself outside the Labor Party councils altogether. Looking back, that situation occurred through a strange and perhaps unique set of circumstances. On one hand Tom Burke always insisted that he had never resigned from the Labor Party and on the other hand the Labor Party maintained, just as insistently, that he had not been expelled. Nonetheless he was outside the Labor Party and he remained so for some years. I look back with some sense of personal satisfaction to the fact that 1 was able to play some small role in events both at State conference and the State Executive of the Labor Party in Western Australia which enabled him eventually to rejoin us.

By coincidence some years later Tom Burke and 1 were opposed to each other in the pre-selection ballot for the seat of Perth for the 1969 elections. I won the pre-selection and he lost, and he was very keenly disappointed by that loss. At the same time, in the best traditions of the Labor movement, as well as in keeping with his own personal standards of conduct, he never permitted that disappointment to interfere with the assistance which he gave to me in an unstinted and unreserved way towards my own election in 1969. A couple of months ago I had association with him again when I wrote to him to express my thanks for his work in organising a polling booth and for his assistance in many other ways in the election of last December.

Tom Burke had the satisfaction of seeing his own record of public service carried on by his son, Mr Terry Burke, M.L.A., who is one of the youngest members to be elected to the Western Australian State Parliament. Apart from Tom Burke's political work he was active in many fields of community welfare and, in particular, played a major part in, and for many years was the guiding light of the slow learning children's group of Western Australia. He will be sadly missed there as well as in many other areas. As always the main loss from his death falls upon his widow and his family. I am sure that I speak for many residents of Perth when I express my own respects and sympathy to his family.







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