6. Jun, 2015

An Unlamented Crook

 Charles Dickens commenced his Christmas Carol by observing: “Marley was dead: to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that”.

 After his many demises, memory losses and resurrections Alan Bond is finally dead. There is no doubt whatever about that. And, like Scrooge himself, he was a “squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old sinner”.[1] Yet the popular press is full of hoo-ha about him.

 The pugnacious thug that once graced the Prime Minister’s office, Bob Hawke, even eulogized how Bond ‘lifted the nations spirit’ after winning the America’s Cup. He would, considering that he was enjoying Bond’s crooked largesse at the time – as did many a politician and mover and shaker.

 Be damned about not speaking evil about the dead. Let’s cut to the chase. Bond was a crook, pure and simple. He was caught out and served a minimally pathetic and soft time in gaol. That makes him a villain with a record. He ruined countless lives; stripped the assets of and ruined many a viable and venerable Australian company and, together with his other development cronies, ripped the architectural heart out of Perth.

 Perth was once a gracious city - until it succumbed to the wrecking ball swung by Bond and his cronies. In the so-called heady days of the ‘Seventies precious architectural icon after icon was brought to dust in the name of progress and the enrichment of Bond's wallet. Thanks to that shower of philistines Perth now has the reputation of being one of Australia’s ugliest cities.

 Let’s not forget the evil days of the ‘Eighties and WA INC. This cosy consortium of millionaires; con men; Labour Party ministers; developers and, of course, arch villain Bond, enjoying their long lunches at the Mediterranean Restaurant in Subiaco plotting their next nefarious venture. The Burke Labor Government was corruption personified. At its core was Alan Bond.

 The reality of this crookedness was courageously exposed, at physical danger and manifold threats to himself, by the greatly lamented and late Paddy O’Brien, public intellectual and Associate Professor of Politics at the University of Western Australia. In his endeavours he was ably supported by Tony McAdam, Professor Martyn Webb and Hal Colebatch to name a few of the very few that were prepared to speak out against the corruption. To its eternal shame the local media did little, initially to help them.

 The only lasting legacy that Bond made to Australia was the excellent university in Queensland. But it quickly disassociated itself from him when the extent of his nefarious dealings became public.

 Bond is dead. His was the ugly face of capitalism. His death is no loss to Australia.

 


[1] Dicken, C. A Christmas Carol. Chapter One