Burswood Casino

From SourceWatch
Jump to navigation Jump to search

This stub is a work-in-progress by the ScienceCorruption.com journalists's group. We are indexing the millions of documents stored at the San Francisco Uni's Legacy Tobacco Archive [1] With some entries you'll need to go to this site and type into the Search panel a (multi-digit) Bates number. You can search on names for other documents also.     Send any corrections or additions to editor@sciencecorruption.com


This article is part of the Tobacco portal on Sourcewatch funded from 2006 - 2009 by the American Legacy Foundation.

The Burswood International Resort Casino (BIRC) -- to give it its full title -- was the venue of a famous West Australian legal battle over passive smoking in the workplace. It had global implications.

Burswood Resort Casino Case: This landmark decision handed down in September 1993 considered whether Casino employees were at risk from respiratory illness, impairment or reduced lung function due to ETS exposure. [2]

In Western Australia, a prosecution had been instigated by an official of the Department of Occupational Health, Safety and Welfare against the Perth casino, for their alleged failure to ensure that effective measures were taken to control the level of environmental tobacco smoke to which employees were exposed.

The prosecution occurred under the state's Occupational Health, Safety and Welfare Act (1984) It was precipitated by a petition to the government by a number of the casino's employees and it dealt specifically with the acute effects of ETS on adult respiratory disease. It did not consider the risks of exposure to ETS in the development of lung cancer or heart disease.

The magistrate who heard the case was not satisfied 'beyond reasonable doubt' that there was a relationship between low levels of ETS and adult respiratory disease was not conclusive in establishing case law. It was obvious that prosecutions on ETS exposure based on other diseases where the evidence was more certain would not be successful.

Adult respiratory disease from exposure to ETS has been established in civil damages cases, on the 'balance of probabilities'. [3] [1]

Documents & Timeline

1974 Mar 30 WA WA State Election - Charles Court Liberal/National Alliance elected after defeating the Australian Labor Party government (ALP) of John Tonkin (Apr 8)

1980 Feb 23 WA WA State Election - the Court Liberal Coalition s reelected

1982 Jan 25 Ray O'Connor, became the Liberal Premier on the resignation of Sir Charles Court. He was defeated at the polls after only a year in office in 1983. Then in the 1990s, he hit the headlines when he was found guilty of stealing a $25,000 Bond Corporation cheque, part of the WA Inc scandal. He served six months in gaol.

1983 government purchase of Northern Mining from Bond Corporation Dallas Dempster and Burswood Casion a significant part of the $1.5b which WA Inc matters have cost in total

1983 Feb No record at all of any discussion or decision on the establishment of a casino appears in the bound volume entitled "Cabinet Record" of the Burke Government, February 25, 1983 to February 24, 1986, in respect of the Cabinet meetings on 2 April and 9 April 1984. Following the events we have outlined, the 32 persons who had expressed interest in establishing a casino were invited to make submissions on the establishment of a casino on Burswood Island, and to do so by 31 May 1984. The invitation was conveyed in letters dated 11 April 1984. [They then concocted some minutes] The course of events is set out clearly in paragraph 8.3.5 of this chapter. It shows that the matter was never returned to Cabinet after the meeting was closed on 2 April 1984. This latest attempt to obfuscate the true events of the time is quite discreditable. [http://www.slp.wa.gov.au/publications/publications.nsf/DocByAgency/276D079050C3CC4448256984002033D2/$file/volume2.pdf

1983 Feb 19 WA State Election - Brian Burke's ALP elected over Liberal Coalition of Ray O'Connor

1983 Feb 25 the day on which the Burke Ministry was sworn in

1983 Apr Between November 1980 and October 1982 several share purchase transactions occurred between companies associated with Mr Dempster. Investigation into possible breaches of the Companies Code by virtue of these transactions was undertaken by the Corporate Affairs Commissioner in April 1983.

1983 May 16 [Burke Labor Government] Cabinet determined the Government's broad objectives and settled the terms of reference of Casino the Advisory Committee. Its members were:

  • Mr K G Shimmon, Acting Executive Director of the Department of Employment and Administrative Services (Chairman);
  • Police Commissioner, represented by Sergeant Brian Illingworth;
  • Crown Solicitor, represented by Mr D Brown;
  • Mr N J Semmens, Director of the Department of Tourism.


1983 Jul 31 Deadline for submission

1983 Sep 6 On 17 November 1983, (five weeks late) Mr Dempster wrote to the Premier, Mr Brian Burke, enclosing details of the proposed development, with a copy to Mr Parker. The letter began with the phrase "[f]ollowing my letter to you dated September 6, 1983, ...". Unfortunately, the letter of 6 September has not been produced to the Commission despite the service on all relevant parties of a subpoena to produce all such correspondence. Mr Burke and Mr Dempster said they had no recollection of the letter. Its contents could have been of critical importance in revealing the true relationship between Mr Dempster and the Premier.

1983 Sep 6 The original expression of interest from Tileska proposed a consortium involving a Western Australian component but did not nominate Mr Dempster nor any particular site. Mr Dempster said in evidence that he had a general discussion about it with Tileska at that time .By letter of 6 September 1983, addressed to the Casino Advisory Committee, Mr K T Lim, a Director of Genting, advised that Mr Dempster would be the joint venture partner.

1983 Nov The Advisory Committee presented its report to the Cabinet Sub- committee. Notwithstanding the Committee's charter, two of the four members of the Committee recommended against the establishment of any casino. In reaching that conclusion, they were supported by 300 (58 from organisations, 242 from individuals) of the total of 367 responses received to the advertisement. Nineteen proposals to build or operate a casino in the metropolitan area had been received, some of them very detailed and, in the view of the Committee, worthy of further consideration by any authority established to license casino operations.

1983 Dec Dempster sends his late submission to the Premier.Yet he did not provide a copy to the Advisory Committee which, for all Mr Dempster then knew, was still handling the matter. The letter concluded with the hope that, should the proposal be accepted, the legislative procedure would be accelerated so that work could get underway at the earliest possible date. {Dempster and Burke were old friends from the Rottnest Island Board - Grill also involved]

1983 Dec The report of the Advisory Committee was presented to Mr Parker, the Minister for Employment and Administrative Services, in November 1983. It was then passed to Mr Bill Thomas to prepare a recommendation to go, eventually, to the Cabinet Casino Sub-committee. Mr Thomas was then a ministerial officer in the office of Mr Parker. He was elected to Parliament in 1986 and at the time of giving evidence in June 1991 he was a member of the Legislative Assembly and was Parliamentary Secretary to the Cabinet. Mr Thomas discussed with a number of people the form of the casino legislation and compared the various expressions of interest. By Christmas 1983, he had reached the view that the proposal by Tileska Pty Ltd ("Tileska") was the most desirable. He communicated that view to Mr Parker and Mr Parker concurred. Shortly afterwards, when Mr Parker was moved to a different portfolio, the Premier, Mr Burke, arranged for Mr Thomas to continue to work on the matter. Thomas' work found fulfilment in a draft Cabinet minute dated 30 March 1984 prepared for signature by the Premier and Minister for Tourism. Both these portfolios were held by Mr Burke. The minute then examined the possible river-front sites which were suggested in submissions and recommended Burswood Island as "by far the most preferable". Attention was then directed to the only two submissions which proposed Burswood as a possible site. {One wasn't suitable - because of those inolved] The second submission, that from Tileska, was then described in detail, leading to the recommendation that the Tileska proposal be approved in principle and the Cabinet Sub-committee be reconstituted and be responsible for negotiating an agreement. [http://www.slp.wa.gov.au/publications/publications.nsf/DocByAgency/276D079050C3CC4448256984002033D2/$file/volume2.pdf

1984 Apr 2 Following that discussion the Premier sent Mr Smith a draft Cabinet minute dated 2 April 1984 which purported to modify the Government's position, as Mr Smith understood it to have been, so as to make no commitment to Tileska beyond entry into negotiations, with private advice to Tileska that the Government retained the right to invite alternative bidders to submit proposals for Burswood Island.

1984 May 21 The Commissioner laid nine complaints, involving 107 breaches of the Code against Mr Dempster, Dallas R Dempster Pty Ltd, Mallina Holdings Ltd and Katanning Holdings Limited. The company bearing Mr Dempster's name later became Tilden Holdings Pty Ltd. {Over land ddealings]

1984 Jun the Cabinet Sub-committee met and reached a short list of six applicants. These were Burswood Ltd (with a proposal valued at $125 million), Swan River Park Ltd ($120 million), Bond Corporation Holdings Ltd ($65 million), Cord Holdings Ltd ($53 million), Pennant Holdings Ltd/Sun International Pty Ltd ($200 million), Tileska Pty Ltd/D Dempster ($300 million). Each of these applicants was then invited to make a presentation to the Cabinet Sub-committee on 3 July 1984. [The Premier was indisposed and unable to attend.] OH YEH!

1984 Sep 14 It was not until 14 September 1984 that then Detective Sergeant Les Ayton, attached to the Company Fraud Squad, was assigned the task ostensibly of investigating the backgrounds of persons associated with the finalists to ensure the suitability of either of them to become the casino developer. He compiled a supplementary questionnaire to be answered by the applicants and delivered it to the CCC on 27 September 1984. However, within a day or two thereafter, he was asked by Mr M Cocker, the Secretary of the CCC, if he could have his report completed and available for consideration by the CCC at a meeting scheduled for 8 days later. Mr Ayton replied that it was absolutely impossible for him to complete his investigation so quickly and mentioned a minimum period of three months. However, he undertook to provide an interim report detailing matters which he considered to warrant further investigation. This was completed on 11 October 1984 and handed to the Commissioner of Police. The report disclosed several matters which, if established by further investigation to be true, would render both applicants unsuitable to hold a casino licence.

1984 Oct 12 Mr Ayton and Mr Porter met the CCC. Each of the members was armed with a copy of the interim report. They were obviously upset by its contents. The Chairman, Mr Jarman, revealed that the CCC had formed a view favouring Tileska and wished to make a recommendation without delay. He asked if the CCC could announce its approval of the Tileska/Dempster application while the police inquiry continued. The Commissioner advised against such action. Mr Jarman then asked the Commissioner to concentrate on the investigations into the suitability of Genting Berhad and Mr Dempster and leave the Swan River Park investigation to one side. The Commissioner expressed his concern over the Committee's desire for haste. According to Mr Porter, Mr Dans rang him later that day and asked him to attend the office of the Premier. He did so. Mr Dans was present. The Premier had a copy of Mr Ayton's interim report. He conveyed to Mr Porter his displeasure at certain of the contents. Mr Dans was also annoyed by the report. He had already travelled to Macau, Hong Kong and Malaysia and said he had found Genting Berhad to be highly respected in Malaysia. It was resolved that the inquiry should continue and that Mr Dans should accompany Mr Ayton to Malaysia to further the investigation. They left Perth on 27 October 1984, returning a few days later.

1984 Oct 12 Mr Dans said he did not arrange the meeting, that he was told by a secretary that the Premier wanted to see him and that when he got there Mr Porter was already with the Premier. For his part, Mr Burke said the meeting was sought by Mr Porter who contacted him by telephone. Mr Porter's version of the incident might be thought to be implicitly supported by Mr Ayton, who accompanied Mr Porter after being told by him that "he and I were required in the office of the Premier"

1984 Nov The Casino Control Committee (CCC) recommended that the Government enter into an agreement with Tileska/Dempster for development of a casino and related complex on Burswood Island. On 19 November 1984 Cabinet adopted the recommendation.

1984 Nov 9 the CCC reported its conclusions. The Committee was unanimous in recommending the Tileska/Dempster proposal. The report outlines the principal reasons for the recommendation. No criticism can be levelled at the reasoning disclosed in the report except that although the Committee put on record its thanks to the Commissioner of Police it failed to mention that a police clearance was not able to be obtained in the time available.

1985 Feb 18 , Parker and Parker, acting as solicitors for Mr Dempster and Tilden Holdings Pty Ltd and with the knowledge and approval of the solicitors acting for Katanning Holdings Limited and Mallina Holdings Pty Ltd,

1985 Feb 20 the Burswood Property Trust ("BPT") was constituted under the trusteeship of West Australian Trustees Ltd and the management of Burswood Management Ltd ("BML"), the directors of which were Mr Dempster (Chairman), Tan Sri Lim, Mr Lim Goh Tong (Deputy Chairman), Mr Colin Au (alternate to Tan Sri Lim), Mr Lim Kok Thay and Mr John Hughes.

1985 Mar 14 Jurnalist for The Western Mail, Martin Saxon submitted to the Corporate Affairs Department papers alleging irregularities relating to the affairs of Katanning Holdings Ltd and Murray Inlet Developments Pty Ltd. Then on 16 March 1985 The Western Mail published a front page article by Mr Saxon headlined "Dempster loan at centre of inquiry". The first paragraph stated that Mr Dempster was under investigation for alleged misuse of shareholders' funds in one of his public companies. The article proceeded to speak of the Corporate Affairs Commission investigating a loan of almost $290,000 from Katanning Holdings Ltd to a Dempster family company.[MORE HERE] On the evidence before the Commission, the whole episode is bizarre. A complaint was made to the Department. Without any investigation, a conference was held with persons representing Mr Dempster, including his legal representatives. Their explanations were accepted and a news release issued by the Commissioner in terms, presumably supplied by the alleged offenders themselves, emphatically absolving them of any offence. Then, notwithstanding that absolution and the additional consideration that the alleged offences were already more than four years old and therefore subject to the three-year rule, an investigation was undertaken involving two senior officers of the Department. Added to this, the Commission's efforts to discover a rational explanation of events were rendered fruitless by an almost total lack of memory on the part of the Commissioner. [Source: Inquiry]

1985 Mar 25 The successful contenders for the development formed a new company, Burswood Management Limited ("BML"), to manage the project. The Casino (Burswood Island) Agreement Act 1985 came into operation on 25 March 1985.

1985 Apr 23 A prospectus dated 23 April 1985 was released for the issue of 100 million units in the Trust to members of the public at an issue price of 50c each. It noted that in addition Dempster Nominees Pty Ltd would acquire 60 million units as trustee for the Dallas Dempster Family Trust and Genting (WA) Pty Ltd would acquire 60 million units as trustee for the Genting group. Hence, the prospectus contemplated that a total of $110 million would be raised by the allotment units in BPT. By this time, the defence of the America's Cup was little more than two years away and there was a natural eagerness by everyone concerned, including the developer and the Government, to have the resort functioning before then. Multiplex Constructions Pty Ltd ("Multiplex") was engaged, without tenders being called, to build the resort.

1985 Dec 16 Mr Dempster applied for a licence on 16 December 1985 and on 23 December 1985 was issued with a provisional licence. It was made permanent on 23 January 1987. Complaint was made to the Commission by Mr Ayton that the Burswood CCC had erred in the exercise of its discretion to grant casino key employee licences to Mr Dempster and Mr J Hughes, both of whom were directors of Burswood Management Limited. Mr Ayton alleged that it was open to find that the grant of the licence to Mr Dempster was improper. It was said that, on the basis of the information available to it, the CCC could not be satisfied of his suitability to hold the licence and that it afforded him privileged treatment. In August 1986, he [Dempster] pressed for the grant of a full licence, pointing out the embarrassment suffered by him and Mr Hughes as they were the only directors of BML who had not been granted full licences. The CCO received a prompt response to his request, forwarded to him by the Commissioner of Police and reporting in substance that inquiries were continuing and were not likely to be concluded in the short term, and that there were a number of serious allegations which required examination before a police clearance could be given. [Charges laid on Murray Inlet Developments PL]

"The Committee granted the licence notwithstanding that the Commissioner of Police had not reported on the suitability of the applicant."

[Also that of Hughes]

1985 Dec 25 The Minister approved in writing the granting of the gaming licence on 23 December 1985, before any recommendation was made by the CCC; The casino was no where near fitted out. So the Committee prepared and backdated a letter of recommendation to the Minister to create the impression that the licence had been granted according to law to assist Mr Dempster's private financial position and the minutes of the meeting were concocted to cover the fact that Demster needed to have approval on that day to stay solvent.

1986 Feb 8 WA WA State Election - ALP re-elected

1987 Oct Run on Connel's Rothman's Bank: Described as a merchant bank owned by Laurie Connell, but more accurately known in business circles as a lender of last resort, Rothwells had built up a stable of businesses it had acquired during the 1980's through aggressive takeovers. In October 1987, investors made a run on the bank and it had to close its doors. Burke, on behalf of the government provided a $150M government guarantee. Connell had previously been the adviser to the 1983 government purchase of Northern Mining from Bond Corporation at between $7 and $12 million over value. Burke knew this at the time and concealed from parliament, Connell was also acting for Bond Corporation.

1988 Feb 25 WA [WA Premier] Peter Dowling replaced Brian Burke as Premier (given post in Ireland) Burke resigned as premier and as member for Balga on 25 February 1988, on the fifth anniversary of his becoming premier and his own 41st birthday. A packed public gallery attended his resignation speech and both he and his deputy Mal Bryce, who resigned on the same day, were given a rare standing ovation in the House.[6] Burke was able to play the part of kingmaker, convincing party colleagues to support the Dowding-Parker ticket for the leadership. Burke then accepted an appointment as Australia's ambassador to Ireland and the Holy See. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brian_Burke

1989 Feb 4 WA State Election - ALP re-elected. Peter Dowling still Premier

1990 Feb 12 WA [WA Premier} Carmen Lawrence replaced Peter Dowding on 12th Feb

1990 Jul Infotopics: ETS liability disclaimer provokes complaint . Job-seekers at a casino in Perth Australia, have been asked to sign a waiver releasing their potential employer from any liability for illnesses allegedly suffered by ETS exposure on the job. One applicant has lodged a complaint against the casino. In part the clause states: "I acknowledge that the Burswood Resort Casino is attended by a large number of patrons who smoke and as a consequence I will be working in premises where cigarette smoking will bepresent. "In consieration for my being offered employment by Burswood Resort Casino I hereby waive any and all rights against and release Burswood Resort Casino, its owners, managers, operators ... and servants from all liability for any illness of disease ... suffered by me by reason of my exposure to cigarette smoke while working at the Burswoood Resort Casino. A West Australian Government spokesperson was quick to point out that the waiver was not enforceable; the casino's founder and chairman said he had been unaware of the smoking clause until the previous day. [There had been 9 cases in Australia for ETS compensation] [4]

1990 Nov 19 Carmen Lawrence, the then Labor premier, announced her government's intention to hold a royal commission to "inquire into certain matters". This decision followed more than a year of strong public advocacy by the protest group People for Fair and Open Government [5] headed by the premier's brother, barrister Bevan Lawrence, and prominent political science academic and author Patrick O'Brien whose book The Burke Ambush [6] had been the first substantial exposé of Burke's pro-corporate government. The commission of three was headed by Geoffrey Kennedy and joined by Sir Ronald Wilson and Peter Brinsden, with a brief "To inquire into and report" whether there'd been "corruption, illegal conduct, improper conduct, or bribery" by any person or corporation in the "affairs, investment decisions and business dealings of the Government of Western Australia or its agencies".

After approximately 21 months of enquiries and hearings the commission's report stated in part:

"The commission has found conduct and practices on the part of certain persons involved in government in the period 1983 to 1989 such as to place our government system at risk. Unfortunately, some of that conduct and some of those practices were peculiar to Western Australia"

"Some ministers elevated personal or party advantage over their constitutional obligation to act in the public interest. The decision to lend government support to the rescue of Rothwells [merchant bank] in October 1987 was principally that of Mr Burke as premier. His motives in supporting the rescue were not related solely to proper governmental concerns. They derived in part from his well established relationship with Mr Connell, and from his desire to preserve [Labor's] standing [with] the business community from which it had secured much financial support"

"Personal associations and the manner in which electoral contributions were obtained could only create the public perception that favour could be bought, that favour would be done. We have observed that the size of the donations was quite extraordinary. In his approaches the premier was direct to the point at times of being forceful. He nominated the amounts he expected. They were far in excess of amounts previously donated in campaign fund-raising in this state"

Burke and his predecessor and Liberal counterpart Ray O'Connor ultimately served prison sentences as a result of convictions which arose from findings of the commission. The premier immediately after Burke, Peter Dowding, and public servant Len Brush were both found to have acted improperly.

The royal commission cost $30 million, including $12.5 million in witness costs. Of the latter, $3.6 million funded Burke's own legal fees ($1.71 million) and those of his deputy premier, David Parker ($1.92 million). This brings up the interesting episode of Northern Mining which had a 5% stake in the Argyle diamond mine and another company which he floated called Durack Mines. Alan writes that he had a run in with De Beers over the marketing of the diamonds from AK1 when he had Northern Mining but if my memory serves me correctly, the mine was commissioned in 1985, so diamond production would have started then. And I thought the Ashton Joint Venture marketed the diamonds themselves, and Northern Mining was also acquired by the Burke State Labour Government so Bondy would have had a very small window of time to have marketed any diamonds, if any. Laurie Connell had previously been the adviser to the 1983 government purchase of Northern Mining from Bond Corporation .

1991 [WA] Lawrence Royal Commission into WA Inc.

As a result of the allegations, the WA Inc royal commission was established in 1991, and led to Burke being charged with various offences for which he was sentenced to two years' imprisonment. He served seven months in jail in 1994 for travel expense rorts before being released on parole. In March 1997 he was sentenced to three years' jail for stealing $122,585 in campaign donations. He served six months before the convictions were quashed on appeal. He was stripped of his honour as a Companion of the Order of Australia.[7]


1992 Oct 20 The WA Inc. Royal Commission's first report, tabled on October 20 1992, is a chronicle of corruption and deceit in high places. Three former premiers -- Brian Burke, Peter Dowding and Ray O'Connor -- former deputy premier David Parker and senior public servant Len Brush were among those found to have acted "improperly".

Heads immediately began to roll in parliament. Environment minister Bob Pearce, still protesting his innocence, resigned over the findings of his misuse of confidential financial records. Cabinet secretary Bill Thomas resigned over his handling of cabinet records on Burswood Casino.

But it was the former premiers' sins that demanded the most attention, particularly those of Brian Burke and his "sleaze team". Burke had acted improperly when he backed, in October 1987, the rescue of Rothwells Bank with a $150 government guarantee. Burke had wanted to help out his mate Laurie Connell's failing company. Connell had previously been the adviser to the 1983 governmental purchase of Northern Mining from Bond Corporation at between $7 and $12 million over-value. As Burke knew at the time and concealed from parliament, Connell was also acting for Bond Corp.

This was only one of the many shady deals that Burke and his associates had been involved in. These often included large donations to the ALP by business people who were trying to sell companies to the government at a profit.

This was the way the WA Labor government operated in the '80s. The ALP was hand in glove with big business -- people like John Roberts, the chief of construction company Multiplex, who between 1982 and 1989 gave $692,000 to the ALP.

Although out of government, Liberals were able to get in on the act too. In the commission's report, former Liberal premier Ray O'Connor was found to have been given money by Bond Corp with which to bribe Stirling City Councillors who approved the controversial Observation City development. Instead, he kept the money for himself.

The government is desperately trying to give the impression that such indecent doings are a thing of the past and that everything is now above board. But on October 21 Premier Carmen Lawrence only narrowly survived a censure motion over her knowledge of the failed financial group Western Women, looted by its founder.

In April Lawrence had told the Legislative Assembly that she knew nothing about the group. Then -- hey presto! -- up pops a letter signed and addressed to Western Women, and the premier was forced to eat her words.

Corruption as a large-scale phenomenon can partly be put down to the current recession. In the context of a downturn in the capitalist economy -- when big business's houses of cards are collapsing, such as Tricontinental or Rothwells, big business demands the government's direct support. The pretense is that parliamentary democracy isn't supposed to get its hands dirty helping out rich "mates". It's supposed to provide some sort of popular control over the administrative apparatus. But the '80s have shown that to be just an illusion. [2]

1992 Jul 12 WA Dept of Occupational Health, Safety and Welfare launched "landmark" ETS prosecution against Casino - claiming that between June 29 1992 and Jul 12 1992 the Casino failed to take measures needed to control ETS

The evidence relating to ETS was recently exposed in Australia. the Western Australian Health Department sued the Burswood Casino for failure to protect workers from "passive smoking."

1993 PARG Australasia [Public Affairs Resources Group of BAT] report

In September 1993 a Perth Magistrate rejected a charge laid by the Western Australian Department of Health against Burswood Casino for risking the health of employees for ETS.
  The Court, in dismissing the claims against the Casino, stated: <blockqote "While Environmental Tobacco Smoke is annoying and a discomfort to non smokers, it has not been proved at the required standard, or at all, that it is a risk to the health of the Casino employees." The Court found that the health of the employees was not at risk when exposed to the ETS levels at the Casino even during the "busiest times of the week." [5]

1993 Dallas Dempster left Australia and became involved in a number of offshore companies.

1993 Feb 16 WA State Election - Richard Court's Liberal Coalition win over the dying ALP ministry of Camen Lawrence

1993 Feb 24 Discussion between senior lawyers at BAT in the UK

There have been ETS cases in Australia, mostly against government bodies. There was a brief report concerning the new case against the gambling casino in Western Australia. Initially, there was a feeling that Clayton Utz would be hired by the casino operator to defend it, but eventually a firm named Parker & Parker was hired. Parker & Parker apparently got the business on the basis that there was no real reason to defend the cases which should be settled. Their advice to the casino was to stay away from the tobacco industry. Within the few days after the international counsel meeting, some tobacco industry representatives were planning to meet with Parker & Parker to discuss the case although they feel that Parker & Parker probably still will want to defend the case. [6]

1993 Sep 17 COURT FINDS PASSIVE SMOKING NOT A HEALTH RISK TO EMPLOYEES Today's decision in the Burswood Casino court case which saw the Western Australian Health Department fail in suing the Casino on so-called "passive smoking" provides a new

In that case, the Western Australia Health Department had filed charges against the Burswood Casino, claiming that the casino had violated the Occupational Health and Safety Act by permitting its employee 5 15012189 Judge was RJ Gethin

1993 Sep 25 John Boltz (ex Tobacco Institute Regional Manager, now external lobbyist) writes to Thomas Sowell at the Hoover Institute, re the industry's win in the WA Burswood Casino Case.

Just wanted to share with you a copy of a recent court decision concerning an Environmental Tobacco Smoke lawsuit in Western Australia. In the case, the Western Australia Health Department filed charges against Burswood Casino, claiming that the casino had violated the Occupational Health and Safety Act by permitting its employees to be exposed to unreasonable health risks resulting from high levels of ETS in the casino.

The Court dealt with the issue of ETS and whether it has been proven to constitute a health risk to adults, particularly with respect to respiratory diseases. The case did not focus on the impact of ETS on children nor on the relationship of ETS and cancer. In his opinion the Judge concluded that "while ETS is annoying and of discomfort to non smokers, it has not been proved, at the required standard, or at all in this prosecution,`that it is a risk to the health of the employees of the casino."

The case represents a significant victory for the tobacco industry. Knowing of your interest in this subject area, I wanted to share this material with you. [7]

1993 Sep 29 Sharon Boyse (BAT Issues Manager in the UK): WA Health Department attempted, in a court case, to prosecute Burswood Casino for failure to ensure that effective measures were taken to control exposure to ETS in the Casino, which it claimed was placing the health and safety of workers at risk. 500811422 - judge said of ETS "it has not been proved at the required standard, or at all, in this prosecution, that it is a risk to the health of the employees at the Casino. The British Tobacco Action Committe (TAC) sent this on to Auberon Waugh, Daily Telegraph. {He worked for them via ARISE)

1993 Oct The international INFOTAB newsletter "InfoTopics" has a front-page story

Magistrate dismisses ETS case in Perth
A MAGISTRATE in Perth, Western Australia, has dismissed the claims of the Department of Occupational Health, Safety and Welfare (DOHSW) against Burswood Resort Casino. The DOHSW alleged that the casino operators were breaching their statutory duty to provide a safe environment for their employees because they were exposing them to ETS at work. In dismissing the claims, the court stated:

    "While ETS (passive smoke) is annoying and of discomfort to non-smokers, it has not been proved at the required standard, or at all, in this prosecution, that it is a risk to the health of the employees at the Casino."

The court found that the health of the employees was not at risk when they were exposed to ETS levels at the casino, even during the "busiest times of the week".

Two leading respiratory physicians testified in the case, Dr. Julian Lee and Dr. Bryan Gandevia . Both Dr. Lee and Dr. Gandevia testified that no diseases in adults are proven to be caused by exposure to ETS. Dr. Gandevia described the evidence against ETS as "unconvincing". Lee was regularly paid by the tobacco industry

Dr. Gandevia testified that, with regard to the incidence of respiratory disease in adults, it "wouldn't make the slightest bit of difference" if "passive smoking in all places including residences and public buildings and other buildings was banned tomorrow".

Padraig McGuinness , a well-known Australian newspaper columnist, commented on the above decision. [8]

"Paddy' McGuinness was an ultra-libertarian who regularly took well-paid and funded travel, speaking engagements, etc. from the tobacco industry.

1993 Oct 4 A PM internal memo on the Burswood Decision [on the dismissal of a case in Western Australia against the casino] It says:

• the American Smokers' Alliance (ASA) issued a brief news release announcing the decision on Sept 30 .

  • a video news release highlighting the decision in the context of workplace smoking restrictions in the US. will go out on Oct 5 from the American Smokers' Alliance. PM Legal has reviewed and approved the script. (Note that Australia footage will be excerpted from the Australia Broadcasting Company's news clip on the case; those involved with the case who were invited to be interviewed on camera for the release declined.)
  • through John Boltz, approximately two dozen high profile journalists and television commentators have been contacted. Each was sent a copy of the Court's decision and a cover letter highlighting the Court's statement on failure to prove risk. Among these reporters were Fred Barnes, Bill Buckley, Mort Kondracke, and John McLaughIin. A complete list is available. [9]

1993 Dec 9 Matt Winokur of PMI's Worldwide Regulatory Affairs section includes in his Weekly report: "Worked on distribution of Federal Focus article on Burswood [West Australian Casino lawsuit] decision to regions." They had won this case; it involved employees required to work in a constantly smoky atmosphere. [10]

1995 Jan Philip Morris's Key Message Points:

Burswood Resort Casino
The truly landmark court decision handed down in September, 1993 is directly contrary to the positions often appearing in the popular press and those often repeated by the anti-smoking lobby. The trial court heard nine days of evidence and concluded as follows:

While environmental tobacco smoke (passive smoke) is annoying and of discomfort to non-smokers it has not been proved at the required standard or at all in this prosecution that it is a risk to the health of the employees at the casino. (Reasons for Decision Page 9.)

This court decision is consistent with the view of many eminent respiratory physicians that there is no conclusive scientific or medical evidence that environmental tobacco smoke causes chronic respiratory diseases in adults. In our view, the decision also reinforces the view that the rush to impose smoking bans in the workplace, restaurants and public places is not based on conclusive scientific and medical evidence. [11]

1995 Jan Australian Philip Morris "Industry Issues" Key Message Points. [215 pages] It deals with:

Burswood Resort Casino
The truly landmark court decision handed down in September, 1993 is directly contrary to the positions often appearing in the popular press and those often repeated by the anti-smoking lobby.

The trial court heard nine days of evidence and concluded as follows: While environmental tobacco smoke (passive smoke) is annoying and of discomfort to non-smokers it has not been proved at the required standard or at all in this prosecution that it is a risk to the health of the employees at the casino. (Reasons for Decision Page 9.)

This court decision is consistent with the view of many eminent respiratory physicians that there is no conclusive scientific or medical evidence that environmental tobacco smoke causes chronic respiratory diseases in adults. In our view, the decision also reinforces the view that the rush to impose smoking bans in the workplace, restaurants and public places is not based on conclusive scientific and medical evidence Page 66 [12]

1996 Dec 14 WA State Election - Richard Court's Liberal Coalition reelected (Son of Charles Court)

1997 Dallas Dempster went bankrupt in 1997 in the aftermath of the WA Inc. Royal Commission. [Note there is also a Dallas Dempster Jr]

1998 [Source unknown]

" It was the WA Inc scandals under Brian Burke's Labor state government that propelled Julie Bishop from the law into politics. She spent about a year acting for Burswood Casino and its founder, Dallas Dempster, in the royal commission on WA Inc.

"The royal commission found a high level of incompetence and impropriety and I was concerned at the damage to WA's professional and business reputation," she says."Richard Court and the Liberal Party were offering a fresh, new start and I joined the Liberal Party to try to help get the Court team into government at a state level."

She entered Federal Parliament in 1998, defeating John Howard's old friend, the Liberal-turned-independent MP Allan Rocher, in the seat of Curtin.

She is now Australia's Foreign Minister.

2000 Sep 15 SECOND HAND SMOKE Australia: Union, Health Group call for Hotel, Casino smoking bans Australian Associated Press 15 September2000 4/5/2002 Blood tests reportedly revealing workers at the Burswood Resort carried high levels of cotinine in their bloodstreams have promoted calls for a ban on smoking in WA pubs and Perth's casino. (banned in restaurantes and cafes, but not hotels and the casino) Tests on 60 emploees.

2001 Feb 10 WA WA State Election - Geoff Gallop ALP wins over Liberal Coalition of Richard Court.

2003 Aug 13 Statement in Leg Assembly "People would remember Dallas Dempster and the other participants at that stage The formation of Burswood Casino was the second of the WA Inc. deals The one relating to Northern Mining Corporation NL was the first.

Burswood Casino was a major term of reference for the Royal Commission into Commercial Activities of Government and Other Matters The casino was established and given a special protected monopoly status The way in which that was arrived at occupied the business of the royal commission for some time The casino was not established in a proper way in any sense It was another deal of the Labor Government during the early days of what became known as WA Inc However in more recent times the past five to perhaps 10 years the casino has operated far more professionally Some of the more notorious figures are no longer involved and it now operates as a very proper professional business."


  1. Peter Gordon - CSR http://www.australianasbestosnetwork.org.au/Asbestos+History/The+Battles/The+court+cases/default.aspx
  2. [Source] Australian News, Green Left Weekly issue #77 28 October 1992.