The Worst of Sir Charles

Charlie Court passed away yesterday, and to balance the resource driven praise, David Cohen of Rottobloggo reminds us of a less savoury side of the Iron (and Gas) Duke. Personally David, I think Sir Charles’ worst piece of work was Dicky Court. At least Charlie never built us a belltower. I really miss The Daily news. My favourite headlines, “Man hammers nail through dog’s head.“, and “Masochists find ultimate thrill.” Which was a story of unfortunate patrons of S&M establishment dying because they were handcuffed to beds when the place burnt down. Would easily get into worst newspaper category if it was still around.

David Cohen says…

I attach a pic of a May 7 1980 Daily News clipping which provides some insight on his attitude towards civil rights.Forrest Place ban to stay
The ban on public meetings stays, says the Premier, Sir Charles Court.
“We have got no intention of altering the present arrangements either in respect of Forrest Place or in respect of the law of assembly,” he said… Thirty-three people were arrested at an unauthorised rally in Forrest Place on Saturday. The rally was called to protest against Section 54B of the Police Act and other legislation affecting civil rights. The Premier said: “We believe we have the best law of assembly in the whole of Australia.”

Section 54B, of course, meant that a gathering of more than three people in WA was illegal. You had to get the permission of the Police Commissioner to do so.

charles court, worst politician

About AHC McDonald

Comedian, artist, photographer and critic. From 2007 to 2017 ran the culture and satire site The Worst of Perth
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38 Responses to The Worst of Sir Charles

  1. CK says:

    Well I don’t mind respectful obituaries in the National Organ:

    ‘Strode among giants’; ‘ Sensitive bloke; ‘Architect of the nation’s wealth’ (we heard about this last point during the recent election when exactly?), etc etc etc.

    It’s only to be expected after all.

    But unlike Joh, at least he doesn’t appear to have been on the take.

    Personally I think he was a c**t, but let him have his state funeral.

    His son will never get one.


  2. CK The only quibble I’d have with you is that Richard Court will have a state funeral with Alan Carpenter there to tell everybody what a great bloke he was. His father does however come up smelling of roses compared to Joh. However beside Section 54b there is Nookenbah.


  3. I hope Dickie will NOT get a state funeral. Jeez Burkie will be getting one next. Dickie looks like a long liver to me too, so maybe we won’t have to face that embarrassment for some time.


  4. Interesting how no-one would even want to gather to protest these days in Forrest place or anywhere else. The last big protest gave us the legacy of The People’s Wall, so maybe that put a dampener on social action. I was told to learn history by Matt Keogh, president of Young Labor after posting that one. Check out his Bio. At the same time terrifying, ridiculous and and impressive.
    Check out also Bill’s site for stuff on Nookenburra. How embarrassing that there wasn’t actually any oil there.


  5. Barry says:

    Unlike Joh’s mob the Courts will never sell tickets to his gravesite for $10 each.

    His eyebrows should be removed and placed on display for generations to see.


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  7. Interesting to see Matt spent time in Alannah McTiernan’s office as did his father Steve. Keeping it all in the family. There’s no such thing as too much legal advice.


  8. greg hoey says:

    It’d be great to really believe Sir charles was a truly great ‘WESTERN’ australian statesman, but if that were really true, we’d be more than a giant quarry site for the japanese chinese koreans etc and we’d have a real alternative to just digging up the backyard so that rich white men and woman can make their billions while sitting back watching cottesloe sunsets and sipping bottles of expensive chardonnay.

    WA would have worlds best boat/ship manufacturing industries right along our coastline, it would be supplier to the world of steel as well be a major steel manufacturer, not just in terms of digging it up and shipping it out [sir charles thought as much himself I believe towards the end of his life], we’d have a whole range of other value adding capabilities other than purely service industries like goddforesaken tourism and low wage hospitality jobs.

    As for his sons great needle in a haystack down on the river front and margaret courts penchant for preaching jesus well

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Is Margaret Court a relative? Really? She is one seriously hate filled god botherer. She is more awful than any of the other Courts put together. I will get My Ning to talk about the other Court son.


  10. greg hoey says:

    Its just possible that margaret court won all those tennis championships not thru her prayers to jesus but the crushing hatred she felt towards her opponents and possibly their lack of prostration to her god.

    As for Richard Courts timid little attempt at being visionary down by the riverside this smacks of typical perth cheap-skate apathetic establishment vision. Cheap schmucksterism.

    Should’ve been at least in the range of 2-300 metres tall and stucturally even more dynamic. Preferably broader at its base enough to have a great cathedral-like atmosphere inside capable of holding several thousand people for things like concerts or seminars whatever. Stained glass designed windows incorporating river design, with an ascent of stairs to its viewing portal at least 150 mtrs high. Could’ve been major statement.


  11. I’ve been informed that Margaret “you’ll burn in hell” Court did marry into the eyebrows family.


  12. My Ning says:

    Greg Hoey may be a tad unfair in his analysis of Dickie, particularly when he bemoans the fact that WA has remained a quarry rather than becoming a self-supporting industrial powerhouse.

    During the second half of the 1990s (a time when even Coiln Barnett could earn the nickname ‘Mr Teflon’), Dickie and his big brother Ken were involved – both directly and indirectly – with the Kingstream steel project near Geraldton. At the time, Ken was the chairman of the wannabe integrated iron ore and steel producer Kingstream, which planned to value add to the mid west’s iron ore by establishing a few mines and building a big steel mill next to what is now (and was then) the mooted Oakajee port.

    The Court Jnrs made a great team, with Dickie pushing it forward in cabinet while Ken acted as the spruiker – something he approached with great gusto.

    The trouble was (as is generally the case with most mineral downstream processing projects in WA), the undertaking was going to cost lots and losts of money (over $2 billion) and would need a considerable amount of public subsidies/concessions to make it viable. This wouldn’t have been so bad, except for the fact that soon after Kingstream listed (sometime in early 1997, I think), its share price plummeted, making its market capitalisation something of an anathema to the financiers who were expected to back the whole thing.

    The company’s management was also something of a concern for investors – apart from Kenbo, the other key player in Kingstream was Nik Zuks, a former fitter and turner/failed farmer/disgraced credit card entrepeneur who had the verbal backing of Julian Grill (now there’s a recommendation), but was not on the Xmas card list of people like Barnett (apparently he hated Zuksie) and WA’s ex Labor mining minister Gordon Hill, who allegedly once stated that his party would never back the project while Zuks was at the helm.

    (It is also interesting to note that one of Kingstream’s founding fathers – David Felderhoff, I think it was – was a key player in the infamous Bre-X gold scandal of the 1990s.)

    All of this, however, did not bother the Courts. Aside from the fact Dickie willingly used some Kingstream spin while trying to retain the mid west seats of Geraldton and Greenough during the 1996 state election (it worked, although the younger Court only visited Geraldon once during the entire campaign – and that was to attend a Liberal Party members-only function), the project somehow found its way onto the Coalition’s list of economic achievements, despite the fact Kingstream’s iron ore resources were a long way from being sized up when the company finally did go broke circa 2002.

    As for Ken – who always maintained that his younger brother left the Cabinet room when the Kingstream issue was raised (which was kind of hard to believe as Dickie was also the treasurer at the time and the project was going to require a significant amount of state-funded infrastructure to get up and going) – he had grander visions.

    During 1996, for instance, he claimed on ABC Radio that if the company couldn’t pull off a gas deal to power the steel plant, it could always start digging up mid west coal. It wasn’t a bad idea, except for the fact that no one then (or now, for that matter) had gone out and conducted extensive metallurgical testwork on the region’s coal to ascertain whether it would be compatible for such an operation.

    Then, in 1997, Kenbo had jaws dropping at a Mid West Development Commission-run seminar in Geraldton when he suggested that any excess gas from Kingstream’s mooted second gas pipeline from the North West Shelf could be sold into the Perth power grid. No doubt Barnett, who was both the resources and energy minister at the time, had not been informed of this pioneering idea.

    So you see Mr Hoey, the Court boys were visionaries in their own right – chips off the old block to be sure. Sure they weren’t dealing with the likes of BHP and Rio like their old man did, but as they say, beggars can’t be choosers.


  13. Excellent post My Ning but the relationship between the Labor party and Kingstream was a little bit more complicated than that , as per West article “Give Oakajee A Break: Labor”,Julie Butler,27 December 1999,
    Quote “Opposition resources development spokesman Julian Grill yesterday welcomed the Court Government’s decision to grant another one-year extension for Kingstream Steel to submit a detailed proposal on the $2 billion Mid-West iron and steel project. Under an existing one-year extension to conditions under the Iron and Steel (Mid-West) Agreement Act 1997, Kingstream was to have submitted a detailed proposal for the project, near Geraldton, by December 31.”
    Good old Julian had a large share holding of Kingstream at the time and had previously denied that there was any conflict of interest( ha ha), and where Julian was the Burke section was there with him.
    Kennie Court also had problems with conflict of interest issues as part of the loans book of a finance company he was involved in was none other than Kingstream.
    To be fair to Dickie I think he viewed Kingstream less enthusiastically in the later years of his government .


  14. Jeez My Ning and Bill, you two really know your Dickies! Saw Julian Grill the other day on tele. He looked like an oiled kipper.


  15. My Ning says:

    Yes, I always knew there was more than meets the eye when it came to the relationship between Grill and Kingstream – during 1998 in Geraldton, for instance, Grill insisted (at least twice) during a public meeting that “nobody knows more about the steel buness than Nik Zuks”. One now has to wonder why the failed entrepeneur didn’t join Krupp or Smorgon when Kingstream finally went under. Who knows – maybe he’s with Sinosteel right at this very moment trying to orchestrate another takeover of the mid west’s iron ore resources.

    As for Grill, at the time (late 1990s) there was a rumour going about that he was Nik’s brother-in-law. Never did confirm it….

    And speaking of Grill (for the time being) – why hasn’t anyone mentioned the fact that he was “advising” Griffin Coal and Wesfarmers around the time the two companies were vying for the supply contract for the next power station just before Western Power was de-aggregated a few years back? Would the next WA power station had been gas fired if Barnett had been in charge?

    A final word on Ken…During 1997 a hack from one of the Geraldton newspapers rang Eric Ripper and asked him if the Labor Party could see any conflict of interests regarding Kingstream and the Courts. There was none, Ripper replied. Typical opposition – always useless at crunchtime…


  16. greg says:

    Ok I concede they had the will but like so much in the west corruption and nepotism gets in the way.


  17. Grill’s brother in law? Maybe love child.


  18. My Ning says:

    The other thing we must remember at this point is BHP did actually become a downstream producer when Court Jnr was in power via its hot briquetted iron plant in Port Hedland. Now there was a value adding achievement – a $2 billion plus capital expenditure to create a facility which came to a virtual grinding halt only after one or two months’ of production thanks to a circuit fire. It’s currently in the final stages of being dismantled, leaving as its legacy, one suspects, a giant, empty concrete pad.

    Interestingly, just before this disaster was officially opened, Dickie and John Howard attended the launch of Twiggy Forrest’s Murrin Murrin high pressure leaching nickel laterite operation near Laverton.

    While not a failure on the scale of BHP’s HBI plant, Murrin too has had a history of pretty big problems. Furthermore, the new owners have found that value-adding via power chewing, impressive-looking whiz bang processing plants may not be the way to go afterall, with current production focusing on the much simpler (and much cheaper) heap leaching method.

    Whether corruption and/or nepitism contributed to these problems is anyone’s guess. However, one thing is for sure – both projects seemed to have suffered significantly from bad planning, unrealistic expectations and over ambition.


  19. lisa says:

    Man I love WA.

    Margaret ‘lesbian tennis players snare the others into homosexuality’ Court is possibly sublimating something.

    Matt’s bio has the ring of a pre-selection year about it.


  20. He (Matt Keogh) went to my school Mazenod College which was surely the crappiest school in Australia. The land was donated by Alan Bond. I think the Mazenod experience probably explains a lot of the rest.


  21. Yes My Ning some people who work at Murrin are not happy with the noises it makes, These whiz bang processing plants tend to end up in third world countries nowadays.
    Any decision which involved any member of Burke’s entourage including Chrichton Browne was bound to be subverting some decision making process for the highest bidder.


  22. lisa says:

    Man, I still love WA.

    Catholic school mazenod… land… donated by bond… catholic university notre dame… parcel of prime inner freo land…. donated by…. lawrence govt… early 90’s… decision strongly opposed at the time within alp especially by… Young Labor and the university branches… back when Young Labor wasn’t run by articled clerks seeking rapid preselection…. well it was, but they didn’t wear suits and they were mostly lapsed, not practicing.


  23. Frank Calabrese says:

    Speaking of Forrest Place, I’m surprised no-one has commented on this Beat Up.


  24. CK says:

    Completely with you on this one Frank. Pretty much more of the West’s usual boong-bashing.

    There’s a lot to criticise about Forrest Place – absolutely crap planning and rubbish disintegrated architecture in the first instance.

    There’s a reason people don’t go there: It’s just dead boring.


  25. Frank Calabrese says:


    Notice the story about those at Sister Kate’s NOT wanting an apology, along with Sue Gordon.

    I wonder if Billie Court suddenly found fame with her singing will the West put her up on a pedestal ?


  26. CK says:

    How could I not? It’s pathetic. The West is yet again searching for a beat-up, appealing to some long forgotten Hansonite fringe.

    And they’re running against the tide. My feeling is that most people just want the apology over and done with and let’s move on.


  27. Frank Calabrese says:

    And regarding The Speaker’s Corner being scrapped, when it’s being nmoderated by Max Kay, and one of the regulars is Mike Ward from the Men’s Confraternity (now that woul damke a good Worst of post), of course it’s bound to fail.


  28. Frank Calabrese says:


    You’re right about the Apology, The West were one of the biggest supporters of Hansonism, and her associated nutjobs.

    Also, have you notice that the photo of Party Troy I posted has made it into the Sunday Crimes :-)


  29. CK says:

    Well done Frank!

    So, apparently, has a purple Gemini:

    The WOP’s influence is becoming insurmountable.


  30. Frank Calabrese says:

    Well, that Party Troy pic wasn’t mine to start with, but was posted by someone on Pollbludger. :-)


  31. Frank Calabrese says:

    It seems Carps that there will be a Statue of Charlie and Dickie Court in the CBD.


  32. Mounted or just holding hands Frank? Oh, Dickie is just an advisor I see.


  33. Frank Calabrese says:

    [Oh, Dickie is just an advisor I see.]

    Yeah, I noticed that AFTER I posted :-)

    I wonder how much clay/bronze will be need for those Eye Brows though ? :-)


  34. I can’t see Carps announcing a Dickie sculpture. His head would look nice on the wall of the Weld Club.


  35. Re: #33, Bronze. For these sculptures Frank, they use what is called “The Lost Head Process”. They coat the deceased’s bonce in plaster, then they burn out the head with a blowtorch, leaving a cavity that will take the bronze.


  36. flynn says:

    Too bad they can’t use the same technique on current MPs -some would really benefit from the process. Others, no noticeable difference.


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