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A letter to the Office Of The Cabinet - Donald William Burke does not deserve his OAM.

Dear Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet,

On January 26th, 2018, it will be eight years since you awarded an Order of Australia Medal to one Donald William Burke, of Kenthurst, NSW.

Mr Burke was awarded this prestigious honour, one created by her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, because of his outstanding achievement and service.

Along with a shiny medal on a silky ribbon to pin to his jacket lapel, Mr Burke was allowed to use the acronym OAM after his name at all times. Those letters infer status, seniority, grace and selfless service. They are, quite literally, an honour. They put you in a small and esteemed group of your countrymen, to be held above others as among the best our nation has to offer.

Listen: On this bonus episode of Out Loud, Holly, Rachel and Jessie discuss Don Burke and ask the question – what happens next?

Long before that medal was pinned to Mr Burke’s chest, women who had worked alongside him had approached their superiors to express their concerns that Mr Burke was not a man of good character.

In fact, he was a man capable of groping, bullying and frightening those who worked around him.

He was, they say, the kind of man who would say to them things like this:

“If anything goes wrong, I will rip off your head and shit down your neck.”

“Is your c*nt as big as that?”

“You’re a dumb slut.”

“I bet you’re a demon f**k.”

“I bought [young relative] a horse so I could watch her rub her c*nt on its back.”

He was – is?- also the kind of man who allegedly pawed at a female co-worker’s top and bra-strap, trying to pull it from her body. Who tried to seduce young female reporters with promises of promotions and good jobs and then insulted them when they refused. Who insisted a young woman audition for him, but only if she’d do it “topless”.

While Mr Burke OAM denies these allegations, people who worked with him, from his crew members to his bosses seem to confirm them.

An OAM like the one given to Don Burke. (Image via AAP.)
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“I’ve been trying to think of Harvey Weinstein-type people, and the only one I can ever come up with is Burke," says David Leckie, the former CEO of Nine.

“He’s a horrible, horrible, horrible man. He’s a dreadful, dreadful piece of work … he was a really dirty old man.”

Still, Mr Leckie - who is not an OAM - didn't challenge Burke.

“Don Burke was a disgrace because of his behaviour internally and externally. He's a grub," says another high-powered former boss, Sam Chisholm. Another man who did not fire Mr Burke.

Dear Prime Minister's Office, since these allegations were published yesterday, media outlets - including this one - have been flooded with similar allegations against Mr Burke.

So we come with a polite request, one that stems from some of the women who allegedly suffered at the hands of this honoured man. Some of the women who were belittled and threatened and had their careers damaged by this big name of minuscule character.

Take away his Order of Australia. Strip it from him, just as you have from another man who was once in every living room, Rolf Harris, who is now behind bars, tried and convicted of sex offences. Yes, it's true that Mr Burke has not been charged or convicted of any crime.

But there are now more than 100 women who have come out after reaching back into their own lives and in their painful memories to tell their stories. More than 100 different accounts of despicable behaviour. Emails. Interviews. Messages. Comments. What possible motivation could that many women have? Why would they all be telling the exact same lie?

Mr Burke's character has been forever damaged, forever smeared with the mucky stain of the bully. Of the misogynist. Of the man who feels he is forever entitled to treat the women around him like worthless pawns, only in his orbit for him to torment and damage.

Listen: Tracey Spicer says there are more men like Don Burke. (Post continues.)

Take his shiny medal off him, and give it to someone who deserves it.

We have a few ideas about who that could be, Office of Prime Minister and Cabinet. Maybe you could have a word to the Governor General about some names?

One is Tracey Spicer. She is waking every day to an inbox stuffed full of stories about Mr Burke, and men just like him.

Some more: Kate McClymont. A journalist of impeccable standing who has dedicated her working life to uncovering injustice. Leigh Sales. A woman who holds the powerful to account daily.

Just a few ideas of people who are challenging the status quo and wading through others' pain in a bid to make the world a less hostile place for the next generation of women.

We think that sounds like something worthy of honouring.

Don't you?