Ian Brusasco

Interviewed by
Sue Yarrow
Jul 30 2012
Ian Brusasco
Time Summary Keywords

Sue Yarrow introduces Ian Brusasco.


Ian Brusasco discusses his early life and the difficulties that confronted his Italian migrant family after settling outside Ingham. He reflects on his early education and his love of football and cricket. 


Ian Brusasco outlines that he was admitted to the University of Queensland to study medicine but after a severe illness he transferred to pharmacy which at that time involved an apprenticeship. He explains that once he was a qualified pharmacist, he wanted his own business.

pharmaceutical industry, University of Queensland

Ian Brusasco discusses the pharmacies he and his wife established around Brisbane.

Banyo, Brisbane

Ian Brusasco states that at that time, migrants were quite badly treated, but their one joy in life was their football. He recalls that is was through his father's taking over the Presidency of the Azzurri Soccer Club, that he commenced his lifelong association with soccer in Queensland and Australia.


Ian Brusasco discusses that Westfield was coming to Brisbane and the establishment of his pharmacy at Toombul Shoppingtown in about 1972.


Ian Brusasco discusses first joining the ALP in about 1960. He recounts that he headed a delegation of Australia's football team to the World Cup qualifiers held in Cambodia. Brusasco explains that he knew Mayor Clem Jones through their mutual interests in sport. He recalled that once Jones knew Brusasco was an ALP member, the next day Tom Burns, the ALP Secretary, phoned Brusasco looking for a candidate for the Kurilpa seat in the 1968-69 state election. 

Brisbane Lord Mayor, Clem Jones, Kurilpa, soccer, Tom Burns

Ian Brusasco recalls his involvement with the Socceroos accompanying them around the world in preparation for the 1974 World Cup, and upon his return, he was approached by Clem Jones seeking someone to stand in the Toombul Ward by-election. Brusasco says he stood and won, becoming a Brisbane City Council (BCC) Alderman.

Brisbane City Council, Brisbane Lord Mayor, Clem Jones, soccer

Ian Brusasco outlines his maiden speech in the council, soon after he returned from visiting sporting facilities around the world including Greece, where he addressed the need for better sporting facilities in Brisbane and proposed Brisbane should nominate to hold the Commonwealth Games.

Brisbane City Council, Commonwealth Games 1982

Ian Brusasco states that during the Whitlam era the Toombul ward turned to the Liberal Party so he stood for the Lutwyche ward and won and took over chairing the BCC Health Committee and also, for a time, the Planning Committee.

Brisbane City Council, Clem Jones

Ian Brusasco discusses the influences on him by Clem Jones and Bryan Walsh.

Brisbane City Council, Bryan Walsh, Clem Jones

Ian Brusasco discusses the conflict in the ALP relating to the communists and industrial groups during the 1957 Split with the Democratic Labor Party (DLP). He relates this to his own father having been a political prisoner under Mussolini in Italy before coming to Australia in 1923.

Communism, DLP, Italy

Ian Brusasco discusses Jack Egerton and Tom Burns. He contrasts Clem Jones and Jack Egerton's different views about accepting knighthoods. 

Clem Jones, Jack Egerton, Tom Burns, Trades and Labor Council

Ian Brusasco discusses the perception that he didn't fit with the Trades Hall Group's profile. He states that his views on opportunities for women were exemplified by his wife, Patsy Brusasco, who combined a very successful professional life as a pharmacist with her public voluntary work and family responsibilities.

Trades Hall Group, unions, women

Ian Brusasco discusses losing the 1976 election for Lutwyche ward and the offer from Clem Jones to assist the ALP's financial management and in particular the ALP owned radio station, 4KQ. He questions Jack Egerton's role with 4KQ management.

4KQ, Clem Jones, Jack Egerton

Ian Brusasco lists the members of the ALP Inner Executive with whom he met and his recommendations for 4KQ radio station's management.

4KQ, Bill Ludwig, Clem Jones, ETU, Gerry Jones, Harry Hauenschild, Neal Kane

Ian Brusasco discusses running 4KQ and the changes he made.

4KQ, Clem Jones, Clive Thompson, Ian Skippen, John Laws, unions

Ian Brusasco discusses 4KQ's new format and ratings improvement. 


Ian Brusasco discusses his opposition to the Vietnam War and protesting with Jim Cairns. He clarifies that he was not part of the Inner Executive of the ALP and outlines his views on the reform years but explains he was mainly concentrating on radio station 4KQ.

4KQ, Clem Jones, Jim Cairns, Vietnam War

Ian Brusasco discusses Manfred Cross and Peter Beattie. He reflects on the people opposing the Bjelke-Petersen government and the reformers in the ALP.

Bjelke-Petersen Government 1968-87, Manfred Cross, Peter Beattie

Ian Brusasco discusses the Reformers in the ALP and the role of plebiscites. He discusses his own contribution to the ALP's financial management.


Ian Brusasco discusses the role of Neal Kane, Harry Hauenschild and Clem Jones within the ALP.

Clem Jones, Harry Hauenschild, Neal Kane

Ian Brusasco discusses the role of factions in the ALP.

Clem Jones, factions

Ian Brusasco discusses his involvement with Labor Companies and 4KQ, and the sale of 4KQ enabling him to diversify the ALP asset portfolio.

4KQ, Harry Hauenschild, Peter Beattie

Ian Brusasco discusses that by 1991-92 he decided to resign having placed the ALP on a sound financial base, but in his view, they started to squander money to win elections.

Denis Murphy, Peter Beattie, Wayne Goss

Ian Brusasco discusses the decision by Anna Bligh to sell assets and criticises those unions that fought publicly against Bligh over the asset sales.

Anna Bligh, unions

Ian Brusasco discusses the causes of the ALP intervention and the legacy of factions and placing good candidates in safe seats.

Annastacia Palaszczuk, Bjelke-Petersen Government 1968-87, Bligh Government 2007-12, factions, Peter Beattie, unions

Ian Brusasco reviews the record of his life's work across pharmacy, sport, BCC and believes his father's migration from Northern Italy to Australia provided a remarkable opportunity.


Ian Brusasco nominates Foodbank as his greatest achievement.

Clem Jones, foodbank

Interview ends