Guilty Sex Offender Wade Burns is New President of SA Police Union


Disgraced SAPOL inspector Wade Burns, who was demoted in 2017 following allegations of indecent assault, has been elected president of South Australia’s police union by fewer than 50 votes.

Burns was reported for indecently assaulting a female colleague at a social function in 2017.

Burns is married and the father of two adolescent boys. Forcing yourself upon an unwilling female colleague in full public view makes you an extremely poor role model.

Burns pleaded guilty to a list of agreed facts during an internal workplace investigation but was never criminally charged. He wasn’t even fired. The only disciplinary action taken by SAPOL for the alleged assault was to demote Burns from chief inspector to senior sergeant in mid-2017 – a drop of two positions.

In classic SAPOL fashion, the matter was covered up.

The media was prohibited from informing the public of the matter thanks to the draconian Police Complaints and Discipline Act 2016, which was introduced to allow police greater leeway to act unlawfully and to hide behind a shield of greatly reduced transparency while doing so.

The matter only recently became public knowledge after independent MP Frank Pangallo outed Burns under parliamentary privilege.

In response, Burns claimed the allegations were “factually incorrect.”

In true arrogant cop fashion, Burns was being a smart-arse.

When Pangallo and the media repeatedly asked him which of the allegations was factually incorrect, Burns remained dead silent.

In the face of negative publicity, commissioner Grant Stevens acknowledged that Burns was investigated and disciplined over the matter in 2017.

Pangallo’s only inaccuracy was the belief that Burns was heading a sexual harassment task force at the time the incident occurred. Given the shifty, secretive manner with which Burns and SAPOL handled the matter, one can hardly blame Pangallo for getting this minor detail wrong.

The real crux of the matter is that Wade Burns indecently assaulted a female colleague in 2017, and was weakly disciplined over the matter after pleading guilty to an agreed set of facts. Both he and SAPOL refuse to discuss the matter further, which leaves the rest of us to assume he is entirely guilty of all charges. After all, if he had nothing to hide, both he and SAPOL would have no qualms about releasing full details of the matter.

Despite repeated requests to do so, both entities have failed to do so.

They obviously have a lot to hide.

The bottom line is that the South Australia Police union now has a highly evasive individual found guilty of a sex offense as its president.

At no time has Burns owned the offense or expressed even a hint of remorse. To the contrary, the self-entitled Burns believed he was unfairly demoted and applied –  successfully – to have his rank of inspector reinstated.

Narrow Victory in a Tainted Election

Burns was elected president of the union by fewer than 50 votes.

An official Australian Electoral Commission declaration of results showed Burns polled 787 votes, ahead of Darren Cornell on 738, Leonie Schulz on 313 and Kevin Lawton on 97.

Displaying the same apathy and indifference they hold towards real crime, less than half of the union’s 4,553 members chose to cast a vote.

The election was a great opportunity for union members to cast a protest vote and make it clear they did not want an evasive sex offender as their leader. Instead, more than half threw the matter into the “who gives a sh!t” basket.

In light of the well-established fact that SAPOL is full of sex pests and rapists, it is entirely conceivable many male members voted for Burns safe in the knowledge that, if called to answer for a sex offense, they could count on a kindred spirit union leader to rally on their behalf.

Burns’ website states that he has “unmatched expertise”.

This is true – few other cops can demonstrate how to indecently assault a colleague, get away with it, partially reverse the already weak and ineffectual punishment, and then become head of both the South Australia Police Association and Union!

That’s some unmatched expertise, alright.

Of course, it helps when your daddy was a former SAPOL police commissioner (Burns is son of Gary Burns, former commissioner who left the force in 2015).

The result shows female SAPOL members just what their employer and their union really thinks of them. According to sources quoted by The Advertiser, many female SAPOL members are now planning to resign in protest.

Welcome to the real world, ladies. SAPOL doesn’t give a turd about equality, only about being seen to be doing the right thing. Stevens’ mandate for a 50/50 gender ratio only came after the 2016 Equal Opportunity Commission investigation that found shocking levels of sexual harassment and predation within the force.

The EOC found the reported incidence of predatory behaviour was far higher within SAPOL than the average workplace: 49 per cent vs 28 per cent, respectively!

Burns’ career trajectory and the efforts to conceal his offending confirms that SAPOL is not serious about fighting sexual harassment and predation within its notoriously filthy ranks.

Wade Burns: Needs to stop being an evasive smart-arse, pull his finger out, and ask himself what kind of role model he’s being to youngsters and other cops.

While Burns does the big talk about openness and transparency, the election was obviously not conducted under transparent circumstances.

SAPOL members not okay with sleaze and sexual assault who had already cast a vote for Burns would have got a shock when the indecent assault revelations were aired in parliament 12 days after voting commenced.

In response to Burns’ narrow victory, Pangallo said the result was “hardly a ringing endorsement” of his campaign.

“A lot of those votes would have been cast before all this stuff came out,” he said.

“He hasn’t answered any of the allegations… he’s just stayed silent, and that’s unacceptable. He needs to front up and he needs to be open and transparent as any leader would.”

Pangallo doubled down on an earlier call for Burns to resign, declaring “his position is still untenable”.

Runner-up candidate Darren Cornell had also publicly called for his opponent to resign.

Burns ‘Resigns’ (Asked to Leave) From Basketball and College Boards, Endorsements Removed

In the days after the allegations were made public, Burns stood down as chair of the Basketball SA Commission and the Woodcroft College council, positions he had held for years.

Endorsements from Basketball SA chief executive Tim Brenton, Woodcroft College principal Shannon Warren and SA sport hall of famer Jenny Williams OAM were all removed from his campaign website.

This is a further demonstration of why the Police Complaints and Discipline Act 2016 needs to be repealed immediately. For seven years, Burns was allowed to hold positions that allowed him influence over the welfare of students and athletes. Those positions would also have facilitated his access to female (and male) students and athletes.

Burns’ election campaign also benefited from endorsements by people holding esteemed positions – people unaware that he was found guilty by his secretive employer  of a sex offense.

All those affected and at risk were unaware of Burns’ dubious history because sleazy SAPOL was allowed to bury it under the evil 2016 legislation.

Wade Burns’ position as SA Police Union head is untenable. In fact, his position as member of a force whose mandate includes detecting and apprehending perpetrators of sexual offenses is also completely untenable. He, and all others like him, should be purged from the police force immediately.


Police union presidential candidate Darren Cornell calls on opponent Wade Burns to end his ‘untenable’ campaign after assault allegations. The Advertiser.

Wade Burns resigns from Woodcroft College board after assault claims aired in parliament. The Advertiser.

Wade Burns elected president of SA police union by fewer than 50 votes after indecent assault allegations. The Advertiser.

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