White was first elected as a member for Denison in 1986. He held the position of Health Minister during 1989-1992. During 1992-1998 he was Shadow minister for Arts, Justice, Environment and Aboriginal Affairs. In August 1998 he resigned from his Lower house seat to contest the Upper house seat of Newdegate. He was successful and took the position in September 1998.
White was embarrassed in 1993 when he was exposed for calling ABC Radio under the name "Bill Fraser" and claiming to be from Queenstown. The radio announcer recognised his voice and despite denying his true identity when questioned on air, he apologised later to Parliament.
In June 1999 White's Upper house seat of Newdegate was abolished when the size of parliament was reduced and he was forced to resign.
In early 2003 White and two others formed a company called Tasmanian Compliance Corporation (TCC). In August 2003 the company was awarded a Tasmanian Government contract to handle building accredition, complaints and training.
Following the 2006 state election, White came under significant public scrutiny after a secret deal signed by Bryan Green just before the election was revealed, guaranteeing TCC a $2.5 million payout if the company lost its exclusive contract. On 25 October 2006 White was charged in court with conspiracy and attempting to interfere with an executive officer. After initially pleading not guilty, White change his plea to guilty in the Supreme Court on 20 November 2007. On 10 December 2007 he was sentenced to a two-year good behaviour bond and had no conviction recorded.