15th Ocrober2021

We have learned that the Andrews Government has appointed Mr. Graham Ashton to inquire into reported failings of the Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority – the 000 call takers.  Surprising that they did not ask Ms Coate, who did such an outstanding job of finding out who was responsible for setting up the deadly Hotel Quarantine shambles last year.

Which reminds us of Mr. Ashton’s stellar performance record – the only qualification he brings to his new task:

He presided over the decision to NOT prosecute anybody arising out of the Red Shirts Rort.  This was the infamous saga in which the Ombudsman, Ms. Deborah Glass found “Labor had created an artifice by paying casual electorate officers to work as part-time campaigners instead of carrying out electorate duties”.  But under Mr. Ashton’s supervision and control Victoria Police said “no charges will be laid against any person” – a “very sad day for democracy in Victoria, (and) …a very sad day for the justice system”.  (The Age, 15/10/2019);

He was in charge when the Victoria Police dismembered an honest police investigation into the          “I Cook Foods” plot.  Honest coppers have reported that before they were “re-assigned” under protest, they had found and reported upon clear evidence that several public officials had grossly misused their positions;

We remember also the awful, deadly, implementation of Hotel Quarantine “oversight” by untrained, unqualified and unsupervised so-called Security Guards – a decision that most fifth year constables would have recognised as doomed to failure from the outset and which constituted greatest single policy failure in the State’s history.  According to The Guardian (9/10/20) then Chief Commissioner Ashton texted a message saying this was “a deal set up by the Department of Premier and Cabinet” but he reportedly could not remember, and he did not keep a diary – right?

Oh, and perhaps we should also recall the Lawyer X affair – this was not commenced while Mr. Ashton was Chief Commissioner, but certainly the disgraced Office of Police Integrity was closely involved in it – the OPI where Mr. Ashton was Director of Operations.  Nothing wrong with the regulator being involved in the operations they were supposedly auditing is there? No conflict there? That affair has been officially labelled, by Vicpol,  “a profound failure of policing” and Mr. Ashton fought for years to have it covered up while he WAS Chief Commissioner.  That is to say, he was in charge of the multi-million-dollar effort to prevent the disclosure of “reprehensible conduct… and   …. “atrocious breaches of the sworn duties imposed on every police officer”  (High Court of Australia AB v CD; EF v CD)

We are confident Mr. Andrews will find Mr. Ashton’s ultimate report satisfactory.