12th July 2022
On many issues, the CAA is in lockstep with the Police Association (TPAV), but sometimes that step is out of kilter a little bit, as is the case with the TPAV recent announcement as a solution to the dire staffing levels at Police Stations,
‘New police numbers, together with MOU to send police back into stations’.
The research that the TPAV has done is identical to the feedback that the CAA has received about the appalling situations in many stations that are just unable to perform their critical functions because of staff shortages.
This is not just a COVID problem; although it has exaggerated the issue, it was evident before the pandemic.
The common issue is that on paper, the staff levels seem solid until you drill down to the actual availability of the members of a station to perform station duties.
The stations cannot maintain patrols, and closing a Police Station for a shift is now a regular occurrence across the state.
Pleas for help from the community are ramped; sound familiar.
The appalling reality is that the delivery of reactive services are failing and any hope of even basic proactive policing remains a dream.
Where we are out of step with the TPAV is the solution.
For all those members who are doing it tough with a never-ending cycle of night and other less palatable shifts because there is nobody else to do them, the two-year wait for extra numbers and the TPAV meeting with VicPol twice a year is hardly encouraging or even looks like a solution; a bit of kicking the can down the road at best.
Looking at what has been done, it is actually nothing.
The TPAV supports, as we do, a move to preventing crime as a priority. Still, there is no hope of fulfilling this objective unless a solution to the staffing problem is found rather than the protracted, possible, maybe approach accepted by the TPAV. They were sold a pup.
Our greatest concern, equal in importance to service delivery capability, is the welfare of members. Those members left at stations carrying an unfair workload will continue to fall, succumbing to health issues, including burnout.
Standing by while members are falling is not in our DNA.
The current number of members counted on station rosters who require flexible or part-time arrangements will continue to escalate and is the primary cause of the problem. The TPAV did not seem to address this issue.
We are aware of one station, and there are many like it, where ten members, or a third of their staff, are on flexible hours, making them unavailable for specific shifts and duties. But they are shown on the roster as full-time members.
It is no small feat balancing, Maternity, Paternity, Annual, Special, Military, Study, Sick and Long Service leave impacts and family commitments on a Station Roster. Still, when that is exacerbated to the degree of adversely affecting the ability of the police station to provide a modicum of service delivery, the problem is dire.
Meetings, plans and forward projections will not alleviate the inevitable continued decline of station staff numbers and, as a consequence, the ineffective policing of the state.
Hand wringing is theatre, not a result.
The much-lorded Capability Plan has turned out to be a dud, but as we said at its launch, it had pretty pictures.
If the plan worked, how come the capability position is as it currently is?
As more members burn out, the numbers seeking either sick leave, flexible hours or part-time work will increase; this phenomenon has built inertia that will exponentially grow.
Meetings and promises that may be achieved in two years are all things the hard-working members have heard before; they need the confidence that the issues will be addressed now.
This problem is an emergency, and if action is not taken immediately, expect a further decline to where VicPol is theoretically insolvent in Service delivery, unable to repay the debt it owes society.
We call on the Chief Commissioner to establish an Inspectorate to address the staffing issue at Police Stations, among other administrative problems.
The first and urgent role of the Inspectorate is to identify members in positions who can be seconded back to Police Stations in exchange for members whose time availability is compromised.
No part of VicPol should be quarantined from this process.
This process will be unpopular with some members, but the overwhelming majority of members currently carrying excessive workloads are entitled to the consideration.
We are not proposing altering current arrangements with individual members, just their work location and function.
This is a significant staffing reset; however, it is critical if the force is to retain staff and reduce the impact of burnout. The focus up until now has been on the rights or work-life issues of those who seek special conditions.
We have no difficulty with that concept; however, it is time to move the pendulum back to protecting the police who protect us, and they should receive the full support of VicPol and all Victorians. Their welfare is also a priority.
To be effective, the Inspectorate has to be independent of any line authority that may impact or try to influence its work, and it must be pragmatic. Hence, the Inspectorate Commander must report directly to the Chief Commissioner.
This radical plan is not a total solution but may set benchmarks to avoid the current level of difficulty replicating in the future.
There is nothing new in this dramatic approach. New South Wales Police had a problem with a dearth of experience in the metropolitan area, although that is where the most crime and disorder was. The experienced police had vacated to the country, and a major realignment of personnel was carried out to bring experienced members back into the areas of most need.
When faced with extraordinary problems, it requires extraordinary solutions, and this issue must be addressed before any more members crash- this is a Victoria Police emergency.
10th July 2022
The so-called ‘safe injecting’ rooms are just part of the evil problem of drug addiction and the long-term physical and mental health issues that the Government is not prepared to tackle.
The CAA has long advocated targeting the business models that the drug trade, particularly the Bikie and Middle Eastern Drug cartels rely on, and do not depend solely on enforcement with outdated, ineffective laws.
Consider where the customers of the injecting rooms get their illicit and dangerous drugs; in the main street dealers. Where do the street dealers get the filthy drugs from, bikie and middle eastern crime gangs?
It is a complex business model with dangerous workplace issues, such as being shot, bashed or overdosed (Hot Shot). The Government turns a blind eye to this, often celebrating the questionable success of the safe injecting rooms. The claim of success is reducing calls to ambulances. That claim acknowledges that the rooms do not mitigate the problem or improve the likely rehabilitation of addicts.
The other claim of reducing overdoses and possible deaths only relates to the small percentage of addicts/users who use the facilities, not the broader drug community.
It was not that long ago that injecting room staff were convicted of drug trafficking?
It is not a spurious argument that the Government is complicit in the drug trade, which may explain the inaction?
Interestingly the drug Cartel business model has taken a dire turn; they are now shooting at each other in a turf war. Inevitably innocent public will become collateral damage.
Whilst the Government looks at other locations for injecting rooms to appease the suffering residents of Richmond, which has now been turned into a thoroughly depressing and disgusting place. Witnesses report to us addicts defecating in Victoria Street, the main thoroughfare, and this is part of Melbourne, a most livable city?
So the wicked problem continues without accurate statistics supporting its continuation and without broad thinking about the other impacts on government services.
It does, however, raise the question of the nexus between the Governments inaction and the growth of the drug Cartels in this State.
The Bikie gangs did not move south for the weather.
We are not alleging a direct link between the Cartels and the Government, but the Cartels would very favourably view those pushing for safe injecting rooms. Whether that translates to direct or indirect succour needs investigating.
We now have another eighty police, in addition to the already established Task Forces; Echo is but one, focused on bikies and middle eastern gangs who now chose to shoot at each other; that is just the tip of an iceberg.
The CAA calls for a commission into where the drugs come from.
It is time for the politicians to educate themselves and not be led by the nose because of their naivety.
It is easy to test sample drugs from the clients at the injecting rooms to compare that to drug seizures from+ middle eastern crime gangs and bikie gangs.
If truth be known, the Government already knows from wastewater (sewage) testing; they just do not make it public.
Let there be some truth about the drug impact, no more lies.
How many young women and men are being prostituted?
- How many kids are being traumatised by violence at home?
- How many police are now focused on bikies rather than community safety?
- How many Domestic disputes have a drug component?
- How many fewer druggies do we have in Victoria because of the injecting room?
- How many of the homeless have drug addiction issues?
- How many have mental health issues from drugs?
Drugs like gambling and prostitution are wicked problems, but when Government looks for remedies to wicked problems, they tend to select the path of least resistance.
Perhaps the first move is to educate the politicians. They should first spend time in the vicinity of the Richmond room (after hours) before opening another and visit the drug factories in the suburbs to see how the cartels are making drugs, accessing precursor ingredients and then selling them for use in the injecting rooms.
When addicts start defecating in Flinders Street (proposed new injecting room site), the Government may at last take notice.
Interestingly the announcement of that new site’s suitability is delayed until after the election. If it is so good, why wait?
Let’s have the new injecting room in the dining room of Parliament House instead of Flinders Street. At least there are no pre-schools around the area and no community amenity to disrupt.
7th July 2022
The announcement by the Chief Commissioner of a new task force, Viper, to tackle outlaw motor-cycle gangs had a familiar ring but hopefully a better outcome than a previous attempt.
Even so, some similarities are a worry.
In 2013 Chief Commissioner Ken Lay announced, under the headline
TOP COP’S WARNS OUTLAW BIKIES, ‘WE HAVE A GANG TOO’
Lay announced that a ‘hard-nosed investigator Superintendent Brett Guerin was to take over the Razon Task Force, “Take on the Bikies”.
Targeting the Night Club industry, the only reference we could find was that Task Force charged three Bikies with selling Alcohol without a license.
It was reported that Superintendent Guerin is a man with an engaging laugh and a quick wit. Mr Lay has identified him as the right man for the job.
The lilt of one’s laughter and wit seem strange attributes for a Bikie gangbuster.
Lay failed to say or had not found out that Guerin was the infamous Vernon Demerest and Clive Howlett- Jones, two of the most infamous foul-mouthed nom de plume racist trolls who could best be described as extreme right-wing fascists on social media—allegedly using police computers to troll.
The head of the Professional Standards Command, as an Assistant Commissioner, his career ended abruptly when he was exposed as a troll.
The similarities with Viper, however, do not relate to the character of the police in charge but the comparison of the Government actions for both Razon and Viper.
The Legislation does not match the Bikie creed of extreme violence to achieve their objectives, so being unable to deal with the Bikies in the traditional way aTask Force would seem the only alternative.
To cover the Governments’ failings to legislate enabling powers for police, here we are nine years after Razon, faced with the same issues and the same Government without lessons learned.
We fear the problem will be just as bad in another decade, and Viper will not have been the magic bullet the politicians hoped would avoid them having to do their job.
Sometimes we wonder if our community leaders are ‘in awe’, ‘infatuated’ or ‘afraid’ of the Bikie culture, making them unprepared to tackle it.
It is ironic that the drugs that swill through the Safe Injecting Rooms are most probably sourced via the Bikie Gang networks, make of that as you will.
The Government again resists to tackle the issue properly, and as in 2013, it will all be left to the police to try to resolve with one hand tied behind their back. And if they fail, guess whose fault it will be – the Poilce?
If the Government and community leaders are serious, the Legislation in America called Rico-Law enacted in 1970 would be a good template to start. It is very successful in combating organised crime, which regular Legislation fails to do.
Those Lawmakers understood the tentacles of organised crime, which this law addresses and is not available in traditional Legislation.
The exodus of bikies and organised crime from Interstate to Victoria was not solely because of the efforts of interstate Police or any lack of effort by Victorian Police. It was the Legislation, or lack thereof, in Victoria.
One question we ponder, is we have been sold the value of the Echo Task Force that has existed for some time as an anti-bikie operation; why do we need another Task Force?
This Government failure will cost us.
This Government inaction has taken eighty police from the front line protecting us to focus on a problem that the Government, it seems, is not at all interested in resolving.
It is simply not good enough to take any police from the frontline, General Duties and the Road policing areas in particular, as they are already under-resourced dramatically, this directly and adversely impacts us.
When you call the police, and they do not come, or the road toll soars, you will know why.
Crime will always escalate when the Policing function at the grassroots is compromised.
Perhaps some may be replaced, but that will inevitably by recruits, in the fullness of time, a euphemism for ‘maybe whenever’.
These newbies will not have the mentoring of more senior and experienced peers to learn from to keep us safe and, just as importantly, keep them safe in a dangerous occupation – the experienced are all in the Task Forces.
This bikie culture is attractive to those inclined, so why do we immortalise them when in reality, they are predominantly Middle Eastern Crime gangs and Crime families, in part using the Bikie culture as a front for extortion and protection. The Bikie image built by the media serves them well in the extortion rackets.
It would be helpful if the media took some responsibility.
It is time to provide the horsepower for policing at both ends, starving these organisations of their most valuable resource, members, by focusing on the feeder youth and targeting the support mechanisms organised crime relies on with Rico-Law.
For the feeder youths, where diversion does not work, incarceration for a period when they are young may avert their direction in life.
We all abhor the idea of incarcerating young people and the argument that it is counter-intuitive to acceptable social norms we would like to support.
Based, however, on lived experiences, this does not always work.
The solution is yet to be found, but nobody is seriously looking, least of all our community leaders.
This issue must be pragmatically examined as a matter of urgency, or in a few years, another Task Force to deal with a problem that police have not been able to resolve for a decade will be created.
The first step is for the Government to take responsibility and ownership of the problem- then do something about it.
27th June 2022
With about eighteen thousand sworn Police in Victoria, the question of ‘where are you?’, is totally legitimate.
The Community Advocacy Alliance Inc. (CAA) has received numerous complaints about the lack of service to Victorians by VicPol.
Complaints range from police simply not being visible generally, to police stations being closed, to non-attendance of police to incidents, and calls for help from the public, and too few foot and mobile patrols.
This phenomenon is exacerbated by a complete apathy to their task by many police, particularly at Police Stations. The most egregious complaints relate to laziness and the lack of interest of police members, failing to even make a basic effort to police. In many cases, police do not even make excuses.
The answer is complex and multifaceted, but when one looks at NSW, a State that is geographically three and a half times larger than Victoria and has approximately two million more citizens with two thousand fewer police. The police there seem to be achieving remarkable results, if it is purely a numbers game.
Perhaps it is not the numbers but how they are used.
All the much-heralded increases in police numbers in Victoria have not seen an increase in the quality of Service Delivery experienced by the community.
Thankfully, there are still many dedicated and effective police looking after us. To them, we are greatly indebted, but their efforts are often thwarted by the less than enthusiastic, lazy, or just plain apathetic colleagues.
Competent police continually having to work more of the less than desirable shifts carrying the bulk of the workload while their apathetic colleagues receive the same allowances and benefits will eventually wear down the most committed who are likely to move to the other side for their mental survival.
Apathy is contagious; this easier option can eventually sway the most dedicated.
Major issues faced by the inability of the police to perform their task are structural and cultural by nature and feed the apathy epidemic sweeping the force.
These issues are not limited to but include,
From outside the organisation, it appears that Service Delivery has been transposed with Service Efficiency.
The demise of much of the face-to-face learning based on a false argument of efficiency has compromised the effectiveness of training. The efficiency is questionable, but all the non-formal tangibles of face-to-face training are lost. This reduces training effectiveness and the capacity of police to compare themselves to their peers, an invaluable benefit. Competition is healthy.
Too much reliance on online training provides the apathetic with an excuse to hide on a computer (training) and is counterproductive to a good Police Force.
As far as the CAA resources would allow, it has been established that many Police Stations are only capable of maintaining Night Shift Patrols that are numerically the same as thirty years ago. Additionally, with the new policies around Domestic Violence reports that take a minimum of four hours per incident (often longer), many areas are left at night with no patrol capacity.
Any wonder the community feels unsafe.
Including all other special efforts or dedicated Policing groups is the antithesis of good policing. Each of these groups and there is a need for some, highlights a Police failure. The crime should have been prevented in the first place. Task Forces or similar groups are routinely inefficient in a global sense. The staffing of these groups has to come from somewhere, and that usually means the General Duties Police, further reducing their capacity to prevent crime, so the vicious cycle perpetually expands.
Management finds it easy to set up a task group but not so easy to shut it down as the staff become comfortable in that environment, explaining why many groups last for years.
This failure extends far into the rank structure and is a significant contributor. Police Managers are not held to proper account for staff failings, a major flaw and an area where blame-shifting is endemic. Lazy managers create lazy subordinates.
The bottom line is that the organisation has turned its back on its core function and motto, “Tenez le Droit” (Uphold the right).
These are just a sample of the issues identified by the CAA as significant contributors to the failure of policing in Victoria.
The CAA is concerned that unless a pragmatic and realistic approach is taken to these and other issues, the decline in Policing will accelerate.
As if we as a community needed more pressure from crime.
6th of June 2022
Recently the Community Advocacy Alliance Inc. (CAA) criticised the use by Victoria Police of Bean Bag projectiles in crowd control. We stand by that criticism. https://caainc.org.au/bean-bags-and-plastic-baton-munitions-are-not-the-way-for-crowd-control/
In our view, they must never be deployed in crowd control situations like in Elizabeth Street and the Shrine during COVID related demonstrations or where people are undergoing psychotic episodes. And then only when all other avenues are exhausted, and there is an imminent danger to Police or others.
It has been alleged that many Police were injured in these demonstrations, hence the justification for Bean Bag munitions.
If they were, it had more to do with poor or ineffective Command and Control leaving Police vulnerable. There was substantial evidence on the nightly news that Command and Control were regularly failing, and when it does, that is when most Police are injured.
The police executives are singularly and solely responsible.
The Victoria Police has a sophisticated surveillance capacity and can live stream detailed action to a command center in real-time. But unfortunately, the executives either didn’t bother to look or didn’t recognise the failings unfolding before them and how to deal with them, incompetency.
Repeat performances showed that they clearly took no action. But it is unclear if the Bean Bag use was authorised or who authorised their deployment.
As with the Bourke Street massacre there appears to be a deliberate policy for the Executive Command not to take a leadership role. With the plethora of executive level Officers in VicPol, surely the lessons would have been learnt from Bourke Street and any number of other Police incidents that effective Operational Command and Control is essential and delegating that responsibility totally to the lowest ranks is a unacceptable and an abrogation of responsibility.
The Elizabeth Street foray was not a few random shots but allegedly sustained and repetitious fire of many rounds, a yippee shoot requiring additional ammunition to be sourced.
Bean Bag projectiles are munitions that can cause serious injury, with the possibility of fatal consequences.
They are not simply a corduroy shoe polisher filled with beans instead of fabric. They are twelve-gauge shotgun cartridges with nine-shot lead pellets and various other materials depending on the brand of the round used.
Marketed by suppliers as non-lethal, they can only be described, at best, as potentially less lethal; they are serious munitions.
The graphic photographs depicted here show just how dangerous these projectiles are and the damage that can be caused to one person by just three rounds of the six fired, reinforcing that these rounds are wildly inaccurate, making unintended outcomes a severe risk.
The extreme danger of the proximity to major organs and arteries cannot be discounted.
Post op arm wound
Nearly 100 pellets removed from the arm.
While the incident resulting in these wounds was not crowd control related, the physical harm suffered by the individual concerned, who was heavily intoxicated and undergoing a psychotic episode, amply illustrates the recklessness of using Bean Bag munitions as the go-to weapon.
Victoria Snelgrove, a twenty-two-year-old student bystander to a Boston demonstration, was shot in the eye with a bean bag round and died shortly after. The Officer involved claimed he was aiming at somebody else.
We also reject the defence of the use of bean bags when dealing with patients undergoing a psychotic episode, that psych services are not readily available in the real world of policing; this is an operational reality that management must address and resolve.
Standard operating procedures mean Police are often screaming at a suspect for compliance, which exacerbates any psychotic episode. We accept that Police do not always know if a suspect has the propensity for such outbursts, but part of the police procedure should be to make an effort to find out.
Although it is not always practical, expeditious resolution of an issue where nobody is in direct threat of harm should not be the objective. Instead, the safe resolution for the Police, the community, and the patient/perpetrator must be the primary consideration.
Most importantly, Executive Officers, theoretically the most experienced and capable, often do not assume command in serious incidents; why not?
This is yet another example of where the Executive is letting down the Operational members by not ensuring they are adequately resourced and supported. In these operational matters, a lack of psych resources and effective command and control could be the difference between life or death for the Police or the patient.
Police must be satisfied that all other available resources, including de-escalation techniques and Mental Health Services, are deployed before using these weapons.
The use of containment, not engagement, must be the first option.
The CAA again calls on the Victoria Police to review their policy on the use of potentially lethal weapons where Police members or others are not at imminent life-threatening risk.
On the matter of policy, and to properly inform, we have made a Freedom of Information (FOI) request to view the current policy on using these munitions. The information is not operationally sensitive and should be within the knowledge of the community.
We have been told that the information requested will not be available within the statutory four weeks but hopefully within twenty-seven weeks.
Over six months is a deliberate strategy designed to make inquiries disappear or lose relevance.
If they cannot be dealt with in the four weeks, then it is another management failure by VicPol, and nothing will change until the responsible Executive is held to account, not some clerk.
1st June 2022
Andrew Rule, in his Herald Sun article 22nd of May 2022, ‘Was ‘slug-gate’ a slimy trick to divert public money?”. Has well and truly, let the ‘cat out of the bag.’
This is the most egregious and far-reaching corrupt enterprise to be uncovered in this State.
There will be many very nervous people in the Health Department, Police, Local Government, and a couple of politicians who will face awkward questions about corrupt behaviours. As will the Auditor General, the State financial watchdog, who will need to answer some confronting questions about his efficacy, as he was across the ‘Community Chef’ books showing the failures effectively from the start.
The big question is how did he not detect insolvency.
This is all about a meticulously contrived plan hatched to create a cash cow for recipients not yet revealed.
Simply set up a catering business with government funds in the aged care and hospital food supply chain. The owners of the enterprise ‘Community Chef’, local government, and the Health Department can also be the major customer base.
They also happen to be the industry’s regulators, so the few competitors in this specialised area would rapidly drop off.
The equivalent of having ‘Hungry Jacks’ regulate McDonald’s, what could go wrong? Especially if you disregard gross conflict of interest and criminal conspiracies.
The significant job losses by closing these businesses is an oxymoron to the rationale of establishing ‘Community Chef, to create jobs. The net effect was overall job losses in this sector, one of the most significant smoke and mirrors acts ever perpetrated on the Victorian public
The plan started to look shaky when not all the players in the catering field followed the script. Instead, their nemesis became ICooks, who steadfastly refused to acquiesce to the conspirator’s grand plan. And year after year, ‘Community Chef’ continued to need more cash injections than ever to keep afloat. A basket case enterprise of epic proportions.
The architects of the conspiracy, now with concern almost panic for the future of ‘Community Chef’, moved into arguably illegal actions to achieve their objectives to stave off insolvency, which was arguably evident and covered up for many years.
One of the strongest motivators for the conspirators was the technology that ICooks had developed.
Texture modified food is a technique of processing food, modifying the texture, and then presenting it in its original form. Designed to replace the vitamised muck that people unable to eat solid food have traditionally endured.
When the conspirators launched their offensive against ICooks, we believe it was no coincidence that I Cooks were well advanced in securing a series of multi-Million-dollar contracts for their technology locally and internationally.
The value of this business was heading towards the triple-figure million-dollar levels. Yet, all the contracts ready to complete, worth somewhere north of $20 million, were cancelled because of local government and State bureaucrats interventions. As a result, homegrown technology that was in demand by the world’s markets was lost.
If ICooks could be forced into liquidation, the conspirators could pick up the patents at a bargain price, and the future of the ‘Community Chef’ as a cash cow would be assured. ICooks never liquidated.
The ubiquitous and converted main prize in the game was lost to Community Chef.
‘Community Chef’ has now gone owing millions, absorbed with all its debts by the Health Department currently claiming under-resourcing for health failures in this State. Perhaps spending more wisely would help their current crisis.
The conspirator’s intelligence was a bit like Russia’s intel on Ukraine. They underestimated the resolve of their enemy. Ian Cook refused to quietly accede to the market pressure created by the conspirators. This forced the conspirators to resort to risky strategies, like slugs, to achieve their aims
Amongst ICooks supporters are two retired detectives who have worked pro bono for over two years, putting together volumes of intelligence and evidence in this case. Their dossier exposes conspiracies and a raft of other criminal activities.
The two detectives achieved what the responsible Government entities did not bother, or could not do, to see off this artifice called ‘Community Chef’ and sever the money pipeline that bled the company of millions.
The location of the other end of that pipeline is pretty evident to all involved in this matter. The detectives are now working on converting intelligence gathered into evidence.
The ex-detectives helping ICooks, have lost none of their skills. Although retired you can take police out of policing but not their loyalty to their oath, which is innate.
Slug-gate is heading inextricably and rapidly towards the ‘bring down’ of the perpetrators, their minions, and Kama for the victims.
The infamous Red Shirts Rorts, still being investigated (we think), pales into insignificance. The taxpayer was rorted for $388k, compared to the Slug-gate scandal, which is circa $50 million at a minimum—ultimately heading closer to $100m.
From the first briefing, the Community Advocacy Alliance (CAA) received the CAA formed the view that this was a profoundly serious criminal matter of epic proportions. Further briefings reinforced the initial evaluation.
The failures by responsible agencies are numerous, and the individuals are sure to be exposed.
At the top of the list must be the Auditor General’s Office, who was across the ‘Community Chef’ books but either did not understand what they were looking at, incompetence, or something else.
Not far behind is Victoria Police, who we suspect, given the average lack of knowledge within Policing of corporate operations and governance, did not recognise the issue’s magnitude. However, elements within VicPol who did know acted corruptly.
IBAC has also been very tardy. Given that their inability to investigate the matter was claimed to be manpower, the offer from the CAA of a number of former detectives to investigate on behalf of IBAC pro bono was rejected.
The Slug-gate artifice is a huge issue with tentacles reaching far and wide; this probably understates the reality.
Once the scabs are torn back, what will be revealed will be monumental, leading right to the door of the most powerful leaders in the land.
We strongly encourage Andrew Rule and others to continue to investigate and expose the treacherous conspirators and their criminal misdeeds.
15th of May 2022
The CAA has been operating for over seven years, predominantly funded (90%) by the contribution of membership fees.
We are now entering an election phase in the States political cycle, and we know that the issues we have championed have a better chance of support when politicians are focused on an election.
Preceding the last election, the CAA exhausted its funds on promoting the various CAA causes via social media, and we propose a similar strategy for this election.
Every election is important; however, this one stands out as an election about our fundamental rights to exercise the freedoms that democracy is supposed to offer and the accountability of the Government to the people. Yet, that freedom is challenged by government intrusion into our lives, and we are all damaged by the associated high levels of corruption.
The CAA is not aligned politically, favouring the ideological bent most closely aligned with our values.
To enable us to be heard, we need your help to invest in broadening our reach, currently over 30k, to more Victorians and influence their voting by taking into account the matters we raise.
Our objective is to achieve a Government with Integrity and transparency at its core regardless of the politics. If that is not fulfilled, all the promises are worthless.
Our fight against corruption needs financial support to increase our effectiveness in the public interest. Transparency International estimates corruption to cost $4000 per person per annum. Your support will help us fight corruption and consequential injustices.
To donate, go to https://caainc.org.au/how-to-become-a-donor/
13th May 2022
The announcement by the Ombudsman, Ms Deborah Glass OBE (Herald Sun 11/5/22), that an outsider will probe cronyism is the first sign of cracks appearing in the wall of corruption that is endemic to Victoria.
Corruption can only survive and grow when those who hold positions of power can act in concert, only achievable by widespread cronyism, nepotism and indebtedness.
The Community Advocacy Alliance (CAA) fully supports this initiative and congratulates the Ombudsman on her response to the Government referral.
This chink in this hitherto impenetrable corruption wall will knock out the foundations to bring that edifice tumbling down.
The importance of this announcement cannot be understated.
Once the collapse starts, it will inevitably lead to the breadth and depth of corruption in Victoria being exposed as the conies fight for survival.
A pattern is already evident with the exposé by those involved in the political branch stacking issues. You can expect that pattern to be replicated many times over.
Once the ‘penny has dropped’, that most cronies will suffer financial pain at least, and some may end up in jail; there will be a mad scramble to want to talk to the inquiry. Many realising the ‘jig is up,’ and those who have had their careers and lives ruined by cronyism.
Government entities use the selection panel process to mask cronyism, but a compliant or corrupt selection panel is not a defence but an extension of cronyism.
All Victorians must support every effort to fight this corruption pandemic that costs each Victorian $4000(est) every year and remove those who serve their selfish self-interests instead of the State.
The fewer cronies that survive, the greater the benefit for us all.
The CAA will be making a comprehensive submission and invites input for consideration from members and supporters.
For further information, go to https://www.ombudsman.vic.gov.au/our-impact/news/politicisation-of-the-public-service-issues-paper-and-request-for-submissions/
6th May 2022
The Victoria Police and the Chief Commissioner have a habit of shooting themselves in the foot. With their latest effort, they have managed to shoot both feet.
Some of the baggage inherited from the reign of Chief Commissioner Ashton provided some initial cover for current Chief Shane Patton. He is well on his own now. Not only must he wear shortcomings of his own administration but failings and deficiencies of the previous regime.
The CAA provided support for Mr Patton and has been subjected to substantial criticism for that position, however, we are now concerned our faith was misplaced.
We had been contemplating the improved change in what we saw as positive approach by VicPol to demonstrations against the deportation of criminal detainees.
Our hesitation was the cause being pursued.
A cause of the extreme left of Politics, raised in our view doubts that this change was not an awakening by VicPol on how demonstrations should be managed but a change influenced because of who was demonstrating, a partisan political stand by VicPol.
The police response to civil unrest is bookended by the Black lives matter and the latest refugee demonstrations with the COVID response in between.
If the Government or the Chief Commissioner thought that the disquiet created during the COVID demonstrations will dissipate over the use of capsicum spray, bean bag rounds, riot shields, demonstrators thrown to the ground and many arrested, they have miscalculated badly, they have just poked the bear.
Any doubts as to the political status of VicPol have now been put beyond doubt by the inaction of the Chief Commissioner to the ranting unhinged behaviour of Lidia Thorpe, a member of Parliament and the Greens party.
Her tirade at the police, who showed amazing restraint, was inexcusable on any level but aggravated substantially because of her position as a sitting MP.
That Mr Patton did not immediately come to the defence of the Police members, and the Force to condemn Thorpe’s behaviour is inexcusable and any efforts now will not be considered as authentic, the moment has passed for Patton.
Other than a few police who have a similar political bent, the overwhelming majority of police will be feeling badly let down by their Chief Commissioner to a degree that may not be recoverable.
Equally culpable was the Police Minister Neville. She was conspicuously absent as was the Premier. Yet it was Premier Andrews who relied on those same Police to implement the draconian and unpopular COVID policies that police on the ground wore the brunt of, professionally and privately.
Policing is a thankless job, but when the community leadership collectively fail the Police on the frontline that is a damnable disgrace.
Chief Commissioner Patton now has to be careful that he is not faced with a ’vote of no confidence’ from the Police rank and file, the ones getting abused, assaulted and spat on, as police anger is palpable.
It would be a grave error to assume that will not happen. Pervious Chiefs Reg Jackson and Mick Miller faced a ‘vote of no confidence’ so precedents do exist for such an extraordinary move by Police rank and file. This matter is much more sensitive and coming as it does hot on the heels of the way the COVID Police response was handled. This latest may be the catalyst for discontent to boil over.
As this latest demonstration confirms that the variable responses by Police on the ground are dictated by their command, not the individual police.
Not to be forgotten this misstep comes right on top of the debacle and mishandling of the Sergeant Bruno Staffieri matter. I this matter Sergeant was charged with disciplinary offences and the perpetrator of the abuse of the Chief Commissioners’ own Inclusion Policy was his own deputy. Deputy commissioner Paterson thus far has escaped accountability and the Chief has remained mute.
That Deputy is the same officer who as an Assistant Commissioner appeared before the Royal Commission into Police Informants. At that appearance Mr Paterson admitted on oath that he had failed to tell the Royal Commission for six months that the prime subject of the Commission , barrister Nicola Gobbo had been previously registered as a police informer in 1995.
This action raises the question of a contempt of the Commission. Why no disciplinary action was taken against Paterson for this egregious failure is beyond comprehension when there is no doubt a lower rank would have faced scrutiny without hesitation.
Patton promoted Paterson to Deputy knowing his embarrassing failure before the Royal Commission and the potential for him to face contempt charges.
Getting promoted after misleading a Royal Commission, how does that work?
The relevance of these assorted issues brings into sharp relief the competence of the Chief Commissioner as it can be fairly argued he does not support his rank and file, provides cover for the executive, his lack of ability to select competent people for promotion and his relationship with the Government. Raising the sceptre of promotion by allegiances to Political doctrines rather than competency.
Victoria Police is without doubt politicised and that is not good for the community irrespective of any political views, for that sin we are all victims.
The classic police idiom applies to the Chief Commissioner – Your move Sergeant.
4th May 2022
Damian Johnston in the Australian (25/4/22) has ‘blown the whistle’ on IBAC.
The CAA has long held the view that the ‘show trials’ conducted by IBAC were not a big step away from the medieval stocks, an instrument of the medieval 1300s, where alleged miscreants were exposed to public ridicule without conviction or a trial.
The only difference is that these IBAC ‘show trials’ do not include rotten tomatoes for the masses to throw at the hapless victim.
Operation Sandon, where the former Mayor of the City of Casey took her own life three days after receiving an interim finding from IBAC is something that is inexcusable in our alleged civilised society.
Amanda Stapleton had the indignity of being exposed to an IBAC ‘show trial’ and the most serious allegation put to her was she allegedly failed to declare a $25k political donation. Hardly worth a life but the degree of humiliation seems to have caused the loss.
It is alleged that no new information was achieved by the ‘show trial’ and the destruction of witnesses. Therefore, the exercise was one of humiliation, not examination.
A simple basic tenet of law applies,’ Innocent until proven guilty’ but apparently this does not apply to IBAC.
IBAC bragging about its social media exposure is a disgrace and should of itself be justification for its demise. This has been severely aggravated by the most recent leaks where it would appear that the IBAC media image trumps due process.
What has been amazing is just how quiet the legal fraternity is on this issue given these bastions of traditionalism of the Law are so vocal on any other deviations that impact the law, but holding people to ridicule, a severe punishment in itself, without a conviction or any due process is not challenged.
IBAC should be judged like a famous fish cannery slogan “It is the fish that John West rejects, that makes John West the best”
By applying that slogan to IBAC’s failure to take action on the Red Shirts, COVID Hotels, Racist recidivist Police executive white supremacist rants, politicians travel rorts, Health Department indiscretions, Police executive travel rorts, Police executive bullying, Gobbo affair and Slug-gate are the ones that IBAC rejects and should be judged unmercifully.
How this criminality is allowed to be ignored is a crime of itself.
It seems however, IBAC are well capable of applying substantial resources to a witch hunt called branch stacking. Much more Political than criminal but is an insight into what now must be seen as part of the political apparatus.
Moreover, what this issue also raises has to be the competence of IBAC and their need to resort to their extraordinary powers so, poorly applied.
Clearly, their investigative skills are compromised severely either by a lack of competent investigators, poor management, or both.
Serious consideration must be given to disposing of IBAC and replacing it with a new entity because above all else there is no evidence to suggest that IBAC is reducing corruption by simply picking off favourite cases to pursue. On that basis, they should really be kicking goals.
The latest alleged leaking of an interim report of matters under investigation exacerbates severely the ineptitude of IBAC and given the état d’esprit of IBAC towards the media the probability, that this document was deliberately leaked, is a genuine consideration. If that is so, that must mean the end of IBAC. It does not matter who made the leak, that it happened within IBAC must be worn by the organisation.
There should be no ‘that’s him over there’s problem’ in this one.
The failures are not only of IBAC itself but an even greater failure of the Inspectorate responsible for overseeing the entity and in turn the Parliamentary Oversight Committee. Overall, it is a catastrophic failure morally and at Law.
The CAA has proposed an alternate and a solution detailed at https://caainc.org.au/library/?doing_wp_cron=1650872927.2962388992309570312500 VICTORIA’S ANTI-CORRUPTION WAR
Although “show trials” should be referred to as public examinations. It is that process that is so damaging to both innocent and guilty alike. Like any criminal investigation, the due process of law must be followed and importantly individuals must have their guilt or innocence determined by a Court, not by innuendo or public servants by a public inquisition, where the victim is unable to defend themselves.
The whole process smacks of, ‘we know you did it but because we cannot prove it we will destroy you anyway’.
Even with the ability to pick and choose targets IBAC’s track record is abysmal, they would be unlikely to take on a case that they would lose, but that is probably explained by the criteria now exposed for taking on investigations; Media ratings potential.
The plaintive cry over funding would have to be tested against performance because simply providing more funding will not solve endemic issues within the ethos of the authority.
More funding will exasperate and amplify the problems and corruption will go on unabated.
2nd May 2022
An unholy spat unfolded within Victoria Police last year between a Sergeant with Christian beliefs on the cusp of retiring and a Deputy Commissioner who is openly gay and is not too subtle with his aspirations for the top Police job.
The spat has spilt into the public domain.
When Police join the Force, they take either an Oath or an Affirmation to serve, “without favour or affection, malice or ill will…” The vast majority of Police take this undertaking very seriously.
Concurrent with this, Victoria Police has published the following Inclusion Policy:
Victoria Police is committed to a workforce that embraces diversity and inclusion and our vision for this is: Our policing services are provided through leadership that fosters a diverse, inclusive and respectful workforce, better equipping us to work together to understand and respond to the Victorian community
In 2021, Victoria Police embarked on actions that bear a strong resemblance to the persecution and bullying of one of their own, a Christian, who expressed concerns about using police resources for the apparent promotion of a Gay agenda by one of the force’s most senior officers, Deputy Commissioner Neil Paterson.
Mr Paterson has been instrumental in promoting the inclusion of LGBTQI people into Victoria Police and he applied multiple sworn police to the 2021 Australian LGBTQ+ inclusion awards submission, which resulted in a Silver Award. The Victoria Police submission was undertaken despite the peak of the COVID Pandemic severely stretching Vicpol’s most valuable asset, manpower. To question this resource allocation in the circumstances is reasonable.
Mr Paterson appears to have overstepped the mark with his apparent biased gay agenda bullying of Sergeant Bruno Staffieri, over the latter’s respectful comments and concerns.
No ‘Inclusion Policy’ worth its salt excludes individuals based on their religious beliefs and nor can it be at law. Yet Mr Paterson appears to have done just that, based on what appears to be his response to a respectful and courteously worded dissent expressed by Sergeant Staffieri on the Police internal social media platform.
“ Last year, Deputy Police Commissioner Neil Paterson posted on internal police social media celebrating that “Victoria Police is proud to have been recognised as a silver employer at the 2021 Australian LGBTQ+ inclusion awards.”
In response, Sergeant Staffieri responded: “Yes I agree. Great achievement. But if the public knew how much time, effort and taxpayer dollars went into this, they would also be demanding why we didn’t get a gold.”
Mr Paterson defended the campaign and said it had not received significant public funding.
Sergeant Staffieri responded: “Sir, I totally value and respect your opinion and your rank, I simply ask that you value and respect mine.”
Mr Paterson, the state’s second highest-ranked police officer, fired a public broadside at Sergeant Staffieri, suggesting he consider looking for a new job.
“I don’t respect or value your views as they are offensive and there is no place for those views in Victoria Police…. Either limit your comments on Yammer to comments that are respectful of everyone or consider your employment options,” Paterson posted -source https://www.advanceaustralia.org.au/this_victorian_copper_is_a_bloody_aussie_legend
Sergeant Staffieri displayed a respectful tone while expressing concern over the resources which went into achieving recognition of Victoria Police for its inclusiveness. Mr Paterson, on the other hand, was bullying and anything but respectful or inclusive in his response to the Sergeant.
Sergeant Staffieri has since been subjected to a protracted and ongoing investigation, as a consequence of this exchange and has apparently been charged under the Police Act and has now after two years been advised he will be suspended.
The aggressor and person who would appear to have breached the Chief Commissioner’s Inclusion Policy appears not to have been disciplined.
We applaud Victoria Police for seeking to include LGBTQ+ people into the organisation. But inclusion does not mean giving them a place of pre-eminence over others. Inclusion also does not mean forcing out others because they seek to politely voice their beliefs respectfully, influenced by their religion.
The Deputy was responsible for escalating this matter into a religion versus gay spat. That he did not think through the impact the spat would attract, brings his judgement into serious question in addition to his deliberate breaching of Force Policy.
We find it hard to accept he is so naive that he would think the contentious comments published on an internal VicPol Social page available to 22,000 police staff, would not find a way into mainstream media and be widely circulated on public social media. We strongly suspect the action was either wholly reckless or deliberate.
If you don’t want it to get out, don’t write it.
So how has such an experienced senior officer as Mr Paterson fallen into such serious error? Could it be that ambition plays a part? Ambition for the LGBTQ+ community or ambition for himself? Mr Paterson appears to have made LGBTQ+ inclusion, his personal agenda and in doing so appears to have lost objectivity critical to his role as one of the most senior leaders in a major Australian policing agency.
As a police leader, he must lead for all, not just some. Mr Paterson appears to have failed significantly in his most important duty – leadership. This brings into question his suitability to remain at that very senior level, let alone progress to higher office when the Chief Commissioner’s Office becomes vacant.
We should also be concerned over the apparent inaction of Chief Commissioner Patton in this debacle from whom we hear nothing. Most significantly because this egregious breach of force policy is the Chief Commissioners’ own Policy.
Paterson has thrown down the gauntlet to Patton, in a not too subtle challenge to the Chief Commissioners’ authority. A blatant act of dissension that cannot be tolerated in any circumstance from any Police member let alone somebody of Paterson’s rank.
Mr Patton holds the highest office in Victoria Police and therefore, arguably, the highest duty to lead his police. Mr Patton is singularly silent in this matter, apparently preferring to leave it to others in Command to mount what looks, from the outside, alarmingly like a campaign of religious persecution against Sergeant Staffieri for daring to respectfully dissent.
All this is against a backdrop where Victoria Police have serially neglected their duty in a range of very serious investigations including ‘The Red Shirts’ and ‘Slug Gate’. It seems that the police no longer catch real crooks. They prefer to ‘catch and kill’ their own.
To think this all could have been avoided if the Deputy had shown a modicum of Leadership and called the Sergeant in for a cup of coffee and an informal chat to avoid any spat engulfing VicPol and now the Chief.
The actions of the Deputy have left the Chief Commissioner in the untenable position, to either side with the Deputy, or allow this breach of his authority to stand, alienating a sizable proportion of his workforce and the community.
So, what should happen? Chief Commissioner Patton must show the leadership of his position and immediately intervene.
The discipline charges against Sergeant Staffieri must be immediately withdrawn. If the Sergeant’s conduct is in error, he should be counselled and provided appropriate supervision and training. Or he could be allowed to continue on long Service Leave and retire with dignity, as was his intention after having provided 35 years of fearless and exemplary service to the people of Victoria.
Yes, Sergeant Staffieri was actually on Long Service Leave leading to retirement when he was brought back to duty, interviewed under direction, and advised he was to be suspended from duty.
Mr Patton has little choice but to refer the conduct of his Deputy Mr Paterson to IBAC for investigation during which time Paterson should be suspended. That precedent has been set by the way Staffieri has been managed. Mr Paterson’s potential breaches of Sections 342 (Adverse Action) and 789FD (Bullying) of the Fair Work Act (Cth) were apparent in his ‘public’ diatribe directed at Sergeant Staffieri. The singling out and charging of the Sergeant also arguably amount to further ‘Adverse Action’ by Victoria Police against Sergeant Staffieri.
An apparent power struggle by Paterson against the Chief does VicPol no favours, his continued service is untenable.
It does seem as though some 11th hour sanity may be being applied with the Sergeant now advised that he will not be suspended. This should be the precursor to the charges being dropped. However, this does not detract from the serious breaches by the Deputy.
We can hope the Chief has stepped in and will stamp his authority on the force by terminating Paterson.
24th April 2022
An ex-police detective Shane Reid who took a photo of former AFL coach Dani Laidley in custody has been cleared of all charges leaving a fair amount of egg on the face of the Victoria Police, which must be severely embarrassing.
If not, then it should be.
Severely embarrassed because VicPol with all the resources applied to this matter VicPol could not work out that there was no criminality on the ex-Detectives part.
Poor management prioritisation grinds with all Victorians who have waited for Police never to arrive to deal with their problems and the failure to prosecute blatant criminality in the Red Shirts and Slug-Gate matters.
A matter of woke trumping responsibility.
The issue of whether Dani Laidley is a cross-dresser is of no concern to us. Examples of cross-dressing date back thousands of years in various cultures, it is not something of particular import.
But what does greatly concern us are the priorities to which VicPol applies its resources. In this case to a non-offence.
After a long investigation and a two-day Court hearing, the magistrate found that,
“The prosecution had failed to establish the ex-detective’s actions were criminal behaviour rather than workplace misconduct.”
Dismissing the charges, the Magistrate ordered that the Chief Commissioner (us) pay ex-detective Reid’s costs.
We agree that the photographing of Laidley was inappropriate, unprofessional and aggravated by passing it on, albeit to a closed social media site and deserved disciplinary sanctions but whether that included suspensions or dismissal, we doubt it.
What has been overlooked by all the hullabaloo about the Police action is that Laidley was in the Police Station to be charged with “Stalking” offences. Stalking can be a horrendous experience for the victim and given the nature of the stalking, as reported, it would be on the higher end of the scale. Ultimately pleading guilty there is no doubt Laidley’s behaviour was abhorrent.
Seven police employees were suspended and another six were transferred to other duties over the incident.
“Assistant Commissioner Shane Patton described it at the time as appalling and unlawful criminal conduct.” https://www.afl.com.au/news/524813/former-north-coach-dani-laidley-avoids-conviction-for-stalking#
It is unclear if he is referring to Police or Laidley, we hope the latter.
Now that the behaviour is identified by the court was not criminal, the thirteen officers should now be returned to active duty albeit that some disciplinary issues may need resolution but given the dire need for police on our streets and with the Court finding ratcheting down the outrage any residual disciplinary matters should suffer the same treatment.
We cannot afford to lose any of them, they cost too much, and it is our money after all.
This exercise by VicPol was clearly motivated by wanting to appear woke and no matter how much they wished that the matter was a criminal offence it was not, and wishing it so makes it more of an embarrassment. Interesting to know what diminutive part of the community they were trying to impress, it certainly was not mainstream.
VicPol needs to focus on their function not trying to be woke social progressives at our expense, in dollar terms and service.
Remember it is our money, not yours to spend on social whims.
All in all, much to do about not very much except the cost to us.
Time to get back to the real job at hand.
20th April 2022
Commentating on matters associated with Victoria Police is fraught with difficulty as we are often faced with conundrums that are particularly hard to decipher.
The current issue gaining community traction is the ‘crisis of trust’ in VicPol, and is a ‘case in point’.
We have all seen and been dismayed at the blatant criminality passed over by Vicpol but minor internal misdemeanours, are pursued with unbridled vigour, albeit many are not malicious.
This leaves the community lamenting why that vigour cannot be applied to blatant and more serious crimes.
Ironically, the current level of leak traffic to the media is directly proportionate to the disquiet of the police members. Police talk when frustrated and people listen, people talk to the journalists and that is how most information is leaked.
Police live in and are part of the community. Something often overlooked by Police Executives.
There appears to be a culture amongst Police executives that they live in a bubble and operate on flawed assumptions. Media letters from the public support this hypothesis.
The consequence of the ‘Bubble effect’ in policing is inward-looking policing rather than the obverse, which is the most effective Policing model, where community expectations are measured and met.
Although community Policing plays an important role in building a Trust surplus, creating an aura of politicisation by assuming a legal role beyond their remit negates these efforts.
Policing is a function for the people, not the few who run it. Trotting out the most inane spin or even worse, non-information, creates conjecture to replace facts within the community further fuelling the Trust Crisis deficit.
From the CAA’s first meeting with Shane Patton to recent times, an oxymoron has evolved. What was said and what we see do not gel.
There have been a number of own goals that have eroded trust but paradoxically they can be resolved and act as a net positive; all it takes is good management and leadership.
The Red Shirts and ICooks (Slug-Gate) matters could be resolved and converted overnight by simply having the matters bought before the Courts and having the Courts the arbiter, not VicPol.
Based, we assume on poor advice, VicPol hunkered down on these two matters but significantly and even at his stage it would not be embarrassing to change tack and properly investigate both matters and put perpetrators before the courts.
That would be leadership, something that the public believes is sadly lacking and will respond to positively.
The other hot issue in the community is the Policing of Anti-vax, Anti-lockdown demonstrations during the pandemic.
This hurt will not heal any time soon.
The community is divided on whether or not the demonstrations should have occurred, but united in condemnation of many of the police tactics.
It would be foolish to assume that opponents of the Police actions are only from the anti-vax lobby.
Rather than have this issue fester away VicPol should exercise strong leadership and acknowledge the community’s anguish and undertake its own public inquiry into the issues with the intent of shaping Police policy. Allowing the public to vent their anger may not be palatable for Police but would lead to effective policy changes.
Patton certainly has had multiple opportunities to right some wrongs, but it gives the appearance that he is not running the show.
For everybody in the CAA who had the privilege of meeting Patton and listening to his blueprint for the future of Policing, we are disappointed in the reality of that commitment.
We strongly suspect an informal cabal of executives similar to when Ashton was Chief is effectively holding sway because VicPol has continued on a similar trajectory from the previous administration to the current one. with little meaningful change apart from some peripheral rhetoric,
Whether that cabal is identifiable as an entity or is a linking of like-minded individuals is difficult to identify. It could be based on social, political or some other commonality but these movements are usually spawned by a leadership vacuum.
The seeds of this problem were cast before Patton’s tenure making the malcontents in the Executive easy to identify.
However, the excuse that it is a big ship to turn around is no longer valid.
There is a risk for Patton that the Government may decide to shorten his tenure so that all the negative aspects of policing, Gobbo, Red Shirts, Slug-gate, Cardinal Pell, some COVID failures, poorly managed Demonstrations, applying Vax mandates and several other issues can be brushed away with his demise.
His best defence is to resolve them.
If he doesn’t he could get to carry out the political baggage before November.
The Government has a strong track record in this dark art.
A newly minted Chief, a political apparatchik or one that has a high profile as a social progressive capable of moving Policing in that direction would be inevitable.
We are told the chatter in high places along these lines is mooted and advanced.
A strong and independent Patton is far more desirable than what the alternative may throw up. There would be no doubt he would know who the underminers are and he should show strength as a leader and remove them.
It is time for Patton to decide whether his legacy will be as a bag carrier, or will he be the Chief Commissioner that turns the ship around and be held up in perpetuity alongside other luminaries that have held this high office.
12th of April 2022
There is undeniable community angst about the Police response to certain anti-Vax, anti-Mandate demonstrations in this State. Much of that anger is directed at Police Command and we do not intend to argue justification, because we believe there is none.
If this was one isolated case, then that is one thing, but this behaviour was exercised time and again over an extended period aggravating people into even more social unrest.
The complete antithesis of what good police strategies should be.
What concerns us is the failure of our system of Government.
Apart from the Police making operational command decisions that aggravated the whole issue we ask what the Police Minister, the Premier and the Emergency Cabinet were doing, not to intervene because they have accountability in this matter equal to the Police command.
It was their rules police were required to enforce.
The most effective Policing strategy for demonstrations is passive resistance, holding a line, not the guerrilla warfare approach where individual police are allowed to break away and make strategic lunges into the fray.
These ill-disciplined high-risk forays degrade the police to no better than the demonstrators and may well be just as unlawful.
This latter strategy, of which there is overwhelming evidence, places both the police and the demonstrators at huge risk of injury and is never likely to achieve the objectives, which to this day remains unclear.
We have never understood why the Police Association did not intervene over the risk to their members whose interests they should be representing.
Putting Police in situations with badly flawed strategies at such huge personal risk is unforgivable.
Apart from the overall strategy failures, there were specific failures within the morass of Command, that need to be highlighted.
The CAA understands that it was the Victoria Police Critical Incident Response Team (CIRT) who deployed ‘bean bag’ and ‘plastic baton’ (Rubber Bullets) munitions against crowds during the unauthorised COVID marches in Elizabeth Street and at the Shrine of Remembrance.
It has been reported to us that CIRT Police fired so many rounds at the Elizabeth Street incident that a car had to be despatched back to CIRT for resupply of ammunition. We have not confirmed this report.
We understand that CIRT makes a specific reference in its training that these weapons are not to be used in crowd control situations. Yet it is our understanding that both projectiles were indiscriminately deployed by CIRT against multiple targets during both incidents, contrary to both policy and training.
‘Bean bag’ rounds are shotgun projectiles fired from the Victoria Police Remington shotguns on issue to CIRT. Plastic ‘baton’ rounds (sometimes mistakenly called ‘rubber bullets’) are projectiles fired from 40mm grenade launchers. Both are usually used by specialist police, including CIRT, in the resolution of critical incidents such as Armed offenders, Terror or Hostage situations
These munitions are known as ‘less lethal’ because they are usually less likely to cause death than conventional ammunition fired from traditional police service weapons. Neither bean bag nor plastic baton rounds are considered totally ‘non-lethal’ as bean bag rounds have been known to penetrate targets causing wounding and death. This raises significant and serious questions as to whether their use at both Elizabeth Street and the Shrine constituted ‘reasonable force’ under the Crimes Act.
It is the CAA’s view that bean bag and plastic baton munitions should not be deployed for crowd control purposes. Both projectiles suffer from accuracy problems when used against moving targets or over distances greater than 15-20 metres. Both munitions can also cause very serious injury and, as seen overseas, lead to deaths if they strike vulnerable parts of the human anatomy. It follows that their use should be restricted to extremely limited circumstances.
The CAA acknowledges that these munitions are essential in certain high-risk situations against dangerous offenders. It is our view, however, that demonstrations and crowd control are not appropriate situations.
The CAA notes that demonstrators often use physical contact with Police as a technique to elicit an adverse response from Police to make their point and/or to gain media attention for their cause. That said, we fail to see why Force Command does not negate these actions (prevention) and reduce the risk of physical harm to Police and demonstrators by using proven tactics, like appropriate chemical agents and Water.
Euphemistically called, Water Cannons they should be procured urgenlty and deployed for these events as a matter of course.
Drenching people in an unlawful assembly will dampen the enthusiasm of all but the extremists bent on lawlessness, who can then be dealt with by the full force of the water.
It might be smart to acquire a couple of modified Bushmasters (locally built) that can have a dual purpose during the fire season making the deal cost-effective.
With water cannons, big is not always best, two midsized vehicles would give flexibility to commanders and the ability to interchange to maintain pressure while refilling.
A former Commissioner from another state has lamented that his police force had a Water Cannon, but it was never used.
Perhaps having it was the reason they never had to use it.
5th April 2022
As a Nation, we have the privilege of knowing who our continent’s first peoples are, and we can share in their culture that has helped build Australia into the country it now is.
With the millions of dollars spent on these people each year, it is a national disgrace that many of them seem to live in abject neglect.
With all the much-publicised disadvantages these people endure, health is by ‘far and away’ the most important, surpassing the populist issues promoted by many who have no real empathy for these people but appear to be on self-promotional jaunts.
If health in the indigenous communities is ever going to be addressed properly then the basics need to be addressed and without argument, Nutrition has to be the key first building block.
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.
The role of hygiene is not far behind but if people are not getting proper nutrition, they are less likely to be concerned or have the will to address other needs like hygiene.
The same needs apply to a raft of other issues that these people are confronted with. Children not accessing good nutrition are less likely to develop well and be more susceptible to disease and less likely to receive an education of value. Poor nutrition plays a part in substance abuse or the will, to create a better life for their family.
The activists who we mostly hear from are generally of the extreme left of politics, both white and black so it is therefore very surprising that the Victorian Government stymied what could be the single most significant innovative strategy devised to turn the fortunes of the indigenous people in a most significant and practical way.
The tyranny of distance, lack of resources and knowledge, including access to appropriate food, was about to be addressed when the Victorian State Government intervened and on spurious grounds closed down the business developing the technology to address these issues without the slightest consideration of the consequences on two groups, the aged and the indigenous.
The day that the representatives of the Derri Aboriginal Corporation from South Australia arrived with cheque in hand at the ICooks Factory in Dandenong for a meeting to ‘ink the deal’ which had been negotiated over many months, the State Government had closed the factory by Health Order. The Derri people were confronted with a taped-up business with Health closure notices pinned to the door. They had no choice but to turn around and go home, deal blown there and then.
But what was this deal that had these aboriginal elders travel thousands of kilometres to secure?
ICooks had developed a patented process of texture modification of food so it was easily digestible, maintained its heath properties and was easy to store, transport and prepare. Pasteurised in the manufacturing process it was also very safe.
Technology was tested and capable of providing traditional foods appropriate for the indigenous people of a geographic area. Crocodile and turtle may be preferred in the Northern realms where freshwater fish and Kangaroo may not, but would be preferred in the more southern areas.
We have no real idea of the preferences and simply provide these examples of the potential of the technology also recognised by The Derri people.
The deal centred around a partnership/share arrangement between ICooks and the corporation to establish the capacity for texture modification of Native food in South Australia providing work for Indigenous people in the supply and sourcing of suitable food and if necessary, explore the ability to farm produce to establish reliable supply inputs. Preparation and processing through ultimately to distribution would provide substantial employment opportunities.
All undertaken by a company they had equity in.
As it was presented the Cooks deal would not only facilitate a new facility in South Australia but would have a continual link to ICooks to ensure local staff were trained in how to operate the equipment for a sustainable long term enterprise.
The vision of the Derri people and ICooks was the possibility of creating a national network of texture modification facilities tailored to the region they service.
Any good chef will always admit that presentation is as important as the flavour and the ICooks Texture modified product is easily digestible and prepared without compromising the benefits that each food group provides. This is particularly suitable for people that have dental issues or other issues making it difficult to swallow.
Using this process and making it available through Supermarket chains with more traditional foods could also be attractive.
The current option in medical facilities is that food is Vitamised and when presented to the patient (Victim) it resembles bodily waste and is as appetising.
Although a problem in indigenous communities the broader application in the general population of good nutrition is essential particularly when people are recovering from Medical interventions, disease or age-related decline.
That society as a whole has been deprived of this technology is a disgrace and those responsible must be held to account.
It is time that the Federal government intervened to sort this mess created by the Victorian government and get it implemented.
22nd March 2022
Melb. Age March 20/2022 False level of assurance.
Here we go again; the only corruption in town must be the coppers.
But in reality, it does not matter where you look; there is corruption everywhere in Victoria. Known as the State of Corruption, we need to focus on the Police because they investigate most of the complaints against themselves, an outrageous situation that must be stopped immediately.
How dare we have a system where; miscreants are investigated by their peers? It must be prevented because that is apparently the problem.
While we are looking at the Police investigating Police, we should also look at these professions,
- The Judiciary,
- Medical Disciplines,
- Scientific Disciplines,
- The Armed Forces,
And all entities in the private, public and NFP sectors we deal with every day.
But somehow, Policing is the only profession where this process is vilified but paradoxically, they possess the best skill sets to undertake the task.
The reality, however, is that the entities, over time designed for this task, Police Ombudsman, Office of Police Integrity (OPI) and IBAC, have all failed because they were nothing more than name changes with most of the staff moving with the name (taking incompetence with them) and a bit of tinkering around the edges.
Doing the same thing today as you did yesterday and expecting a different result is the height of absurdity, but that’s what has happened.
The near-universal rules barring the use of Police investigators by these entities are a large part of the problem. These entities need the best investigators available, and bureaucrats are nowhere near up to standard.
Many Politicians and Bureaucrats think they know how Police think; Police, on the other hand, don’t think they know; they do.
Dealing with the article’s headline issue, Nicolo Gobbo, that matter has been and is currently being dealt with through the legal system. While there is no debate that some Police acted improperly and even criminally, what is often overlooked is that there was one Policeman who attempted to deal with the matter.
His career was terminated for his efforts. The then Deputy Police Commissioner, Sir Ken Jones, took the issues to a senior Jurist and then a Deputy Ombudsman. The failure of those he sought assistance from cost him his career for his efforts, and the Gobbo affair rolled on unchecked.
Incidentally, the support for Ken Jones amongst Police, both serving and former, was and remains very high. He is seen as a leader with integrity.
Arguably, the failure of the Judicial officer and the Deputy Ombudsman makes them as culpable as some of the other perpetrators exposed by the Royal Commission. But as we have learned, the focus is always on the Police, and these two responsible Officers’ failures were apparently not examined.
The other references in the article do not indicate a corrupt Police force but that there is corruption in Victoria Police, and only a fool would argue that there is not.
But guess what, corruption also exists in the other professions listed earlier.
Central to this piece are the comments attributed to Dr Maguire, the former Police Ombudsman of Northern Ireland.
“The reality is if you make a complaint against a police officer, 98 per cent of cases are going to be investigated by another police officer. And the powers of IBAC [Victoria’s Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission] dealing with criminality is limited. What does this say about trust and confidence in policing itself?”
Well, Dr Maguire, it does not say all Police are corrupt and within the 18,000 members of the Victoria Police currently serving, and the many thousands of former Police who also served this State with honour and integrity, only a tiny proportion are or have been found to be corrupt. That says a lot about trust and confidence in policing itself.
Given their function in the community, they are remarkably uncorrupted as a group, which some of the other professions cannot lay claim to.
Additionally, Policing has been subjected over many years to more scrutiny, including external inquiries and Royal Commissions, than any of the other groups.
The lack of resources within IBAC is sighted as a significant issue. Still, a cursory look at IBAC shows that rather than not having sufficient resources, they have major management failures.
To emphasise the incompetence, recently, there has been wide publicity of the effort of IBAC in investigating Branch Stacking within the Australian Labour Party Victorian division. In private and public hearings, the use of expensive covert tactics and the application of the IBAC powers compelling witnesses was exercised, and no doubt many other resources were applied to this investigation.
The irony is that, albeit there is perhaps some criminality, the major victim was the Labour party itself, not the more general population of the State. Yes, you can try to argue that it impacted the governance of the State but nowhere near as severe as the suspension of the Democratic processes that have been suspended within the party by its own leaders.
Of course, a cynic may say that this whole IBAC investigation was to pull down power brokers within the party not aligned with the current executive of Government.
A Political power struggle with IBAC the weapon. What better way to quell your ‘frenemies’ than using IBAC. We are not suggesting this is true; only, it could be viewed that way. If it is true, then IBAC is complicit in corruption.
Now while the IBAC was ensconced in that investigation, a small matter of Slug-Gate reared into the light. A small business subjected to corrupt Government Officials put out of business to try to save a competitor that just happened to be owned and financed by the Government.
Forty-one people lost their jobs in a vain attempt to save the Government business gifted over twenty million dollars ($20m) that had operated for nine years without turning a profit once. The Victorian Auditor-General, who we would have thought was charged with making sure our taxes were not wantonly fritted away, turned a blind eye to what would appear to be a company operating while insolvent for close to nine years. But that is all ok; it was a Government-sponsored business.
What really shows up the incompetence or misguided management of IBAC is that the CAA offered the IBAC Commissioner the services of a number of ex-detectives with intimate knowledge of the Slug-Gate case Pro Bono.
They were prepared to work under whatever conditions and rules the Commissioner may apply. The IBAC Act provides the Commissioner power to accept the offer legally.
We suspect there are other (political) agendas at work, so the cries of insufficient IBAC resources should be treated as not worth the salt.
Perhaps it is not Politicly comfortable to have the corruption around the Slug-gate affair determined and aired. With a number of suspects closely aligned to the current Government, IBAC may not be looked on kindly exposing the rot.
Rather than always looking for how the Police can be further scrutinised, so-called experts could apply some effort to address corruption by preventing it.
They would instead prefer to work at promoting the cabal of corruption fighters to build their industry rather than address the more difficult prevention question.
It is a sad indictment on the media that they do not see this for what it is.
2nd March 2022
Do you get the feeling that corruption is on the increase?
If you do, then you would be right, and not alone, according to the annual 2021 Global corruption perceptions index published by Transparency International.
The index measuring corruption perceptions across 180 countries shows Australia has crashed out of the rarefied prime top group, which still includes New Zealand, to drop by twelve points, a significant downward move.
This index has recorded a trend for Australia that is not pretty accelerating in the wrong direction.
The current measure should have our leaders scurrying for a solution.
The index is based on-
“Unfair and opaque political financing and undue influence in decision making and lobbying by powerful interest groups” in some democracies including Australia may have resulted in the increased perception of corruption, Transparency International says.”
There is something disturbingly familiar with the definition by Transparency International that will resonate very strongly with every Victorian, irrespective of their political bent.
As previously published by the CAA, corruption is estimated to cost each person $4000, so for a nuclear family, Two +Two, that estimate equates to $12000 P/A, a cost most of these families could well do without.
We know that corruption in this State extends well beyond this definition, but we do not see an appetite from the ruling Politicians to address the problem, perhaps because it may adversely impact them?
It has undoubtedly impacted those Politicians who have been exposed, albeit at an unbelievable snail’s pace, by the responsible authorities.
The way these authorities are going, many of the miscreants will be either retired (on a fat pension) or expired permanently by natural attrition by the time the process grinds to a Court.
Looking at many of the alleged corrupt practises identified and the relevant offences perpetrated, it beggars’ belief that responsible authorities can be so inept at charging suspects.
The CAA has a number of retired Police in its midst. All have at some stage charged and achieved convictions for offences parallel to those exposed in current corruption investigations. The number well into the thousands over an extended period, so they have an insight into the process.
A complex investigation may take some months, but once a ‘prima facie’ case has been established, the suspect is charged, and the Courts then deal with the process from there.
As reported in the Herald Sun on the 2nd of March under the banner ‘Rogue car dealers, exporters caught up in major crime probe.’
Competent Police investigators charged forty- three (43) people with two hundred and fifty (250) offences, sized twenty-five vehicles (25) worth more than $1.75m – and that investigation took just four (4) months.
The difference between the two comparison groups is with the Rogue car dealers, police would be dealing with hardened criminals where the second group are predominantly first offenders. However, they have unlimited legal support and Political influence. But that is no excuse as legal representation cannot and political influence must not alter the facts, and facts are what achieves a conviction.
Some of the allegations which have exposed possible offences are very straightforward and could be processed by a first-year constable. Still, the authorities procrastinate for years either by incompetence or a lack of conviction to prosecute those that sign their paycheque.
The responsible agencies cannot hide behind COVID; this failure to act against corruption precedes the Pandemic. Any adverse impact of COVID would expose gross mismanagement of the authority.
We often wonder whether this failure to act, is deliberate and is corrupt itself.
26th February 2022
This corruption list compiled by the CAA is from public records and is a quantitative sample of those that we could locate.
As you read through this list, the challenge is to identify which of these acts would not have happened or would have been mitigated had there been appropriate and adequate supervision.
Corruption hurts us more than we think.
The World Economic Forum estimates the cost of Corruption is 5% of GDP Worldwide.
Victoria represents 23.6% of Australia’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of $1.985 trillion. Therefore, Victoria’s Gross State Product (GSP) is estimated at $467.876 billion. Corruption at 5% of that number would be $23.938 Billion or approximately $4,000 per citizen.
Although hard to be precise, we suggest a nuclear family could be losing somewhere around $10,000 per annum. Whatever that number is, we cannot afford it.
Ironically those who perpetuate Corruption are also losing that amount – Corruption does not necessarily pay.
By our count, a staggering 90% of these matters would have either not occurred or would have been lessened with proper supervision and management, complying with basic Governance rules.
Nothing will change until the managers at all levels are held to account and suffer penalties for their failures, and that can probably only be achieved by a ‘Hue and cry’ from the community otherwise, we fear the corruption train will continue at full pace.
Many of these examples transcend multiple levels of management and the current attitude that the higher the station in an organisation, the less is their accountability.
This is a false premise; as you will see by the list, many perpetrators were themselves in the upper reaches of their organisations. But they all had something in common, irrespective of where they are in the order of things; a higher authority that they reported to, and it would seem those with power are never held to account.
To curb Corruption, accountability and Integrity must be sharpened, and any deviations of Governance reined in, the higher the hierarchy ladder is ascended.
The premise that those removed from where they might get their hands dirty are not accountable must be reversed, and consequences for failure applied.
Why should they not be held to the same level of accountability as the perpetrators?
||Casey Council land deals – involving Developers
||$35m COVID Hotel Security– Unified Security contract.-
V/Line Transclean cleaning contractors scam.- Sacked V/Line boss accepted a triple-figure sum from a cleaning contractor.
||VicPol $60m IBM IT upgrade fiasco. Allegedly an unqualified mate of a senior Police executive was given the plumb IT project management job without IT experience. The money allocated for the upgrade has mysteriously vanished. Apart from the obvious, the Corruption of not looking for the money and the culpability of others is a disgrace.
||Change to Local Government Act. Fines by Council go direct to them, not consolidated revenue. This coincides with the allegation by Adem Somyurek describing the workings of the “Spoiler System” and is a recipe for Corruption.
||Chief Health Officer closed ICooks without power or evidence. (Slug gate)
||Land transactions by a Minister – Property deal facilitated by the Property developer, the principle In the Casey Council affair for $1m over market value. It was sold allegedly to the owner of the preferred contractor for the DHHS Contact Tracing Contract.- Walks like a duck talks like a duck, probably is Corruption.
||St Basils and Jenny Mikakos, As Health Minister, she allegedly had shares (a financial interest) in the nursing home St Basils, the subject of 50 deaths due to the Covid 19 virus. The former director of St Basil’s nursing home refused to give evidence to the Coroner on the grounds of self-incrimination. What was the crime that self-incrimination was used to protect?
||Red Shirts – Police investigators had compiled briefs of evidence implicating Politicians and staffers in criminal activity but were not permitted to proceed by VicPol hierarchy.
||Politician ferrying dogs at State expense no recrimination or investigation.
||Labor Branch stacking usurping our democracy is currently under investigation.
||NBN rorting exposed a senior manager employed by Places Victoria who was involved in serious corrupt conduct.
||The infamous Gobbo affair– corrupt executive police Officers, exposed by the Royal Commission and are still serving in positions of executive authority.– suspensions only apply to the other ranks. Be interesting if any of their contracts were renewed post the Royal Commission
||Fraudulent travel claims. Submitted by Politicians and the crime was not investigated, and no charges for the theft.
||The death of Sergeant Tony Van Gorp The circumstances that led to the death of Sergeant Tony Van Gorp of Healesville has never been adequately investigated.
||Carl William’s execution Has never been fully exposed as who made the informer allegation which ensured his demise. Was it from VicPol?
||801 deaths caused by Government corruption and incompetence have never been thoroughly investigated.
||Local government scam. Parking penalty notices removed from vehicles, Evidence Tampering, to secure late payment penalty – consequence of Item 5 ‘Spoiler System’.
||Disgusting trolling. By a member of the Police executive, who admits offences publicly but never charged with the relevant Telecommunications Act Offences or Misconduct in Public Office as he used Government IT to troll.
||Vengeance against a Business owner. The same Executive police Officer (item 20) was involved in and publicly defamed a business owner and submitted questionable breach notices to the responsible authority. The civil case settled in favour of the Business owner, but no investigation into this corrupt episode occurred, and the Executive was never charged.
||$1.44 Billion cost overruns of IT projects. Ombudsman report 2011 on $1.44 Billion cost overruns of IT projects, VicPol, Myki, Dept of Education Health Smart system and other internal upgrades _Costs were generally double the original contract price.- Incompetence or, more likely systemic Corruption but no criminal investigation. And where was the Auditor General, and did that Office have monumental fail?
||Community Chef. Set up by politicians to compete in the catering industry, the Business lost somewhere well over $28million and closed after 9 years owing $6million. Was this company set up to be milked for other purposes? – no investigation nobody held to account. Again where was the Auditor General?
||A Former Chief Commissioner accepted a free VIP flight. When in Office and tried to blame their partner. The lie was exposed, the graft was received by the Chief Commissioner. No action for the falsehood or the Corruption.
||Perjury by Health Officer- A local Government Health Officer committed perjury in a statement and perjury to a Parliamentary Inquiry– no offence pursued.
||Conflicts of interest by Council CEO. The only witness in the George Pell trial was given a job by a Municipal council immediately after Pell was convicted. The Council CEO was previously the Chief Commissioner at the time and hopelessly conflicted. Was the job used as an inducement to the witness? We will never know because the High Court dismissed the case against Pell there is no examination into the propriety of this conviction and if Corruption was involved.
||Corrupt Vatican Official- A disgraced corrupt Vatican Official transferred multiple Millions of Dollars to Australia, and money was potentially removed from the Vatican. Those criminal activities were involved in these transactions has never been exposed, and that is Corruption by Victorian officials.
||Corrupt DHHS CEO letting consultancy to personal friends abusing expenses. IBAC
||Vic. Vocational Ed TAFE, Bendigo Kagan Institute &V/Line multiple offenders over a number of years involving many millions of Dollars IBAC.
||Department of Education corrupt dealings re Department Ultranet contracts IBAC
||Department of Education Banker schools rort IBAC
||Vic. Regional Health’s former CEO corrupt practices IBAC.
||Arrest of a mental patient – six police charged over the detention of mental patient under instruction from DHHS in Preston IBAC.
||Ballarat Police Station Allegations of assault and other matters at Ballarat Police station. IBAC
||Government / Fire Union corruption probe – currently underway.
||Local Government election rorts A former councillor his wife and daughter are charged with 75 counts of electoral fraud announced 25th Feb,
This is just a snapshot to indicate the type and breadth of Corruption in this State, and we are confident that this is only a small percentage of known corrupt practices, but it is anybody’s guess as to the totality of the problem.
The only way things will change is if the community is made aware of the stench, and they become motivated and vocal to protect their own interests.
We need committed politicians who understand the problem to address the matter properly and that can only occur if the public applies pressure to them.
The community has the opportunity this election year to have an impact.
It is whether they can be motivated.
25th February 2022
SAFE QUARANTINE – NOT SAFE INJECTING ROOMS
The CAA has previously argued for the introduction of a quarantine approach to drug addicts that will save lives and reduce harm, not just for the addicts but all Victorians.
As the perennial issue of decriminalising and the expansion of Safe Injecting rooms is again being spruiked by the apologists for the drug Lords eager to expand their trade, a perversion of the free market principles, it is appropriate that the proposition previously submitted by the CAA should be revisited and genuine evaluation of the proposal be undertaken.
DRUG QUARANTINE – A NEW PARADIGM.
24th June 2021
There is no argument based on fact, that we are winning the war on drugs. The benefit of the millions of dollars applied to the supply side of the illicit drug trade can only be described as relatively ineffective on any cost-benefit analysis. Equally, there is no effective broad-based proactive strategy to address the issue of users, the demand side.
Huge drug busts should not be the measure of success for law enforcement because, at best, it causes some disruption. But, as one commentator quipped, syndicates allow in their business model for law enforcement to have some success as well as being ripped off by other criminals. Still, the vast profits make these risks worthwhile.
We do not suggest targeting criminals of the illicit drug trade be wound back. However, to make the war on drugs deliver some impact on the illicit trade, we need to attack not only the product but the hearts and minds of users and potential users, and that is the demand side of the equation.
With reduced demand, the supply will ultimately shrink after initially creating an increased oversupply. As a result, the oversupplied product is harder to offload, forcing prices down, and the level of crime to maintain a habit fades.
Although we are not naive enough to suggest a strategy addressing the demand side would eliminate the drug trade, it will not, but combined with the attacks on the supply side; it is likely to markedly reduce the number of users and, to a degree, mitigate the problem The mitigation will be in direct proportion to the application of strategies aimed at the demand side.
Most current resources applied to the demand side are generally targeted at those entering or about to enter the criminal justice system. Unfortunately, there is little evidence that there is any effective intervention before this, and by the time users enter the Justice system, the chances of an effective diversion are severely diminished; it is too late for many.
The CAA believes that a strategy that involves early intervention is far more likely to be effective than waiting for the problem to substantially manifest.
We have come to accept that Quarantine is a very effective way to control contagions in the community. Illicit drugs arguably kill more Australians than the COVID Pandemic. We accept Quarantine for that lesser evil, so why not apply the same principles to Illicit Drugs, creating drug Quarantine facilities.
Populating a drug quarantine facility.
Anybody suspected of being under the influence or adjudged by Police or a medical practitioner on reasonable grounds to have ingested illicit drugs, and a drug test on-site returns a positive, these people can, by Health Order be immediately placed in Quarantine.
What might a Drug quarantine facility look like?
A secure place where users can be medically assessed and held on a Health Order for up to fourteen days while they are evaluated, and their health adjusted before being released back into society or the legal system.
The first function of the facility is to conduct a clinical assessment to confirm the presence of illicit drugs. A person found not to be under the influence of drugs must be immediately released from the facility after advising the Police if other Judicial obligations exist.
During this period, experts can work with the person to guide them to deal with any dependency or other health issues. They can access support if required and have them return to society in a better condition than what they were, armed with how to escape their addiction and or lifestyle changes to remove the necessity of drugs before they become addicted.
Taking drug-affected people away from Hospital Emergency Rooms must be one of the great positives of this strategy.
We would argue that there is no reasonable opportunity for clinicians or others working in the shooting gallery environment to have any useful interaction with the addicts. That is probably because there are none, supporting the argument that a shooting gallery is a drug facilitation facility.
Users arrive desperate for their fix and leave on a high, so the argument that prevention work is carried out is a myth. That is probably why the most important statistic that these facilities will not publish is the number of addicts diverted from their addiction.
An addict or drug user in Quarantine would be absolutely focused on clinicians making medical intervention far more effective because of the nature of the facility.
What of the mechanics of this proposal?
A Drug Quarantine facility will need to be as secure as any other Quarantine facility with some added safeguards specific to the purpose.
The concept is to have strong security by a suitable agency and inside managed by Health professionals.
A drug-affected person who has allegedly committed a serious crime and is under the influence of drugs when arrested can be sent to the facility and be transferred to the criminal justice system on the expiration of the fourteen days for Justice processing.
It would be reasonable to presume that an alleged perpetrator will be much better able to deal with any matters being as healthy as can be achieved in fourteen days.
What benefits of this approach?
There would be a number of positives cascading from this initiative; we have listed a few.
- The significant and first impact will be on reducing drivers on our roads that use drugs and the lives saved. The effect community-wide will be almost immediate, and the deterrent effect profound.
- Illicit drugs impact domestic violence, and removing a drug-affected perpetrator from a violent domestic situation is a very positive capability that can also save lives.
- Drug users, particularly in their early foray into the scene, will be discouraged from further involvement.
- The drug scene will be driven underground, a real positive, to keep it away from our kids. Anything that makes drugs more difficult to obtain is a positive, as necessary as being socially derided.
- An addict may find that returning to the quarantine process as a repeat user may be the catalyst to encourage the person to seek a way out from their addiction, creating the motivation necessary to break the addiction.
- The stigma attached to the Quarantine facility will also be a substantial deterrent to would-be users. But, on the other hand, time out in the facility may be the early intervention that stops the cycle of rampant addiction.
- It is unlikely that Police would proceed with any criminal matters on the lower end of the criminal scale on users quarantined, exercising discretion avoiding many from entering the Justice system, consequently reducing court caseloads.
- Importantly the maintenance and access to quality data for research purposes would start to achieve data that can be relied upon as the depth and demographic associated with the problem becomes evident to allow the development of more targeted approaches.
Why will Quarantine work?
Will Quarantine move all away from drugs? No, but the impact on their health and giving them a hiatus in their lifestyle might just have the desired effect for many. After fourteen days, they will have lost their position in the drug empire, so they will have to start again. Disruption can sometimes be more effective than the current options and should never be underestimated as a counter to an illegal problem.
Identifying and removing trigger points for addicts over fourteen days would act as step one to recovery, and with the trigger points identified, it can be the start of a way out.
We accept the arguments for rehabilitation and the lack of the resources available to addicts; there does need to be an increase in these resources; however, pouring buckets of money into the rehabilitation of addicts will not solve the problem per se. The nirvana of a rehab centre on every corner would add to the problem, not diminish it, the same impact as safe injecting rooms. They both play a positive in the drug Marketing mix.
The consequences of no action
The community is only too aware that community leaders’ efforts to manage the drug issue have failed abysmally. There are no forward-thinking strategies that we know of to overcome, or at the very least, achieve a reduction in the problem.
More Safe Injecting Rooms means more addicts and growth to the drug industry.
Make no mistake, the explosion of Safe Injecting Rooms is seen as a pathway by some towards legalisation of Illicit drugs; it is merely step one.
Separation of legal and health issues.
We must accept that while illicit drugs are a legal issue, the addiction is a health one, and the separation needs to be understood.
Incarceration within the Justice system only allows the addict to broaden their contact base. Given the innate ability of individuals to be innovative to satisfy human needs (including needs not listed in Maslow’s theory), we are not particularly confident that being in jail will necessarily mean no access to drugs.
While we strongly advocate the health aspect as essential, the criminal aspect must not be ignored.
Drug addicts do not commit a crime in some involuntary state, they may have strong urges to satisfy their addiction, but the offence is only the method to access the drugs. They are entirely cognisant that their actions are criminal. Often the crimes require planning, and that is not the actions of an addict in some involuntary state.
As we separate the health and the drug crimes, the courts must separate the addiction from the offence.
If a person commits a crime to service an addiction, the addiction should be irrelevant to any penalty. Deriving some benefit to penalty before the Courts because of an addiction to an illegal substance, is in our view, objectionable.
It’s not just quarantine as the solution.
A Quarantine program is but one part of the strategy; the other is public awareness campaigns. The Quit campaign that altered community standards is a standout, but in this case, targeting the young to make drugs socially unacceptable in that cohort would be imperative. Take the ‘Cool‘ out of drugs.
Recent research suggests thirty lives per year, plus countless injuries involve drug-affected drivers.
The acting Police Minster Ben Carroll, referring to drugged drivers, was recently quoted as saying, “Any measure on our roads to save lives is worth taking”, and he is absolutely right. However, we need a new direction because what has been done to date has been a failure.
It is common knowledge amongst particularly young drivers that consuming alcohol and driving is too risky, but party drugs are undetectable (the integrity of this statement is questionable, in fact). So, they use drugs in lieu of alcohol with all the added risks—particularly the long-lasting effect of days, not hours.
The prospect of 14 days of Quarantine if a driver is detected with drugs would dramatically reduce the Drug Driver problem overnight.
What of the other issues?
This paper does not address the myriad of detail required to implement this proposal but proposes a concept that can be developed into reality in a relatively short time frame.
The quarantine approach to Illicit drugs is new and innovative, and most importantly, infinitely measurable.
Victoria can become a world leader in this field by applying a commitment towards a solution for the illicit drug problem.
14th February 2022
We have often written that Corruption is arguably the worst criminal malaise affecting our social fabric. Whether dismissed as Noble Cause, Tunnel Vision, Confirmation Bias or any attempt to justify or explain it, Corruption is Corruption. It impinges on every aspect of our lives and holds back reform and the many benefits it can bring.
However, the average person is somewhat immune to it until it directly affects them. Unfortunately, Corruption is deep-seated, and although usually perpetrated by a few, has catastrophic effects on all of us whether we are directly conscious of it or not.
Recent publicity of the slop, masquerading as food; that our aged must endure in care facilities: that term is used loosely, is an obvious case in point.
This begs the question; would they have to endure this? Had Corruption been dealt with appropriately and ICooks Foods (Slug-gate), the last major competitor to a government entity and the last significant supplier in this catering sector, had not been closed by Corrupt officials.
The sin of this company was success. The Government decided to establish a competitor and used its influence to drive all significant competition, including ICooks, out of the trade. With Local Government, the fix was in, and the demise of ICooks followed the other major suppliers in this area.
The vast majority of meal services in hospitals and elsewhere for those in need are supplied by external contractors to the service provider. Now without competition, the Government-run facility can charge what they like for whatever they like. Perhaps produce slop for exorbitant fees, and they are guaranteed the business. There is nobody else of consequence left to challenge them.
The ACCC has been conspicuously inactive in this matter, and as a result, we see our most vulnerable suffer.
Indicative of most Corruption, the impacts generally hit the most vulnerable and the least likely or capable to resist.
That Corruption and its pursuit cost the public purse millions upon millions each year should be cause enough for public outrage. The lack of backlash from the community can only be explained by a lack of knowledge.
Governments increase taxes to balance their books rather than addressing causes. Corruption would have to be up there as a major cause.
One of the problems is that many do not recognise certain behaviours as corrupt. That is particularly true of the very people we employ to manage and protect us from Corruption and are in the government employ, receiving the ‘Queens shilling’, who are supposed to ensure proper procedures are followed, and honesty prevail.
We believe that the bastions charged with protecting us from Corruption are, unwittingly and in some cases deliberately, acting corruptly themselves.
If the gatekeepers are corrupt, unwittingly, or not, what hope is there?
Awareness of Corruption will empower everybody and provide the basis for people power in an election cycle to use their weapon of empowerment, their vote.
Corruption extends past the ubiquitous brown paper envelopes stuffed with banknotes, or Bitcoin, the more modern equivalent. Still, it includes actions committed against society, often by misguided or incompetent individuals charged with addressing Corruption.
‘Noble cause’ or ‘Tunnel vision’ Corruption can be influenced by normal bias that all humankind is predisposed to.
The key, of course, is to understand that training or an odd prosecution alone will not protect us from these traits that lead to prosecutions and convictions of the innocent and equally protect the guilty.
‘It is better 100 guilty Persons should escape than that one innocent Person should suffer’ – Benjamin Franklin.
It requires adroit supervisory and management skills, which is sadly lacking in Policing and corruption-fighting agencies.
Management accountability and effective supervisory skills with managers not distracted by internal administrative issues are precisely where the war needs to be won.
These are not nebulous concepts but real and devastating for those subjected to them or the victims whose dramas are manipulated.
The greatest examples of these corruption traits were on full display in the now infamous Gobbo Affair. Serious criminals responsible for horrific crimes are now starting to walk from jails because Police and others indulged in ‘Noble Corruption’.
Failure by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and the predecessor of IBAC and the Office of Police Integrity (OPI) were not fully examined, so those responsible for failing to oversee have not been held to account. They failed to do their job, and without consequence, they will fail again time and again.
If you peek under the covers, many of the failed principal players of those organisations have moved long to even more powerful jobs. While responsibility and integrity are not essential dispositions to hold senior positions, the corruption cycle will roll along.
Where Corruption seems to be blatant and not pursued, accusations of political bias influencing the investigators or the agency are often raised. Maybe in part misguided (that of itself is corrupt) where it may be the ‘Tunnel Vision’ of Investigators or the ‘Groupthink Tunnel Vision’ of the agency management suffering the same malaise that fuels the political bias accusations.
To properly understand this subject, the Public Prosecutions Service of Canada have published an excellent piece on Understanding Tunnel Vision, and like afflictions and is worth a read at
The views in this article are a more eloquent version of the opinions of the CAA.
Understanding precedes change.
8th February 2022
A recent article in the Australian newspaper, ‘Tragic mayor: a second warning missed by IBAC’, highlights serious anomalies in the system that we use to manage corruption.
In short, this is a tragic story where an IBAC investigation has been dragged out for over two years into allegations of corruption within the council of the City of Casey and the relationship that some within the council had with a property developer.
Our opinions are based on the reporting of these tragic circumstances.
If the relationships were corrupt, then the perpetrators should be charged with the offences, and the courts can determine whether they are guilty as charged or not, as the case may be.
When the entity charged with investigating corruption becomes overzealous chasing shadows in their pursuit of ‘evidence‘, they are usurping the Courts’ role.
A common trait, bordering on Noble corruption, is where Investigators form an alleged crime hypothesis and blindly pursue an outcome based on their assumptions alone. Any evidence that may be contrary to their theory is rejected.
There is nothing wrong with an investigator forming a hypothesis; most good investigators do just that. It only becomes a problem when everything else is dismissed or not pursued should it deviate from the original theory. When that happens, a fine line appears, and Nobel corruption’s evilness sails into view.
In this story, it would appear the organisation itself has engaged in this practice.
Again, we see the use or misuse of the ‘public hearings’ weapon that IBAC possesses. Conducted like a ‘show trial’ in the public glare; witnesses are grilled even though they have already been subjected to the extensive coercive powers of IBAC in private.
If a suspect or witness has not provided the evidence that IBAC deems appropriate in a private hearing, the only reasonable conclusion is that the ‘show trials’ are revenge.
Parading people in an IBAC Public hearing is a version of modern-day stocks. Instead of throwing rotten tomatoes at the not convicted victim, they destroy the persons character. You can wash off tomato slop but never ever recover from the IBAC equivalent.
The basic concept of our Law is usurped by IBAC, which assumes the role of investigator, arbitrator of guilt or innocence and sentencing before the guilt or innocence is determined by a court. The sentence imposed is, their character is dashed beyond repair.
We emphasise they have not been convicted of anything when subjected to this humiliation, and irrespective of what they say, the outcome is the same – character assassination in the extreme with their guilt or otherwise apparently irrelevant.
It would be the same if Police investigating an alleged criminal act decided to incarcerate somebody without presenting them to a court. The community would be rightly outraged and should be equally outraged toward the IBAC’ ‘show trial’ process.
This process may be legal, but the legislation must be amended to eliminate the practice altogether. There has been no evidence that we know of that ‘show trials’ lead to improved conviction rates for IBAC. Not that it would be a reasonable justification if it exists.
Should a person be charged with an offence as a result of a ‘show trial’, then the option of a jury to determine their guilt or innocence is compromised as the public hearings have boundless potential of tainting any juror.
There are many disturbing aspects to this case as reported. If the Investigators could not obtain sufficient evidence in two years, that in itself is a disgrace and strongly indicates the likelihood of serious crimes being committed was substantially diminished. Flogging a lost cause, it would seem.
This lack of sound management decision making was compounded by the warnings of the impact on suspects on multiple occasions. This was further aggravated by the matters being brought to the attention of the Inspectorate responsible for overseeing IBAC.
It took the Inspectorate seven months to respond to the complaint and concluded that IBAC had no fault in a ten-page letter. It could have been twenty pages, but the facts remain the nexus between the death of the former Casey Mayor and the IBAC performance, and that of the Inspectorate must now be examined.
Whether the former Mayor was guilty of any criminal offences will never be tested or determined.
The actions of IBAC and the Inspectorate must be reined in, as nobody, irrespective of the crime, should pay the ultimate price, aggravated by the fact that the former Mayor was never convicted, so in the eyes of the Law is innocent, but that does not seem to apply to our corruption watchdog.
We regularly hear from the IBAC Commissioner that the lack of funds negatively impacts operations. Perhaps more reasoned and effective management decisions may alleviate some of his problems.
The adage of the farmer who thought a couple of scrubbers had gone rogue and jumped out of the cattle yard and headed bush is apt.
The farmer spent hours trying to find them to no avail. Returning to the yard, he finds the rest of the herd had escaped and headed bush. He had left the gate open. Most probably, the scrubbers walked out if they did at all? He would never find out.
We are aware that a specific Local Government Inspectorate is established to investigate corruption in Local Government that also has substantial powers. With the plaintive cry of IBAC over funding, perhaps if they had referred this matter to the Inspectorate responsible, this saga may not have been so drawn out.
Perhaps instead of chasing evidentiary ‘rabbits down burrows’, pursuing minor crimes and giving all the appearances of an organisation with a befuddled decision-making process and clearly incompetent investigation skills, a detailed independent examination of the whole Corruption administration must be undertaken as a matter of urgency because from what we have seen it just isn’t working for us, the ones that pay for the poor service and want corruption curtailed.
IBAC sent a draft copy of their investigation to the former Mayor, it would seem the contents contributed to her demise.
It is highly probable that this draft report was sent to elicit a response that could amount to admissions of guilt because they had insufficient evidence to charge her. It would make for an interesting read to see what put her over the edge.
These events highlight the need for an urgent independent review.
‘POWER ABUSED IS POWER THAT MUST BE REMOVED’.
6th February 2022
An anti-corruption probe has cast doubt over multiple convictions after a veteran police officer was charged with more than 80 offences, including lying to obtain a warrant. The Australian 2nd February 2022.
Did anybody else experience ‘Deja-Vu when reading this article?
The similarities between this case and the Gobbo affair cannot be dismissed save the size and length of time the crimes were committed and the ranks of the principal offenders.
This was another manifestation of Noble cause Corruption, arguably the worst type and the hardest to manage because it is being done for misguided ‘right’ reasons, or so the rationale goes. On that basis, often, the perpetrators gain misguided support from peers. Nevertheless, this corruption lowers the proponents of this strategy to the level of any other criminal, and that is generally a monumental fall.
“So-called noble cause corruption” is actually corruption of processes recognised and accepted by law and usually an attempt to pervert the course of justice – regardless of any standing or status of those who do it.
The other significant difference compared to the Gobbo matter is the upper echelons of Victoria police orchestrated the Gobbo affair. Still, according to the press statements, no senior Offices were involved in this case, at an operational level.
The investigation by the Professional Standards Command was effective, even identifying criminal activity by one of their own, and it is encouraging that both perpetrators have been charged with a raft of very serious crimes.
The Courts will now deal with the matter to ensure justice is done.
But the reports in the media did not indicate that the task of the investigators had not been completed as Noble corruption is a terrible blight on the organisation and needs to be eliminated. This criminal activity reportedly ran for three years, highlighting placid complicity or inaction by those responsible for supervising and managing the principal offender.
Victoria Police has a chain of command, and until the members in that chain take responsibility and are held to account for their actions and of their subordinate’s Noble corruption will rear its head again and again.
In this case, at least four ranks, including an Assistant Commissioner, superior to the perpetrator, were either inept or complicit by inaction.
They all have culpability and must be brought to account for their failures.
How can we, the community, expect to have faith in an organisation that does not make every effort to ensure these crimes are not repeated? A good place to start is the supervising function stream that will reveal the fault lines. Somebody would have to be aware of abnormal behaviour (excessive success rates compared to others) or have to authorise aspects of this perpetrator’s functions; if not, why not.
As reported, it would appear that Victoria Police did not find it necessary to seek independent legal advice before proceeding to charge the two police concerned. We would hope that this was not because of the lower rank of the perpetrators.
The crimes remain the same as those committed by many others in some of the recent high-profile cases, but it appears that if you have a higher station in life, your case is treated differently; that is not Justice.
That Lady Justice wears a blindfold is not accidental.
It is gratifying that perhaps Victoria Police have turned a corner, and in the future, it will not matter your station in life; if you have committed a crime, you will be charged.
The Courts will then decide your guilt as charged or your innocence.
Justice administered without fear or favour.
2nd February 2022
Media reports of Victoria Police launching a community-focused policing delivery model is heartening for the CAA. The CAA has advocated for this approach for many years.
Dating back to 2016, not long after the CAA was formed, we published the BluePrint document. https://caainc.org.au/the-blue-print-2/?doing_wp_cron=1643668280.3755130767822265625000
That five former executive Police published the document including no less than three retired Chief Commissioners, disappointingly the Police administration of the day did not even exercise the courtesy of an acknowledgement, let alone actioning the views of highly experienced former Police. They thought they knew best.
Like everything new, there are some identifiable shortcomings.
In the news, reference was made to reports that have to be submitted to, we assume measure effectiveness and participation.
Community Policing is mainstream policing and not a desirable accessory; the generation of more reports is the anthesis of community involvement effectiveness.
Making reports is not community policing and detracts from it. The time spent by Police in front of a computer screen must be addressed rather than added to, so Police have the time to engage with the community.
The introduction of information gateways will dramatically gift operational Police their most valuable resource, time to perform their proper function. The ability of contributors to the information malaise must be curtailed from hitting the send, ‘all’ button.
Micromanaging the program from on high is counterproductive when the only statistics that really matter are those already forming part of the quarterly crime statistics.
Inserting effective accountability at command levels will perform the task of ensuring the change in direction is embraced.
Victoria Police, to its credit, has announced and is implementing a Police schools program, but there is still another critical piece of the community Policing Model that has not been addressed.
One of the most successful Police community programs targeted directly at the youth cohort has been effectively knobbled by past police administrators.
The program was born in Victoria in 1976 and has been exported to all other States and Territories within Australia and a number of other countries. We invented something every other jurisdiction benefits from, except this State.
The misguided police administrations in Victoria that cancelled community Policing were not embarrassed, as they should have been, that the national program was embraced and nurtured in all other police jurisdictions except Victoria, where it started.
The program is Blue Light, and despite all efforts to close it down, it has survived against the odds.
That credit must go to the Blue Light Board.
But that is then, and now we must look forward and rebuild the Blue Light core function.
It will, however, fall to the Chief Commissioner to determine the effectiveness of the rebuild.
The incentives for Police to participate voluntarily must be reintroduced, and in return, Victoria Police will benefit from the positives that police-involved gain from this program as much as the community they serve.
There have been suggestions that Disco’s are no longer in vogue, but that is a myth, as any of the entrepreneurs in the Night Club industry will attest. Underage Disco is invariably booked out. Demand exceeds supply by a very large margin.
Give a child a chance to meet with their friends in a safe environment to enjoy their music and the social benefits (critical now in this post COVID era) and watch them flock to the opportunity.
Many of today’s youth had a parent who attended Blue Lights, so a favourable market exists ready for the opportunity.
The benefits to Victoria Police in a resurgence cannot be understated.
17th December 2021
Two of the three entities created to control Corruption have given up.
That is the most generous interpretation that can be applied to the report in the Herald Sun, 15th of December 2021, MPs urged to clean up parliament from corrupt behaviour, detailing views allegedly expressed by the Ombudsman Ms Glass, who coincidently is well regarded by the CAA, and the IBAC Commissioner.
They are seeking help from Parliamentarians to clean up Corruption. It is a questionable assumption that politicians all know about Corruption or imply they are involved in it.
Firstly inferring that politicians are corrupt as a class is sure to raise the ire of decent, hardworking politicians being tarred with the same brush. Secondly, this admission is an admission that the two agencies have failed – it cannot be interpreted any other way- exposing, fighting and charging the corrupt is their job.
The plaintive cry of the watchdogs reported,
“…the agencies admitted that new laws introduced after Labor’s redshirt scandal had not done enough to stop political parties from misusing public money for their political gain.”
Perhaps the watchdogs have not done enough – they blame the political parties. Parties or entities do not commit crimes; people do.
This admission is unbelievable, and given the legislation that already existed before the redshirts debacle, this is a terrible indictment on the agencies and their relevance or capacity to undertake the tasks they are charged with.
Both agencies should refresh or extend their knowledge of the Crimes Act 1958. They will find all the Powers they should ever need within those annals.
It is pointless for politicians to take action to solve the problem because some are the problem, and others clearly cannot expect support from the watchdogs that have admitted defeat.
The watchdogs have become just observers, not functionaries in the corruption arena.
It was not that long ago a politician used his issued government car to deliver goods for his hardware business, and he was charged and convicted. Fast forward, still preceding the Redshirts, and a Politician used his government allocated transport to ferry his dogs and was never charged. Why not?
The Crimes Act 1958 can be applied in that and the Redshirts Rort. And what about the Common Law charge of Misconduct in Public Office?
There are many other examples of corrupt conduct by both Politicians and bureaucrats, where the watchdogs have demonstrated there is just an inability or unwillingness to act, and now we know why – they have given up.
These agencies’ primary role is to investigate and where the legislation has been breached lay charges. It is not up to them to second guess the Courts; it is the Court’s role to determine guilt or innocence, not the watchdogs.
Time for a Truth and Integrity Commission willing to act in the public interest.