The broad spectrum of bias in Government concerns us greatly as it is one of the key drivers of corruption.
Bias is not a singular phenomenon but multi-faceted; there is
Biase – Straight-out overt behaviour that erodes good governance.
Unconscious bias – Implanted in those susceptible to be used by those who peddle bias – the manipulators.
Confected bias – Created falsely to fit in or be accepted by others or to achieve a personal advantage – the career ladder climber.
Manufactured Bias– A process where an entity or person creates an environment influencing others to follow a bias that suits their purpose for power or control –
Among these traits, the Manufactured Bias is the most insidious and destructive.
For an apolitical organisation, we would not normally make comments that could be construed as partisan; however, the ex-Premier Daniel Andrews has entered the debate with a strange and somewhat ludicrously twisted set of hypotheses that really do ‘take the cake’.
We, as many Victorians, have been trying to encapsulate just what makes the ex-Premier tick and now we know, not from a media OPED but from the ex-Premier himself.
He has now exposed all in his most recent interview. Although much of what he said was no surprise, it confirmed what many of us suspected.
The ex-Premier has been the architect of Manufactured Bias, and this attempt at rationalising his behaviour is absurd.
This theory, which we have called Manufactured Bias, is something that the ex-Premier will be best remembered for.
The term that we coined was after reading the ex-Premiers version of his style of leadership as reported in the HS 9th December 2023.
What is concerning and explains a lot of where we are as a State is how Andrews sees Victorians; we are either “haters and the rest vote Labor” he said.
Or conversely, if you don’t vote Labor, you are a hater.
The irony of that statement is many of the victims of his style have been Labor voters, and no concession was ever offered to those voters. This includes shutting down the party rank and file branches, giving him free rein.
The convention that elected political leaders work for all Victorians under his premiership was a myth as we all suspected, now exposed in the context of a brag.
He clearly identified any criticism of him in not-too-glowing terms, indicating his flawed dictatorial management style and giant ego, he couldn’t countenance he could be wrong.
The flaw of his style can now be clearly identified from his own words and is best described as Manufactured bias. This is the method he used to operate with impunity outside convention and perhaps even outside the law.
To manufacture something, there needs several components, amongst them: an idea, a design, a key driver, resources to facilitate the manufacture (a budget) and a marketing plan. The sustainability of the manufactured item, or philosophy, hinges largely on how effective the ‘key driver’ is at convincing the market that the manufactured item is a necessity, irrespective of any consequences.
Of the two major components, the fiscal management plan is the primary one, and clearly, there just wasn’t one. Pillaging the State coffers and then incurring huge debts in the name of the State will adversely impact generations for many years and cannot be interpreted as getting ’shit done’.
We suspect that there is debt both on and off the books and when fully audited, will be explosive.
Anybody can do extraordinary things without the constraints of fiscal responsibility.
By any measure, regardless of what and how grandly something is manufactured, fiscal irresponsibility is a project failure.
The other serious failure exposed was Andrews’ attitude to the legal system.
His claims about the role of some who he accuses of trying to usurp the authority of elected representatives is the foundation of how ‘Manufactured Bias’ is nurtured and manifests.
Obviously aimed at the former head of IBAC and the Ombudsman who dared to be critical of him.
The ex-Premier’s lack of knowledge of the legal system is breathtaking. These officers are not usurping the authority of the Premier or the Parliament or anything of that nature because both are acting within the legislation that the government designed and created.
That is how a democratic system works, and their independence is critical to reining in unlawful actions, either procedural or criminal; critical to the checks and balances.
If there is a problem perceived with their function, change the legislation; it is contemptuous to try to just usurp their authority.
The Premier’s twisted logic on this issue might explain why his behaviour, ‘I can’t remember’ when examined, was a contagion affecting most of the ex-Premiers acolytes also subject to examination.
The ex-Premier was the one usurping the Parliament’s authority and, with his admissions, may be in contempt of the Parliament.
Referring to Public Servants, again arguably aimed at IBAC and the Ombudsman, he said,
“They have opinions and views, and they’re more than entitled to those. But see, what they’re not entitled to … (and that’s) to pretend that anyone voted for them. Not entitled to pretend that they’ve somehow got a mandate that is equal to, let alone superior, to the duly elected government.”
It is true they do not have a mandate from the people, but they have something much more significant: an act of Parliament bestowing specific powers and independence, something that the ex-Premier did not and could not control.
From this statement, the ex-Premier also accuses the work of the law officers of pretending to be ‘superior’. The ex-Premier saw the elected Government, led by him, as ‘superior’, implying above the Law. This may go a long way in explaining the attitude and memory losses the ex-Premier experienced when appearing before inquiries or being investigated.
That behaviour did cause very negative leadership of those within the Government who felt that they could take comfort that memory loss would protect them. A ‘protection racket’ led from the top by example. The concept of accountability was dismissed as irrelevant.
It is that contempt and, arguably, arrogance directed at the two Authorities that have emboldened many others within the government to flaunt the law in the belief that they were untouchable. ‘Manufactured bias’ manifested.
And to boast Mr Andrews said,
“ he’d rather be remembered for being forceful, making tough, necessary decisions and “getting shit done” than for achieving little during his term.”
It is this statement that resonates and will probably define his legacy.
Anybody can “get shit done” if you do not have to be accountable and have access to unlimited funds.
Andrews omitted to claim his most significant achievement, saddling all Victorians with a debt that will take many generations to repay, a yoke for our children’s children and more. Accompanied by no plan on how the debt may be serviced let alone acquitted.
What makes this even worse is that on that measure alone, fiscal irresponsibility, bordering on radical indifference, he will not be remembered fondly or respectfully.
Viewed collectively, the reality of ‘Manufactured Bias’ and the growth of this concept has been allowed and fertilised by Andrews’ leadership style in Victoria and is best described by a CAA-supporter comment on the CAA website at https://caainc.org.au/explaining how it works in Victoria Police, there is no doubt a similar approach is applied Government-wide.
“Because they are subjected to the ideology daily in memos, lectures, training courses and private conversations, they know that if you want a promotion, don’t upset those at the top. It’s the softest corruption there is, and it’s obvious to anyone who looks but is very difficult to root out.”- OMG.
The Victorian Ombudsman, Ms Debora Glass, has produced a ‘damming assessment’ of the politicisation of the Victorian Government; however, the report fell short of recommending any prosecutions, and it didn’t even make recommendations for the need for further investigation.
The reasons for this, and a number of other issues investigated by the Ombudsman over a number of years, indicate a pattern of ‘falling short’ as the norm.
We would argue that the problem is far more insidious than the Ombudsman has determined, while her investigations into various decisions, although relevant, mask the real need for detailed examinations of the functions of the alleged nepotistic appointees by the Government.
The Ombudsman’s investigation was flawed and failed to properly investigate unconscious bias exercised by Senior Government appointees.
As well as looking into the matters covered and identified in her report, the issue of bias in appointments can be accurately determined by patterns of historical management behaviour.
“Politicisation is far more nuanced, complex and potentially pervasive than simply the practice of hiring your political mates.”- Ombudsman.
One example that demonstrates an unconscious bias is the management and function of Victoria Police in the operational strategies employed in matters of civil unrest and demonstrations.
It is highly unlikely that the Operational Commanders at these demonstrations were the same officer, so how is it that the strategies are only ever consistent with the government’s ideology?
There have been a number of demonstrations where the Police response has varied to a degree to indicate that either actual or unconscious bias is at play. Consistency in Policing demonstrations is sadly lacking, we argue, because of the bias.
In particular, the lack of police action at the Black Lives Matter rally, the overreaction to anti-COVID demonstrations, the lack of any action at the Anti-Trans Rally and, of late, the Pro-Palestinian/HAMAS civil unrest all have a common denominator: the action of Police can be seen to mirror the ideology of the Government on the purpose of the demonstration, and that is a very bad thing.
“But nothing will change without a recognition at the highest levels of government that change is necessary.”
It corrodes standards of public governance, decision-making in the public interest and trust in government, and if left unchecked increases the risk of corrupt criminal offending.” -Ombudsman.
On that point, the protestations of the Ombudsman fail.
The highest levels of Government do not see an issue because, to them, the status quo is appropriate and a right, part of the spoils of Governing.
It is abundantly clear that the checks and balances that should prevent this problem either do not exist or are not enforced.
Simply raising the issue has little chance of achieving a satisfactory result. It is imperative that the inquiry continue to examine where the checks and balances have failed and what remedial action is necessary.
Starting with a search for answers measuring executive managers’ accountability and performance against the position’s benchmarks.
The infection of bias is near epidemic proportions, and it can be averted tomorrow simply by holding executive managers to account, starting with the most senior ones. It would only take a handful of Senior executives to lose their position because bias was identified in their sphere of control, and very quickly, bias would be diminished dramatically if not eliminated.
Unless this Government acknowledges that there is a problem, nothing will change. Positive action is required.
No public servant should receive a bonus if they have not exceeded their accountability and performance levels.
For a cultural change, as that is what is required, it is necessary that failure to perform free from bias must be managed by the greatest motivator, their hip pocket.
The guidelines are an exhaustive list of offences that a person can be convicted of and still be recruited. This list will shock many.
Albeit that there are exclusion periods attached to each conviction. It is wrong on so many counts.
Not the least the lack of empathy extended to victims who may be confronted with their perpetrator in Police uniform.
Five or ten years may seem like a long time, but to the victims, their pain can be an eternity.
Simply having an arbitrary exclusion period does not mean that the applicant does not still hold a biased disposition to the values they held when committing the crime.
At best, it only determines that during the exclusion period, they have not been caught, not that they didn’t continue to offend.
The application of this policy, which has been in place prior to the appointment of the current Chief Commissioner, may go some way to explaining the difficulty in securing and retaining staff and the lack of confidence that has evolved in policing generally.
Police were once looked up to as pillars of society; this policy trashes that notion.
It allows people with pre-dispositions, attitudes and values not consistent with the high integrity expected by police to negatively influence the culture of the organisation.
Amongst a raft of offences, it is possible that the police member attending to investigate your issue has been previously convicted of that same offence and could have served jail time for that indiscretion.
Irrespective of time elapsed, that police member will have a disposition that may be counterproductive to good policing and affect their judgement. It would definitely not instil confidence in victims that this possibility exists.
Not too many people would be pleased that a convicted felon is the police member dealing with their issue. The principle of ‘set a thief to catch a thief’, is a principle that is unacceptable by any measure in policing.
An example of offences that applicants to VicPol can be convicted of and still be approved to join the police Force,
‘Theft, deception, criminal damage, serious assault, or other serious offences.
Dishonesty, assault, property damage or any offence against an emergency services worker, trafficking, possession or using illicit or illegal drugs.
Driving in a manner or speed dangerous, DUI, drug-impaired driving including refusing to undergo an assessment or refusing to comply with the requirements of testing,’
Surprisingly, the list also includes Insolvency with a five-year exclusion period. This shows scant knowledge of the realities of business. We have just come through and are still feeling the effects in the corporate sector of the COVID pandemic and now fiscal headwinds with Government policy responsible for many insolvencies, not poor character by directors.
Many businesses face insolvency through no fault of the Directors.
This policy is counterintuitive, discouraging these people, who are generally highly skilled people of very good character, from the Police Force.
Probably the most inane offence is the inclusion of ‘any offence against an emergency services worker.’ What sort of ‘numb nut’ would include the possibility of approving an application of somebody who has been convicted of belting a Police or emergency services worker?
It may be that this list is moot because it will conflict with the new legislation for Spent convictions. A person whose criminal offending has been ‘Spent’ will not be required to disclose the prior conviction in the first place. Unless Victoria police have secured an exemption, it will mean that they will not have to disclose spent prior convictions irrespective of Police policy, which says they must.
The number of people who are accepted into the Force with prior convictions for any crime, let alone serious offences, is irrelevant.
That they can be accepted is the issue that undermines the integrity of all Police and the Force generally, community confidence and the culture of Victoria police.
It is incumbent on the Chief Commissioner to rescind this Policy and require the Government to provide an exception to police on the issue of Spent Convictions.
Integrity is the cornerstone of effective policing, if not it should be.
In 2018, the full High Court found – “Victoria Police were guilty of reprehensible conduct in knowingly encouraging [Gobbo] to do as she did and were involved in sanctioning atrocious breaches of the sworn duty of every police officer”.
Of course, they could not do that on their own and needed the support or involvement of Officers of the Court – Lawyers.
The Herald Sun July 27, 2023, pp1, 6-7, refers to a number of Justice figures demanding a review of the decision not to pursue charges in the Lawyer X case and notes that the Director of Public Prosecutions, Kerri Judd, had represented former Chief Commissioner, Simon Overland, in legal proceeding raising concerns about a serious conflict of interest. The calls for a review of the decision are supported by Senior legal officials, including a former Vice President of the Victorian Bar Council.
It should be noted that former High Court Judge, Geoffrey Nettle AC KC, has expressed serious concerns about the decision of Judd not to bring prosecutions.
The Community Advocacy Alliance Inc., (CAA), since January 2020, has published several articles on our website relating to the Lawyer X scandal, highly critical of the conduct of Gobbo and senior police involved in this fiasco and calling for those responsible to be held to account. We are in total support of the calls for an independent assessment of the evidence, and if that assessment supports the laying of charges against police or anyone else, demand that this be done expeditiously.
Only then can we, the public, be confident that justice is not only done but seen to be done.
The current status puts perpetrators above the law.
Extracts from our articles are set out below with links to full articles.
When Law enforcement becomes law-breaking, there must be accountabilities. The continuing saga of the Lawyer-X criminality by law enforcement appears to be one of the most serious overreaches by serving police personnel in Legal History…
LAWYER X FAILURE TO PROSECUTE – AN ABSOLUTE DISGRACE
Once again, we see the Victorian Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) refusing to act on clear and compelling evidence of the commission of criminal offences.
When the Special Investigator, Geoffrey Nettle AC KC, a former Justice of the High Court of Australia, the highest court in the Australian court hierarchy, recommends prosecutions, one could reasonably think that the evidence of the commission of criminal offences must be clear and compelling…
The continuing saga of the Lawyer-X criminality by law enforcement appears to be one of the most serious overreaches by serving police personnel in Legal History. How can it be that nobody is going to be held accountable?
From the outset, it must be made clear that the CAA does not support the use of lawyer Gobbo by the Victoria Police in the way it was done; it was unlawful, and Gobbo and the executive Police responsible must be held to account before the Law…
Nobel cause corruption’ (the ends justify the means) is as unlawful as the normal interpretation of corruption. It diminishes the role of the Police in our society, as has the behaviours of the Police executive who promoted and or failed to manage the Lawyer X calamity and whose leadership was lacking throughout…
Failing to recognise a loss of objectivity is evident in the Gobbo matter and a damming indictment of the police executives’ lack of competence. The buck, however, stops with the Chief Commissioner and in this protracted affair, no less than four Chief Commissioners failed to resolve or wheel in this train wreck, and each of them took the same Oath to the other Police involved…
Many Victorians were sceptical of the Royal Commission into the Management of Police Informants. As the process started, most public sentiment towards the Royal Commission was, it is a waste of time because even if the Police tactics were not kosher with lawyers, the end justified the means.
After all, we are not talking about the pillars of society, but murderers and drug lords being locked up, and that is a good thing, isn’t it?
As many Victorians have watched the evolution of this Commission, attitudes are changing…
The community is quickly realising that the old adage, ‘whether you are a prince or pauper, saint or sinner’, we are, and should all be, equal before the Law. Although in Victoria, depending on who you are, that principle is corrupted.
Culpability must also extend to those executives that conspired to cover up the actions of this artifice, whether by use of the legal system or otherwise, that only served to extend and exacerbate the original reprehensible behaviour. In many ways, their behaviour is more reprehensible than the original architects.
They all must have known what was going on. It is fanciful to suggest that authorising or orchestrating a cover-up without knowing what you are covering up beggar’s belief.
It is also bordering on fanciful that lawyers, particularly those who conspired with Victoria Police to hide the Gobbo matters using the Courts, didn’t know what was going on. Remember that lawyers are Officers of the Court, and with that goes obligations that some may well have breached.
Equally, there are no doubt senior Police Officers, many still serving, who were totally cognisant of what was happening and the criminal and moral culpability but chose to support or take no action against the perpetrators and are therefore equally complicit.
The Police’s disgraceful and conscious dismissal of their principles in their oath of office brings great shame on them and all Victoria Police, serving, and who have served – something they will have to live with forever.
The only way to deal with this matter is to purge the culprits and give genuine Police, Lawyers and the community some reason to have confidence in the Legal system by removing this dark shadow.
We can only hope and encourage that the day of reckoning is sooner rather than later.
The apathy of citizens, in general, has always been a problem in every democracy.
There is nowhere that this is more evident than in politics in Victoria.
Governments of every political persuasion have a duty to act ethically, be accountable to the electorate and be competent.
The Community Advocacy Alliance Inc. (CAA) has no political affiliations. If the Government of the day is failing to meet the required standards, we will be highly critical regardless of the political party in power, be that Labor, Liberal, Greens or any other Party or Coalition.
This is a fundamental principle in our determination to try to give a voice to the largely unheard people of this State. Those of us who do care.
We certainly have been and will continue to be, highly critical of the current Labor Government led by Premier Daniel Andrews.
Our criticism is not about Labor’s politics but solely about their behaviour.
Examples of incompetence and misconduct abound.
At the top of the list is the 800+ deaths in the Quarantine debacle. The waste of about $1.2 million on the cancellation of the Eastlink Freeway extension. The “Red Shirts Rort”, which saw Labor pay back just under $400,000, the Lawyer X fiasco, “Slug Gate”, and Ministers rorting their travelling allowances, just to name a few.
Politicians ferrying pets or using a Govermremt vehicle for their private business; this type of behaviour is unacceptable.
Every major project undertaken by Labor has cost overruns of not millions but billions of dollars. Victoria’s debt is greater than three other Australian States. Does this seem like a competent Government? Your money, taxpayers.
The North-South Pipeline that cost billions is a classic act of budgetary vandalism and never has been and is not likely to be ever used. Not being prepared to accept the error of this project, we are paying for expensive maintenance – for what benefit? The Desal plant was built at the same time to drought-proof the State, so why a North-South Pipeline was ever a viable or necessary project is seriously questionable.
No Political party has the ticker or competence to accept reality and stop wasting money on maintenance and recycle what is recoverable from the project. If, at some future time, the Pipeline is required, the savings achieved will comfortably pay for the reestablishment. The most expensive part, the pipes, will remain serviceable.
It is strange that none of this seems to resonate with electors.
All of these matters cost taxpayers millions of dollars annually, and yet most of us do nothing.
Apathy reigns supreme.
The CAA implores every voter to get involved and demand the highest standards of behaviour from whichever political party is in power.
Unless this happens, anarchy will remain a grave danger to our democracy.
Premier, time to pick up the phone. Two quick phone calls will resolve the impasse in determining the gult or innocense of individuals involved in the Lawyer -X affair.
A demonstration of leadership.
The calls will not compromise the independence of either party. All that needs to be done is that advice is given for both parties to cooperate in the best interest of the administration of the Law.
Both parties are eminent legal professionals, so a quiet word from you and everything can move on.
The impasse that has evolved between the Director of Prosecutions (DPP) Kerri Judd KC and former High Court judge Geoffrey Nettle, Special prosecutor (OSI) tasked with investigating whether criminal charges should be made against a number of people in the Lawyer-X affair, does not serve our Legal process well.
The issue is over the authority to prosecute, and in our view, the failure to give the Special Prosecutor power to prosecute was a significant failing.
Although we only have access to public information, we are bemused that the issue between the two legal heavyweights has tended to focus on the offence of Misconduct in Public Office. Undoubtedly, this offence could apply to many of the individuals accused.
We are somewhat mystified why the offence of Conspiracy to pervert the course of Justice has perhaps not been pursued, as it very obviously threaded through the whole artifice and would allow the Courts to properly dispense appropriate Justice depending on the roles of the perpetrators responsible for the entire artifice.
The Lawyer-X scandal has spanned many years at an eye-watering cost to the public purse without resolution, and the Special Prosecutor, a recommendation of the Royal Commission, was a positive step to bringing the matter to a conclusion, resolved by the Courts, enabling a line to be drawn under the matter.
The community will be outraged at the expenditure without resolution of these matters by a court. Equally, the potential of the guilty walking free without accounting to a Court for what was described as egregious behaviour is unacceptable at any level.
The community is developing an increasingly jaundiced view of the lack of resolution in matters, particularly where corruption by officials of the State is inferred.
Further, without resolution, the deterrent effect, a critical function of the administration of the Law against repetition in the future, is lost, and the sanctity of Client Lawyer privilege is forever diluted and compromised.
There has been a series of Legal issues allowed to drift into the ether without a proper resolution,
The Red Shirts. Alleged misuse of public monies, which may have involved criminality, that may have unfairly interfered with the electoral process.
The Quarantine fiasco . Allegedly responsible for the deaths of over eighty Victorians during the COVID pandemic.
I-Cooks Foods What seems to be a conspiracy by Public Officers to shut down a private business because it competed in a market space the Government moved into.
Premiers Vehicle crash. Involving a cyclist, many suspicions and contradictions place serious concerns that the truth has not been told, and a cover-up of the facts was embarked upon.
The non-prosecution of politicians. A number of politicians clearly identified as rorting the system of parliamentary allowances, theft by deception. Officials would not hesitate to prosecute this behaviour if it happened outside of the political sphere.
The pattern is now actual, and the uncertainty created by non-resolution runs the risk of the whole Government being known for cover-ups, irrespective of whether there was one. The confidence of the community can become irreparably damaged.
Additionally, the attorney has very scant knowledge of the Legal system and is embarrassingly exposed as a lightweight on legal matters.
The trashing of legal professional privilege is a critical legal principle, and appropriate penalties must be imposed to reduce the likelihood of it ever happening again.
Ordinarily, we would be recommending that the Attorney General intervene; however, according to reports in the Herald Sun on 24th June 2023, Jacklyn Symes MP, our Chief Law Officer, Attorney General (AG), said,
“…it would be wildly inappropriate to give the OSI prosecutorial powers.”
“We have an investigative body; it’s not appropriate for an investigative body to then decide they are the prosecutor as well,” she said.”
This claim by the AG is remarkable in its naivety of the legal process and standard practices operating in our legal system.
Disgraceful from our highest Legal officer.
The AG is wrong in her assertions about prosecutions.
There is a proliferation of organisations within the government system that then have ‘wildly inappropriate powers’ as investigators and prosecutors, including,
Police – Local government – VicRoads – IBAC – Health Department – Energy, Environment and Climate Change Department, and others, – also including some Government authorities.
The reality is that most prosecutions undertaken on the State’s behalf are made by agencies other than the DPP. The AG’s interpretation is breathtakingly mistaken.
The DDP’s role only becomes evident in matters that may end up in a Court higher than the Magistrates Court. The DPP Act give the DPP responsibility to act as the prosecutor in such matters.
Other than a direct presentment, rarely used, accused persons are subject to a Committal hearing, where a Magistrate rules on whether there is a Prima facie case for the accused to answer, a fail-safe part of our Legal system.
We call on the Premier to exercise leadership and either support the proposed Opposition bill on this issue or make a couple of calls to resolve this tiff between two professionals and allow the legal process to proceed.
It would be criminal of itself not to have this matter proceed and the multimillions of dollars invested in this process wasted.
When Law enforcement becomes law-breaking, there must be accountabilities.
The continuing saga of the Lawyer-X criminality by law enforcement appears to be one of the most serious overreaches by serving police personnel in Legal History. How can it be that nobody is going to be held accountable?
As serious as this issue is, the resolution casts a darker pall over the entire legal system and severely damages the cornerstone of its success, community confidence in the legal system.
When the Victorian Government appointed the Special Investigator, former Australian High Court Judge Justice Nettle, there was hope that what he found, would be addressed. The current Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Kerri Judd KC, is reported to be at an impasse with the Special Investigator with regard to the charging of key people in this matter.
Justice Nettle has impeccable credentials, being part of the full Bench of the High Court when it handed down the unanimous decision dealing with Police actions in and around Lawyer X. The Court determined there were ‘Fundamental and Appalling Breachers, of proper police behaviour’; and potential criminality by Police and others in the management of the informer Lawyer-X. After years of delays because, in part, the actions of previous Victoria Police administrations, in retrospect, were clearly designed to protect themselves, not action to facilitate a legal outcome.
It seems that some actions by Victoria Police were in the best interest of the Chief Commissioners of the day and other executive Police. It is not so clear that they served the proper application of the law.
A conflict of interest of mammoth proportions is now apparent.
Decisions by VicPol executives in legal matters seem to have been designed to protect Chief Commissioners who could be facing criminal charges, legal actions which were authorised by those very same Commissioners who may stand accused of unlawful acts. It is possible this protection went further than the Chief Commissioners and included legal entities of that time, some of whom are now sitting Judges.
Is the Government trying to save itself from embarrassment, knowing that if this matter was to go to Court, it would expose those who received promotion or appointments by the Government while their illegal involvement, if any, in the Lawyer-X fiasco was known? The CAA has noted that legal practitioners who represented the Government or its Ministers and Senior Bureaucrats have been regularly promoted to the Bench after their work for the Government.
Interestingly, the media in Western Australia have reported that,
“Nicola Gobbo was prepared to plead guilty to perverting the course of justice and testify against Victorian police officers, including a senior figure in the gang-busting Purana taskforce, over their involvement in a “joint criminal enterprise.”
– WA Today, 21st June 2023.
The offer to plead guilty would only have only one purpose, to mitigate any sentence imposed.
The big concern for some is that once she achieved a benefit for offering to testify against the Police, who else will she then offer to testify against? What other intelligence on the activities of others could be made public to further her advantage?
A leopard doesn’t change its spots; once an informer, always an informer, and Gobbo will use the information (power) she possesses for her own benefit.
Offering to testify against the Police is simply the first card she is dealing with. No doubt she has many more to play.
If the evidence is not there, a committal hearing will determine whether there is a prima facie case. And then it is up to a Judge and jury. A Magistrate may determine that there is no prima facie case and dismiss the matter rather than have it unresolved. We acknowledge that the DPP has the power she has exercised, but that does not make the application of that power right.
The CAA strongly believes that the DPP’s decisions must be questioned as they appear not to be in the public interest. The public can reasonably expect this identified egregious behaviour to be determined by a court. It does not differ from any other heinous crime, and no statute of limitations applies.
Additionally, the argument about lapsed time is disingenuous as the Courts regularly determine the guilt or innocence of accused persons who may have committed offences decades ago, as with some sexual, fraud and capital offences.
The argument over whether there is a likelihood of a conviction in this matter seems somewhat premature as the briefs are not all finished. As is normal practice in complex matters, the DPP has been included in the investigative process; however, deciding before the race is run is problematic.
Running the cost argument is also disingenuous as the multi-million price tag already spent is a complete waste if the matters do not go to Court, particularly when the cost to finalise these matters is probably quite a lot less than was spent getting to this stage.
Even so, the arguments put forward by DPP Judd are tenuous because the broader community needs and is entitled to know the innocence or guilt of the people involved. We note that some continue to hold senior positions.
This is, and should form, the central piece of decisions by Judd as it reflects wholly on the Judicial system and the Police.
Corruption often hides in the shadows. To restore a measure of confidence in the legal system, the DPP must allow light to shine on the allegations. We cannot continue to operate in the dark.
Once again, we see the Victorian Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) refusing to act on clear and compelling evidence of the commission of criminal offences.
When the Special Investigator, Geoffrey Nettle AC KC is a former Justice of the High Court of Australia, the highest court in the Australian court hierarchy, recommends prosecutions, one, could reasonably think that the evidence of the commission of criminal offences must be clear and compelling.
That the DPP could conclude that a court would not convict flies in the face of common sense. Surely, given the qualifications of Geoffrey Nettle, a jury should decide guilt or innocence.
How can the DPP be made accountable for such an inexplicable decision?
Why should a long-suffering public not be outraged that perpetrators identified by Nettel do not face the courts?
The actions of Gobbo and, by extension, others, were found by the High Court as ‘Fundamental and appalling breaches‘, yet the DPP is unwilling to put the perpetrators before the Courts.
The Community Advocacy Alliance (CAA) calls for the immediate resignation of Kerri Judd KC. Anything less means the State is condoning crime.
In the Herald Sun of 25/05/2023, there is an article referring to the charging of a former Police Sergeant, Mark Sims, with Misconduct in Public Office and other offences for writing a message on a whiteboard at Kyneton Police Station in November 2020, “beware of the rats”.
Ultimately the charge of Misconduct in Public Office was withdrawn, and the only remaining charge was dealt with when Sims admitted to a single charge of causing disaffection among police officers.
While in no way condoning the actions of Sims, the fact of Sims being charged with Misconduct in Public Office is a cause for concern.
Over the past eight years, the Community Advocacy Alliance Inc.(CAA) has continually referred to actions of members of the Government that, in our view, clearly constitute Misconduct in Public Office only to hear that this offence was too difficult to prove for charges to be laid.
If writing “beware of the rats” on a police station whiteboard was considered sufficiently serious for the laying of a Misconduct in Public Offence charge, how is it that no politician has been similarly charged?
Incidents warranting such a charge range from the notorious Red Shirts Rort to the treatment of Ian Cook and ICook Foods, with many instances in between. In particular, the issue surrounding the Quarantine debacle, which allegedly resulted in the death of over eight hundred people. Nobody was held accountable, let alone charged with any offence.
Clearly, double standards are being applied. Those authorities who have repeatedly failed in their duty to the public to hold politicians and Public Officers to account should themselves be considered to have committed Misconduct in Public Office.
For how long are we expected to tolerate these double standards?
The Community Advocacy Alliance has been restrained in our criticism of the Premier of this State as we respect the democratic process. Still, there comes a time, issues and place where we can no longer remain silent because we would be failing to advocate for the Community.
The Community has every right to expect that our elected officials act lawfully and ethically, delivering the services, infrastructure and good governance the Community expects.
The political machinations orbiting around the latest IBAC findings involving the Premier are just a bridge too far. We need as a community to stand up and be vocal, holding him to account.
We accept that the IBAC Act restricts the ability of IBAC to lay charges against certain people based on the nature of the alleged misbehaviour, noting that similar behaviour by anybody else would not be tolerated. However, given what has been reported in the media on the IBAC, raises severe doubts about the competency of our Legal system to deal with corruption or criminal endeavours.
Although IBAC cannot lay criminal charges in these circumstances, that does not mean there has not been criminal behaviour. There is no absolution of the Premier in the IBAC reports.
Given the information in the public domain, two alleged offences would have a very good prospect of succeeding, and, depending on the Premier’s advice, a third offence and the most serious would apply.
Primarily multiple counts of Misconduct in Public Office seem to be the most prolific offence, and it is arguable the Premier and others have engaged in multiple Conspiracies to commit other criminal offences-most notably, Theft by Deception from the State.
The most recent exposure of the movement of funds to the HSU needs further investigation to see where all the funds ended up and with whom, and was that purpose even legal? Just because the money was moved within the government and union sphere does not necessarily mitigate theft.
The Premier’s behaviour over an extended period of memory malfunctions is also highly questionable because if it is deliberate, it is undoubtedly Perjury when he is speaking under oath and Misconduct in Public Office at other times.
He has repeatedly used memory lapses when questioned under oath.
And there is also the matter of the notes.
Are we to believe that with a posse of advisers, the Premier does not have access to logs or notes, contemporaneous or otherwise and audio recordings of the important decisions he is involved in?
Are we to believe that the Premier is so unprofessional he operates on a wing and a prayer and has no reference material on his conversations on critical matters of State?
If that is the case and he has the compromised memory span that he claims, the lack of records on important issues of the State would rate as deliberate misconduct.
Either he has repeatedly given false evidence under oath or withheld documents from multiple inquiries, all of which amount to multiple offences of Perjury or Misconduct in Public Office, -or his mental acuity is questionable, making him unfit for Office.
He can’t have it both ways.
We know that he has used the memory lapse response before a number of inquiries, and on each occasion, it was reported that he used it multiple times. Although Perjury is rated as an extremely difficult case to prosecute, nevertheless, in this circumstance, each time during each examination he used the memory lapse answer under oath, he potentially committed a further offence.
What makes these allegations of Perjury offences so egregious is their proliferation and the high profile of the person responsible. These acts alone serve to undermine the rule of law and encourage others to perjure themselves in all jurisdictions where sworn evidence is relied upon, without consequences.
It is essential that this matter be tested in Court to determine if the actions amounted to Perjury.
At the very least, there is a ‘prima facie‘ case for which his guilt or innocence must be tested.
Why should the Premier be protected from prosecution when anybody else in the Community would have been charged?
We are not arguing for a change of government but that the law be applied equally to all.
Allegedly we are all equal before the law as a fundamental Human Right. Still, the actions of this State’s legal system have now breached the rights of all other Victorians by not prosecuting the Premier.
Because the IBAC Act says IBAC cannot prosecute, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and the Chief Commissioner can.
The Parliament can censure him and refer the matter to the DPP or the Chief Commissioner, which must now happen.
It is also imperative to avoid repetition by others in power, that the Premier, when forced from Office by his colleagues, the most likely scenario, is his discretions do not simply disappear with him.
That would be a travesty of justice of monumental proportions and give license to others to behave in a similar way – integrity in government and the Legal system is then severely compromised, and the integrity of both may end up unrecoverable.
The only other alternative, is we will have to rely on the media to achieve the same result through relentless pressure until his colleagues and Party do what the legal system has failed to do
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