17th of September 2023
Autonomous vehicles and connected vehicles are on the horizon. That technology will have the capacity to take control of vehicles away from drivers. Currently in the advanced stage of trials, which seem rather benign; nevertheless, the impact of this technology will be profound.
Touted as a Road safety initiative, the cost is going to be horrendous and will end up being a cost-benefit tragedy. The G-Tag will be a fraction of the cost and a motorist may only need to spend less than $150 to upgrade their current vehicle as opposed to many thousands for autonomous upgrades, if they are at all possible, forcing people to upgrade their vehicles. Their current vehicle will be valued based on recoverable scrap value.
As annoying as that might be, the bigger problem is that an initiative that transmits or receives data creates a risk of being compromised and used for illicit purposes.
As anticipated, the proposal of a G-Tag https://caainc.org.au/the-g-tag-that-can-save-lives/ has faced a mixed reaction. Although supported by most, several people have expressed unease about the privacy aspect of the proposal, ironically a view we share.
We are cognisant that the development of this initiative will take some work, not only the development of the program’s infrastructure but also the management of the Privacy issue.
The key to privacy issues is to restrict the use of data to strictly defined purposes.
The G-Tag takes on a new priority of late, given the alleged staffing issues of Victoria Police. Using Police resources more efficiently becomes a very high priority.
Technology can reduce risks to Police as well as increase efficiency.
People being better informed will see the advantages of a properly managed G-Tag system far outweigh the risks.
To bring perspective to the privacy issue, we must look back to 1981 when Melbourne hosted the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), the first international meeting of this type in Australia.
Initially, over twenty (20) CCTV cameras were installed and monitored by the Police; terrorism was a very real threat at that time.
After the event, and based on the issue of privacy, all but five (5) cameras were removed, and the control of the cameras was moved from the Police to Melbourne City Council to appease objections.
Currently, there are well over twelve (12) thousand in the City of Melbourne, and that is not counting cameras privately commercially operated. These cameras generally operate with no accountability for what is done with the data collected. Is this a matter of ignorance or something else entirely?
As with CCTV Cameras, the operation of the G-Tag has no adverse effect on privacy per se; the raw data is benign, the issue is how the data accumulated is used.
The G-Tag does not take pictures but is designed to locate and monitor target vehicles. Showing their location on maps gives the direction of travel and previous travel for a predetermined period. Police would have the capacity to shut the vehicle down if it posed a threat to the community.
Logically, stolen vehicles could be located when they were reported, increasing the chances of recovering the vehicle immediately and perhaps catching the perpetrator.
Using this system to protect the community from random attacks using vehicles could be minimised.
The very recent murder of criminal heavyweight Gavin ‘Capable’ Preston as he sat having breakfast involved no less than three cars used by the assailants and possibly more. At least two of them were reported to Police prior to the hit.
A G-Tag system operating on a relevant algorithm could have identified a pattern, of stolen car locations and given police a heads-up, something was happening.
Additionally, the perpetrators would have an uncomfortable shock returning to their planned getaway car to find it is immobilised.
We should be very concerned over this killing as the chances of a criminal War is very real, it was only good luck that an innocent patron of the café was not killed or maimed.
To protect privacy, every vehicle that is tagged or prompts a response, irrespective of the nature of the vehicle’s behaviour, must be recorded with the justification included for any future reference.
The use of cameras and other monitoring tools has become widespread, albeit with minimal impact on privacy. It is essential to establish strict regulations around data management to mitigate any negative consequences and promote transparency. This will instil trust among the public that the system is acting in its best interest, will not cause harm, and is accountable for its actions.
The real harm of these technologies is not the action of collecting data so much, but how that data is used and how it is stored and retrieved. Essentially, encryption of the data will protect it from Hackers and misuse or other unauthorised access for nefarious reasons.
Cameras have come a long way and are a part of life. https://www.theage.com.au/national/every-step-you-take-20050726-ge0kta.html
But cameras are not the only intrusion that we have accepted.
- Owns a computer.
- Shops at a Supermarket.
- A car
- Owns, leases or hires.
- Uses freeways, tollways or major highways.
- Parks in a major shopping mall.
- Uses a commercial car park.
- Insures or registers a car.
- Uses a card, either loyalty, credit, or other card functions.
- Has a bank account.
- Uses medical services.
- Has Private Health Insurance
- Has Medicare
- Any social service interaction.
- Union Membership.
- Payee Taxation
- Has a passport
- Travels on public transport
- Any interaction with the Tax Office
- Interacts with Local Governments
- Uses services utilities.
- Attends any educational institutions.
- Plays sport.
- Belongs to any social or sporting club.
This is not an exhaustive list, but it shows that just living in a modern society comes with some privacy baggage.
What is important to realise is that, by and large, most of the data collected is benign, and it is largely unregulated, but the collection of this data is not the issue; it is the use of the data that is where things can come undone.
In the design and development of the G-Tag system, as much care must be applied to protecting privacy as goes into designing the operations.
The G-Tag is capable of monitoring any vehicle on our roads, and that is what causes some angst, but your individual privacy is assured by the following safeguards.
- There are over five million vehicles in Victoria, so the best system could only track targeted vehicles, so the average motorist has nothing to fear.
- Vehicle tracking must have an expiry date, and the tracking justification must be retained securely.
- The unauthorised release of data collected by the system needs to be a criminal offence.
- A vehicle driver, either a missing person or an overdue traveller, would, in many cases, use the G-Tag system. Police can safely intercept them to check their welfare. It would be up to the driver whether their details are passed to those who made the original report. This will avoid obvious misuse of the system.
- Only sworn Police can operate the system or access data. (Police are the most accountable and suitable for the task).
- All data must be encrypted to avoid hacking.
- An independent Board including Police executives, Government representatives and an equal number of non-aligned members of the public to provide a monitoring and evaluation function.
If, however, you own or drive a car that is ten years old or younger, the chances are that you are already being monitored by the manufacturer, and the Limp Home Mode function or the capacity to shut a vehicle down already exists in vast numbers of the Victorian fleet.
The question posed is, would you rather be covered by a transparent authorised function in Victoria or the unregulated actions of overseas manufacturers and perhaps dealerships?
Today, most transport fleet operators, hire car firms, and many Government departments and authorities install tracking devices in their vehicles, often unbeknown to the driver.
Although, that data is managed in Australia, how do you feel about using a car that transmits unregulated data to another country? Probably not an issue with friendly countries, but what of the countries that are not?
It raises concerns for national security that a foreign power could potentially track and shut down large portions of the vehicle fleet or individually targeted vehicles in the country as an act of aggression or terrorism.
With all the risks we are exposed to, the G-Tag proposal is somewhat innocuous.
11th September 2023
Youth crime is the victim of ideology that is so blinkered as to fail to achieve its original goal.
In the late 1990’s to 2012 a formidable politician, Robert Hulls, championed a concept called Restorative Justice.
A concept, ironically given its devout following in Victoria’s Judicial fraternity, that has not exactly achieved worldwide acclaim or even acclaim to any great degree Nationally.
For all its warm-fuzzy ideological appeal, the concept remains just a theory, and we are paying the penalty of having our Justice system hijacked by a theory that, in practice, has failed. Hence the lack of acclaim.
Look no further than the juvenile crime statistics over the last two decades to see the abject failure. This era was preceded by a Victoria Police Policy of proactive policing targeting young people and building bridges. A policy that worked.
The definition of Restorative Justice published by RMIT, is clearly an ideological joke gone disastrously wrong, and sane people should never have allowed it to permeate the justice system as it currently has.
Restorative justice is a theory of justice that focuses on the harm caused by crime and wrongdoing to people, relationships and communities.
It provides a framework for addressing and preventing harm that moves beyond punishment towards healing. As a practice, restorative justice processes most commonly bring together people affected by harm in a safe, structured and facilitated way, to talk about what happened, how they were impacted and how the harm can be repaired or addressed.
It is a fat lot of good having victims, sometimes of horrendous crimes, being confronted in a congenial environment with the perpetrator for ‘a healing’; ‘a healing for who’?
Healing the perpetrator does nothing for the poor Victim who not only has to suffer the consequences of the crime but is then called up for ‘a healing’, not for them, but for the perpetrator.
That this process would somehow reduce the likelihood of the perpetrator reoffending is an academic fantasy.
One major failing is this theoretical concept has been interpreted by the judiciary and others as a process to assist perpetrators and perhaps turn their lives around. The operative word is, perhaps, because to those who know and understand the psyche of the young, it is highly unlikely to achieve the desired outcome.
Juvenile offenders, know only one concept, and that is their personal advantage as they see it, and the impact on anybody else is immaterial.
When juveniles from a particular cohort are charged and convicted by a court, the perpetrator perceives only two options. If they walk from the court, they have beaten the charge, or they can be sent to prison, a badge of honour to be bragged about.
Lawyers and the Judiciary might as well save the energy from dissertations directed at a convicted juvenile perpetrator as they explain how wrong the actions are and that a diversion will be their ‘last chance’. A line without consequences they have no doubt heard many times, making the threat useless.
So, no matter what might be said or recorded or otherwise by the Court, if the perpetrator walks from Court, their bragging rights herald, ‘I won’, and will be broadcast loudly amongst their peers. That has a knock-on effect of impunity from any consequences, emboldening others to commit crimes.
The Court’s focus on the individual perpetrator is important, but the Court has an obligation to the broader community, particularly other young people likely to offend.
That leaves us with a system that rewards, not punishes criminality, in the perpetrator’s mind’. Any deterrent effect is disastrously lost on any peers of the perpetrator as they can demonstrate that no matter what they do, nothing happens.
If reparation was enforced on the juveniles and or their family, it would at least be a tangible deterrent.
The best option to reduce juvenile crime is to prevent it by reintroducing proactive programs like,
- Blue Light Discos (Blue Light survives, but the discos have all but disappeared).
- The Police in Schools Program, which ran very successfully in Victoria from 1969 until 2006. (The current iteration is similar in name only; the very effective Curriculum-based version is no longer used.)
- Operation New Start was a program actively ensuring young people actually get to school.
- Derby Hill – a Blue Light resource used as a school camp. Local Police could spend time with their local children in a school camp orientated to Policing. The camp has been disposed of.
Early structured connection of police with juveniles pays high dividends in reducing offending. All of these programs had one remarkable similarity. When each was introduced, there was an immediate reduction in local juvenile crime.
Another option to reduce the frequency and severity of juvenile crime is incarceration, particularly for repeat offenders. Understandable consequences, for society and the juvenile.
Jail is not the place for young people; neither is it appropriate or in their best interest for them to rape, rob and pillage society.
Shorter sentences will be the answer because time for young people moves extremely slowly, so a month or two with a generous good behaviour incentive would be more effective than any extended period to avoid the risk of institutionalisation and create a break in the nexus the juvenile has with their current peers.
It is obvious we currently have a crime wave caused by empty threats from authority, a consequence of Restorative Justice.
Jail per se is not the problem; it is how this resource is used.
After a relatively short period, the perpetrator’s peers will move on without the juvenile, a good outcome that gives the juvenile the chance to start again.
While jail should not be a holiday home, the discipline and proper management of juveniles will help the juvenile.
If the problem is perceived to be the jail, then fix the jail.
It’s their liberty that has to be sacrificed. A month without access to a mobile phone would be a great start on the road to a crime-free life.
In serious cases, it is the juvenile offender’s liberty that must be sacrificed to protect the Juvenile and the Victims.
It is time for a pragmatic look at the sentencing regime not influenced by ideology but influenced by pragmatic outcomes that actually reduce juvenile crime.
This will ultimately save lives, predominantly of the perpetrators.
8th September 2023
- Save Lives- De-weaponise the motor car, stolen or not.
- Rapidly locate victims- Any criminality involving the use of a vehicle can be tracked in real time, and victims can be recovered.
- Reduce crime – By increasing the ability for perpetrators to be caught and the stolen vehicle disabled, making them useless to crooks before they commit the crime.
- Cost positive – Recover stolen vehicles before they are trashed by the perpetrators.
Imobolise fine dodgers’ vehicles until payment or arrangements are made.
Imobolise vehicles that are not registered or covered by third-party Insurance.
- World First- There is no evidence of any attempts elsewhere to achieve a similar initiative and the outcomes it offers.
Make Victoria a leader as an innovative State.
For many people, their car is their most important and valued asset, and to have it stolen is devastating. Unfortunately, motor cars, whether stolen or not, are also commonly associated with crimes including hit-run, robbery, drugs, rape, murder, domestic violence and now Terrorism.
The relatively new experience of motor vehicles being used as a weapon either against Police or as a weapon of mass destruction, terror-related or not, is a recent phenomenon. However, the introduction of this new level of violence In the West has brought a new urgency to the G-Tag.
The G-Tag, when fully implemented, is the only stratagem that will stop vehicles from being used as weapons.
The Bourke Street massacre should be justification alone for introducing the G-Tag. Unless you live under a rock, we know that it will only be a matter of time before we experience the devastation of truck or car bombs, as is all too common elsewhere in the world.
The multiple killings, countless injuries, millions of dollars of theft and massive damage is caused because current legislation is focused exclusively on the driver, not the vehicle. Until that changes, the vehicles available to drivers will continue to wreak havoc.
There were 4,567,314 vehicles (ABS Data and includes all vehicles) Registered in Victoria in 2015 – a huge and valuable state asset that needs to be protected.
The traditional view is the risks posed by the motor car should be managed by legislation focusing on the driver. Unfortunately, the success of this approach is problematic at best, with very limited success.
‘The best way to reduce any crime is to increase in the perpetrators’ mind the likelihood that they will get caught – penalties in themselves have limited impact because the perpetrator does not commit the act to get caught and never expects to get caught.
When the probability of being caught fails to dissuade, we need the ability to intervene to minimise the impact of the behaviour.
Authorities (Police) should be able to safely slow down or stop particular vehicles in the interests of public safety and/or law enforcement
Without diminishing the current Law and Order response, there is a need to think through and discuss alternatives – that alternative is the vehicle.
GPS tracking is widely used in the community; the devices record and re-transmit their own location to a satellite-based global positioning system. These re-transmitted signals allow the identification of the vehicle, its location, and the route it has and is taking. It also communicates the vehicle’s speed.
That route can be recorded for days or weeks and is capable of identifying which vehicle was driven in a particular location at a previous time. This ability will allow Police to identify the vehicle used in a crime. As important as the current location of the vehicle is, the historical routes the vehicle has taken perhaps have more investigative and evidentiary value.
An example, and there are many, would be a drive-by shooting in the early hours. Witnesses can usually supply the time of the shots; with a G-Tag, the Police could identify which vehicles were driven in that location at the time given.
Central to this proposal will be the fitting of tracking devices (G Tags) to every vehicle in the Victorian fleet.
Although this forms part of the first stage of this proposal, it needs to be seen through the prism of advantages to the community, safety and Crime Prevention/Minimisation strategy, albeit that an economic case may be produced for the system raising alternative revenue streams for the Government, a user pays system for registration. The latter is the most equitable method of raising revenue.
Setting the case for part one of this proposal – the G-Tag
The advantages of developing a GPS locating system, or G-Tag, for the entire Victorian road fleet will be no small feat; however, the return will be enormous.
- Theft of Motor vehicles and machinery –
With a G-Tag, stolen vehicles can be located quickly; the focus is on the property, not the perpetrator, which will serendipitously lead to perpetrators being detected rapidly. This will lead to a reduction in cost to insurers and reduce premiums for users.
This would also reduce the demand for Police time and assist in arresting perpetrators.
G-Tags will influence the perpetrators, knowing the chances of getting caught have escalated and may dissuade many would-be offenders.
In Australia, 49 vehicles are stolen and processed for scrap metal a week and one in four cars stolen are never recovered – $103 Million estimated value of cars never recovered. In addition, there are estimated to be 5 million cars on Australian roads that do not have immobilising technology. (Source -National Motor Vehicle Theft Reduction Council.).
In Victoria, 14366 vehicle thefts were reported according to VicPol statistics – in 2014. In 2015 that number increased to 17090, an increase of 19%. The National average of vehicles not recovered is 31% (This figure could be substantially higher when including vehicles recovered damaged beyond repair – burnt out etc.), so extrapolating those figures to Victoria, over 5000 vehicles disappear every year, or nearly 100 every week.
What the statistics do not show is the hardship caused, and the danger posed to the community
- Community safety – a G-Tag will assist
- Victims of Domestic violence-. They can be better protected by tagging perpetrators’ vehicles in the G-Tag system to warn Police of the perpetrator heading toward the victim. In addition, using postcodes to quarantine victims will enable Police to intervene when postcode boundaries are crossed by perpetrators breaching a Family Violence Order—alerting Police to reduce the risk to the victim.
- Missing Persons-. G-Tags can locate vehicles of missing persons before self-harm. Suicidal victims are generally found after their demise when the family have contacted the Police over concerns, but Police driving around searching every nook and cranny has historically been demonstrated as ineffective and usually does not end in locating the individual before it is too late.
G-Tags will have the ability to save lives with the chance of getting professional help to desperate people.
- Rural application- The application in Rural and remote Victoria is very sound; consider being able to locate a tractor on a large remote property or a driver overdue to destinations, particularly in times of natural disaster. This will also reduce the number of unnecessary searches.
The applications of G-Tag technology can be extended to include watercraft and recreational vehicles.
- Technology instead of human resources. The thousands of man-hours expended by emergency services, particularly Police, can be dramatically reduced in multiple circumstances by the G-Tag Policing will become more efficient and effective, reducing pressure on Police resources.
- Criminal activity –
- Terrorism Investigations would have the advantage of monitoring vehicles with G-Tags without intrusion to better understand the risks posed by suspects.
The use of vehicles as a weapon in Terrorism is commonplace in the current war zones. It is likely to appear in Australia at some stage and being prepared will save lives.
- Criminal Behaviour –There is a current spate of home invasions where perpetrators physically confront victims in their homes by forced entry to gain access to keys to steal high-end motor vehicles. This type of activity (home invasion) is on the rise; there is a substantial risk of serious harm, if not the death of a victim. The ability to track these vehicles by G-Tag and immobilise them is very attractive to the victims and Police.
- Illicit Drugs must be transported in vehicles at some stage. Access to G-Tag technology will provide invaluable assistance in managing the importation and trafficking of drugs.
- Hoon drivers –can be monitored and removed from our roads. Known hoons’ vehicles can be tagged in the G-Tag system, and an alarm indicating when like tagged vehicles are identified by the system to be congregating can give Police the opportunity to intervene before the dangers escalate.
- Police Pursuits – This technology virtually eliminates the need for pursuits, and disabling the car by G-Tag reduces risk to the Community, the Police and even the offender.
- Emergency vehicles – can easily and reliably be located and managed when civil emergencies occur. E.g. incident managers could recognise the precise locations of fire appliances during bushfire outbreaks to direct them to where they are most needed – or away from impending danger.
- Arial surveillance – Currently undertaken by the Police Airwing, there are limitations with availability and response times. The G-Tag will not replace the need for Arial Surveillance as a Policing tool. Still, the G-Tag will significantly enhance the effectiveness of the Air Wing, reducing operating costs.
- Legal implications – The data recorded in the G-Tag system has evidentiary value, as do E-Tags and Security Cameras. The potential for the improved data available from G-Tags will provide data of strong evidentiary value for Prosecution and Defence in equal benefit, further improving our judicial system.
- Revenue streams
The advantage of this system is it would allow the Government to use this mechanism to charge registrations on a user-pay basis, the most equitable mechanism. In addition, implementing part two of this proposal would eliminate the need for enforcement of recalcitrant individuals by placing the vehicle in ‘limp home’ mode until the financial liabilities are met. This capacity could also be extended to other civil liabilities related to traffic, like unpaid fines
Setting the case for Part 2 of this proposal using G-Tag.
The first part of this proposal using converted E-Tag’s will only reach a percentage of the Victorian fleet unless a case can be presented for voluntary take-up of G-Tags based on the E-Tag system, although not totally limiting will reduce the overall potential of the program. However, the advantage of converting E-Tags to G-Tags will ensure a rapid introduction to the program.
Part 2 introduces more sophisticated G-Tags (technology is currently available) that are hard-wired into the vehicle’s electronics and fitted where they cannot be easily removed or interfered with. This technology adds a new layer where the vehicle’s electronics can be activated remotely to put the vehicle into a limp home mode (reducing its top speed to 80KPH) before activating the engine immobiliser to halt the vehicle. The only limitations will be that certain vehicles do not have the limp home mode and would be stopped at a safe place or shut down when stationary.
The upgraded G-Tags would need to be fitted to all new vehicles, pre-delivery (amending Vehicle Standards)and second-hand vehicles as part of the roadworthy process. In addition, a moratorium would be required to set a reasonable time that all vehicles must comply, similar to other safety initiatives, including seat belt introduction.
Stage 2 will allow the Police to intervene to stop the commission or continuance of a crime, which is the primary role of the Police.
The issue of re-establishing the vehicle’s functionality when recovered or is no longer a threat is again a technical issue that should not prove insurmountable. If it can be switched off, it can be switched back on; it is just a matter of protocols.
The cost debate
There is a cost, but as this is an innovation, the technology development costs of G-Tag would be well offset by marketing the initiative interstate and overseas. In addition, a fee for service arrangement, assisting set up and a fee for intellectual property would generate substantial income.
Part of the development costs could be covered by the Insurance Industry and TAC, who both stand to gain considerably. In addition, there would be nominal cost recovery from the users in installing a device into the existing fleet – manufacturers would be required to fit the device pre-delivery on all new vehicles.
An offset to the toll operator’s contribution (modifying E-Tags)will be the income generated when tracking devices are fitted to the Victorian fleet to include the E-Tag function in the G-Tag, effectively, the E-Tag would be redundant.
With savings achieved to the State economy, the overall cost will be well offset. In addition, recurring fees would be partly recovered by beneficiaries, namely Insurance companies, Toll operators, TAC and the user.
Car owners will have to bear some costs, subsidised for Welfare recipients, but the price should not be prohibitive, somewhere under $200.
The proposal to introduce a pay-as-you-use system for registration, third-party and comprehensive Insurance and fuel excise currently avoided by the increased uptake of Electric Vehicles will contribute to the setup and recurring cost of the system.
The system could, therefore, potentially protect innocent victims from financial hardship due to vehicle damage – Potentially, the initiative could be cost-positive.
Anybody who owns a smartphone or has a Satellite navigation device is acutely aware of the power and application of technology.
Currently advertised on the internet for $35 is a tracking device that can be attached to a vehicle and linked to a smartphone. The technology exists and is small and relatively cheap.
With the increasing sophistication of motor vehicles and their reliance on computers to manage their engines, an opportunity exists to intervene in a vehicle’s performance. A large part (and increasing) of the Victorian fleet are vehicles that have an inbuilt “Limp Home Mode” in their computer systems designed to protect the engine from further damage should a fault be detected
It is a matter of connecting the dots.
- If we can identify a vehicle using GPS locating technology by a G-Tag, we only need to develop a mechanism to access the vehicle’s computer via the G-Tag to activate the “Limp Home Mode” or the vehicle” Immobilisation technology”. A SIM card is the solution.
- By designing and fitting an aftermarket G-Tag to attach to the vehicle’s electronics, the vehicle’s function can be remotely managed.
- The power supply for the G-Tag is then secured for the vehicle’s life.
- The simplest method to communicate with vehicle electronics is by a SIM card in the device using the mobile network to communicate with the car’s computer.
The Issue of Privacy
In the 1980s, a very vocal minority saw themselves as the keepers of our privacy, objecting to installing the eight CCTV cameras for a Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Melbourne many years ago. They vocalised the prying eyes and the abuse that would occur should the cameras not be removed immediately after the conference was finished- “It’s a Police State” was the group’s mantra.
Their plaintive cries are now somewhat humorous when we look around at the number of cameras that watch us daily, but there is no community concern as it has been demonstrated that they serve the greater good, and law-abiding citizens do not care if they are watched. Indeed, governments actively encourage more expansive use of CCTV in public places, and the take-up of private CCTV systems – including those monitoring public spaces – is impressive.
This initiative has a distinct advantage over CCTV cameras. The Cameras have a deterrent effect and assist with identifying perpetrators, but they cannot stop or prevent the continuation of a crime – the G-Tag can.
Anybody worried about the movement of their vehicle being monitored should realise there are over 5 million vehicles in Victoria, so nobody would have the time, the resources or the interest to monitor every vehicle – it will be enough just monitoring vehicles that are of particular interest- law-abiding citizens just hide in the crowd.
Furthermore, although not common knowledge, most high-end vehicles sold in recent years already have this technology and are used as part of the aftermarket service provided by the manufacturers as a mechanism to update electronics and identify the need for roadside assistance.
Effectively, a reasonable percentage of the population drives around oblivious that their movements are being or are capable of being monitored by a third party.
Impact on Judicial processes.
Implementing this system will provide the Judiciary with an alternative to sentencing offenders (by regulating vehicle use), particularly for the less serious traffic infringements and criminal activity in some cases.
Currently, lives are ruined financially and otherwise by fines and driving restrictions that cause offenders to lose employment and the capacity to pay fines.
Unintended double jeopardy can ruin many young people’s lives. Correcting bad behaviour by bad outcomes lessens, and, in certain circumstances, destroys the chance of future compliance. Instead, in desperation it can lead, particularly young people, towards crime and drugs to escape what they see as a hopeless situation from which they see no escape.
The G-Tag system can be used to manage the use of a vehicle to certain roads and/or times to allow Offenders to continue in employment, enabling them to pay the fines but still having their mobility curtailed to serve as a punishment.
We are not suggesting this facility become run-of-the-mill but for cases where a driver may exceed .05 after a reading shows residual alcohol or drugs in the low range. Or where breaches of Licence offences and registration matters can be managed without ruining lives.
The increase in penalty recovery would justify offenders retaining employment and avoid forcing people onto welfare and damaging the state’s productivity.
Recovery of Civil compliance fines could also be improved. For example, a vehicle disabled by G-Tag would rapidly encourage compliance.
There will need to be legislation that includes safeguards for privacy and safeguards against tampering with the system, either the physical equipment or any signal emitted.
The G-Tag is a proactive and novel proposal, but there is a myriad of far more radical ideas that once seemed farfetched that are now accepted as the mainstream norm, World Wide Web, television and the telephone!
We now accept security cameras as a way of life and the dreaded speed cameras as an acceptable inconvenience that serves the greater good.
It will take leadership and innovative thought to implement this proposal; however, the advantages to the community make it a worthwhile project.
This is an innovation that will save lives commensurate with its implementation,
- Minimise Police pursuits by number and duration.
- Enable the arrest of mobile criminals safely.
- Monitor criminal activity.
- Determine the identity of perpetrators when the crime was not witnessed, but a vehicle was involved (historical footage of the scene)
- Tag domestic violence perpetrators and protect victims with an electronic shield.
- Reducing a criminal’s ability to use a vehicle in committing a crime.
- Reducing criminals’ ability to burn stolen vehicles to hide DNA.
- Locate missing people intent on self-harm.
- Increase revenue through greater enforcement of civil compliance.
- Locate and save people in natural disasters.
- Reduce police resources in trying to locate missing persons.
“I have worked hard to own my car, and if it gets stolen, I would be very happy that it could be located and disabled as soon as it is reported (minimising damage to it). It would be a bonus that the low life that did it was caught…”
A view that the overwhelming majority of Victorians would share.
An additional attraction of this technology is that it will allow a user-pays system to be developed in lieu of registration and other taxes as a reliable and equitable mechanism to tax road users.
That Victoria Police and the Government establish a working party to prepare the business case for this proposal, including the fiscal imperatives that will make this proposal not only practical but cost-positive. An approach ANZPAA and Standards Australia should be considered as well as drafting legislation to establish a G-Tag Authority to develop the technology and design the model for the ongoing management and operation of the system.
Ivan W. Ray
Chief Executive Officer
Community Advocacy Alliance Inc
Having exposed the flaws in the current approach to Drugs and public intoxication https://caainc.org.au/how-could-we-be-so-wrong/ the CAA has applied its depth of experience to develop workable and practical solutions.
The proposed solutions aim to strike a pragmatic balance between compassion for those entrapped by addiction to drugs or alcohol and those who lack the moral fortitude to control their addiction and the danger to themselves and the whole community.
As a society, our social obligation transcends the current narrow obligations to addicts and users. Current strategies substantially favour addicts, and that must be adjusted.
The focus in managing the drug and alcohol addiction problems must balance the community’s rights against the need to look after addicts, either addicted to drugs, alcohol or both.
Central to achieving this is transparent reporting to build integrity and the confidence of the community.
The Medically Supervised Injecting Room (MSIR)
The highest profile resource, seen by many as compassionate and caring, is the antithesis of what caring should be about. The MSIR provides services that promote and further the abuse of illicit drugs of addiction, not manage or reduce dependence. Additionally, the MSIR creates a substantial risk to other citizens by its location and function.
The MSIR is underperforming for drug addicts, has an adverse impact on the local community and must be closed or repurposed.
Staff from the room collect huge quantities of used needles in the immediate surroundings and then claim needles are a reducing problem. https://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/victoria/north-richmond-community-health-new-mums-request-transfer-away-from-injecting-room/news-story/
This tells another story. The MSIR is not being used by a large percentage of the addicts/users frequenting the area. Therefore, its purpose is questionable. The community is instead exposed to needle use and all the negative behaviours associated with drugs.
The impact on community amenity and the long-term impact on children growing up in a locality where drug abuse is normalised is unacceptable, particularly in a Housing Commission Estate next door to a Primary School and as part of a Community Health Centre complex.
Unfortunately, the Government has just announced the location of the new Drunk Tank, near a Primary School and in the middle of another housing precinct.
The Canada is Dying Documentary is essential viewing to understand appropriate responses to the issue.
The MSIR is a drug facilitator, and its function promotes drug use (claiming the use of drugs in the facility is safe) and has created a hub for dealers to ply their trade, increasing the drug scourge, not reducing it. It is the equivalent of the Chadstone in our world, attracting customers.
Ethics of the MSIR
Primum non- nocere, is the Latin phrase that means “first, do no harm.” This is a commonly taught principle in healthcare, the Hippocratic Oath.
We fail to see how medical professionals, at any level, can assist/facilitate/supervise addicts in the ingestion of illicit drugs, knowing the harm their actions inflict on the addict is contrary to the ethics of the medical profession.
The size of the problem
The City of Yarra says it collects 90,000 improperly disposed of used syringes a year, excluding those disposed of in local sharps containers and those collected twice a day by MSIR staff near the MSIR. The MSIR is feeding the growth of the problem, not reducing it, which surely must be its primary aim.
MSIR, an alternative
The current MSIR must be closed as a priority, and alternate facilities established to manage and look after addicts.
Drunk Tanks could be integrated with the Drug rooms and serve a dual purpose in caring for people under the influence of either substance.
A person under the influence of drugs or alcohol is moved to a facility, a Medically Supervised Recovery Centre (MSRC), for assessment by the authority of an Interim Health Order.
A doctor then determines an immediate management plan, and any health issues addressed. The Health Order is to remain in effect until a medical practitioner is satisfied that the person no longer poses a threat to themselves or others and has regained cognitive acuity.
Essentially, before discharge, the patient must be assessed and exposed to a pathway out of their demise.
Interim Health Orders are, as the name implies, a temporary authority to allow Authorised Officers to secure and transport illicit drug-affected persons to the MSRC.
Similarly, an Interim Heath Order would be an appropriate method to protect a drunk taken to the Drunk Tank facilities.
Authorised Officers would be a member of the Police Force, Ambulance personnel and other officers employed by the Health Department.
Most addicts or over-imbibers are incapable of rational thought. Moreover, it can be difficult to determine whether a person is inebriated on drugs or excessive alcohol, with many using both.
Because the new facilities would have a more holistic health solution orientation, the attraction for drug dealers to hover around such a facility would be minimised.
A person who has been subject to an IHO or a HO when discharged from the MSRC should be transported to a mutually agreed location. This is critical to disperse dealers from hovering near an exit waiting for customers.
A joint report released in November 2022 between KPMG and Rethink Addiction has revealed:
‘The cost of addiction in Australia was an estimated $80.3 billion in 2021. In addition to this, the value of lost life was reported at a staggering $173.8 billion.’
Prescription and illicit drugs recorded 16% or $12.9 billion of that amount.
(We believe this figure may be a gross underestimation given the number of addicts.)
The National Framework for Drug and Alcohol Treatment Services says.
“It is well recognised that alcohol and other drugs (AOD) treatment is a good investment for governments and other funders with direct savings in future health costs, reduced demands on the criminal justice system and productivity gains. More importantly, evidence-informed treatment contributes to individual, social and economic goals by reducing the harms from alcohol or drug use and improving the well-being of individuals and families.”
The Salvation Army in San Francisco has developed a system of care, ‘The Way Out’, and this concept could well be integrated into the MSRC and applies equally to the homeless, and addicts.
It is essential that for this new approach to succeed, nearly as much emphasis needs to be placed on taking the community along on the journey as creating the project.
It is imperative that well-thought-out and targeted marketing strategies aimed directly in a coordinated way at reducing the social acceptance of drug use and alcohol abuse are as essential as the other components.
The CAA recommends that a Working Party be established with the purpose of recommending to the Government how this initiative can be costed and implemented.
We know that where governments have given up on drug and alcohol abuse, crime is rampant, and the amenity of many a city and community is lost.
This proposal is a world first and will satisfy the ‘wolves and the lambs’, of Aesop’s fable.
Community Advocacy Alliance Inc. (CAA) has appointed Mr Francis Galbally as their Patron. The Chairman and Directors of the CAA Board warmly welcome Francis to the CAA.
Mr Galbally was a partner in the law firm Galbally & O’Bryan until switching to the corporate sector. He is highly respected in the legal and corporate sectors.
He was the former leader of Senetas Corporation Ltd, a small IT security hardware company that grew from a sub $20 million company to more than $300 million under his leadership.
He holds a Bachelor of Laws Degree (LLB (Hons)) from the University of Melbourne and has practised business law for 15 years.
Ironically he studied Law at the same time as the CAA Chairman Kel Glare, and they both achieved Honours distinction on graduation.
Francis authored many papers and lectured in Business Law at the Universities of Technology Melbourne and Sydney. He was also responsible for recovering over $1 billion in investor funds lost due to major corporate failures in the early 90s.
As an investor and corporate advisor, Francis specialises in the Technology, Environment, Food, Mining and Energy sectors. He is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. Francis is also the Victorian convenor of the Constitution Education Fund of Australia – a nonpolitical charity dedicated to advancing knowledge of the Australian constitution within the community and is also a Board member of the charity, ‘Kids off the Kerb’.
Francis said, “I have been very impressed by the work of the CAA to date, and I believe that with the support that I and some of my compatriots can bring to the organisation, the important innovative solutions developed by the CAA can be implemented.”
18th August 2023
The current strategies being developed, and some implemented to deal with two of the social blights of our society, Drug and alcohol abuse, have and continue to fail, causing substantial disquiet, and a danger to the rest of the law-abiding citizenry.
On the one hand, we send people, of yet-to-be-determined capabilities and skills, onto the streets to recover drunks and remove them to somewhere safe to recover (Drunk Tanks) and on the other, we facilitate drug addiction at safe injecting rooms (MSIR) accounting for a comparatively very small number of addicts, but the majority are just left on the streets to rot where they fall. A classic, ‘being seen to be doing something’.
Perhaps misguided compassion at best or an underlying strategy to minimise an adverse impact on the illegal drug trade, we do not know, but something is terribly wrong with the current approach.
High on the list of ‘wrongs’ is picking up drunks.
Whoever these people are performing these tasks, they will be at high risk of personal harm or high risk of litigation if somebody they are dealing with is harmed. Before the project sees the light of day, ‘Work Cover’ may have something to say about risks to their responsibility.
While it may sound benign in theory, the reality is that a large percentage of the ‘Drunks’ are not only suffering from alcohol excesses as they did 40 years ago, but today’s drunks are more likely to have achieved their state with a cocktail of drugs and alcohol – the ultimate party pack.
This cocktail approach increases the likelihood of belligerence, and the risk of outsourcing this Drunk recovery mechanism, is absolutely fraught with danger.
The Drunk Tank concept is, at best unnecessary and, at worst, placating to a small number of vocal groups that are blind to reality (focusing on the individual) rather than focusing on the overall impact on society.
It is very easy to take one aspect, in the case of drunkenness, the risk to the drunk, and ignore the other aspects of this behaviour.
If we are only talking about Drunks that are comatose and a response from them cannot be elicited, then it is a medical issue and a role for an Ambulance. If they are responsive, then the traditional four hours in a Police cell is perfectly adequate. Albeit that the provision of support services immediately when they sober up would be an enlightened improvement.
The other and most important aspect of managing people who are affected by alcohol is the common propensity for them to become belligerent and often very hostile to either people in authority first and foremost, or anybody in the vicinity.
The greatest risk of this behaviour manifesting is in the domestic situation and is surprisingly common. Drunkenness and drugs are a huge problem, not restricted to the public space.
The so-called safe injecting room (MSIR) is a political stunt and is presented as a solution; however, the facility only claims, on disturbingly questionable data, that they believe they have saved 63 lives.
When you add those alleged saved lives to the irrefutable statistics, there has to be a substantial question mark over this spurious claim. Because of the nature of the question, there can never be a definitive answer- so at best, they think/claim they may have saved 63 lives.
However, the real question is, does the injecting facility, the MSIR, actually reduce harm or elevate it?
The statistics from the Coroners Court, which are empirical, conclusively show that since the introduction of the MSIR in 2018, there has been no appreciable reduction in drug overdose deaths. Moreover, the trajectory of the increase in deaths, apart from the hiatus caused by COVID, has not altered but has accelerated.
The exponential increase in lives wasted, from 2012 to 2022 (above), has shown no major trend deviation from the impact of the MSIR, which opened in 2018, on Drug deaths. The impact is so low as to be arguably meaningless on any creditable cost-benefit analysis or on a community impact consideration, and a new way to deal with these issues is essential.
Unfortunately, too many involved in the MSIR concept, see the facility as ‘the great gift’. The gift, however, is not as presumed, but is a gift to the drug industry, where their marketing models are fed by the MSIR.
The much-maligned ‘Honey Pot’ effect dismissed by proponents of the MSIR is real. There can be no greater demonstration of the adverse impact of the MSIR, wherever it is located, as shown by the geospatial distribution of inappropriately disposed of syringes since the opening of the MSIR. Published by the City of Yarra.
This data (above) excludes syringes collected by MSIR staff in the immediate vicinity of the MSIR, which is a perverse strategy to support the image of the MSIR -what needles? No needles around here.
The distribution of syringes not only shows the focal point of users from the introduction of the MSIR but the huge growth in used syringes, supporting the view that users are congregating from a wide area of Melbourne, debunking the theory that the MSIR has to be located where the addicts are – build a shrine and the faithful will come.
This geospatial image does not include the syringes disposed of properly into one of the over ninety safe needle disposal facilities within the City of Yarra.
The communities in the vicinity now have irrefutable proof of the direct impact and danger to their community and, more importantly, the increase directly caused by the MSIR.
The locations of syringes mean a huge number of addicts do not use the facility but are attracted to the locality.
The two main drivers are the MSIR providing a focal point with access to the concentration of dealers for addicts, and the Police exercising discretion in the vicinity of the MSIR.
A safe place for dealers to ply their trade with, impunity.
While a safe area for addicts and users, the same cannot be said for those that live nearby and are forced to tolerate this despicable trade.
The proposal for an MSIR in the inner city is inevitably going to achieve a similar outcome with no-go areas evolving in the vicinity, something the residents of Richmond are currently forced to endure but will inevitably be replicated with the inner-city proposal.
There is an unquestionable statistic that bears out the impact.
The Primary school enrolments show a comparison between the Primary School (RWPS) that is unfortunate enough to be located opposite the MSIR and the other Primary schools in the area.
Enrolments at RWPS peaked in 2018, which coincides with the opening of the MSIR; from there, the numbers are moving away from that school; close to a third of Prep enrolments have gone elsewhere to other local options; this is not a coincidence; but the community fears for their children’s safety.
This number of enrolments would be substantially lower if many of the residents that would normally use this school for their children were not at the lower end of the Scio-economic scale, and probably cannot afford to take their children elsewhere.
However, the trend is very concerning and is a clear demonstration of the increasing disquiet the community feels, particularly for the youngest and most vulnerable.
We do not think anybody would be so naive as to think, ‘They are only preppies’.
They will latch on very fast to what is going on just outside their school gate, an education they must be spared, hammered by the very presence as it normalises drug abuse in these most malleable minds. The long-term impact does not bear thinking about, but we must.
The CAA will soon be publishing a proposal to address these issues that ameliorate community concerns and still provide compassion for addicts, compassion that is welfare based and focused on rehabilitation rather than facilitating and promoting drug and alcohol abuse as is the current strategy, which is clearly The ‘Wrong Way’.
We need to ‘Go Back’ and start a ‘war’ on substance abuse, a war we have never properly engaged in.
15th August 2023
There can be no argument that Victoria is a standout State in Australia for all the wrong reasons, but why?
In trying to identify why things in this State have deteriorated so dramatically in recent years, it is notable that the Separation of Powers concept has all but disappeared from public discourse.
The CAA is strongly inclined to the view that this State’s decline, with no sign of abatement, all stems from a failure of the principle of the Separation of Powers.
That was clearly and intensely evident during the COVID pandemic, with the Police response seemingly dictated by the Government.
What has evolved is a massive block of Labor’s apparatchiks, achieved through ideological nepotism throughout the public service and all Government authorities.
It would seem appointments are made not on the ability of the individuals but on their ideological bent. Structured in a way, they are beholding to the greater good, the ideology they all share, not the State citizens they are responsible for serving.
This has allowed the evolution of the ideological mass that has achieved the critical level of avoiding independent thought, the mass that has lost its independence of thought and rolls on engulfing any who get in its way.
Shades of the mythical ‘Blob’.
The power of this mass is frightening, deliberately caused by the Premier and those around him seeking ultimate power and control.
What the architects of this mass have underestimated is that the mass appears to have developed its own ability to grow and as does the real risk of it engorgeing the designers who are losing control, hence the more outrageous machinations of parts of the Legal system.
Initially, an attractive proposition for any Government putting people in key positions that have compatible ideological values, rather than competency for their function, which means that every decision is made through an ideological prism rather than a pragmatic reality that good governance requires.
The worst possible thing that can happen to any society is the removal of the safeguards that are the cornerstones of democracy.
The Separation of Powers is not a concept that is front of mind to many. However, its importance cannot be overstated.
Public officers are required to implement the Policies of the Government of the day, but that should not diminish their obligations granted under the various legislative Separation of Powers, bestowed on them to give critical and independent advice, particularly to Government Ministers.
Police are a critical example. A sworn police Officer cannot be directed to charge somebody with an offence if they do not believe there is a reasonable likelihood that a Court will convict. Equally, a Court must determine its findings in criminal matters based on the evaluation of the veracity of the evidence, not influenced by political ideology.
This concept is repeated throughout the Legal system, and the failsafe, the Separation of Powers, must be protected.
There are very strong indications that the ideological mass has permeated the legal system, in particular, the senior people appointed to critical decision-making positions.
We have seen many instances where serious charges have been dropped without explanation and where what appear to be obvious serious criminal offences have not been prosecuted, again without explanation. The community are not privy to the reasons behind this turn of events but are entitled to know.
Justice must not only be done but be seen to be done.
This begs the question as to why the Director of Public Prosecutions, Kerry Judd, is unwilling to keep the public, and, perhaps, more importantly, victims informed.
No better example of the failures was the decisions made by high-level bureaucrats in relation to the non-prosecution of the main alleged architects of the Gobbo fiasco.
An example of where the Separation of Powers, political and State administration, may well have collided, and because of the severe lack of transparency, the public does not know why these decisions have been made.
They may well be quite proper in the exercising of the authority of the bureaucrat but morally reprehensible in practice, allowing those who are of the ideological mindset of the government to avoid proper scrutiny and accountability.
The CAA implores all politicians for a bi-partisan approach to reviewing the application of the Separation of Powers to be undertaken.
It must surely be attractive to all politicians to have the bureaucrats being held to account for their administration rather than the politicians who can focus on Policy.
We are not opposed to amendments to Ministerial Accountability rules to achieve joint responsibility for the functions of the administration from the relevant Minister to the head of the Department with the ability for sanctions to be applied for failures.
Furthermore, it does not serve us well that Departmental heads can hide behind their Ministers, or the lines are so blurred as to the Separation of Powers – the loss of checks and balances will lead to more problems, and, inevitably, corruption.
To be clear, the dilution of the Separation of Powers for Victoria Police was created with the Police Act of 2013. This legislation was introduced by the then minority-conservative government.
There is little doubt that the unintended consequences, as they have manifested, were unlikely to have been anticipated.
A by-partisan examination and review of the Police Act is also essential to remove anomalies that currently exist.
30,223 ACTS OF FAMILY VIOLENCE IN VICTORIA
30,233 acts of Violence perpetrated on women by their ex-partners. (HS 9/08/23), and that is only the year to March.
Apart from the suffering of victims, that statistic equates to a minimum of 241,865 police hours used by this crime. The actual number is much higher when more than one Police unit is required, and the processing exceeds the four-hour minimum.
Clearly, policing domestics is at the expense of other pressing police operational issues, like the Road toll, Juvenile crime, both escalating at an alarming rate and creating victims at an alarming rate. The Road Toll numbers far exceed the deaths caused in any other Policing category.
So, if you call for help from Polce, the likelihood is that they may have difficulty getting to you. A disproportionate amount of their resource capability is tied up on Domestics.
The secondary heading, “Women die because of relationships”, is true to a point, but what has been overlooked is that many of these women are dying and or are subjected to violence because of Government inaction.
It is evident that despite the exorbitant amount of funds allocated to the Royal Commission into Family Violence and the raft of quangos, and the substantial number of Public Servants operating under the justification of Family Violence, the issue continues to surge.
We must put them under the microscope.
It is well overdue for these entities to be held to account, justifying their continued function, and the operating costs of ineffective entities can be diverted to where a real difference will be achieved.
The Commission’s recommendations are either not effective in reducing Violence or are being interpreted in a manner rendering the entire endeavour a futile waste of resources. The Royal Commission heard from a plethora of do-good armchair experts, predominately with only academic experience of the consequences of the damage, with little or no reliable knowledge of the cause, as is now evident by the failures.
The apparent huge surge in Domestic Violence must have foundations in the broader governance of Victoria as well as adversely impacting the police capacity to deal with the broader issue of Law and Order in this state.
The figures quoted in the Herald Sun articles must be viewed as a symptom of ineffectiveness.
Lawlessness breeds violence.
The vast majority of these “experts” work regular office hours and may even work from home. They are not available during critical situations and do not attend scenes even if called by the police. The alleged pool of expertise and resources that these entities have at their disposal must be applied to the issue at the most critical time when the Police are called.
The police are responsible for maintaining peace, while support agencies must address the underlying causes. Early intervention by these agencies would reduce the risk factors for victims; as far as we can establish, that is not a function the plethora of agencies accept as their role.
In particular, it should be mandatory that they attend if children are present. Children are often used by protagonists as a weapon and their mandated removal, all be it temporary, will often defuse volatile situations.
They, therefore, have no direct knowledge and do not leave the cloistered environment of the Office and deal with victims in that sterile environment (Sterile for the Victim), operating entirely on what they are told.
As a result of the Royal Commission, the Police were converted into statistic-gathering scribes rather than performing their proper function, maintaining the peace.
It is our understanding that the average domestic violence or disturbance attended by Police is a minimum of four hours and oftentimes substantially longer.
The vast majority of that time is consumed filling out data requirements for other agencies’ statical needs, which does not contribute to the issue at hand and the priority of ensuring the safety of all involved.
The data we are told that police are required to collect is for the function of support services. The data is only of limited value to the Police, so unless the police have a demonstrated need, the data collection required by other agencies should not be foisted on Police causing limited resources to be stretched further.
While police are doing this mundane administrative role, they are not ‘keeping the peace’, a concept many do not adequately understand.
If the agencies require data, then they can collect it.
The other major demonstration of Government ineptitude is the policy around ‘Ankle Bracelets’.
Ankle bracelets must be made mandatory for any perpetrator who demonstrates a propensity to violence toward any other person in a ‘domestic situation’.
The use of these devices, as in other countries and other states in Australia, not only acts as a deterrent but can warn the victim that the perpetrator is in the vicinity in their vicinity before a confrontation occurs. Police can also be alerted to intervene. A proactive response; a virtual fence erected to protect those in danger.
Ankle bracelets need to be approved and supervised by the Courts in the form of a Warrant taken out by the Police so a bracelet can be initially applied at the time of the violence (the period of greatest risk to a victim) and their continued application managed by the Courts.
Perpetrators must be refused bail by the courts in serious matters, and the bracelet must be mandated as a bail condition until the Court processes are completed.
This will minimise alleged abuse of their use and additionally bring the protagonists to the early attention of the Courts, who are the final arbiters in these disputes The Court’s early intervention would be a game changer; however, the current problem is that Corrections Victoria, who would be responsible for the practical application and management of these devices, including monitoring, lacks the resources to service these life-saving devices.
Using technology to protect victims is sensible and essential. Victims should not be primarily responsible for their own safety.
In a bygone era, the Police were the referees like today in any domestic dispute, and their attendance in a dispute was not bogged down by gathering data and following procedural rules foisted on police by other agencies but focused on achieving peace.
If a protagonist was violent, they were charged with assault as appropriate and locked up to be dealt with by the Courts.
Police regularly dealt with most domestics in thirty minutes rather than a minimum of four hours with the threat of the consequences of returning if things flared again, usually enough to resolve the issue.
This approach is considered archaic and rudimental by the Domestic violence industry, established to be a self-serving monolith with effectiveness erased from their evaluation.
The statistics clearly demonstrate the failure of the current approach and the ineffective application of the Royal Commission recommendations by bureaucrats.
We would argue that this new data-driven approach is an abject failure, and the shackles applied to Victoria Police must be immediately lifted and the Force given the task to apply those strategies that worked previously – maintaining the peace.
8th Augist 2023
BAD POLICY IS ACTUALLY THE CRIME
Published Herald Sun – August 8, 2023.
Francis Galbally – Lawyer – Buisnessman – CAA Patron
If you speak to former senior police officers, they will tell you they fear an outbreak similar to the drug wars of Mokbel, Williams and others in the 1990s and the bike gang wars in the 2000s.
The murder last week of a former bikie and convicted killer, in one of Melbourne’s most prestigious and famous suburbs, barely 3 km from the heart of Melbourne’s CBD, is an ominous sign.
What leads someone to flagrantly walk up in a well-lit area (albeit late at night. But maybe not for the nightclub scene) and brazenly shoot a person who is walking with another in what is a busy part of Melbourne?
Put aside the personal animosity and/or financial motive, what I believe encourages this type of brazen behaviour is a total disrespect of our laws. This disrespect has been brought about by very poor government policy at both the state and council levels. We have at all levels of government a soft-on-crime policy that simply encourages people to disrespect the law, the police and worse, their fellow members of society.
And it is not just one bad policy decision but a combination of many that drive this behaviour. If you are shown that there is little or no consequences for breaching the law, then many bad actors will breach the law.
We now have this on a scale I have never seen in my (I hate to admit this) 70 years of living in Melbourne. The last straw was the spent convictions act.
This is perhaps the craziest piece of legislation I have ever come across. Sure, spent convictions for minor offences, especially when committed whilst young, is good policy. But to allow a person convicted of a serious offence, sexual, violent, robbery/home invasion or fraud to secretly apply for their convictions to be spent is bad policy. The hearings (if at all, as a magistrate can act without a hearing) are private, and only the attorney general and police commissioner and the convicted felon appear. But what is crazy is that not only a victim of a crime has no say, but it is a crime for that victim to ever mention the conviction.
So, a person who was beaten up by their husband has to endure that person living next door to them when they are released from jail and cannot say to anyone (without committing an offence) that they are petrified of living in the same street. They cannot even disclose their fears to a treating medical practitioner. Ditto for a sex offender. Whilst working for children, disclosures are allowed under the legislation; as we have seen recently in Queensland, sex offenders will game the system. And if you are a victim, you can say nothing!
Any criminal can apply to have their conviction spent (provided they spent no more than 5 years in jail.). Why worry about being caught if you can get your conviction spent? The policy is bad for public safety, accountability and recidivism prevention. It disregards victims’ rights and justice and will be exploited by criminals.
Then let us turn to raising the age of criminal responsibility. Initially, it is being raised from 10 to 12 and then in 2027 to 14. We have all seen in the USA that children are capable of committing horrendous crimes by accessing firearms. We see the same here with knives and blunt objects. Worse, this simply encourages adults to use children (just under 14) to be criminal mules. They will invade homes, break into cars, sell drugs and set upon rival gang members with no fear of facing the criminal justice system. All to assist their adult controllers.
We have also had the crime of public drunkenness removed. This was a tool used by police to ensure public safety, including the safety of the drunken person. It was used sensibly. It got what could turn into an ugly situation into a controllable situation, often with the intoxicated person going into a lockup for a few hours and then being released.
We cannot have our streets full of drunken persons, young persons encouraged to commit crimes because of no recourse nor homeless, drug dealers and petty criminals. But this is happening. We can see it every day as you walk through the streets of Melbourne. And those charged with keeping our streets safe are losing the tools to do so.
I finish with the “safe injecting rooms”. This is council and state government policy that has ruined parts of Richmond and will do so in the CBD. It will encourage dealers, street prostitutes and all sorts of criminals to fill our streets. It will discourage people from visiting the CBD and be a disaster for local businesses.
Bad policy delivers bad results. Rather than being soft on crime as our politicians have shown to be, we should have zero tolerance for crime.
7th Augusr 2023
The following article provides very useful data obtained via FOI, confirming the mass exodus of clients of the Maternal Health Clinic located next to the Richmond injecting room.
North Richmond Community Health (NRCH) and its Maternal Health Clinic, are situated in the middle of the high-density Richmond public housing estate, the largest of its kind in Australia. It consists of five 20-storey towers and a mix of other residential formats spread over several hectares.
The estate is home to a diverse, multicultural mix of different ethnicities and languages. It is reasonable to suggest that if 132 women had the time, energy, language skills, and knowledge of the health system to initiate a transfer request, then many, many more did not. Some do not drive and may not have the ability to travel. Those who quietly drop out will potentially forego the critical support services, like immunization, that the clinic has long provided.
The lack of public outrage from the residents is understandable as their landlord (the Government) is the architect of the problems they face, and they will not speak out for fear of losing their homes.
It is also reasonable to assume that if attendance at the Maternal Health Clinic is affected by the constant presence of drug users injecting and loitering around the facility, other NRCH services for vulnerable groups, such as the elderly, will be similarly affected. Many older people who had long-established relationships with their GP’s, no longer feel safe attending. The centre runs a wide range of community programs, including a homework club for kids. Yet drug dealers are always loitering outside, and users frequently sit at the entrance and openly inject drugs.
As the name suggests, North Richmond Community Health was originally established on the housing estate specifically to cater for the well-being of the thousands of low-income people living there. This core focus on local residents has been eroded by the establishment of the injecting room in 2018, first under the same roof as the NRCH, and then in the purpose-built facility built alongside, which opened a year later. The injecting room caters for thousands of IV drug users (consuming mainly ice and heroin), from all over Melbourne and beyond. Satellite services, such as vans providing food, laundry facilities, showers, drop-in counselling etc., are provided in the car park.
Effectively the location is the nirvana for drug addicts, everything they want or need is on tap for their convenience.
Interestingly, the placement of the Injecting Room in Richmond was meant to cater to the local community, but it has ended up serving a wider population in Melbourne. Addicts from all over the city come to access drugs, rather than just those in the immediate vicinity. Unfortunately, the presence of the Injecting Room has also attracted many drug dealers to the area, drawn by the high number of addicts visiting the facility. This has created a “Honey Pot” effect, resulting in many addicts shooting up in the surrounding area instead of inside the facility. And therein lays the major problem with the location.
The italicised section of the following Herald Sun article makes for an interesting read. Clearly, the Government only considers the community from within its own bubble and detached from reality – the official statement is complete hyperbole and propaganda but probably tells us all we need to know about the care factor for Richmond’s law-abiding citizens, by this Government.
Reprinted from the Herald Sun
North Richmond Community Health: New mums request transfer away from injecting room
Mothers of newborns are asking to be transferred away from a health centre that provides critical maternal support because it’s near the injecting room.
Suzan Delibasic @suzandelibasic
July 17, 2023 – 6:00AM
Mums of newborns are asking to be transferred to different health centres instead of using critical maternal support next to the North Richmond injecting room.
A damning report by the City of Yarra obtained under Freedom of Information laws reveals 65 per cent of mothers who transferred from North Richmond Community Health (NRCH) did so because of fears about the trouble-plagued facility.
Another 5 per cent of the 132 women who requested to move between March 2018 and July 2022 listed violence in the area as why they asked to leave.
The only other reasons women provided were ‘other’ or declining to say.
It comes just days after it was reported that Victoria’s second injecting room could be housed at the Salvation Army building on Bourke St, 200m from state parliament.
NRCH provides crucial medical advice including maternal child health nursing and general practice.
The council’s research also revealed residents were fearful of the presence of drug users, the visibility of criminal behaviour and needles strewn in public places.
One woman, who undertook the survey, said Butler Street Park, which is located metres from the controversial facility, was “terrifying” to walk past in broad daylight amid drug users openly injecting.
“It’s only used by drug dealers and users. It’s always filthy even after the council cleans it up, it only takes a short while until it is littered with drug paraphernalia again,” the woman said
Another woman said Lennox St had become a “dangerous place”. “Drug users walk down the street and step out onto the road high on drugs,” she said.
Other women said drug users were “unpredictable”, “scary” and noted that men were “catcalling” them. “They comment on women and to women who walk by. When I do school pick up, their harassment makes me feel uncomfortable,” one woman said.
Between January 2020 to June 2022, the council received 66 community safety requests that related specifically to the precinct around the injecting room. The top three complaints included drug injecting and anti-social behaviour, which had 39 reports each and the injecting room with 34.
The report also featured the council’s annual customer satisfaction survey, with residents asked to rate how safe they feel on a scale of 0 (very unsafe) to 10 (very safe). In 2022, respondents scored a 5.7 for Richmond at night and an 8 for Yarra during the day.
Opposition mental health spokeswoman Emma Kealy said the damning evidence proved the injecting room is causing enormous harm to the safety and amenity of the North Richmond community.
“The safety of women and their newborns have been cruelly sacrificed by Labor, and the Premier still refuses to admit the injecting room should never have been built between a maternal child health centre and a primary school,” Ms Kealy said. “Labor must stop punishing the residents of Richmond who simply want to access their local community and maternal health care safely and without risk of abuse, violence and the dangerous drug-associated behaviour caused by Labor’s injecting room.”
A state government spokeswoman said everyone had the right to feel safe in their community.
That’s why outreach teams have been expanded and Victoria Police is a highly visible presence in the North Richmond area, with regular proactive patrols and ongoing enforcement activity,” the spokeswoman said.
“The City of Yarra has grappled with drug use and anti-social behaviour, including public injecting and incorrectly disposed of syringes, for decades – that’s why the medically supervised injecting room was placed in the North Richmond location.”
“It has safely managed more than 6000 overdoses and saved at least 63 lives – taking pressure off local hospitals, reduced ambulance call outs and led to a decrease in public injecting.”
29th July 2023
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.
YOUR MOVE PREMIER -LAWYER X
CAA | Jun 25, 2023, https://caainc.org.au/your-move-premier-lawyer-x/
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
CAA | Jun 22, 2023, https://caainc.org.au/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…
LAWYER-X ACCUSED MUST FACE COURT
June 23, 2023, https://caainc.org.au/lawyer-x-accused-must-face-court/
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?
LAWYER X – IT’S NOT JUST THE COPS
CAA | Dec 6, 2020, https://caainc.org.au/lawyer-x-its-not-just-the-cops/
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…
LAWYER X – THE AFTERMATH
CAA | Sep 2, 2020, https://caainc.org.au/lawyer-x-the-aftermath/
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…
MANAGING POLICE INFORMERS LIKE GOBBO & ALLEN
CAA | Feb 9, 2020, https://caainc.org.au/managing-police-informers-like-gobbo-allen/
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…
THE GOBBO SHOW ROLLS ON…
CAA | Jan 4, 2020, https://caainc.org.au/the-gobo-show-rolls-on/
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.
17th July 2023
Youth offending has been brought up again, this time by Chief Commissioner Shane Patton, who calls for exemptions to the impact of lifting the age of criminal responsibility from ten to thirteen.
However, this move from the Chief to fix an unrealistic situation created by the legislators will only complicate managing youth crime, making it more difficult for the police and potentially opening up opportunities for career-ending litigation should any police member break the new rules, even inadvertently.
It will not reduce criminality by this cohort but increase it, putting children and the community at further risk.
The changes rely on perceptions, not facts, and what may seem appropriate to police involved in an incident may well be rejected subsequently by a court. Who incidentally was not there when the incident occurred.
The process will become so complicated that police accoutrements (equipment carried by Police) will need to include a ‘Youth Criminal manual’ for each member to refer to.
“Stop the car chase, while I check the procedure; they may be children.”
The CAA has a long history of advocating for intervention at an earlier age to deter children from committing crimes, the proactive approach. We now accept that because of other factors outside the control of the police, the situation has deteriorated dramatically, and the impact on police resources is so severe by recidivist offenders, particularly in the youth cohort, reactive responses must be the priority until the situation stabilises.
We support and encourage the Chief Commissioner to redirect all proactive and support resources to the front line of youth crime. That includes all special interest groups within VicPol, irrespective of how important the people in these groups feel their work is, as well as suspending all training to free up training staff as well as students.
As the situation continues to deteriorate, a repose similar to a war footing must be adopted.
An influx of hundreds of extra police, their vehicles and other resources will lift dramatically the ability of Police to increase patrols.
This, however, cannot be used as a catalyst for police to absolve the function of Proactive policing permanently and must include a sunset clause.
The operation must have a monthly review of progress and, in the first instance, be for a period of six months.
The blame, however, for that deterioration must be placed squarely at the feet of the Judiciary. But as is often the case, the solution in part relies on the Police.
To succeed, the courts have to do their part, albeit they caused it.
The failure to rein in criminality amongst the youth is also not the fault of the pundit’s favourite whipping horse, their parents. Parents are effectively excluded from the Judicial process even if they are present.
The judiciary must accept the responsibility for the rising crime rate as the reins are in their hands, nobody else’s.
The judiciary is the final arbiter regarding the consequences a juvenile may face. Those consequences must be a consequence in the eyes of the juvenile, not the judiciary.
One thing is blatantly apparent; the youth do not respond well to the current raft of penalty options issued by the courts. The flaw is that the youths do not understand they are being punished; instead, they have been merely inconvenienced by going to court.
As soon as their case is finalised and they walk out of the court, in their minds, they have won, irrespective of what the Court says. They have bragging rights among their peers that they beat the charges, deterrent lost.
Irrespective of what the courts may impose other than detention, they have won.
We are not advocating detention in every case but certainly for recidivists, and the penalty must be realistic.
Young people operate in a different time zone to mature adults hence their tendency to live in the moment, so a detention penalty of a few days the first time, escalating by a few weeks for reoffending, would be the deterrent that will work without creating the hardened criminal that social engineers claim will be the outcome. Operating on youth time is the key.
The habit of governments following ideological whims to remove criticism by pretending they are addressing a problem is fraught with danger, the problem will not go away if the rules are relaxed.
This is a similar approach to the drug epidemic.
It is, however, a disgrace and a terrible indictment imposed on the youth and the victims.
What about the victims of youth actions that will no longer be criminal, but which severely damage the property or rights of these victims? Will the Government compensate victims?
Will victims have access to Victims’ support, given the actions of this group are no longer criminal? Why should innocent victims bear the loss and burden?
Will insurers still honour policies when the damage is not a crime?
For example, a group of eleven-year-olds is actively stealing from shops. Is the shop owner within their rights to physically detain the youths and recover his or her property, with force if necessary? Young offenders know what they are doing is wrong. Irrefutable evidence of this is that they flee when challenged. If they did not know what they were doing was wrong, why would they flee?
Rather than resolving and working pragmatically to address the problem, the government has created a monster that will have unintended and dramatic adverse consequences.
The judiciary that created this problem with the support industries of the social manipulators that have evolved around the court system must be tasked with resolving it.
Rather than working pragmatically to address the problem, the government has created a monster that will have unintended and dramatic consequences.
There is no better demonstration of the many breakdowns of the Legal system than the approach to bail. We regularly hear that perpetrators commit serious offences while on Bail; the idiocy is that these same perpetrators regularly have their original bail extended, but you never hear that the Bail has been forfeited.
The net effect is that Bail does not act as a deterrent, part of its function.
Victim’s rights must be protected. To do otherwise is to condone crime.
If we do not push back against this idiocy and the failure of the courts to accept responsibility for the loss of young lives, ‘ARE WE BARKING MAD OR JUST PLAIN STUPID?’
29th of June 2023
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.
26th June 2023
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.
23rd of June 2023
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.
20th June 2023
The Community Advocacy Alliance CAA has been concerned for some time and repeatedly warned that failing to undertake effective preventative, proactive programs will lead to a worsening youth crime rate.
Our worst fears have been realised.
So concerned about Law enforcement’s direction, the CAA developed a Police Veterans in Schools Program with many Police coming out of retirement as volunteers to deliver the program. But this was thwarted by the then Chief Commissioner Ashton and the impact of COVID.
The current Chief Commissioner who supported a school’s program has been unable to implement it, and we wonder whether there was pushback from the Education Department or Union against the proposal. Or perhaps internal pressure by those Police with a limited mindset only capable of understanding the reactive approach as the role of Policing.
Irrespective, the State still does not have a structured, measurable program that can intervene and reduce crime before it occurs; proactive Policing.
Unfortunately, over two decades ago, the then Police Command withdrew the Force from active involvement in working face-to-face with youth and the community in crime prevention programs. This decision was not based on any empirical data but the opposite and was implemented by an executive that obviously did not understand Policing and functioned on a whim.
Although there is some activity in this space today, it is minuscule, the efficacy is flaky at best, and what does happen now is not structured or measurable.
The programs scrapped or so severely impacted as to make them impotent, were ‘Blue Light Discos’, ‘Police in Schools Involvement Program’, ‘Safety House’, ‘High Ropes’, and ‘Operation Newstart’, all of which were force-wide. While numerous other programs initiated by local Police, such as ‘Backyard Rugby’, ‘Poll Position’, ‘Walk It Like You Talk It’, and many more, actively engaged with youth.
These programs were predominantly driven by the frontline Police acknowledging the problem and providing a solution, a bottom-up approach with the front line Police having ownership of the initiative and, therefore, voluntary commitment.
The Police recognised the importance of schools in these programs and generally involved them and their community, creating a whole of community approach, to the benefit of the children.
What is forgotten is that the growth of youth gangs can only occur where there is a pool of willing youths eager to join. Engaging with the younger youth before they are misdirected, is the only sure way to mitigate the gang culture – cut the supply line.
Ironically many of these programs initiated and developed in Victoria and then scrapped continue very successfully in other States and overseas, where the value of these programs is universally accepted as an essential part of effective Policing.
Victoria Police have been forced to adopt a more reactive, risk-averse policing model.
The current Chief Commissioner, Patton, is attempting to return to a community policing model, but unfortunately, it is like trying to turn the Titanic. And like the Titanic, these attempts have failed, and the inevitable outcome is where we are today.
In well over a decade, there has been a huge turnover in police numbers, and consequently, many newer police officers know nothing but a reactive policing model, with proactive policing an anathema to most.
We are paying a heavy price with substantial Police resources heavily committed reactively to the youth issue. This is at the cost of servicing the myriad of other societal problems that befall a community. The most obvious is Domestic Violence and the Road Toll.
The result is already being felt, with a marked decline in effective crime prevention, impacting all facets of our lives. Increased incidents of Domestic Violence and a soaring Road Toll.
Fear of crime can be the worst form of oppression for any community.
Having identified failings within Policing, the real elephant in the room seems to avoid scrutiny.
Hiding in full sight is the Judiciary.
While the focus, to a degree, is unfairly levelled at the Police, it is unfair for the Police to shoulder all the blame when it is the Courts that bear the ultimate and the lion’s share of responsibility for the situation we now face.
Police arrest and charge perpetrators, but it is the Courts that determine the penalty upon conviction and must take responsibility for the outcomes of each sentence imposed.
The responsibility for charging perpetrators lies with the police, while the courts determine whether they become recidivists.
However, the legal system in Victoria seems to be a combination of different approaches that claim to be innovative but lack any accountability. The introduction of Restorative Justice in the past decade has caused significant harm to the legal system. This process has reduced the accountability of perpetrators for their crimes and, in some cases, has shifted the blame to the victim. For instance, in cases where the victim left a window open, the perpetrator climbing in and stealing property was seen as less serious, thereby reducing the criminal’s culpability. This is absurd.
In all of the nonsensical initiatives or interpretations that followed the lauded Restorative Justice initiative, the Courts lost perspective of what they were there for and any semblance that the Courts bore any responsibility for the crime rate, is successfully disguised.
Our Court system has so deteriorated that perpetrators can be bailed multiple times, have multiple court appearances, and the Courts simply find excuses to allow the perpetrators to return to the community to offend again.
The oft-hackneyed phrase, ‘incarcerating perpetrators only makes them worse’ -is arrant nonsense because the rhetorical question that must follow is, ‘worse than what?’.
Perpetrators who are recidivists are ‘worse’ back on the streets, particularly young ones who need to be protected from themselves as much as the community needs to be protected from them.
Any notion that the Courts have an obligation to the Victim or society more generally has evaporated. The Courts have been totally encapsulated in the notion that the offender needs all the considerations, and somehow being nice to them will solve the problem.
We suggest that the problem is, that most juvenile offenders who are at the lower end of the IQ Scale see anything other than incarceration as beating the offence.
In reality, most offenders scoff at the lenient sentencing as nothing more than an inconvenience, as the Governments own statistics reveal.
Reoffending by children and young people in Victoria found that in Victoria, young people aged 10 to 14 years have the highest reoffending rates of all ages in the criminal justice system, with more than 80 per cent reoffending at some time, and more than 60 per cent reoffending with an offence against the person (Aggravated Burglaries).
The Judiciary has clearly failed in its duty. Generally, it passes off the responsibility for this shocking State of affairs to the ‘Juvenile Justice system or Police, but it is the Judicial officers who are the ones who determine the outcomes, not some bureaucrat working in the Department or a police member trying to attend more calls than the available time their shift allows.
All the browbeating is worth naught until the Judiciary starts regularly incarcerating offenders rather than issuing continued warnings, introducing consequences, a novel approach to reducing crime.
It’s important to understand that detaining juvenile offenders for a brief period can actually be beneficial in breaking their behavioural patterns. This point is often overlooked by those who are against incarcerating minors.
A child lives in the moment, and time relative to them differs greatly from that of an adult.
Many within the Judiciary avoid the hard decisions, and until we insist on accountability and the compilation of useful statistics where the performance of a Judicial Officer can be measured, nothing is likely to change.
What value is a Judicial officer’s service to society when their decisions translate into a very high recidivism rate amongst perpetrators who are convicted in their Court?
We need to shift the focus of the Courts to their proper role of reducing crime.
Without the Courts doing their job, the Police cannot do theirs, and we all suffer as Police are committed to the recidivist gangs rather than other important issues.
And the future? Courts will continue to allow perpetrators to avoid responsibility for their crimes, and Police will be faced with ever-increasing demands for increased police numbers to deal with exponential demand for the reactive function, at a huge cost to the State that you and I pay for.
We desperately need a brave Government intervention and a circuit breaker to the spiralling downward trend of Law and order in Victoria.
Without intervention in the Courts current philosophical disposition, criminals will ultimately face far less punitive outcomes for their activity and coupled with the moves to decriminalise the Drug issue and raise the age of criminal responsibility, you can see where it is headed – and it is not good.
18 th June 2023
The Community Advocacy Alliance (CAA) is a group of retired police officers and concerned citizens who are committed to making Victoria a safer place.
Recently, CAA obtained statistics from Victoria Police regarding calls made to 000 reporting erratic driving or suspected DUIs. Dr. Ray Shuey, a former Victoria Police Assistant Commissioner for Traffic and a member of CAA, submitted the application for the data, which cost $440.00 and covers the years 2020 to 2022.
The data shows that in 2022, concerned community members made over 51,000 calls 000 about problematic road users. However, in 88.61% of these cases, the only response was a “Keep A Look Out” (KALOF) broadcast, with no further investigation being undertaken. Only 7.18% of cases were recorded as “enquiries pending,” but there was no follow-up on the outcomes of these enquiries. Only about 1,000 calls resulted in any real action, such as an offence detected, an offender apprehended, or a stolen car located, resulting in a success rate of approximately 2.21%.
Clearly, the community wants to make our roads safer, but the Victoria Police response is woefully inadequate. This issue was first raised within Victoria Police in December 2011 and again in June 2013 but little has changed in the intervening decade.
At the time of the 2011 report examples were cited where the only response would have been to Keep A Look Out For, but for further intervention. No doubt every reader would be able to recount their own similar experiences:
- 2 x vehicles seen “dragging” along Ferntree Gully Road Glen Waverley, registration number of both vehicles provided. No vehicle available to attend, disposition recorded as AAC (All Apparently Correct). Analysis of LEAP data indicated that the probable driver of one vehicle currently had 19 demerit points and had recent criminal convictions for serious offences. His Dossier stated, “The subject person is into high performance drag cars. Currently doing up a LH Torana for street drags.” Contacted caller who stated she was a nurse at the xxxx Hospital and constantly saw people in emergency who had been involved in vehicle collisions. Stated she got her friend, who was a passenger in the car at the time, to ring 000 as she feared for the safety of other road users. Both prepared to make statements and attend court if required.
- Vehicle observed driving dangerously on the Monash Freeway towards the city, correct registration number provided. 251 directed KALOF. Contacted 251 and requested that a unit be directed to investigate. 251 replied in email a short time later that the registered owner and the reporting person had both been contacted. The registered owner stated that the vehicle was being driven by her granddaughter. A further check revealed the granddaughter has numerous prior convictions associated with drug use. The reporting person provided additional details of the extent of the dangerous driving and stated she was prepared to make a statement.
- Vehicle seen at 1100hrs in Chapel Street, Prahran, several callers reported the vehicle had driven through 2 red lights and overtaken a tram on the incorrect side of the road. Correct registration number provided. Units directed by 251 to locate vehicle, unable to locate, no further action taken. Checked LEAP, noted on registration pre-enquirer that at 1330hrs on the same day a member from Melbourne Highway Patrol had checked the vehicle. Contacted member who stated that the vehicle had been involved in a serious collision and the driver was taken to hospital. Stated witnesses had seen the vehicle travelling along St Kilda Road and overtake a tram and then collide with a tram stop. Driver possibly drug impaired or psychiatric issues. He had not been aware of the earlier incidents as they were on a different radio channel.
Another tragic example was cited in the 2013 report which had played out with tragic consequences with the death of a 70-year-old female driver. A drug affected driver was convicted of culpable driving. In a 10 day period before the fatal collision a number of calls were made to 000 reporting the driver. In sentencing the Judge made comment that despite numerous calls to police no immediate action was taken. Any of the incidents reported to police could have amounted to Reckless Conduct Endangering Life or Serious Injury, in which case it would have been open to Victoria Police members to arrest and bail the offender with conditions, thus providing an immediate response within existing legislative processes.
As pointed out in the 2011 and 2013 reports clearly the consequences of failing to adequately address this issue are serious, including preventable serious road trauma caused by these drivers, further serious driving offences being committed, disqualified or unlicensed drivers remaining undetected, and damage to the reputation of Victoria Police. Additionally, failing to address this issue means missed opportunities to reduce the road toll, raise perceptions of safety, identify and target recidivist offenders, target individuals who pose a heightened risk to community safety and increase confidence in policing.
An effective solution would be to properly investigate these calls, which are often supported by mobile phone or dashcam footage and/or other witnesses. If a caller did not want to provide a statement due to a relatively remote possibility of having to give evidence in court, a letter could be sent to the registered owner advising that their vehicle had been observed being driven dangerously, and on this occasion, no further action would be taken, but the incident had been noted. This would alert the registered owner that others had seen what had occurred and prompt them to reflect on their driver behaviour or who they authorized to drive their car. There would be a provision for a registered owner to query the event, but the identity of the person providing the information would be protected.
CAA has recently had discussions with Victoria Police about how to progress an effective solution to this unacceptable situation. It will likely require additional resources, but it is worth it for a safer Victoria.
It is up to the Police command to manage and prioritize existing resources, work with communities, share data, and make a transparent, cogent case for additional resources. This follows the an evidence-based policing approach in keeping with a Prevention and Community Empowered (PACE) policing model. The public wants to make our roads safer, and it’s time for Victoria Police to take a more effective approach to investigating calls to 000 regarding erratic driving.
6th June 2023
There has been talk of introducing Drug Buses in Victoria, which is an interesting concept with potential benefits.
With the introduction of buses for addicts to shoot up in ‘safety’ currently under consideration, the North Richmond facility can be closed, relieving the residents of North Richmond of the tedium and fear of dealing with the facility in their midst and the effect of normalising drug activity with Primary School age children in the adjacent school.
But before this concept gets too much traction, and Victoria rockets down the road to decriminalisation, the Canadian approach to the Drug issue must be examined because there are direct comparisons between the Canadian States which give a true insight, with some opting for the path to decriminalisation and some opting for a solution rather than a band-aid.
The stark failure of the decriminalisation approach, a direction Victoria is heading, has been laid bare in a YouTube video (see below link) that is essential viewing.
The unintended consequence of decimalisation has seen a crime rate rise of 400% in one area, and the situation where nothing can be done if an addict decides to smoke crack in a restaurant; it is legal. But patrons who smoke cigarettes in a restaurant can be fined because it is illegal.
Another interesting development in Canada has been the marketing initiatives adopted by Drug dealers. This mobile drug store was recently seen on Canadian streets in a decriminalised State.
With the drug buses and a mobile Drug store that will be an interesting quinella in the decriminalisation path,
Drug-injecting buses may end up in your local MacDonalds car park parked next to a Mobile Drug Store.
There are concerns that the same people who chose to locate the Richmond facility in a residential area near a Primary School may also make poor decisions about where to park these buses.
The argument for Drug Buses is to save lives, but most people believe treating drug addiction is a better way to help addicts.
While it’s possible to save a drug addict today, in an injecting facility, they may still die tomorrow. Their health risk has not been mitigated.
Therefore, the focus should be on getting addicts into treatment and off drugs to prevent overdoses in the future.
We know that Drug addicts do not respond to advice while under the influence of drugs, so the only option is to create a circumstance where they may be secured with a Health Order for treatment as proposed by the CAA in 2018.
The legislation already exists – The Victorian Severe Substance Dependence Treatment Act 2010 and could be implemented almost immediately with minor amendments.
The drug approach in a number of Canadian States seriously addresses the Drug issue to save lives by addressing addiction which is both the drugs and the drug lifestyle and any other health issues contributing to their addiction.
A Canadian-produced YouTube is, without doubt, the best insight into the drug issue yet and must be compulsory viewing by all politicians and decision-makers.
Those involved in any aspect of the Drug issue and think they know it all should view this on YouTube.
For the CAA proposal, see
First published 2018
There is no argument, based on fact, that we are winning the war on drugs. But, if winning or losing was adjudged, we are losing and being smashed.
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 recently, syndicates allow in their business model for law enforcement to have some success and be ripped off by other criminals. Still, the vast profits make this risk worthwhile.
We do not suggest targeting criminal importation of illicit drugs be rewound. However, to make the war on drugs deliver some impact on the illegal 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. When 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 manifest substantially.
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 during 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 dependency or other health issues. They can access support if required and have them return to society in a better condition than they were, armed with how to escape their addiction and/or lifestyle changes to remove the necessity of drugs before becoming addicted.
Taking drug-affected people away from Hospital Emergency Rooms and off the streets 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 user interaction with the addicts. Because there are none, the shooting gallery, falsely labelled a safe injecting room, 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 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 back 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 criminal matters being as healthy as can be achieved in fourteen days.
Where will they be located?
Drug quarantine facilities can be housed in the now redundant properties and buildings secured for the COVID pandemic. Repurposing these resources would be sensible and supported by all Victorians. The attraction of this approach would give Victoria a resource never before enjoyed should a wide-ranging pandemic ever eventuate in the future. The Drug quarantine facilities can be repurposed back for the duration of any new challenges. Short-term interruptions to the Drug service would have little meaningful impact on the Drug patient as their stay in the facilities are only short-term.
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 and preventing 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 become 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 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, with the same impact as safe injecting rooms. They both play as a positive in the drug Marketing mix, not a negative, as should be the case.
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 in the drug industry.
Make no mistake, the explosion of Safe Injecting Rooms is seen as a pathway by some towards the 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, addiction is a health one, and the separation needs to be understood.
Incarceration within the Justice system and 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 to address, 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 crime issues, 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.
Legalising/ decriminalisation of illicit Drugs
That is the holy grail for the drug industry and all the drug apologists who generally imbibe but do not want the hassle of potential criminal sanctions.
This is particularly an attitude amongst many elites who enjoy risk-taking but hold down very responsible executive positions.
Make no mistake, we are on the path to Legalising Illicit drugs. The strategy of creeping assumptions is well developed, with the end game not far away.
It started with the safe injecting Rooms. The legalisation of prostitution and now working groups looking at the of legalising drugs. We know what they will find and there will be little doubt that attempts to ram through legislation on this matter is nigh.
The working groups are looking at the how-to, not the why.
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.
It is convenient that the government has two options currently available to implement the program by repurposing two Government facilities, the Quarantine facility at Mickleham and the Yooralla Building in the CBD.
Repurposing both facilities would receive strong community support and have almost an immediate impact.
2nnd June 2023
Upper House Nick McGowen’s comments regarding drivers using headlights during the day caught my attention recently. HS 1st of June 2023, A Bright Idea.
In the 1970s, while stationed at Seymour Highway Patrol, I often found myself from time to time, losing sight of oncoming vehicles or those waiting to turn onto the highway. All be it for a slit second, but long enough for it to be potentially dangerous, particularly at dawn, dusk, and variable weather conditions. This was especially dangerous for catching-speeding motorists, as high-speed driving was commonplace, and that facilitated constant high-speed driving for enforcement.
I was ridiculed by my superiors when I suggested that drivers should use their parking lights while driving. I was even directed not to use them in police vehicles.
Interestingly, I could not find any regulation that prohibited driving with headlights during the day.
MP Nick McGowan’s proposal to require all drivers to activate their headlights during the day is a sensible measure that should be supported by all politicians. This simple initiative can significantly improve visibility on the country as well as metropolitan roads, particularly in areas with shadows and variable conditions. However, drivers of vehicles without daytime running lights should be required to use their parking lights.
Aftermarket daytime driving lights are available for less than $100 and are easy to install without the need for a specialist auto electrical service. Therefore, it is reasonable to require vehicles that need a Certificate of Roadworthiness to be fitted with these lights.
While I support this initiative wholeheartedly, it saddens me that it could have saved hundreds of Victorian lives if it had been introduced in the 70s.
The lesson here is that our legislators should not dismiss ideas simply because they cannot see their value; sometimes, the visions of others are critical.
26th May 2023
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?
OPEN LETTER TO ALL VICTORIAN POLITICIANS
Recently The Community Advocacy Alliance Inc. (CAA) emailed a letter to you relating to the North Richmond, so called, Safe Injecting Room pointing out the utterly inappropriate siting of such a facility. We requested you to use your power to prevent the continuing sacrificing of the physical and psychological health of children who live near that facility and who attend the nearby school.
A majority of you opted to ignore our plea and have passed legislation ensuring that the well-being of children will continue to be sacrificed to the needs of drug addicts. For this, those who voted to pass this legislation ought to be thoroughly ashamed.
How in good conscience any thinking adult could believe the needs of drug addicts could outweigh the protection of little children beggars belief. see https://www.city-journal.org/article/the-harm-in-harm-reduction
Legislation can always be repealed.
The CAA implores you to reconsider this barbarous act and repeal this cruel legislation, and, if such a facility is to be continued, choose a site where children and local residents are not so adversely impacted on a daily basis.
Would you have your children, if any, raised next to an Injecting Room? If you answer honestly, your answer would be a resounding no.
If you voted against the permanent continuance of the Injecting Room at the North Richmond site, we congratulate you. If you voted for the continuance, we utterly deplore your inhumanity in continuing to sacrifice children in 2023 and beyond.
The CAA will continue to do all it can to protect the rights of affected children and local residents.
(It should be noted the CAA has proposed a much better health related approach to dealing with drug addiction.)
2nd May 2023
What a brilliant idea; why didn’t we think of this earlier?
Kids desensitised to and normalised to drugs, by the drug room just opposite their school in Nth Richmond, and the playgound to dangerous to use, will be able to call in and get a hit on the way home.
Mum can wait outside the injecting room rather than at the school gate.
It took the Green’s Aiv Puglielli to come up with this ridiculous and inane idea. He claims to have ‘expert health advice’. We note that it is not necessarily ‘Medical Advice’; it is more likely that advice would have originated from the drug industry to expand their market.
Mr Puglielli should have stuck to the Arts, where he has a background and left these issues to people that know something about it.
We would question the bona fides of the Greens’ advisers, and you can guarantee they will never raise their heads above the parapet to expose themselves to deserved ridicule.
How ridiculous to even suggest that a child can attend a drug room to shoot up. Is it to be an after-school activity, or will it be introduced as part of the curriculum?
Under this proposal, the Doctors’ Hippocratic Oath would be invoked, and the identity of the child would not be disclosed even to the child’s parents.
If these loopy ideas gain any traction, they will turn our parliamentary system into a joke, and what remaining credibility the parliament has will be lost, a loss it may never recover from.
We have long suspected that some drug apologists are linked to the drug trade and have been corrupted to push pro-drug policies. The rivers of gold that flow in the industry leads inevitably to corruption.
If there is any hope, politicians, irrespective of their ideology, must rise up and call this rubbish for what it is.
This is one of the very few occasions where politicians must put aside ideology for the greater good and regain respect for the political institution.