CAA PLAN 100.3 – 2024

CAA PLAN 100.3 – 2024

The CAA has published a series of Plans aimed at identifying issues in the law and order space that adversely impact all of us. The current iteration is PLAN 100.3, updating the last version, published in 2019.

A lot has happened in the intervening years. This paper will update the community about the issues we identify and provide suggestions to decision-makers on how things can be improved.

We welcome any comments and hope this paper informs the broader community to pressure for change.

Plan 100.3 Word Doc

Plan 100.3 PDF



As the debate over Bail laws for juveniles rages, the proponents on the side of the ‘relaxation of laws’, ‘for the good of the child’ have lost sight of reality.

The two concepts, ‘relaxation of laws’ and ‘for the good of the child’ is an oxymoron.

A sceptic may also conclude that this move is a cynical government strategy to show how the youth problem has diminished by excluding large numbers of the youngest cohort from the statistical criminal matrix, thereby solving the youth problem.

The problem, however, is the giant chasm between what these proponents preach and the reality the juvenile interprets.

Some time ago, the CAA met with the executives of a well-known and, up until that time, in our view, a highly respected major youth-focused charitable organisation to discuss the issues and strategies that might be co-jointly pursued to help young offenders.

In discussing the Police Cautioning program, we raised the concept that minor penalties could be applied to juveniles with consent and agreement from the child’s parents. For example, we suggested that the juvenile’s phone be surrendered for fourteen days or report to the police station to do chores, etc.

The response was akin to threatening juvenile offenders with purgatory as they exposed their agenda.

They were clearly and stridently opposed to the Police Cautioning Program and initiatives like the Police in Schools Program. Not that they could annunciate the problems with either.

It seemed they were motivated and basing their views on some ideological zealotry.

And of greatest surprise was their absolute lack of care for the child’s welfare and the approach of no consequences for unlawful behaviour or, for that matter, any plausible result for the child’s behaviour or meaningful action that may reduce the repetition of the behaviour.

How the child’s unlawful behaviour could be corrected, or the dangers to the child mitigated with no intervention were beyond a reasoned view.

They also could not identify a circumstance where a child should be incarcerated, whether in sentencing or on Bail.

The adverse risk to the children was obvious, but that the community must accept and tolerate this behaviour was outrageous.

Whoever is promoting the lifting of the age of criminal responsibility is tarred with the same brush of ignorance.

When a young person’s lousy behaviour escalates to violence against others, a substantial intervention of consequences must be applied to the child very quickly if the behaviour is to be modified.

Failure to do this is the cause of the current escalation in overall juvenile violent crime.

Some fundamental traits in immature young people are critical to expect to achieve behavioural change.

  • Time – Young people live in different time zones than adults, and as we age, we learn that an hour or a day for a mature adult, for a young person, would equate to a day or forever. This phenomenon translates into watering down dramatically the impact of the legal process on a child whose life has moved on substantially before consequences, if any, are applied.
  • Consequential outcomes of actions – Children may not consider the consequences of their actions and will continue to act violently until they do.

The current example of three young people pushing an elderly man fishing off a pier, falling some 5 meters into the sea, is an example. Thankfully, the old man who couldn’t swim was rescued by onlookers.

There would have been no rational thought from the youths that the consequences may lead to the death of the man.

  • Youth Bail – Excessive use of their right to Bail contributes markedly to our current problems. A youth released on bail gains bragging rights and believes they have beaten the charges. This alleged badge of honour escalates violent behaviour as associates are led to believe there will be no consequences for their violent behaviour either, so any deterrent effect on others is lost.

There must be an urgent review of the management of young offenders with an emphasis on consequences for unlawful behaviour.

That review must consider the matters we have raised and determine an efficient and appropriate system for managing young people.

The passionate argument of never incarcerating young people must be quashed as it is as essential to protect the community as it is to protect the child. Incarceration is a must if there is no viable alternative. We do not advocate incarcerating all young offenders but only when it is reasonably necessary, but all offenders must suffer some consequences.

The risks that can be argued opposing incarceration of ‘making the offender worse’ we differ ‘worse than what’. Violence in any form must be punished.  Assaults, carjacking and home invasions must be stamped out.

If there are issues with the detention system, then fix the system.

The current system appears broken, but that has more to do with activists fiddling with it for ideological reasons as the system, even with some failings, has historically served us well, or indeed better than it currently does.

Fiddling with the bail laws and the age of criminal responsibility are just that, tinkering around the edges without a holistic approach that would achieve meaningful outcomes.

Curfews and tracking devices for recidivist offenders are a ‘no brainer’.

The actual legislative changes to achieve better outcomes are relatively small. Changing the mindset of key players in the youth space might be more of a challenge; however, if their function was measured against benchmarks, instilling accountability with consequences into these functions, meaningful changes might be quicker than anticipated.




30,233 acts of Violence perpetrated predominantly 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 consumed by this crime.

The actual number is much higher when more than one Police unit is required, and the processing exceeds the four-hours, which is a minimum.

Clearly, domestics are attended to as a priority as they should be, but the role of the police is to maintain the peace and not become involved in extraneous matters, taking them away from their core function. Particularly at the expense of other pressing police operational issues, like the Road toll, home invasions and juvenile crime, all escalating at an alarming rate and creating further victims at an alarming rate.

Policing these incidents will become more effective when Police have the ability to concentrate on all the components and behavioural variables of the protagonists to keep the peace, a skill poorly understood. It is not in the best interest of either party to the dispute to have police distracted by administration or counselling the protagonists.

Inevitably, Police are dragged into the issue that the rival parties perceive as important, threatening the detachment that Police must maintain to perform their function. This is not the role of the Police but other professionals who are notably absent when their services are most critically needed.

The Road Toll numbers, for example, far exceed the deaths caused in any other Policing category. Still, the police allocation of resources to Road Policing, compared to domestic, is totally inconsistent caused by a Royal Commission’s findings focused on just one narrow but important policing field but blind to the reality and broader demands of Policing.

If you call for help from the Police, the likelihood is that they may have difficulty getting to you, even for a Domestic. Most of their resources are 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, the raft of quangos and convocations that have sprung up, and the substantial number of Public Servants operating under the justification of Family Violence, the issue continues to surge.

We must put them all under the microscope as it is now apparent that the issues facing our Aboriginal communities, where huge amounts of money are expended but do not trickle down to be effective and where the purpose of the funding is expected to impact, are paralleled in the development of the Domestic Violence Industry.

Millions of dollars are spent for no appreciable result where the problem exists and no accounting of where the money is going.

It is well overdue for the Domestic Violence entities, Government or Government funded, to be held to account to justify their continued function. If they are failing, the operating costs of these entities must 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 that renders 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 massive surge in Domestic Violence has its 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 perpetuates lawlessness and breeds violence.

However, the vast majority of these ‘experts’ relied upon by the Royal Commission work office hours, and in today’s environment, they probably work from home. They are not working when the issues are most prevalent and do not attend the scenes to intervene even if called by the Police.

Although early intervention would reduce the risk factors for victims, as far as we can establish, that is not a function of the agencies engage in; why?

They, therefore, have no direct knowledge and do not leave the cloistered environment of the Office and deal with victims in the real world rather than just the sterile environment (Sterile for the Victim) of a consultation approach, operating entirely on what they are told, usually from only one side.

As a result of the Royal Commission, the Police have been 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 they are required to collect is essential 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 required by other agencies should not be foisted on the 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.



Spent Convictions Legislation is currently under review, and it is essential that a major rethink on this flawed legislation occurs. In its current format, it facilitates or supports the perpetrator’s lying.

The CAA has no issue with people who have committed minor offences having the albatross of a prior conviction lightened; however, not to the degree this Act achieves where expunging a conviction by secrecy is repugnant, exasperated by no mechanism to monitor the effectiveness of the legislation.

If asked by a potential employer if they have ever been convicted of an offence they can either refrain from answering or lie. And that includes joining the Police Force.

Spent convictions can either be Minor or Historical; the latter raises very real concern as there is no definition of Historical. A magistrate or administrator may have a subjective view of ‘Historical,’ and that is not satisfactory.

Moreover, innocent victims and others can be caught up in committing offences created by this legislation to protect the criminal. Breaching this legalisation, whether or not it was intentional, is a crime.

Amongst the major flaws in this Act include the secrecy in the administration and legal processes, undermining our legal system, and fundamentally, the legislation is structured to legalise a lie by the very people that the system is supposed to help live a crime-free life. One would think free from lies and deceit.

This is seriously flawed legislation that slipped through without very much public discourse as Victorians laboured through the last three months of the COVID pandemic, with the Act taking effect on the 1st of July 2022.

A cynic would suggest this was deliberate, as now the matter has been raised by the Government again in the form of a review. Hopefully, this indicates the architects now doubt the folly of this legislation.

This legislation is egregious, particularly given the secrecy that surrounds this process.

We have no hope of ever knowing if this program is successful as we watch our crime rate grow. The secrecy prohibits the collection of empirical data to measure the effect.

If a conviction is spent and the perpetrator reoffends, neither we nor the courts or the bureaucracy will know. They will be processed as a first offender. That removes any deterrent effect.

Secrecy is the building block of corruption, and this proposal is one of the most high-risk devised; the anomalies must be rectified.

Review of the Spent Convictions Act 2021 | Engage Victoria  (CTRL + click)

We are very uncomfortable with aspects of the legislation, and we suspect many Victorians would share our concerns when they become aware of it.

Secrecy:          The secrecy around this process is an anathema to us and everybody else who has any respect for our legal system. The openness of our legal system is a defence against corruption and totalitarianism and provides accountability for the Courts. Not undermining a basic tenet of our judicial system.

Corruption:     The system is not transparent, so the potential for the scheme to be corrupted is extremely high. Not only aggravated by dealing with people who in the past have been prepared to break the law, but convictions can be spent by an administrative process, which, in effect, is totalitarianism by the second estate.

Administrative abuse risks.

                       As we understand it, most of the decisions will be administrative (referred to as automated). The automated system will be managed by Public Servants or perhaps contractors, faceless and unaccountable staff; this is a recipe for corruption—convictions spent for a price.

Anti-Victim:     However, a victim must have a right to be heard before a person convicted for committing a crime against them is spent. They could cross paths with the perpetrator in all sorts of circumstances. As a neighbour, in a local town, or a housing complex, in social circumstances or employment, the list is extensive. The onus must be placed on the Perpetrator to avoid these situations and not the Victim. Victim harassment must be avoided and be an offence under this legislation. They have suffered as a victim once; why is the onus placed on them and not the perpetrator? This is a moral anomaly.

No Victim Representation:

It is bad enough having secret Courts with only the Attorney General, and the Chief Commissioner permitted to be represented; it is an indictment on our legal system that the same right is not extended to the victims.

Spent Conviction Time frames:

                       The Act species time frames for the period before a Spent Conviction can be granted. That part of the legislation is flawed, particularly for juvenile offenders.

Perpetrators may not have finished a court sanction (their debt to society) before the conviction is spent. Alternatively, for a large part of the stipulated period, they were either in jail or subject to some other court-imposed sanction. Spent Convictions must be measured from when the Court sanctions expire, not the conviction date.

Restitution:     It seems utterly incongruous that a criminal can have their conviction spent without making any reparation to the Victim. This means that the gains accrued by the criminal and the benefit derived from the crime ensures that crime does pay, and any deterrent effect is lost.

The definition of our legal system is best illustrated by ‘Lady Justice’, our logo; the scales she holds demonstrate the Law must be balanced; however, for too long, the scales continue to be tipped to favour the criminal to the point where the criminals derive more benefit from the ‘legal system’ than the victim. There is something abhorrent about that.

Unfortunately, many see criminals through ‘rose-coloured’ glasses when, in reality, many criminals are not charged with offences, not because they have reformed, but rather because they have not been caught. That is very true with opportunistic criminals.

It is time this was rectified and a more equitable system developed to ensure that victims are compensated for their loss (that Victim could be the Crown), and the benefit of ill-gotten gains enjoyed by Criminals must never be expunged as a liability until settled.

Crime is not supposed to pay.



26th October 2022

In the latest strike in what can only be described as a media blitz, the IBAC Commissioner has again attempted to interpret the law.

The integrity entities are not only colour coding corruption (Grey), but now the texture is apparently relevant.

This is in addition to attempting to create new definitions for words.

In this latest attempt by the IBAC Commissioner to influence the way laws are managed, he put forward ‘Soft’ corruption as an apparent legal reality rather than a Commissioner’s wish to divert attention from the inability of IBAC to perform its function to avoid accountability for IBAC’s failures.

Since when does the texture or colour of a law determine or influence its application?

As part of the Commissioners media blitz, on October the 22nd, it was reported in the Herald Sun that he warned,

‘Victoria’s corruption watchdog has warned the centralisation of power around Premier Daniel Andrews’ private office has created an environment ripe for “soft corruption”.’

This tinkering around with how our Laws are supposed to work must stop.

  • The Coate Inquiry’s ludicrous ‘Creeping Assumptions’ theory,
  • IBAC’s and Ombudsman’s definition of ‘immersed’,
  • The suggestions of ‘grey’ corruption,
  • And now the IBAC Commissioners ‘soft’ corruption

We can only assume that Soft corruption must be akin to the Claytons Theory, famously described as – “the drink you have when you’re not having a drink”.

There is one common underlying explanation for these inane references – incompetence.

The apparent strategy is, ‘Whatever you do, shift the focus from your incompetence.’

Based on the observations proffered by our integrity organisations, we could therefore categorise other crimes into grey or soft as a pre-emptive justification for lack of effective prosecutions or the need even to address these breaches of the law.

Can you imagine people using terms like ‘grey’ assault, ‘immersed’ in a breach of an intervention order or ‘soft’ drink driving’? According to the integrity guardians, only corruption can be dealt with under these new nuances.

This nonsense needs to be walked back. Corruption is corruption, and it is not subject to colour or textural variations.

We believe this attempt to change the corruption landscape is part of IBAC’s flawed understanding of its role. IBAC is NOT a court. We note that this is the way IBAC identifies itself on its website:

The Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC) is Victoria’s agency responsible for preventing and exposing public sector corruption and police misconduct. Our jurisdiction covers state and local government, police, parliament and the judiciary.

This is clearly about preventing or exposing, not defining, determining or justifying. It appears IBAC is straying from its own stated purpose in attempting to justify not referring matters for prosecution.

Surprisingly, neither the Judiciary nor the Government has not pulled IBAC into line and reminded the Commissioner that IBAC is not a Judicial body.

This State’s failure to detect and prevent corruption is not served well by an IBAC intent on trying to become an adjunct to the legal system instead of an essential and independent part.

Instead of worrying about the hue or texture of the corruption is; how about detecting and referring perpetrators for prosecution?

Instead of asking for money, we, the community, would like to see some tangible results for the millions we already spend on what seems an increasingly out-of-touch IBAC.

Corruption has been colour coded and now defined by texture

Corruption has been colour coded and now defined by texture

26th October 2022

In the latest strike in what can only be described as a media blitz, the IBAC Commissioner has again attempted to interpret the law.

The integrity entities are not only colour coding corruption (Grey), but now the texture is apparently relevant.

This is in addition to attempting to create new definitions for words.

In this latest attempt by the IBAC Commissioner to influence the way laws are managed, he put forward ‘Soft’ corruption as an apparent legal reality rather than a Commissioner’s wish to divert attention from the inability of IBAC to perform its function to avoid accountability for IBAC’s failures.

Since when does the texture or colour of a law determine or influence its application?

As part of the Commissioners media blitz, on October the 22nd, it was reported in the Herald Sun that he warned,

‘Victoria’s corruption watchdog has warned the centralisation of power around Premier Daniel Andrews’ private office has created an environment ripe for “soft corruption”.’

This tinkering around with how our Laws are supposed to work must stop.

  • The Coate Inquiry’s ludicrous ‘Creeping Assumptions’ theory,
  • IBAC’s and Ombudsman’s definition of ‘immersed’,
  • The suggestions of ‘grey’ corruption,
  • And now the IBAC Commissioners ‘soft’ corruption

We can only assume that Soft corruption must be akin to the Claytons Theory, famously described as – “the drink you have when you’re not having a drink”.

There is one common underlying explanation for these inane references – incompetence.

The apparent strategy is, ‘Whatever you do, shift the focus from your incompetence.’

Based on the observations proffered by our integrity organisations, we could therefore categorise other crimes into grey or soft as a pre-emptive justification for lack of effective prosecutions or the need even to address these breaches of the law.

Can you imagine people using terms like ‘grey’ assault, ‘immersed’ in a breach of an intervention order or ‘soft’ drink driving’? According to the integrity guardians, only corruption can be dealt with under these new nuances.

This nonsense needs to be walked back. Corruption is corruption, and it is not subject to colour or textural variations.

We believe this attempt to change the corruption landscape is part of IBAC’s flawed understanding of its role. IBAC is NOT a court. We note that this is the way IBAC identifies itself on its website:

The Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC) is Victoria’s agency responsible for preventing and exposing public sector corruption and police misconduct. Our jurisdiction covers state and local government, police, parliament and the judiciary.

This is clearly about preventing or exposing, not defining, determining or justifying. It appears IBAC is straying from its own stated purpose in attempting to justify not referring matters for prosecution.

Surprisingly, neither the Judiciary nor the Government has not pulled IBAC into line and reminded the Commissioner that IBAC is not a Judicial body.

This State’s failure to detect and prevent corruption is not served well by an IBAC intent on trying to become an adjunct to the legal system instead of an essential and independent part.

Instead of worrying about the hue or texture of the corruption is; how about detecting and referring perpetrators for prosecution?

Instead of asking for money, we, the community, would like to see some tangible results for the millions we already spend on what seems an increasingly out-of-touch IBAC.



23rd October 2022

Robert Redlich, please cut it out; you are embarrassing yourself and IBAC.

The IBAC Commissioner has recently taken to the media to argue a case for increased powers and funding for IBAC, inferring that the lack of these is the cause of their failures. They may well be contributors, but, just as with many other Government Officials, the mantra of ‘it’s not my/our fault’ is commonplace and the go-to defence to explain their failures.

When our integrity regulator will not take responsibility for maintaining the bar for integrity, it is little wonder nobody in Government will either.

That may well be the primary cause of IBAC’s failure.

Redlich’s media comments seemed like a thinly veiled crack at the Premier. We would remind the Commissioner that he did have the Premier in his’ cross hairs’, but he and the Ombudsman lifted the barrel as the shot was fired.

Being “Immersed” in the ‘Red Shirts’ artifice was the justification for no adverse finding against the Premier, and, with that, a new definition of the word was spawned.

If your Webster’s is not working for you, try your Funk and Wagnall.

It is time for you, Mr Redlich, and your Deputy to demonstrate true integrity and resign by example.

Things have not been too flash for you both in recent times.

Victoria’s Parliamentary Integrity and Oversight Committee released its report on the 6th of October 2022 relating to Public Examinations by IBAC. It can be argued that the report is a very significant slap down for Commissioner Redlich and Deputy Commissioner Wolf.

Both have sought to increase the frequency and availability of Public Examinations,’ Show Trials’, but they could not explain ‘unreasonable damage’, a concept central to the current justification for IBAC to conduct a public examination. A notion the average person would have no problem explaining.

“This is concerning to the (Parliamentary) Committee, particularly considering that Commissioner Redlich and Deputy Commissioner Wolf were unable to provide a clear explanation in the public hearing of the concept of ‘unreasonable damage’ and how IBAC determines what is ‘unreasonable’,” Herald Sun-6/10/22

With this finding, the Committee has nailed the major anomaly in our integrity processes: Bureaucrats with unfettered power and no accountability to the principles of justice.

There could be an argument that it is the Parliament’s responsibility to set out what ‘unreasonable damage’ might mean by way of a definition. Still, IBAC has been applying a definition (or is supposed to have been) to all public examinations to date. Hence, it is totally reasonable for the Committee to ask what their definition might be and be critical because they cannot explain something they have been supposed to be regularly doing.

This also reflects equally poorly on the Victorian Inspectorate, which oversees IBAC and is not performing its task well either.

While Redlich and Wolf seek to gain more power, the Committee is wise enough to halt their power grab.

The CAA strongly believes that Public Examinations are abhorrent and should only be used in the rarest of circumstances, and should never be used to replace competent investigative skills and processes.

The CAA is not challenging the Coercive Powers already available to IBAC, just the ‘show’ part.

The Committee has sent IBAC to the naughty corner to do some homework.

“The committee, which currently has a majority of Labor MPs, recommended legislative changes that require the watchdog to draw up new guidelines clearly spelling out how to decide when this damage is unfair to the person being interviewed.” – Herald Sun -6/10/22

This is a bit like getting the fox to design the security for a hen house, risking devious accesses being installed in the design.

There is, however, a relatively straightforward solution to this issue.

IBAC or any other agencies with these powers should be required to apply to a Court for an Order to examine a witness publicly.

Hearings would allow the witness to challenge the Integrity Body to justify its application.

Remove the power from the Bureaucrats who, by the Committee’s findings, do not understand a fundamental principle like “unreasonable damage”, something one would not even need a Law Degree to understand.

Without being legislated, it should be possible for the bureaucrats, who in this case are both lawyers, to understand the concept of ‘unreasonable’.

However, as they cannot or will not, the Courts must determine the answer for each case; simply legislating a definition will not work, as what may be unreasonable in one case may not be in another.

The Courts can place any restrictions on the examination that it sees serves the best interest of the Law and maintains natural justice for the witness.

We argue that the Public Examination ‘Show Trial’ process is used as punishment or more damming, where poor investigations fail.

Moreover, the chance of a fair trial may well be compromised by public examination where the rules of evidence vary from what a court will permit in a subsequent trial, influencing potential jurors; a risk we should not countenance.

The transparency argument often put forward is also flawed as the logical corollary would be for people before being charged with murder, or other crimes should be publicly examined – an illogical and unacceptable proposition.

There is an argument that ‘Show Trials’ may elicit more evidence against a witness, which has allegedly happened in a few cases.

Former Queensland Police Commissioner Terry Lewis was convicted for corruption in 1991, and Politician Eddie Obeid likewise in New South Wales in 2021. Cases separated by thirty years and in different States are hardly a ringing endorsement for the benefits of ‘Show Trials’ or their usefulness in reducing corruption.

The CAA is not convinced that, although the additional evidence in these two matters may have been important, their subsequent convictions would have hinged on this information alone. We would expect a compelling case would have existed anyway; if not, it should have been with competent investigation.

Fundamental maxims that underpin our legal system diametrically contradict public examinations, arguably the 21st-century version of medieval stocks; punishment without trial.

No less of a luminary than Benjamin Franklin, a founding father of the United States in 1785, said,

” That it is better 100 guilty Persons should escape than that one innocent Person should suffer, is a Maxim that has been long and generally approved.”

Franklin was echoing Voltaire, pseudonym of François-Marie Arouet, recognised as one of the greatest French writers (circa)1749 who wrote.

“that generous Maxim, that ’tis much more Prudence to acquit two Persons, tho’ actually guilty, than to pass Sentence of Condemnation on one that is virtuous and innocent.”

And further, Sir William Blackstone, in his commentaries on the Laws of England in 1783, said,

“For the law holds that it is better that ten guilty persons escape than one innocent suffer.”

The numbers quoted by these luminaries are immaterial; the Maxim they promote is the key.

The argument for this Maxim is compelling and has stood the test of time, and should not be set aside.

The public examination of witnesses by Corruption Agencies contradicts this Maxim.

Otto Von Bismarck, a former Chancellor of the German Reich, was generally attributed with laying the foundation for the first and second world wars and expressed the opposing view.

“it is better that ten innocent men suffer than one guilty man escape.”

Proponents of the Public examinations tend to favour the Bismarck philosophy, and we are strongly inclined to the Franklin/Voltaire/Blackstone view.

The issue of not using the Police Force and its skills and resources to tackle corruption (crime) in the public sector seems ludicrous and if there is a problem that renders the Police Force unsuitable, then fix the Police Force.

If corruption (crime) is suspected, no matter who it is in the public employ, then the Police need to be the primary investigators.

If the Police need the support of coercive powers currently available to IBAC, a minor amendment to the Major Crime (Investigative Powers) Act 2004. This would allow Police, on the authority of the Supreme Court, to defer to the Public Examiner, who has and can exercise coercive powers; there is a compelling argument that corruption is a Major crime and should fall within the purview of the Public Examiner.

There will always be a need for an independent Authority to manage corruption involving Police. But such an authority, not saddled with general crimes committed by those on the public payroll, would be more cost-effective.

Victoria’s Parliamentary Integrity and Oversight Committee’s deliberations were motivated by the untimely death of a witness subjected to a ‘Show Trial’. Mistakes like this are completely unjustifiable under any circumstances.

That the Committee exposed that IBAC management could not explain the simple concept of what ‘unreasonable damage’ might be, is damming and highlights a need to consider if IBAC is fit for purpose.

The lack of tangible outcomes is another issue to be addressed. The very last thing we need is empire-building in this space – results would be more appropriate.



POLICE RESERVE – a step closer

POLICE RESERVE – a step closer

20th October 2022

The Chief Commissioner, to his credit, has announced that the idea of using former Police and community volunteers to release more police from non-critical functions is being examined.

The Community Advocacy Alliance (CAA) has long advocated for the reintroduction of a reserve of Police veterans to be used to free up operational members to put more police on the ground in the community.

There are thousands of police veterans in Victoria, and the wealth of their experience and knowledge is usually lost to the community. The ability of veterans to assist junior members and new supervisors at all levels should create improved work ethics for all police and help those at the coal face dealing with the rigours of policing.

Their experience and skills need to be harvested, not ignored.

What concerns us significantly is the inclination to consider community volunteers.

We acknowledge that many would be interested and capable but would have to refer almost everything to sworn officers, partly defeating the purpose.

Wayne Gatt of the Police Association is quoted in opposition to the idea,

“The fact remains when a member of the community attends a police station, odds are, they need to speak to a current serving police officer about a crime or current policing issue,”

He of course is fundamentally correct.

There are many issues that a member of the public would not want to discuss with a civilian volunteer as they would a Police employee who is not a sworn member.

A Police reserve member, however, with their experience, would, in many circumstances, be better equipped to deal with the counter and phone issues at a police station than a trainee or inexperienced police member.

Simply having somebody to answer phones and man the counter is not of great value if everything has to be referred on, that is inefficient.

Amendments to the Police Act will be required to cover and enable the reserve members, but the work to achieve this will reap the rewards and elevate VicPol as the innovative Police Force it once was.

A financial component for Veterans commensurate with their duties must be included because it will put a tangible value on their work and motivate the uptake of the initiative.

We are also concerned that the press article reports a police spokesperson said that,

“explorations are in their very early stages”, but it was looking at staffing models across the globe for inspiration.

Rather than looking at staffing models across the globe, there is a model already existing in Australia that can be easily adapted and will adequately serve the need. The program has been well tested, and modification would be easier and more cost-effective than starting from scratch.


All the challenging work has already been done by the ADF, SERCAT project.

The key to this approach means that the Reserve members will not be an undue continual financial burden as they will be used as a reserve should.

In normal circumstances, there would be one level of engagement, but the capacity to have vastly improved surge capacity for the Force is a highly desirable attribute and well overdue. Again, this is a lesson well demonstrated with the COVID issue.

With the value of hindsight and an adequate Reserve capacity, we can reflect that  VicPol could have responded to the Quarantine issue as the emergency demanded, and 800 lives may have been saved or the loss reduced.

This initiative by the Chief Commissioner is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to address the failings of VicPol and provide the community with the level of service they are entitled to but are not receiving.

In at least the foreseeable future, the ability to recruit sufficient numbers of quality police is problematic, and rather than drop standards that will have future detrimental consequences, a reserve force is highly desirable and practical.

Every call unanswered, job not attended, or attendance delayed can be seen as a failure of VicPol.

That needs to be fixed.

Whether there is justification or not, it does not help the community if they are not told.

Communication is the key to service delivery; Reserve members could help address this need.



18th Octorber 2022

As we all watched the response of Police to COVID demonstrations, close observers detected an uncomfortable reality was dawning. Is this the new norm?  The community was initially split on the mixed messages that the demonstrators were sending and the Politicians were promoting.

A high proportion of the community had volunteered to be vaccinated, probably encouraged by the fear campaign. However, they made their own decisions and many vaccinated people viewed the anti-vaxers as selfish individuals. People who were willing to put us all at risk. A concept embraced by many Politicians.

As the restrictions increased from what seemed reasonable to what can now be seen as draconian, the mood started to shift towards concern for our freedoms.

Today there is a different community mindset with anger entrenched against the removal of our liberties. The realisation they can be trashed so effortlessly by a fear campaign, Government incompetence or twisted ideology is frightening.   In light of what we now know, it is incumbent on us to keep up pressure on Government to ensure the balance of liberty versus safety is not swayed by Government ideology and fear-mongering.

Police are at the forefront of implementing any Government’s lawful decree. Still, the Police must be protected by ensuring that the Government’s lawful policy is applied with discretion.

A basic tenet of the Office of Constable of Police is discretion and the binding of police to action must only be so in serious situations.

During COVID, the issue of the politicisation of Police has been elevated substantially. How was it that our police force, once respected as the best in the land, become so apparently politicised?

Denials of politicisation from those in authority abound, raising scepticism in the community fuelled by the failure to release the medical advice relied on to justify police responses.

What we do not know is what the objectives of the police response were.

Like all these things, time will eventually expose the truth, and that process has started.

On the same day as Vladimir Putin’s legacy, the Crimean Bridge, was attacked, there was a demonstration in Melbourne led by Bernie Finn MP that will blow up the denials of politicisation of Police and damage our leader’s legacy.

Bernie Finn, a long-serving politician, exposed the truth when he posted the following

Bernie Finn MP  · 

“VicPol has copped plenty of criticism of recent times – including from me – but it’s time to give credit where it’s due.                                    Victorian Socialists and associated ferals set out to “smash” today’s March for the Babies. They were intent on silencing us and didn’t care how they did it.

Victoria Police, under the command of Snr Sgt Katherine Mitchell, did a superb job of protecting marchers and avoiding the violence pro-abortionists were intent on. Even when I was attacked, Police acted quickly to remove the threat.

The boys and girls in blue did a magnificent job, and I thank and congratulate them for their great work.

The three cheers at the end was much deserved!”

The significance of these comments, that we take as genuine on face value, should not be underestimated.

The date of this demonstration was the 8th of October. However, the Emergency Declarations that VicPol was operating under during the COVID demonstrations did not expire until 11.59 pm on October 12, 4 days later.

So, who pushed the button that VicPol would revert to Policing demonstrations in the non-confrontational approach of the pre-COVID era? What was the medical advice that VicPol was operating under on the 8th?

As we have experienced, every pronouncement on COVID restrictions or otherwise are time and date stamped and inflexible, but something may have changed.

Was it the Police or the Government politics that swung this change? Who authorised the ‘softening’ of the Emergency Declaration?

When viewing the footage of the COVID Demonstrations, it has been a puzzle. When assessing the response, we ask:

  • Why were demonstrators herded together, which would presumably be the antithesis of a COVID response?
  • From a COVID infection perspective, why chase people down the streets? Running away from confrontation (dispersing and minimising infection risks) has to be positive.
  • What happened when these people were caught, and pepper sprayed? Was this a sanction being applied, punishment for their behaviour?
  • Why were demonstrators herded into residential areas where there would be added risk to innocent residents?
  • Why did Police continually break ranks and attack crowds?

And yet, on the 8th of October, we have VicPol behaving and responding in a disciplined, carefully planned professional operation intent on maintaining the peace and the right of people to exercise their democratic right of freedom of assembly.

The Emergency declaration was still in force.

As Bernie Finn has indicated, Senior Sergeant Katherine Mitchell did an excellent job, and full credit to her for maintaining proper command and control, but behind the good Senior Sergeant, there is an extensive operational command structure, which is where it gets interesting.

We have suspected for some time that there have been political hawks in the Police Senior command. These people apparently enforcing the will of the Government to use violence. Who was responsible and what was the influence of senior command in the way protests were handled?   It may be only a Royal Commission is the only way this and the other questions will be answered.

This latest demonstration hints that the hawks may have been moved on within the Police organisation, but in our view, that is unsatisfactory as they should be held to public account and not permitted to slink off into anonymity not held to account for their actions.

As we look to the future, we can see hope with the efforts of Senior Sergeant Mitchell and her subordinate team.

We would want to be assured that fail-safes are installed in the process that will avoid the repetition of the hawks or political apparatchiks overtaking responsible Policing.

Independent command and control principles must be guaranteed for the future.

It would seem that only a Royal Commission can provide the community with certainty in the future.

When done correctly, and we assume without political influences, VicPol is very good at what it does.

Although our faith in Victoria Police was tested, we knew they could do it.


National Police Remembrance Day 2022 – 3AW Interview with Wayne Gatt

Attached is a few minutes of an interview by Tony Jones on the 3AW Neil Mitchell show yesterday. He mentioned that the Police Remembrance day is also about those Police who have suffered mental health injury as a result of their job (it’s in the last couple of minutes if the interview). He said when you have a bad day as a Police Officer then it’s a really bad day.

Listen to the interview here:



25th September 2022

Policing would have to be one of the most challenging functions to measure.

Traditionally the public measurement has been the level of crime and or the road toll, but neither of these measuring techniques adequately measure the effectiveness of policing, on their own.

Perceptions also feed into the equation, as do other intangibles that make the job challenging but not impossible.

There is a respect deficit towards Policing in the community, and VicPol must work hard to regain the respect lost because policing is always less effective in a community with a lack of enthusiasm towards its Police.

Without remedial action, a downward spiral will evolve and gather pace to the detriment of policing and the community.

Our well-educated community no longer accepts bland generalist measuring strategies.

The reporting function to the community has seen the introduction of independent crime analysis; however, there has not been significant improvement in content in over forty years; it is time to address the issue; tomorrow is too late.

“You cannot escape the responsibilities of tomorrow by evading them today.”

  • Abraham Lincoln

The information shortfalls leave the community in a void and contradictions of their lived experiences. Whether the view formed is accurate is, to a degree, irrelevant; their experience formulated their view.

If VicPol is to regain community trust, it must fill the void with accurate, timely and frank information. Whether the information is painful does not mean it should not be disseminated, but to do so will demonstrate the genuineness of VicPol and present it as an organisation that can be trusted.

It is also essential that VicPol avoid the communication ‘spin’ trap, hitherto regularly applied; it is counterproductive.

It is all right to say that VicPol is intent on community engagement but unless the tools are developed to make that engagement effective, it may be of limited value and remain just an aspirational goal.

The community needs to know the policing effectiveness in their neighbourhood, what problems exist, and the strategies to rectify the situation.

The Rebecca Judd matter is an example. Ultimately, she was right, and the Force relying on dated or misread Statistics was wrong. It may have happened, but we missed the apology to her.

Therefore, empirical data must be available in a timely manner and easily accessible by anybody.

Measuring data can neither be confidential nor sensitive; it is public property.

Alongside the need for accurate information is the need for proper management, backed by the same empirical data. That includes the ability of managers to decipher statistics correctly instead of trying to manipulate them.

Recently, we have heard senior police referring to allocating resources throughout the State. At first, blush a laudable initiative. However, the problem identified is that some areas appear underserviced while others appear over-serviced in resources.

What concerns the CAA is that the decision may well be made without adequate empirical data, which could be a mistake.

For example, we know that the New South Wales Police undertook significant staffing realignments in times past, achieving maximum staff upheaval for minimal results. Creating many dissatisfied members. The impact on productivity should have been foreshadowed.

The lesson; any changes must be incremental, and the staff taken along rather than forced.


That would create a solid argument for each position within the Force to be advertised and filled by an applicant. Any realignments would be achieved by advertised positions rather than forced movements. Allowing staff to own a position can be an excellent motivator.

Simply looking at broad parameter outputs on a Divisional or Regional level is difficult, as is applying wide-based statistics to a particular police station without examining other factors when, probably, most significant is the service area’s demographics.

It could ultimately turn out counterproductive if a station received extra resources without efforts to determine other issues affecting the station’s performance, starting with the station level management and the output of existing staff.

Before resources are moved around arbitrarily, the stations’ performance needs to be measured accurately so that direct comparisons can be made to other stations’ performances in a similar demographical environment.

If that is not done, how will it be determined that the reallocation was effective?

Unless demographics can be accurately determined and fed into ratings of realistic benchmarking and individual Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) measuring outcomes, any staffing allocation reshuffle is not likely to provide the desired effect but could have a detrimental consequence on the locations from where the resources are sourced.

We strongly suspect that all the data required to establish an effective measuring system already exists, so more likely than not, it should not further impact the operational police admin workload. Again, harnessing existing electronic data will be the key.

Without empirical and comprehensive analysis to support a final objective decision, it would be naive and wrong to assume problems are foremost resource based because that assumption can lead to flawed decisions.

Essentially, we argue that you have to start from the bottom up.

Unfortunately, optimum outcomes from management mechanisms pushed from the top down usually find resistance somewhere down the chain, causing the optimum outcome to be problematic.

The advantage of the bottom-up approach is that it gives frontline members input, equating to ownership. If driven from this direction, it also reduces the likelihood of increasing admin on front-line members or other unintended consequences.

It is, however, timely to caution decision makers in the words of former Chief Commissioner Kel Glare-

 “In policing, it can be misleading to rely on statistics alone.  The simple fact is that the best policing produces no measurable result. If there is a total absence of disorder, crime and traffic offences, the policing effort may be perfect, but there will be nothing to measure.  One must be careful not to generate frenetic activity and measure that in the guise of productivity.”

There has to be a clear essential objective in bringing management support into the twenty-first century.

Decision makers must be given the tools to do their job. Unfortunately, the dearth of data leads to poor decisions.

Modernising the Force management data is onerous but will also benefit the promotional system as candidates will have empirical data on their ability to meet Force objectives. And this can have a positive impact on transfers and promotions.

If this is achieved, it will remove some of the tedium (in the personnel management area) currently distracting managers from their core function, managing.



20th September 2022

Like most of life’s endeavours, when anybody has a problem, they first and foremost have to come to grips with and recognise there is a problem; denial of a problem only works against a solution.

Enterprises like Policing are no different.

Victoria Police has a trust deficit with the community that must be accepted and addressed.

This deficit did not happen overnight and can be traced back to a number of issues that have all contributed.

The list is long and is not a value judgment on each, but the items as a whole have created the current negativity in the community.

The contributing issues

  • Black Saturday bushfires. – A former Chief Commissioners’ leadership or severe lack of.
  • The George Pell prosecution. – Convicted on what can only be described as implausible and weak evidence. Subsequently overturned by the High Court of Australia.
  • Uniform change– The change to a black uniform (Salute Blue) and generally discarding of headdress, the symbol of Office, has had a substantially negative impact on the Force image and authority.
  • The Gobbo affair- The ramification of some deplorable and corrupt Victoria Police decisions and performance has resonated across all community sectors and is not fading from the community psyche.
  • Quarantine Hotels failure – The public is aware of the efforts by Victoria Police to avoid taking charge of the Quarantine Hotels in the initial stages of the Pandemic. The over 800 deaths may have been avoided if police had taken control initially. That initial role is a Police responsibility, refer to the Police Act.
  • Politicians making false claims– Two politicians made bogus claims on travelling entitlements claiming considerable funds from the public purse. The blatant criminal fraud went un-investigated, and perpetrators were not pursued for their crimes.
  • COVID-19 response- The decisions in relation to much of the COVID Police response were flawed. No matter how often the counterargument has been proffered that VicPol had no choice given the Chief Health Officers Orders, whilst to a degree this is true, VicPol had discretion on how those orders were applied in the field and failed. This feeds the view that VicPol were carrying out these outrageous responses at the behest of the Government.
  • Bourke street massacre– The Court of Public opinion is convinced this matter was handled poorly, resulting in unnecessary loss of life. Generally seen as a Command failure to intervene earlier. Supported by the coronial findings
  • Red Shirts – It is difficult for the community to fathom why all the suspected perpetrators were not charged or not even formally interviewed. – given the return of the money was an admission of guilt.
  • Branch stacking – Although the stacking is not a police matter per se, many actions seem to be criminal, yet police have not instigated investigations.
  • Danni Laidley affair– Like most of the community, we found it improper for police to photograph and distribute photos of Laidley when arrested for Stalking. But the Police response was, for the most part, well over the top. escalating the matter that is seen as petty and a waste of police resources.
  • Slug-Gate – This artifice has still not been adequately investigated despite Police claims to the contrary. VicPol just does not seem to grasp the magnitude of the issue.                                                              The ICooks’ Slug-Gate’ experience is only a part of the story.

No investigation into what public officers who committed misconduct, misappropriation of public money, or conspiracies in this artifice; Although trite, if it looks like a duck and walks like a duck, you can bet it is a duck.

  • Non-Police duties- The evolution of the Police’s role to assume responsibilities for matters beyond their core business has seen a diminution of Police’s overall function in public safety, preventing crime and disorder.

Additional roles in Domestic Violence and Psych patient management must be resisted and responsibility given back to the agencies responsible.Nothing less than the Police Act establishes the Police role. Subsequent devolution of non-Police roles is an unambiguous contravention of that Act.                          It is well past time for the Police management to push back; the law is on their side.

  • Poor service delivery – in part, but not solely, the misunderstanding of Service delivery, as opposed to Service efficiency has been a culprit but other push factors have contributed.

Of all of these issues, Service delivery, which anecdotally continues to grow seemingly unabated, is the single greatest contributor to the Trust deficit.

The road to recovery will be long and, at times, tedious and perhaps painful, but delaying the task is the worst possible alternative because it will only become harder.

The recently released Corporate Plan provides a guide to the direction Policing must take; however, it is let down by failing to provide measurement strategies to show the community achievements in reaching the goals of the Plan.

We use the word guide deliberately because without clear benchmarking, that is always as strong as the Plan will be.

The first step is, acknowledging that the Victoria police has made errors and vows to address the organisation’s shortcomings for the benefit of all Victorians.

To complete this step, it must be accompanied by tangible objectives heralding change.

A commitment to tackle corruption without fear or favour backed up by action will have a profound and positive impact. Essentially some historical matters need to be resolved; therefore, a line in the sand approach would fail.

As far as operationally possible, no coverups and honest and open communication with the community is essential. No ‘feeding the chooks’ approach so often used.

Focusing on core activities but providing the initial response capacity that Policing is renowned for will take competent management but resonate well with the community.

One initiative that will enable this to be fast tracked will be the development of a Force reserve to give the Force the rapid capacity to respond to Service delivery short falls.

Recruiting in the current environment is problematic where a Reserve force will be a cost-effective alternative with shorter lead times.

With the upcoming Commonwealth Games in a bit over three years ahead this may be the only way to give VicPol the surge capacity to deal with that event.

Additionally with the games spread over a large part of the State reserve members who live in rural centres may alleviate other logistical issues like accommodating Police from elsewhere.

A force-wide attitude of ‘why should we’, needs to be changed to,

If you want help, call us.’



13th September 2022

There is a lot to like about the Victoria Police Corporate Plan, and the community we suggest will be pleased with the directions the Force is taking.

The Force priorities, even in the order they are listed, would undoubtedly resonate positively with the community.

  • Community safety
  • Reducing crime
  • Reducing road trauma and
  • Service delivery excellence.

Of these priorities, the most significant is Service delivery because, without effective Service delivery, the other priorities have a limited chance of success.

For all the excellent work in this Corporate Plan, there is, however, one glaring anomaly that strikes at and severely diminishes the value of this document; the lack of outcomes measurement.

How will the community, or for that matter the Force, know if the plan has worked?

That anomaly will be addressed as part of a further article on organisational management practices.

A failure of police administration’s past has seen confusion evolve with the Service delivery concept. Overlaying the Service delivery function with Service efficiency; two distinct and often diametrically opposed concepts that can constantly work against each other, have gone a long way to disconnecting police from the community.

No better example exists than discontinuing a phone switchboard facility for Police Headquarters, the Victoria Police Centre.

You can not ring Victoria Police Headquarters per se.

The abandonment of this resource would clearly be Service efficiency at a substantial cost to Service delivery.

A clearer example from a CAA member of this failure is unlikely; we hope;

… on Monday, (5th Sep.) I (a Police veteran) telephoned the VicPol number 131 444, to find out a contact point for an acquaintance (who was aware of my previous experience in Fraud matters) who wanted to report a major fraud to the Fraud Squad, after he had tried and failed. All I got was a recorded message to either press 1 or 2. I pressed 1 and was told by a recorded message that my call would be answered in 40 minutes, YES – 40 minutes. I hung up.

This is a clear and dramatic failure of Service delivery and rates up there with the failures to deliver Freedom of Information (FIO) requests stretching out to nine months.

We strongly suspect the culprit is a management one – benchmarking and accountabilities would seem the obvious culprits and must be resolved before the alternative of simply throwing more resources at the problem, the current go-to option, which should never be done without the other drivers being examined.

We will have more to say on these and other management concepts in following articles because the problem is severe.

Addressing these apparent weaknesses will go a long way toward improving the performance of both Police operations and Police management from an output and welfare basis.

Service delivery, however, must be viewed from the user’s (the community) perspective, where Service efficiency is viewed from an organisation’s economic or resource perspective.

Another common fallacy is that an organisation assumes that the consumer knows how to navigate through a large organisation. This often flawed assumption is aggravated by accusing the failure or pushing responsibility to gain access to the user, a critical flaw.

Good communication is the lifeblood of policing, administratively and operationally, so placing barriers across communication channels is counterintuitive.

Private corporations and other public entities have suffered the same clash but are now a wake-up and are making huge improvements. The move from offshore call centres is but one example.

However, we hope that with Service delivery now a priority, we will see vast improvements in policing.

The measurement knowledge referred to earlier is an entitlement the community could reasonably expect, and any broad overarching global statistical response will not reasonably satisfy the public who want to know how the plan has worked in their community; not just the State or some region that makes no geographical sense to the general public.

There are also a number of parameters that the community would want and are entitled to know at a local level not serviced by the usual key factors like crime and road toll statistics.

The failure to provide this information feeds the community’s view of a lack of transparency and accountability of Victoria Police which is contrary to the intent of the Chief Commissioner.

How is it anticipated that community confidence in their police will grow if they don’t know how the Force is responding to their needs?

There may well be internal measuring that, for whatever reason, are not made public, which detracts from the plan’s strengths and feeds the perception of the siege mentality towards the community the organisation has developed.

We know the Chief Commissioner supports transparency and accountability, but it is not being practised when viewed externally, so we need to look at the cause.

The level achieved towards the nirvana of good community relations is directly proportionate to the effectiveness of Policing overall and visa-versa. One begets the other.

The community’s compliance with the law because they want to will always trump compliance because they must.

Equally and most critically, the higher the level of confidence the public has in the Force is directly correlated to the quality, frequency and strength of information flow from the public and voluntary compliance.

So, it is overwhelmingly evident that timely and open communication with the public is the key to the effectiveness of policing.

A void in information causes and encourages misinformation to be promulgated to fill the gap. No better example was the misfortune that the Premier suffered in a fall. The misinformation seen by many as fact, filling the void in information, was extraordinary.

The other side of the coin is the intangibles, where competent management excels and lesser managers fail.

The intangibles like police attitude and enthusiasm to perform their duties are bolstered if they work in a positive community environment. Good communications from police drive that positive environment.

Hence the critical role of effective Service delivery.

OPERATION WATTS Analysis part 7 – Whistle-blowers, Conspiracy, Perverting the course of Justice, Watts has it all.

OPERATION WATTS Analysis part 7 – Whistle-blowers, Conspiracy, Perverting the course of Justice, Watts has it all.

9th September 2022

The Watts Report does not instil confidence that all the options of criminality were adequately explored by the integrity units.

Since drafting this missive, a Whistle-blower’s bombshell allegations levelled at Police Command has come to light.

If these allegations, as reported in the media, are true, and we are not suggesting they are or not, the allegations are at least new.Albeit that interference in this and other matters like Slug-gate has long been suspected, these allegations further erode the community trust in the Victoria Police command, adding to the already severe trust deficit that exists post-COVID.

These revelations have cast a dark pall over the entire Command of Victoria Police.

The allegations must be addressed as a matter of extreme urgency if for no other reason than to allow Police members to have confidence in their Command. Otherwise, the capacity of the Victoria Police to perform its vital function will be compromised if a lack of confidence in the leadership is allowed to ferment further.

This lack of confidence is growing in the community. Still, more importantly, the Police members we rely on to protect us will be impacted, potentially adversely affecting performance in the field.

How these allegations are handled will be an actual test of the efficacy of police command. Police are generally very sceptical in these matters, so a misstep in handling this matter could lead to more significant harm. Nothing short of a thorough, competent and independent investigation to determine the veracity of these allegations and identify any perpetrators would be acceptable to the community—a view shared by most serving and former Police.

Contrary to what some would have you believe, the vast majority of police at all levels abhor corruption, so we avoid the term ‘a corrupt Police Force’ as it is overwhelmingly not.

But the question remains, is there corruption within the Police Force, as this Whistle-blower has alleged?

The problem with these allegations is they strike at the very individuals who Police and the community rely on to keep corruption within the Police Force in check. These new allegations indicate the commission of other grave crimes. Perverting the Course of Justice and other conspiracies designed to achieve that perversion is committed by, as yet, unidentified individuals, hence the need for an investigation.

It only takes one or two rotten apples in the police command for all to be tarred with the same brush. Equally the command is also seriously conflicted therefore unable to properly investigate their own, or make management decisions in relation to this issue.

Given their predisposed public views on the Red Shirts, Branch stacking and Slug-gate affairs, we question and strongly argue that IBAC is not the appropriate agency or authority to investigate these claims. They are already, like police command, significantly and unavoidably conflicted, so any further investigation by them would not prove meritorious.

Although we are not privy to the detail, from the information we can glean in the public domain, the investigative capacity of IBAC is subpar even with its extraordinary powers. A view reinforced by their inability to charge (as distinct from gaining a conviction) even one person in the Red Shirts, Branch Stacking and Slug-gate affairs, aggravated by unambiguous admissions by some perpetrators and overwhelming evidence against others.

Millions of dollars, and they have yet to land one glove. So that must be rated as a failure of epic proportions.

There are many examples where many allegations, in Police parlance, are ‘a lay down misère’ or a ‘Slam dunk’ for charges to be laid with a strong possibility of a conviction. We are yet to be graced with any plausible arguments as to why this has not occurred.

However, should merit be found in these latest allegations, it supports our contention that the whole Red Shirts rort and ICooks (Slug-gate) investigations were nobbled. Indeed, if they had been thoroughly investigated in the first instance, then issues like this would have been exposed, and we would not be sifting through the entrails of these and other breaches and abuses of public trust.

While the offence of Misconduct in Public Office has been erroneously, in our view, explained away by claiming that the Premier was only immersed in the artifice, no such explanation is provided for the other perpetrators or why many of the participants have not been interviewed and charged with Conspiracy.

A raft of possible offences of fraudulent behaviour ignites a conspiracy. The Watts report details forgery, deceptions, and Misconduct in Public Office. With these latest allegations, it would seem that Perverting the course of Justice and additional Conspiracy offences can be added to the now very long list.

As for those involved, it could potentially be in the order of fifty or more perpetrators. Spanning politicians, political staffers, political party members, public servants and police, predominately in the higher ranks.

A conspiracy of extraordinary proportions requires extraordinary effort to bring perpetrators to Justice and lift the cloud of suspicion from those in the various sectors who were not involved or facilitators of these criminal endeavours.

The honest brokers deserve better.

It could be reasonably argued that this whole artifice is organised; therefore, the Office of the Chief Examiner, if given power, may be the next avenue for consideration to establish the truth.

Additional to criminality, the people of Victoria are entitled to the truth.

There is enough evidence in the Watts Report for the perpetrators to be interviewed under caution and charged with several offences, including Conspiracy. If that is not done, it would clearly indicate the veracity of the Whistleblower’s allegations. There has been a lot said about the foot soldiers in this artifice, and it is reasonable to conclude they were under pressure to comply, but as many have said, they knew it was wrong, but they participated anyway.

They all had the option to walk away; it is not as though work is hard to find.

We seriously question the role of the Integrity units to make judgement calls relevant to the culpability of participants as they did for the Premier. That call is not theirs to make but the Director of Public Prosecutions. So exercising power, they do not have is a ‘power relevance issue’ afflicting the integrity units.

The actions and degrees of culpability that a perpetrator may have exercised are a matter for the Courts. However, if the Courts think their role is minor or incidental, the Courts have the power to exercise discretion in sentencing, a power the Integrity entities do not and should not have.

There is no doubt while the Integrity entities fail to lay charges against perpetrators of corrupt practices, those practices will continue to flourish.

The Legislators must also move to harness the powers that the Integrity units are bestowing upon themselves. This inappropriate exercising of power is a very dangerous practice and could lead to serious misdeeds, let alone being legally questionable.

The only option for an acceptable solution, apart from the Public Examiner, although remote, is that Victoria Police develop a conscience and undertake a no holds barred investigation honouring their oath.

That would go a long way to rebuilding confidence in our Force.

The most apparent takeout from these ongoing sagas, which would be well behind us if they had been dealt with properly in the first instance, will be the inevitable need for a Royal Commission, which will drag this all out for years to come. Politically, these sagas will be an albatross for one side of politics for years to come. That is not healthy for our government, irrespective of their political persuasion. As these matters drag on, we wonder what the next revelation may be.

Even the most intransigent amongst us must now accept that these matters cannot be willed away or swept under the carpet. The Political class must surely realise that by now, and deal with it properly, no matter how painful that may be.

Policing in Victoria 2022

Policing in Victoria 2022

The Community Advocacy Alliance Inc (CAA) has submitted this paper, Policing Victoria 2022, to the Chief Commissioner and has made it available to the political decision-makers of this State irrespective of their ideology.

We intend to publish their responses so the public can have feedback on the attitude of those responsible for our State’s critical decisions.

Additionally, the paper is available to the Media to allow them to comment.

Most importantly, the paper is available to all Victorians HERE.

The CAA has prepared the paper to assist the role and function of policing in this State. It is influenced by over six hundred years of Policing experience and a range of other disciplines, including Legal, Entrepreneurial, Road Safety, Health, Business, Hospitality, Financial, Arts, Ethnic communities and others, with a common goal dedicated to improving the State of Victoria for all Victorians no matter who or what they are.

Some initiatives are processes or procedures that have, for whatever reason, been discontinued but would be of immense value to the community now, and many are new and innovative.

Many areas of Policing have not received comment, although they are no less important; we have tended to focus on structural issues as correcting the structure is integral to the success of rebuilding this proud Police Force.

Rebuilding, because that is what is required. Another inquiry costing taxpayers millions is not needed but what is required is Police management that listens and acts in the best interest of all Victorians and does not pander to the ideological whims of those who would deconstruct policing if given half a chance.

The overarching result is a paper that can provide a future direction for policing in Victoria for the benefit of the Police and all Victorians.

We commend this paper to you and invite your comment.

OPERATION WATTS Analysis part 6 – The Premiers Evidence

Analysis part 6 – The Premiers Evidence

4th of September 2022

We need to look at some of the evidence as to whether a crime has been committed.

In this instalment, we will deal with the evidence of the Premier of Victoria, Mr Daniel Andrews, or more accurately, such as that evidence made available is. We say this because most of the Premier’s evidence was not published by IBAC. However, that part of the transcript reproduced in the Operation Watts report was made public on relevance grounds. We would have thought that all the evidence the Premier gave was relevant and should be released.

Our comments, therefore, only relate to the published evidence by the Premier, and on that restriction, we believe the Premier has been unfairly treated.

Unfair because there is no ability to understand whether the context of his answers is fairly represented or reasonable, and we cannot understand just what the overall veracity of the examination was. Therefore, we and the broader public can only draw conclusions based on what is available.

From the outset, what has surprised us is the demeanour of the Premier, as reflected in those evidentiary transcripts reproduced by IBAC. The Premier’s usual self-assured demeanour displayed by him almost daily in the media was replaced with stilted responses, repetition and uncertainty.

We may be assessing the evidence unfairly, but the Premier did, in our opinion, give the impression he was a man under considerable pressure during his IBAC examination.

Another surprise to us was the Premier admitting that the Red Shirts and Branch stacking issues staff were employees of the State, used for party-political activities, and he did nothing about it.

Was this not the nub of the whole Watts inquiry?

We regard his admissions as very telling because it raises concerns about the view proffered by the Ombudsman that the Premier was only “immersed[1] in the Red Shirts scheme and that this somehow exonerates him from any liability.

According to the Cambridge online dictionary, ‘Immersed’ means “to become completely involved in something”.

The Ombudsman is an experienced lawyer and bureaucrat. Therefore, we are entitled to presume that the word ‘immersed’ was not a mistake. Nevertheless, this language choice for the Ombudsman raises genuine concerns about the Premier’s involvement in the Red Shirts scheme.

It is therefore relevant to examine the evidence published in the Watts Report in more detail. Set out below is evidence of the Premier accompanied by  italicised CAA comments

Watts Report page 30 Item 146 –

According to the Watts report – Premier Andrews was not one of the MPs found by the Red Shirts investigation to have ‘participated’ in the scheme.

CAA- An unreasonable assumption based on the evidence.

 In our view, IBAC and the Ombudsman have adopted an inappropriately narrow view of the meaning of “participated”, defined as ‘to take a share or part’ (Cambridge), and Mr Andrews gave evidence that he did take part.

By his admission, he was also ‘knowingly concerned’, having referred Mr Somyurek to Mr Lenders, who was administering the scheme for the parliamentary ALP. This admission is arguably ‘mens rea’ (a guilty mind).

The statement also alludes that there were other MP’s who participated in the scheme, but there appears no appetite to prosecute any of them. Raising the issue of why not, if they were immersed?

In his evidence to the present investigation, Mr Andrews was asked about Mr Somyurek’s evidence.

MR ANDREWS: I had a very brief encounter with Mr Somyurek at the end of a caucus meeting. I have detailed this, I think not long after or, sorry, at an earlier point when this was a matter of media enquiry. It was a very brief encounter and I referred him to John Lenders.

That is my – that’s my recount, my recall of that particular encounter, brief and really only an issue of referral, and I don’t believe that he raised anything other than he didn’t – he raised – I don’t even know that he raised concerns, other than that, you know, he might have gone on to raise concerns with me, but I directed him to Mr Lenders.

CAA- The Premier seems confused and vacillating. He points IBAC to Mr Lenders, just as he admitted in his evidence that he pointed Mr Somyuek to Mr Lenders. The Premier knew of Mr Lenders’ involvement, and the Premier is the leader of the State. He cannot absolve himself of further investigation simply by pointing IBAC to the person who administered the scheme. IBAC does not mention the investigative steps it took concerning Mr Lenders. IBAC’s approach does not remotely qualify as a basic investigation but as an abrogation of its responsibility.    

COUNSEL: Did you use an expression akin to, ‘Do you want to win an election or not’?

MR ANDREWS: I don’t believe so. I have a clear recollection, given the brevity of the encounter, and I’m not – that’s not language that I use. I think people who know me would not see me speaking in those terms, would not describe me as someone who speaks in those terms. […]

CAA – The Premier demonstrates an excellent recall of what is described as a brief encounter after a caucus meeting in 2014 5-6 years ago. This dramatically contrasts with other evidence he has given in other inquiries, where he could not recall matters 1-2  years ago, although that is not relevant in this matter. It may, however, have relevance to his character. His failure to recall details of other contentious matters. Must now be questioned

The use of the phrase “I don’t believe so.” is an equivocation on the part of the Premier and warranted a much more forthright examination by IBAC, especially as the Premier then immediately followed those words with the claim to having a “clear recollection” of what he then described as a brief “encounter”. 

In its very best light, this evidence by the Premier is contradictory. On that basis, the Premier should have been required to provide his full recollection to IBAC of the conversation between himself and Mr Somyurek during this brief “encounter”. But he wasn’t because IBAC, for whatever reason, did not do its job correctly.

IBAC appears to have ‘run dead’ on its examination of the Premier concerning what is a pivotal aspect of the allegations lodged by Mr Somyurek.

Instead, IBAC, in essence, allows the Premier to claim that anonymous “people who know (him)” would not see him speaking in those terms. In other words, the Premier claims he doesn’t talk like that. Because of the importance of this testimony to the credibility of the Premier’s evidence, it was important that IBAC test the Premier’s claims exhaustively. Their failure reflects poorly on them.

COMMISSIONER: Do you at the time feel you had an understanding of the essence of Mr Lenders’ scheme?

MR ANDREWS: I probably did. I had no concerns at that time given, you know, I wasn’t acting to stop him doing it. But this issue of whether I spoke in those terms or essentially justified or was unconcerned with serious issues of probity and integrity that Mr Somyurek raised with me, that is not my recollection of that conversation and nor is that the evidence that he provided to the privileges committee at the time. A very brief encounter and I referred him to John. […]

CAA– This response is an unambiguous admission of knowledge of the use of Parliamentary staff. The evidence that he wasn’t acting to stop him (Lenders) strengthens his claim that he had no concerns, which is counterintuitive. He had an understanding of the Lenders scheme but had no concerns – this evidence brings into question the Premier’s competence.

COUNSEL: Were you aware of what Mr Lenders was proposing in a general sense?


COUNSEL: And were you aware that it involved electorate officers doing party-political work?

MR ANDREWS: I’m not sure whether it was – well, I was aware that it was about engaging staff to be involved in campaigning. My recollection is that at no point did I have a sense that what was being proposed was not in accordance with the rules or advice from Parliamentary Services. My memory of it is that it was – pooling arrangements have been part of parliamentary parties for quite some time, our party and others. I expect I viewed it in those terms…

CAA- In this exchange, his omissions become more strident. Admitting he was aware of staff being engaged in campaigning. He further aggravates the matter by alleging everybody else is doing it (the schoolyard defence), but no evidence of that was given. Rather than relying on ‘a sense’, it would have been proper to check with the Parliamentary Services.

As damming as this evidence may be, evidence given before IBAC is generally privileged. This means that it cannot be used in a criminal prosecution of the witness except in minimal circumstances. However, the evidence can be used in an external criminal investigation as an intelligence source for further inquiries that may turn up admissible evidence.

Our Integrity bodies have decided that the Premier has not committed a breach to warrant criminal charges or further investigation.

They have argued that rather than criminality, he was just immersed in the artifice, which somehow absolves him of criminal responsibility and accountability.

The same rationale could be applied to Tony Mokbel with his drug empire or the Outlaw Motor Cycle Gangs (OMG’s) leaders. However, those leaders are probably only immersed in the illegal activity of the clubs and should not be held to account for their organisation’s criminal endeavours.

No matter the endeavour, the organisation leaders carry the responsibility and accountability for their organisations.

In our view, evidence published by IBAC and the Ombudsman is sufficient to warrant consultation with the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions. Yet no such consultation ever took place. This raises questions about the joint operation’s thoroughness, competence and integrity. It also raises questions about the lawyers within IBAC and the Ombudsman’s Office acting ultra vires (acting beyond ones legal powers) by usurping a role that was not properly theirs – the prosecutorial decision of the Director of Public Prosecutions

Whether any of those involved should be held to account in a Court of Law is a matter for the DPP. A Court has the role of deciding guilt or innocence, not Integrity bureaucrats.


OPERATION WATTS PART 5- Public examinations

We have discussed in this series the activity of the Integrity entities contrary to their legislated rules, the lack of equality before the Law, the abuse of legal process by the sidelining of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP)and the entities making findings that they are ‘prohibited’ to make.

In this part, we raise the issue of public examinations.

The legislation bemoaned as inadequate by the entities, at least to some degree, balances the ledger regarding the use of this extraordinary power by setting strict guidelines. The problem with guidelines is that they are open to interpretation; in this case, if they used the public interest value, they got it the wrong way around.

In these cases, the power was exercised on several occasions, but how it was exercised raises significant concern.

The Premier was not required to expose himself to a public hearing as others of equal or less culpability were.

As we have previously raised the issue of fairness and equality before the Law, this is a prime example that the entities cannot be relied upon to discharge these responsibilities fairly and equally.

This is an instance of who you are, trumping equality before the Law.

Earlier this year, the former Mayor of the City of Casey, Amanda Stapledon, was found deceased in a car. IBAC had investigated Ms Stapledon over serious matters associated with the Council and relationships with a property developer.

It was reported at the time (The Australian 2nd Feb 2022, ‘IBAC blamed for Mayor’s death’) that Stapledon played a relatively minor role. It was reported that although she suspected something might be wrong, she did not benefit directly from her involvement.

Perhaps described best as immersed in the process, a bit like it was alleged the Premier was in the Red Shirts. However, the benefit to the Premier was far more apparent; he won an election.

She was, however, subject to the humiliation of a public examination which it was claimed caused the tipping point leading to her demise. She died three days after receiving the IBAC report.

We have discussed some of the Legal principles and extend that commentary to the other very basic principle, the presumption of Innocence.

The presumption of Innocence until proven guilty means that the burden of proof is always on the Government to satisfy you that [defendant] is guilty of the crime with which [he/she] is charged beyond a reasonable doubt.-

That definition seems unambiguous and is a principle that must be applied to all legal processes.

The public examination process is so compromised in lack of equality in its application that it must be removed from the options available to the integrity entities.

These examinations can best be described as a ‘Show Trial’ and give the distinct impression they are used for punitive purposes as they never seem to elicit more admissible evidence than the private inquisitions, where the Integrity Units have enormous power to extract information.

If the agencies cannot conduct a successful investigation and prosecution with all their extraordinary powers, resorting to ‘Show trials’ is an abuse of power.

It must be remembered that the IBAC has the option to apply to the Supreme Court to have a matter put before the Public Examiner as it could be argued that many of the crimes investigated are Organised so that they could fall under the Examiner’s remit.

No matter what you may think as an investigator, if you cannot legally harness the evidence required for a prosecution, then so be it, and provided you have applied your best efforts, time to move on.

The value of a public examination as an investigation tool is moot, so it is clearly a sanction.

There are also stringent legal policies about the principle of justice and a fair trial.

What constitutes a fair hearing will require recognition of the interests of the accused, the victim and the community (in a criminal trial) and of all parties- › public-sector-guidance-sheets

It is arguable that putting a suspect before an IBAC ‘Show Trial’ has the real potential to influence potential jurors. That could favour or disadvantage the accused. Whether or not, is not the issue; but the potential is.

Putting people who, at worst, are suspects, having not been charged with any Criminal or other offence, to public humiliation is a sanction no matter how it is argued. Therefore, as they are innocent before the Law, public examination ‘Show Trials’ are punishment without conviction.

The modern-day version of the medieval stocks, without rotten tomatoes.

The presumption of Innocence is a straightforward principle and forms the cornerstones of our legal system; however, because of some foible, the principles have been thrown away in establishing the Integrity units.

The case for extraordinary powers for these units is somewhat justified. Still, when you review the annual reports of IBAC, for example, a cursory cost-benefit analysis of the organisation, leaves a lot to be desired. With the millions invested thus far, the outcomes seem a bit on the thin side, and significant scalps are very rare, and not because significant scalps are less corruptible.

Our legislators have generally been sold a pup on this issue.

It is, therefore, imperative that a proper and detailed nonpartisan approach needs to review the functions of all the Integrity agencies we fund to examine rationalisation and cost-effectiveness.

Pooling all Integrity functions within Government under one accountable umbrella would mean rationalising resources, skills, and accountabilities, minimising the need for an extraordinary expansion of the cost and size of individual Integrity units. In addition, the cost savings by consolidating administrations would be substantial.

This would expand opportunities for employees to further their careers within the sector, improving performance and justifying specialist training that will strengthen the battle against corruption overall.

As part of its charter, these authorities must have a role in prevention and detection and, without compromising operational security, be transparent and accountable.

As we have said, we support the necessity of Integrity units, provided they operate within the framework of our laws and not outside them.

OPERATION WATTS -PART 4 – Equality before the Law.

The Operation Watts report promotes the ideal that there is one rule for the governing class and one for everybody else. It effectively and deliberately shatters what is left of public confidence in our system of Government and seriously undermines confidence in our legal system; this must be addressed.

A job for Politicians of all persuasions.

Equality before the law is another legal principle that the IBAC and the Ombudsman have chosen to ignore, according to the Operation Watts report.

Equality before the law, also known as legal egalitarianism, is the principle that all people must be equally protected by the law. The principle requires a systematic rule of law that observes due process to provide equal justice, and requires equal protection, ensuring that no individual nor group of individuals be privileged over others by the law. Sometimes called the principle of isonomy.

The arguments for the breach of this legal construct in the report dealing with the Red Shirts and Branch Stacking is blatant and seriously disturbing.

The complete disregard and disdain of the victims, we the voting public, of this artifice is not masked. Noting that the Role of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), who has an obligation under the law to consider victims was unceremoniously bypassed.

Forgotten is that the election of 2014 was influenced by the Red Shirts artifice. The hordes of Red Shirts that we thought were volunteers were in fact government employees.

As serious as not considering the victims is, when the operation and the findings by the Integrity units (which they are not entitled to make) promote inequality, there are serious problems.


  • Public IBAC hearings is an example where it depends on who you are as to whether you are exposed to a public hearing. (The IBAC Act enables this inequity)
  • If the perpetrators in this artifice were in the private sector would the outcomes have been different?
  • When a suspect is ‘emersed’ in an artifice is it their position that allows them not to be treated equally before the law?
  • Colour coding corruption to mask inequality is asinine.

As with the other matters raising concern with the probity of the Victorian Integrity units, we argue that each individual misstep should have serious consequences but taken as a whole, the IBAC Commissioner and the Ombudsman should seriously consider their positions if Integrity is to have real meaning.

A competent and independent legal officer must be appointed as the interim head of both entities while a review is undertaken and the DPP and the Chief Commissioner review all cases. A clean slate bi-partisan approach is the only option.

More to come…


Red Shirts + Grey Corruption = Whitewash

How are we to deal with miscreant Integrity units when they step outside the law?

This State has a robust and effective legal system developed since Federation. We acknowledge that there are flaws; however, the ‘system’ has evolved to deal with legal anomalies through tried practices.

Although seen by some as excruciatingly slow, nevertheless, it mostly works well for all of us, most of the time. It also has built-in safeguards to protect the innocent and victims’ rights.

In this vein, we are highly critical of IBAC and the Ombudsman’s behaviours detailed in the Operation Watts report. Not only have they broken a Law themselves, but they have also ignored the prosecutorial conventions legislated in this State.

We were astounded to find the Director of Prosecutions (DPP) has been sidelined by the Integrity Bodies, left out of the loop when considerations regarding the likelihood of prosecutions were considered.

“We have carefully considered whether the identified misconduct constituted criminal offending that should be referred to the Director of Public Prosecutions. Ultimately, the relevant offence calls for a value judgement about whether a breach of public trust is so serious that it merits criminal punishment.” – Watts Report.

The IBAC and the Ombudsman have clearly taken it upon themselves to determine a value judgement that is the purview of the DPP and the Courts, not theirs to exercise.

Whether the suspects are charged ‘a value judgement’ is a matter for the DPP, and’ merits criminal punishment’ are matters for courts of appropriate jurisdiction.

Punishment is only relevant if a miscreant is convicted. Oddly the Integrity units see the process as punishment, a very troubling misunderstanding of our legal process. A concept they exercise elsewhere is identified in these analyses.

There is also very good reason, as demonstrated by the approach of the IBAC and the Ombudsman in these cases, why the DPP exists and its role is respected.

The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP)

The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) is responsible for beginning, preparing, and conducting serious criminal matters in Victoria on behalf of the Victorian community.

The DPP is supported by Crown Prosecutors’ Chambers – led by the Chief Crown Prosecutor – and the Office of Public Prosecutions (OPP) – led by the Solicitor for Public Prosecutions.

The DPP is an independent statutory officer appointed by the Governor in Council. The DPP is responsible to the Attorney-General for their performance and use of their power.

In performing their role, the DPP must consider:

  • justice and fairness
  • the need to conduct prosecutions in an effective, economical, and efficient manner
  • the need to ensure that the prosecution system appropriately considers the concerns of victims of crime. –

Critical to this State’s legal system are checks and balances and for the IBAC and the Ombudsman to immerse themselves in ‘careful considerations’ and making a finding on those considerations is, if not unlawful, a serious breach of legal protocol. We call it a whitewash.

This arrant behaviour also highlights the role of the IBAC Inspectorate, who clearly failed to perform an effective oversight role and allowed this misbehaviour to flourish.

Given the seriousness of the allegations and the admissions made by individuals, why wasn’t the DPP consulted and its input and support sought at the beginning of the process as is best investigative practice?

It would seem that in this matter, the highest profile suspect would, according to the Integrity units, have no case to answer. A prerogative they do not have to exercise; it lies with the DPP.

What the DPP may have a lot to say about is all the other miscreants in the artifice, it would seem, will likewise not be prosecuted.

Having Integrity Units that have lost their Integrity is untenable.

If a modicum of Integrity is left with either of the two principles, they should resign immediately; otherwise, the Parliament must remove them.

More to follow.

OPERATION WATTS PART 2- Rule of Law broken

Red Shirts + Grey Corruption = Whitewash

The Watts report into the Red Shirts and Branch stacking activities undermines a cornerstone of our democracy – the rule of Law.

No one is above the Law, which is absolute; not an optional extra available to those in power.

‘At its most basic level, the rule of Law is the concept that both the Government and citizens know the Law and obey it. The Law should apply to all people equally regardless of their status in society – rich or poor, young or old, regardless of their gender, race, culture, religion, or any other attribute’. -

Just because you disagree with a Law that does not justify breaking it, a point missed by some during the COVID demonstrations. Disagree with the Law by all means, but use other mechanisms to change the Law; rather than breaking it.

In this case, the Integrity units have broken the Law that determines the existence of the Integrity bodies and how they must operate. These entities are supposedly designed to uphold the Law. One of the pillars between a lawful and lawless society. so for them to disobey a Law is an egregious crime.

The Integrity entities are not so privileged that they can pick and choose which laws they break, expecting impunity where the rest of the community does not.

“The Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Act 2011 (IBAC Act Section 162(6)(a)(b) prohibits IBAC from including in a report a finding or an opinion that a person is guilty of or has committed any criminal offence or disciplinary offence, or a recommendation that a person should be prosecuted for a criminal offence or disciplinary offence.”

“Similarly, the Ombudsman Act 1973 prohibits the Ombudsman from including a finding or an opinion that a person is guilty of or has committed an offence, or a recommendation that a person be prosecuted for an offence.                   -Operation Watts Report

Apart from the wording of the Law; the concept of the Tenet of the Law; the intent. Cannot be disregarded.

“We have carefully considered whether the identified misconduct constituted criminal offending that should be referred to the Director of Public Prosecutions. Ultimately, the relevant offence calls for a value judgement about whether a breach of public trust is so serious that it merits criminal punishment. Reasonable minds might differ on this.

Thus, although we consider the conduct egregious, the difficulties in proof are such that we cannot recommend prosecution.” – Operation Watts Report

The Act,prohibits’, with an extraordinarily strong and unambiguous word that is transparent in its intent, preventing IBAC from including in a report a finding or an opinion relating to a prosecution.

Semantic arguments that they didn’t recommend prosecution, saying a prosecution would be unsuccessful, is without question a clear breach of the Law and, in many ways, is more objectionable than saying one would succeed.

This statement is calculated to nullify any other authority prosecuting the suspect referred to even the DPP. Even worse, the comments were construed in a way that could be extrapolated to cover all miscreants in the artifice. Arguably, grey corruption at work, or more accurately, a whitewash exposed.

These same reasonable minds identified in the Watts report may also reasonably conclude that IBAC and the Ombudsman have breached the Law by their comments. They have clearly expressed an opinion the Law requires them not to.

This action by the entities would seem to be precisely why the prohibition exists.

Under what basic standard of lawful endeavour do our two major integrity bodies get to choose what laws they may follow or not? This breach of the Law demolishes all confidence in both agencies as they have placed themselves above the Law.

This egregious breach places the agencies at a level no different from the perpetrators they are investigating, who also choose which laws they should ignore or break.

We need these agencies, however, these agencies must set the highest standard of

probity and in this matter they have failed spectacularly.

The positions of Redlich and Glass are now untenable.

OPERATION WATTS PART 1 – Unintended revelations

Red Shirts + Grey Corruption = Whitewash


The Operations Watts report recently released on the joint investigation by IBAC and the Ombudsman’s of the Red shirts and Branch Stacking matters makes for interesting reading. At first blush, a lot of costs for no result.

Whether intended or not, the report has serious, unintended consequences: Non the least, the Integrity bodies illegal activity and inept investigation of a relatively straightforward matter of Fraud committed on the State.

The report, however, gives a strong impression that the whole investigation and the final report are to achieve a particular predetermined outcome – nobody will be held to account. And that is arguable a corrupt practice.

The report, however, exposes a number of striking revelations, and not all of them intended.

The evidence released in this report is riddled with admissions of guilt, abuse of power, incompetence, conflicting interpretations of facts and commission of a crime; and that is just by the Integrity units.

Then there are the suspected perpetrators who set up, managed and implemented this artifice called Red Shirts, the more junior seemingly forthright, not a gift offered by the executives under scrutiny.

I always knew I was on the taxpayer dollar. I know that it wasn’t right, I know that it’s not what we were employed to do. You had to do it because of your job …

– Former electorate officer, in evidence to investigation (Operations Watts )

We are strongly inclined to the view that Ms Deborah Glass, OBE the Ombudsman,  is currently doing the media rounds trying to justify her non-action, and we assume the non-action of IBAC Commissioner Mr Robert Redlich AM QC, her partner in these Integrity inquiries.

It will be interesting how long she can pursue this charade. We get a strong sense this is the beginning, not the end, as she has claimed, with the focus moving from Red Shirt perpetrators to the Integrity bodies themselves.

To quote Shakespeare, ‘The Lady doth protest too much,‘ because she has come to the realisation that there are damning indictments scattered through the Watts Report, damming of IBAC and the Ombudsman. She is in damage control, but the more she says, the deeper the hole.

So serious are the issues, that both the IBAC Commissioner and the Ombudsman can share their solace as they walk out the metaphoric door of Government employ when their ineptitude and illegal activity are exposed.

The Watts report by their own hands ‘hoists them on their own petard’, their continuance as Officers of Integrity is now untenable, and they must go.

In the last few days, Glass has said a lot about not being enough evidence to charge the Premier with any offence; obviously, pressure is being applied.

But the very same Ombudsman waxed lyrical about the evidence that had been accumulated against the engineer of the Red Shirts artifice John Lenders. If Ms Glass is accurate in her assessment of the evidence against Lenders, why hasn’t he been charged? Because if he is not, that is corruption by the integrity bodies.

There isn’t even political double speak to justify not charging him.

This is a serious blight on justice in this State when one person, in this case, the Premier, it is claimed has no case to answer, so everybody else in the Red Shirts’ criminal endeavour escapes scrutiny.

In this case, even those who have confessed to a crime will not be prosecuted.

That is outrageous.

As it is laid bare, the ineptitude displayed by our Integrity bodies requires nothing less than the two principles to walk, and somebody with Integrity appointed to undertake the prosecutions thus far waived.

This whole edifice, as described by Glass, was bad enough, but how it was investigated and handled by the Integrity agencies is nothing short of disgraceful.

And Glass had the temerity and afront to suggest the police apologise to those Red Shirt operatives arrested; what a hide.

Even apologising for her failures to the State of Victoria will not save her bacon.

More parts to follow…


End note – Congratulations to VicPol for rejecting the pleas for an apology.

If the Fraud and Extortion Squad had been permitted to do their job, Victoria would have put this artifice behind a long time ago, and the Judiciary may have seen fit to have some of the key perpetrators enjoying Her Majesty’s pleasure.




24th July 2022

Safer exchange sites have been introduced to some Victoria Police Stations in metropolitan Melbourne’s northeast. A concept widely used overseas, but an idea of which most of us were unaware.

This is a significant and positive strategy Victoria Police has embarked on and is an example of good police proactive Service Delivery, addressing a community need and reducing opportunities for crime

The principle of the site is simple in its ethos but significant in improving Police service delivery and community safety. A place where the community can go to improve their safety in dealing with people they have not met but want to sell or purchase products sourced online.

Not only protecting people from crooks but discouraging crooks from selling hot property to innocent people.

New and innovative ideas are always encouraged and required in the evolution of our online lives. In this case, VicPol is ahead in the game.

Based on this concept, it would be wonderful if the idea could be extended to include estranged parents exchanging their children for visitation; that would be significant.

Those exchanges currently happen in a McDonald’s car park or a shopping centre, but how much better would it be for an estranged parent that had some fear to undertake the process at the Safer exchange site.

Serious consideration should be given to building on this initiative with nominal creative civil works at police stations to provide two or three parking bays off-road where possible, where people can go for access exchanges or when confronted with road rage or other threatening situations.

Currently, most parking spaces in front of Police stations are occupied by Police cars, so having a Safer Zone dedicated would be a great extension of service delivery.

We think the only negative to this program is that it is running as a trial where it has been trailed extensively overseas. It should be implemented State-wide as a matter of urgency – a trial is superfluous.

Trials are usually run to help leaders avoid exercising leadership decisions for which they may be held to account.

But well done, VicPol.




19th July 2022

“An Improper Investigation” and “Police misconduct a dark cloud over conviction” were two headlines in Herald Sun 1/8/2020 – and both were misleading.  The real story lay in the small print:- “There appeared to be a culture of acceptance of the improper practices within the force.”

Therein lay the real evil bedevilling the Force:-

  • acceptance of improper practices, even after they had been complained about;
  • refusal to obey the dictates of the law and common leadership principles that complaints MUST be investigated; and
  • repeated concealment of wrongdoing which, by default, encourages corrupt and/or criminal conduct.

So there ensued the cover-up of the “reprehensible conduct” related to Informer 3838, despite the laudable efforts of Sir Ken Jones to challenge and expose the “toxic and dysfunctional culture” within the Victoria Police Force.

IBAC found “even shredding of some statements were among the serious issues identified” – and yet IBAC had long refused to bother itself about other police who concealed a document that completely refuted their case against a defendant:-

During questioning of the defendant a detective handed him a computer printout showing that his computer user account had been enabled and successfully logged on before 9 am on a Monday morning, before the defendant had commenced work.. But then charged the defendant with the crime of illicitly enabling his own user account later that morning.  The point that somebody else had done so – that the account was actually enabled before 9 am – was set aside in the officer’s quest for a scalp.

The police officer swore to having handed to the defendant all the documents shown to him at interview, but certainly did not hand over that critically exculpatory printout; it disappeared.  Was it “shredded”?  What possible legitimate motive could have existed for the police, not merely failing to disclose this document, but ignoring it and pretending it did not exist?

Mr. Redlich (IBAC Commissioner) “raised concerns (that) improper practices continue today” (in 2020);  well IBAC should have acted when such practices were drawn to its attention in 2012 and 2013.

Despite having been then (2012-13) warned of this, its inactivity has apparently contributed to the very situation it deplored in 2020 – “a culture of acceptance of … improper practices within the force”;  i.e. the situation which has reemerged in 2022.

At CAA we had expressed hope and confidence in the ability and willingness of the Chief Commissioner of Police, Mr. Patton, to overcome that toxic and dysfunctional culture.  The latest events, however, suggest those sentiments were misplaced.

So Mr. Redlich now should look to the history of his own organisation.  If he does he should recognise how its failure to investigate serious allegations of police corruption when they were brought to its attention – and dismissed summarily one the shadiest of irrelevant grounds – has undoubtedly contributed to the present state of affairs.

Something must be done by outsiders to forever break the habit of police apparently breaching their oath of office and the law, repeatedly oversighting “profound failure(s) of policing”, to quote Mr. Patton himself.



18th July 2022

In a democracy, the community rightly sees the Government as ultimately responsible for Law and Order; critical to that responsibility is the performance of the Police Force.

In this current election environment, you can bet that all political machines are watching the performance of VicPol. No doubt looking for any opportunity to maximise on or reduce exposure to, the impact of the community angst that has developed towards its Force.

The Tectonic plates of policing have been moving adversely within the Victoria Police Force for some time. However, it has become very obvious they have gathered momentum and are now moving rapidly towards an adverse outcome.

The elements necessary for a policing Tsunami are becoming evident as the litany of policing failures has built to where the Tsunami is not a possibility but an inevitability.

There seems to be no end to the flow of ineptitude and policing failures; we all just sit and wait for the inevitable next one.

Government and all politicians will be closely watching how VicPol responds to the latest failures in the investigation of the Silk-Miller Police murders and the impact that may have on their electoral fortunes.

The community will also be watching as their confidence in the police continues to wane.

Taken in isolation, many issues, would have of themselves have limited impact on public confidence, but the build-up of events is taking its toll, and the informed public will inevitably start demanding change.

Seeds of that miscontent are starting to germinate.

These matters all contribute to the current malaise,

  • Gobbo affair – a wanton disregard of the legal process and riddled with alleged corrupt practices.
  • Red Shirts – from media reports, apparent criminality not prosecuted. They are corrupting the Police Judiciary separation of powers. Abuse of the discretion of police common law powers. The discretion is not a prerogative of the Force but is vested in individual constables.
  • Slug-Gate – has the hallmarks of deliberate avoidance of the responsibility of the police force – poor investigation hamstrung by interference and twisted loyalties of subordinates to achieve an outcome palatable to the police command and to protect public figures.
  • Politicians Travel rorts – just because somebody is a politician does not give them a free pass by police to commit criminal acts, but apparently, in Victoria, it does.
  • Bourke Street massacre – one of the most inept police operations in modern policing history where police command failed to take charge, and six Victorians lost their lives as a result. Unfortunately, this command failure has been whitewashed.
  • Executive misconduct – there have been examples of executive misconduct that arguably were criminal in nature, however, the executives were not charged, and their guilt or innocence determined by a Court, they resigned. This is completely inconsistent with how non-executive police are treated, even for minor infractions.
  • Hotel Quarantine security guard’s debacle– how Victoria Police could equivocate and avoid the responsibility of securing the Quarantine of Hotels in the initial emergency and most critical stages of the COVID outbreak. Arguably contributing to eight hundred deaths is beyond contemptible, but that has also conveniently received the whitewash treatment.
  • Corruption failures– Corruption is rampant in many sectors, and there is no evidence that the criminality involved is being addressed by VicPol, presumably leaving it to ‘him over there.’ You can blame who you like, but nothing will change until VicPol gets serious and starts instigating criminal proceedings against blatant criminal corruption.
  • COVID Demonstrations
    • Shooting demonstrators How any justification can be spun up to justify the use of shotguns firing bean bag rounds into demonstrators is beyond us; this behaviour borders on a criminal act.
    • O/C Spay Likewise, justification for dousing demonstrators with O/C Spray when they were running away seems indefensible- they were running away, for gods sake!
    • Handcuffing a young mum in front of her children in Ballarat because of online posts will always be up there as a disgraceful act. Rationalising that the female was in the kitchen, a place where she had access to weapons, is just ludicrous without any overt act or previous form that would create any risk.
    • Chasing demonstrators seems an odd police tactic – fine if you are going to arrest a perpetrator, but if demonstrators are running away, what is the point or logic in chasing them? What was to happen if they were caught?
    • Corralling demonstrators- another strange counterintuitive tactic of herding demonstrators into a confined area and then tightening the police- line when the object of reducing the spread of COVID is, as we know, the distance between people.
    • Snatching a phone of an elderly woman had no justification and was a breach of discipline by the police member. Still, we do not know if that member was held to account – it would have been interesting to know where he thought he might have gotten his justification.
    • Service delivery- the area of most significant concern for Victorians and the lack thereof, has impacted a very large percentage of them. They are rightly aggrieved; Police Stations closed, police unwilling or unable to respond (Call ramping) and aggravated by police who are despondent or disinterested if they do respond, all signs of a damaged workforce.

No good blaming the rank and file but lift your eyes to see where the problem lies.

  •  Police welfare – impacting substantially on the item above the departure of competent police due to stress or related illnesses in very large part created by poor management and the workload being disproportionally spread in the workforce. The exodus is twofold, one string heading out of policing due to mental health and the other exodus internal into non-frontline tasks.
  • Pillaging Police Stations – for human resources to appease media attention. Because an incident or series of incidents are given media exposure, the nett effect of making the best out of Police Stations to address these issues is counterintuitive. Fewer Police at police stations equates to more problems gaining media attention. A performance spiral.
  • Endemic evidence tampering – This behaviour it would seem has become an entrenched operating procedure for investigators in certain areas of Policing. That it appears book ended by events in 1998 and 2022 it is clearly endemic and wide-spread. There are a number of Senior Police Officers who have been promoted over those two decades who would have to be aware, if not involved in these unlawful acts and yet they have done nothing to stem the behaviour.
    • The Silk Miller Murder trial was corrupted by the unlawful action of police investigators in tampering with evidence, Perverting the Course of Justice.
    • While the Silk Miller murders occurred in the late 90’s, the culmination (the bit that counts) of the investigation was in the early 2000s. It is alleged up to five statements were rewritten, and originals disposed of. Serious criminality by Police with multiple evidence tampering and conspiracy offences not pursued.
    • Not confined to the 2000s coercing or causing statements to be altered is still happening at a 2022 trial where, fortunately, the police member who was coerced into altering his statement a mind-numbing seven (7) times by senior police self-reported the act to the Court. The jury acquitted the accused, or otherwise, a rerun of the Jason Roberts saga would be with us.

                  That nobody has been held to account for Perverting the Course of Justice and the associated conspiracies is a disgrace. This was a high-profile case                    so the executive would have been fully aware. Their failure in supervision/management is breathtaking and staggering.


  • Lack of police transparency- VicPol is always encouraging the community to give it information but try the reverse and get information from Police. It is not uncommon for the estimated time for a Freedom of Information request to be in the order of six months. If you try to challenge this at VCAT, VicPol will do legal somersaults to avoid compliance. We are aware of Supreme Court requests being treated in the same way – Hubris.


Perhaps we all should encourage everybody to take an example from VicPol and provide them with their information in six months?

The common thread of all these issues is a failure of Command and Control where the police executive fail in their duty – the first and most significant example which Victorians have never forgotten was the performance of Chief Commissioner Nixon while Victorians died in the Black Saturday fires –we allege that is the starting point of the collapse of Command and Control and executive responsibility within VicPol. Yet, Nixon was not sanctioned for a gross breach of executive responsibility, and no executive has faced criminal charges, irrespective of what they were alleged to have done since. They are not held to account or required to justify or apologise for Victoria Police missteps; this is unadulterated unhealthy- Hubris.

There has also been a string of thoroughly decent and competent Police who have been shown the metaphoric door for non-compliance with a new order which avoids responsibility and accountability. Many are disciplined for trivia.

Any normal grown-up organisation would be embarrassed to take drastic disproportionate steps for minor infractions, highlighting as it does management deficiencies and incompetence, but this is VicPol, that suffers an acute form of- Hubris.

These are the critical issues that the public demands their police force urgently addresses.

Alternatively, an inquiry to provide strategies to correct the current demise is not only warranted but inevitable.