IN 2006, Victoria Police, then led by Commissioner Big Kev, did away with Consorting and other squads, which at the time seemed the only course. The Drug Squad, as was then emerging, had been allowed to become the major supplier of precursor chemicals to the state’s illicit drug labs. And yes, you read that right: the wallopers were making six-figure deals with criminals in order to build their customers’ nefarious businesses and, sooner or later, produce bigger busts and headlines. If doctors gave patients bulk cigarettes in order to garner subsequent accolades for their high rates of cancer detection it would be very much of a kind, but that was “good policing" in the Nixon Years. Until some or other scandal came to public attention, as they did, it was a policy of law enforcement via buzz words, clichés, and notices on the cop shops’ bulletin boards inviting members to don their uniforms, head for St Kilda and march with Big Kev in the Gay Pride Parade. Quite a few coppers were unable to attend, mind you, because their commercial relationships with people like Tony Mokbel, having transitioned from clandestine to corrupt, had put them behind bars, where the celebration of sodomy is a 365-day affair, rather than the marchers’ once-a-year stroll by the seaside.
Policing has improved somewhat in the Garden State since Big Kev ate herself out of a job, and lucrative boardroom gigs, on the evening when 170 people were being burned to a crisp by Black Saturday's bushfires, but the Force’s rehabilitation as an effective entity still has some way to go, as a column by Peter Nordern in this morning’s Sunday Age establishes beyond reasonable doubt. If we still had old-school Consorters on the beat, Nordern would be in custody himself, as would many other members of the compassionista circle in which he moves and operates. Bill Sykes’ best friends were the kosh and jemmy. A Victorian criminal’s best mate is Nordern and those like him, the people who have built their careers, academic departments, budgets, consultancies and reputations with papers like the Age on the dubious belief that thugs, murderers, rapists, persistent thieves and other anti-social sorts really aren’t so bad once you get to know them.
Or, as Nordern puts this morning,
“It is almost 40 years since I started working closely with serious criminal offenders. Some will never change, but many do find a new direction in their lives, although not without some limits being placed on their behaviour, especially immediately after their release. Many are without housing, few have positive role models and they often lack motivation or direction in life, especially young offenders.”
How comforting it must be for victims of violent assault to know that their attackers are the real victims, that if the taxpayer would only provide nice Southbank apartments, where the spectacle of neighbours going every day to work would inspire them to virtue, thrift and industry, then Victoria’s serious crime problems would be considerably diminished. Nordern, however, is only just getting started. Sit down when you read the following passage because it will make all sensible people quite giddy (emphasis added):
My view is that if an offender does potentially pose a risk, either because of the likelihood of reoffending or because of special needs, that person should be released under parole supervision, rather than be retained in prison and then at a later date released without such supervision.
His solution? Surprise! Surprise! It is that more public monies be spent on organisations run by people like, well, Peter Nordern (who is also a Jesuit, and a further indictment of that order’s intellectual decline):
The Adult Parole Board of Victoria has a difficult task and there will be at times serious reoffending by people under parole supervision. This may well point to the need to increase the effectiveness of the board, its resources and its work…
That way, when criminals “likely to re-offend” do just that, Nordern and other members of the Caring-Industrial Complex will be on hand with further grant applications to redress root causes. It should be noted, just in passing, that Nordern is a former board member of the Australian Council of Social Services, which has never spied a social problem it could not make worse while simultaneously feathering the nests of the middle-class hanky-wringers who all the while insist, in funding application after funding application, that they know better than any how to ameliorate them. As the old joke goes: What sort of people become social workers? Those too stupid to embark on careers in teaching.
Nordern’s column hangs on the escapades of Adrian Bayley, who was turned loose on parole after serving but a few years of a very long sentence for raping and beating prostitutes. No sooner had he been released than he was back in court – Geelong Magistrates Court – where the beak pretty much let him off. He then moved to Brunswick, took up a new career selling ice and, after a number of vicious but non-lethal attacks on random women, raped and murdered ABC employee Jill Meagher.
Bayley is back in
poison prison, and perhaps Nordern, who has done nicely from consorting with
criminals, should be in an adjoining cell, where the pair could share their
dread of effective steps being taken to actually punish those who need it.
Such a policy might, for example, see the whip brought back for rapists. Feminists are always telling us that rape is a crime of power – one of the few things they say which happens to be true – so why not teach rapists what it is like to be strapped powerless to a frame and hurt without pity, as they do to their victims?
Or what about making prison a thoroughly unpleasant place? It will cost something in the order of $250,000 a year to keep Bayley, a celebrity inmate, in a maximum security wing, where he can be kept safe from fellow criminals who regard rapists and child molesters as specimens even lower than themselves. Were he to be installed in the general prison population, one or other of his fellow lags might well perform a public service homicide and save the taxpayers a considerable sum.
And finally, what about reforming the way judges and magistrates are appointed? In the Rub Hulls era, appointments were naked pay-offs and thank-yous to Labor mates, and those beaks continue to preside. Indeed, in a perfect world, Victorians might even elect judges, as they do in certain US jurisdictions.
What chance do you reckon the Geelong magistrate who turned Bayley free would have of winning another turn on the bench? Minimal, one would imagine – although he could count on the likes of Nordern handing out how to vote cards on his behalf.