Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Public's Right To Know What It's Told

ACCORDING TO the Paul Howes Rule it is a miracle this shaken Bunyip remains alive to report how policing is done these days in Victoria. Remember the union man’s narrow escape – how he wrote of attending gatherings of young leftists in Australia and was therefore lucky to have survived Anders Behring Breivik’s rampage in Norway? Well the Professor’s close call was even more of a heart-stopper: a mere two months ago and in the company of Double Bogey Daddy and Doctor Yowie, a round was played at Altona’s Kooringal Golf Club, which is no more than a mile or so from the Harrington Square Bookshop where an unknown assailant beat the owner into a coma.

We know about that attack because, almost three full days later, Victoria Police finally announced that a potential killer – the shop’s 62-year-old female owner remains in a coma – is out and about. The attack didn’t make the news until reporters collected Monday’s press releases for transcription, and it seems none of the newspapers is too upset about being kept in the dark by the state’s defenders of life, property and public safety.

One can understand official thinking, of course. If detectives had lucked out and caught the offender over the weekend there would have been no need for an announcement at all and the public would have been spared needless alarm.  Better to keep these things neat and tidy and very low key, that’s the shot. Why, if citizens were to learn of crimes, there might be an outcry to see them solved! Worse, there could even be calls for more pro-active measures to get miscreants off the streets before they can beat additional matrons to a pulp.

Why Melbourne’s two newspapers accept this situation isn’t much of a mystery. Unless the attacker turns out to be a fellow driven mad by (a justified) fear of rising tides, The Age would regard a simple matter of attempted murder and terror in a quiet suburb to be beneath its dignity. And anyway, if people who live in Altona were worth writing for and about they would live in North Fitzroy. At the Herald Sun, as neither puppies nor footballers appear to have been involved, there would have been no reason to interrupt the serious business of making sure News Ltd.’s ballyhooed  transition to the Digital Age does not extend to the publication of Andrew Bolt’s reader comments.

The Billabong is at least seven speed-cameras distant from the scene of the crime, so there will be no lost sleep. In Altona, though, residents are right to worry, not only about a maniac being on the loose but also because no one seems to think them worth of the effort of warning.


  1. The Old and Unimproved DaveJuly 26, 2012 at 5:46 AM

    Paul Howes courage above-and-beyond is why he gets flights home on someone else's dime and our troops in Afghanistan don't.

    This union man was awarded the relevant decoration, the crossed middle-fingers on a mound of union-paid receipts motif, with the motto "Sursum tuum".

  2. One fo the factors here is the digitisation of police radios. In the past, reporters would routinely monitor police radios and thus be alerted to incidents, The new encrypted radios keep their secrets.

    1. Not correct. when the encrypted radios were introduced (only in metro Melbourne by the wa, the media went off its cruet, and Vicpol were forced to allow them to listen in. They still can, and do, so you cannot blame that.

  3. JB of Sydney/ShanghaiJuly 26, 2012 at 6:58 AM

    Admire the way The Bunyip measures distance! I the Old Days, a man estimated distance in cans per mile.
    About the media, nothing to be said, they are beneath contempt. Gina, and Hungry Jack, where are you?

    1. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.July 26, 2012 at 2:37 PM

      Da Hairy Ape tells me Canberra used to be a six-tinnie trip from Sydney. However, as he also informs it took six hours in his first-car pride and joy, the old salmon pink EK with electric blue features, and on bad roads, I guess that is not quite as inebriated as it seems on first hearing. Bad enough though, I sniff.

  4. The Herald-Sun wasted no time in reporting the picture theatre shooting in Colorado. Big front page headlines on last Saturdays edition. In their haste they forgot to mention where the incident took place. Reading the article a less discerning person could have reasonably assumed it had happened in Melbourne. But, that's the whole idea eh? Keep implanting fear into the sheeple.

  5. Police at a crime scene used to be able to give out certain info concerning their appearance to those who considered themselves 'News Hounds'. Where I live the only 'News Hounds' worth mentioning are those from the local TV station, and all info from crime scenes now goes directly to the Duty Officer who then deems it appropriate or inappropriate for details to be released to the media.

    The Socialists (regardless of which party is in power) now run a tight lipped information bureau and the official stance is - bugger the public! And woe betide the copper who inadvertantly, or deliberately releases 'unauthorized' information!