Harold Bishop has a posse

The Rae St Institute > Blog archive > The Separation of Church and State

On tonight's show we're making a casserole.

  • One packet rice, two packets nuts, one monkey (optional).

    Marinate in hatred of everything not absolutely hardcore right-wing, or alternatively garnish with a side salad of posturing and sprinkle liberally with shrewd attention-seeking (some culinary experts are still undecided as to which is the actual recipe).
  • One cop

    Sprinkle liberally with good community consultative skills, a sense of humour and a bicycle. Simmer and allow productive links between the police and cycling community to grow.
  • One more cop

    Marinate in corporate interests, add a dash of jumpiness...

    no wait another one..

    no hang on --
    oh SHIT

    You shouldn't have done that. TAKE IT OUT!

    .. wait a second..

    no, yeah, pour the whole bottle in.

    Promote to a region 1 commander.

    Mix in heavy quantities of Thickened Media Extract.
  • One taxi driver
    Add two cups of aggression, one Critical Mass, a lunge forward which knocked a wave of people over, and a barney which witnesses seem to consistently claim didn't involve him getting punched in the face. His windscreen got hit, because people were underneath the front of his van and others were trying to make him aware of this simple and life-threatening fact.

    Stir in an entire packet of Master Foods' all-new Refuse To Give A Statement To Police. Add a sachet of Plead guilty to a charge of reckless driving.
  • Put over a low flame in a large saucepan and let simmer for 14 months.
Can't wait? Here's one we prepared earlier. (and that's the last of the culinary analogies, I promise..)

Plainclothes police in.. what, bullet proof vests?! Waiting to stop anyone riding onto the South Eastern at Swan St.. a stretch of freeway that doesn't go anywhere.

A plethora of police waiting for the mass to ride onto the West Gate, as advertised by Neil Mitchell.

Yep, that's right, the police put 200-odd+ bodies on the ground on Friday to stop Critical Mass from doing something that wasn't going to happen.

What was their intel?
A couple of tongue-in-cheek emails on the mailing list?

See when you sack the cop who actually did know what was going on because Old Rice & Monkey Nuts didn't like him, and in his place have a liason officer trying to talk to people who already know that there are at least half a dozen plain clothed riot cops in the mass... -- things don't work so well.

When jumpy people are doing guesswork the going gets weird. Damn weird.

3AW were talking about a West Gate Ride. Mick Williams was on the air crying wolf again.

But then things got proper weird.

Roadblocks closed off half of Port Melbourne, where the mass was going to commemorate the recent death of a cyclist on Todd Rd.. plenty of people found this needless blockading insulting. Motorbike cops rode through the mass, one allegedly deliberately ramming cyclists.

Police on the blockade allegedly told riders that they had information that the ride was going to come back and ride the west gate some time before 11pm.

Who the hell is coming up with this rubbish?

I said repeatedly during the ride that I'd like some of the acid that was behind the claims being made in the media by police, because it was obviously fairly decent.. not only was CM about to do something that wasn't going to happen, but there was time travel and/or wormholes involved (the mass starts gathering at the State Library at 5:30, but Mick apparently told the Herald Sun that the mass was going to be on the Bolte Bridge then.. hooray for instantaneous travel). Not only was this paranoia being piped to the media, but hundreds of police were being rostered on to sate it. People in the World Trade Centre (home of the Victoria Police too) were apparently told to get out of the building by 3:30pm or they wouldn't be able to get out for "some time".
If you're a cop, and you're reading this, and you think I'm seriously suggesting drug use by senior police, you need a sense of humour. I know it's probably patently obvious I'm taking the piss but seeing as wild inferences resulting in major use of police resources seem to be being made on the vaguest of hints, it has to be said.

If I was to ring the police and report something as about to happen, which resulted in a massive allocation of resources, and then said predicted event didn't happen, and wasn't actually going to, I'd be charged with wasting police time.

When the police infer (or are told by Transurban perhaps?) that something is going to happen on the thinnest of leads, when actually talking to people would probably tell them that it wasn't going to.. where do they stand?!

What the hell do they think they're dealing with?
No violence has ever ensued at a Critical Mass in Melbourne. Critical Mass has never blockaded buildings. Critical Mass doesn't even "blockade" freeways. They ride along them. They don't blockade buildings, ride the West Gate, hang around till 11pm or charge police lines with guns blazing.. Do the new guard feel guilty somewhere for their wild and raucous waste of resources? Are they expecting retribution in kind?
  • How exactly is taking up the road with bikes rather than cars for a few minutes a month more heinous and news-worthy than the fact that more cyclists have died on the roads so far this year than ALL of last year?
  • How exactly do a couple of (quite clearly) pisstake emails justify a huge police presence at a previously peaceful event?
  • Is this an indication of a complete change of direction? Can we expect to see Save Albert Park broken up by riot police? Can we expect to see tanks driving through construction union protests in the city?
Now a LOT of people blog about Andy, and I don't intend to become one of them. But for Bolt to bring about the transfer of a police officer is akin to a politician directly influencing police matters, which is a violation of basic concepts of Separation of Powers, and blatantly illegal.

Journalists influencing police matters isn't illegal.. but perhaps it should be. Not out of anger over this specific case, though I'll admit of course this is the catalyst for me getting fired up about it (this time).. but I've made the analogy before that the media now is like the clergy 200 years ago.. people don't go to Church every week to hear a sermon, they open their Hun, turn on 3YAWN and listen to Kneel's middle-aged ManRanting, watch ACA's "no fear no favour" (HAH!) 'reporting'...

The pulpit has been replaced by the microphone and the word processor. Where there is clear evidence, presented in an unbiased fashion, of some wrongdoing, then of course there's a case to be answered. But Bolt's article is full of factual distortions, selective quoting, and misses the point of inclusive policing, rewriting things to suit his hardcore right-wing political ends. A political tract cannot and should not justify police operational decisions.
  • As I understand it Russell was pursuing people to prosecute over the CM incident with the Taxi (there was someone on the roof, which was bad, bad, bad news..).
  • I've seen Russell in the past send people away from CM because they didn't have a helmet and/or lights.
  • He's booked people I know, and who I know know Russell on a first name basis, for no helmet or no lights, outside CM.. on multiple occasions.
  • He's managed to build a rapport with the cycling community which no police officer could now probably hope to match.
He's one of the few cops who would actually do anything about incidents between cyclists and motorists.. when my shoulder was smashed up badly (compound fracture of the collarbone; snapped right through, it's now 2 inches longer than it used to be and the wrong shape) in a hit and run, the response I reliably got from front-desk cops was that it was all "too hard" and "too much paperwork". It got to the point with Russell that he had to stop taking in reports from outside his direct area because the quality and reliabilty of response from local police was so bad that he became THE cop to talk to in melbourne if you had an incident on a bike.

Essentially while I don't want to start another BoltBlog, I'm going to get my hands on the court transcripts and -- through FoI -- the full text of the police brief Bolt quotes (work's settling down, so I've actually got time, and I'm not working 22 hour days anymore...), and if it's legal (will check with a lawyer mate) I'll post the full brief and as much of the court transcripts as is relevant to Bolt online.

I'll be addressing Bolt's "Our Cuddly Cops" article in a point by point rebuttal quoting actual, paper evidence IN FULL (as opposed to misquoting people and using google) some time soon. I know it's late, but it has to be done.

I'm also going to write (well, this is the main point of researching the rebuttal, really..) to the Ombudsman, the Press Council, and Christine Nixon (not angry rants, but researched pieces) about this whole episode (of what's now becoming a series).

But for now..

Thankyou and good day.

Comments - none posted yet - [post a comment]