Sunday, October 11, 2009

Sydney reverts to type...

broadcaster Alan Jones 

 As Australia, (and Sydney in particular ) is declared the 2nd most desirable place in the world to live according to a UN study, the Emerald City has always had an underbelly that rivals Chicago in the heyday of Al Capone.

Beginning from it's early days as a convict settlement and the infamous Rum Corp Rebellion in 1808 when a military junta overthrew the oppressive Governor Bligh (of Mutiny on the Bounty fame), most Australians seem to have an inbuilt mis-trust of authority. In what other country would a criminal bush-ranger like Ned Kelly be a national hero or the national song ,Waltzing Matilda-a tale of an sheep stealing itinerant, be so celebrated ?.

News reaches us that the auto-biography of corrupt ex-cop Roger Rogerson is to be launched by the country's top radio host Alan Jones. Can it be true ?. We'll know by next Wednesday when the tome is released.

Cast one's mind back to the late 90's when a Royal Commission found police corruption so entrenched in NSW that a complete outsider was commissioned to clean-up the state police. Commander Peter Ryan was imported from Britain. Ryan was boss at the Hendon Police College in the UK and was the sort of copper one wishes to see walk the streets.

Honest, intelligent and with complete integrity in the process of law. Ryan succeeded and NSW is far the better because of his efforts with a young, energized, intelligent and largely efficient police force.

But Ryan was driven from office by fierce media critics by 2002. He now heads security for the IOC. You can be sure you will always be safe at the Olympic Games with Peter Ryan at the helm.

One of Peter Ryan's fiercest critics was broadcaster Alan Jones. Ryan's wife Adrienne went public with the puzzled question..just why was Jones such a fierce critic ?. She never got an answer.

The Shuttle met and formed a brief friendship with Adrienne. We all had something in common. Peter Ryan and his future wife Adrienne had met as young Met officers when they were called to the horrendous Harrods IRA bombing in 1983. We all reminisced over the incident at the Police Museum at the launch of a book by best-selling author Tara Moss.

The Shuttle was walking across Hyde Park at the time to meet a journalist friend who was killed in the bombing. His body blasted from the street to the roof of Harrods.

One of the guests supposedly lined up for the Rogerson book launch is the ex-criminal-now 'media personality' Mark 'Chopper 'Reid who has claimed to have been involved in around 17 murders , amongst other crimes, and whose life was featured in the film Chopper which launched actor Eric Bana into international stardom.

Chopper Reid and Roger Rogerson have toured a stage show and Reid has become a successful author.

But again, cast your minds back to the 1990's Mid-Day TV show fronted by the perennial Kerri-Anne Kennerley, still the current reigning chat-show host. Chopper Reid was a guest along with Alan Jones who castigated the promotion of guests like Reid. Chopper  retorted "well at least I've never been arrested in a toilet "!.

It was a reference to Jones' arrest in a gentlemen's convenience in 1988 in London's Piccadilly Circus when Jones was initially charged with two counts of outraging public decency over a  misunderstanding between he and a policeman. Jones, staying at the nearby Ritz Hotel said an urgent 'call of nature' had led him to the toilet. Friends like the then respectable Lord Jeffrey Archer rallied around and the charges were dropped. It was all a terrible misunderstanding.

Readers may recall the best selling biography about Jones-'Jonestown' by the award winning journalist Chris Masters , claimed Alan had shielded his homosexuality throughout his career and pondered on the amazing skill of Jones to wield such extraordinary power for decades where politicians and others would be crucified if they refused to appear on his radio show. Although the book damaged Jones' reputation for awhile, and Jones has recently recovered from unfortunate bouts of cancer, he still rules the airwaves as the premier broadcaster. and part-owner of the 2GB network.

Will some of Jones' fiercest critics, the openly gay writer David Marr and recent addition to the Sydney Morning Herald, journalist Mike Carlton  turn up to the Rogerson launch ?. We shall see.

Now the Shuttle has uncovered another brewing scandal that seems to be overwhelming the NSW police as they struggle with organized crime which has reached epidemic proportions in the state.

As politicians bring in unworkable laws in an attempt to nip in the bud the thugish groups generally referred to as 'bikie gangs' which in reality are highly organized Mafia style associations that reap millions of dollars a year in criminal enterprises, yet fail to empower police with necessary funds for crime prevention, the Shuttle has uncovered at least 2 illegal operations underway in inner city suburbs where social clubs-a bridge club and another, have been infiltrated by gangsters intent upon driving out innocent club members by all means fair and foul in order to set up seemingly innocuous meeting grounds for gang members ahead of laws that will outlaw gang headquarters.

 Talk about the Bada Bing and the Sopranos !