Michael Pascoe writes:

Tut-tut, Melbourne – what a grubby little
city, home of either alleged or confessed cartels, high-profile insider
traders, John Elliott and real gang wars involving guns and murders, not just
racist beach parties and the occasional baseball bat.

Poor old Bleak City can’t
even breed anyone who looks like they might become Prime Minister in the next
decade, or find 18 Aussie Rules players who can win the premiership for their
own parochial little code. Crikey, Batman, where did it all go wrong?

Are these further symptoms of a society in
decline, a town of tribes so caught up in playing their ideological roles they
haven’t noticed the lights going out?

The Melbourne
establishment’s defence in light of the Vizard scandal was to claim Big Steve
was never a member anyway. They were singing something similar about John
Elliott by the raucous and uncouth end as well.

Be prepared for a reprise about Dick Pratt
if he is not successful in defending the cartel charges – a Sydney mistress?
Good heavens, what was he thinking?

But Pratt would be much harder to disown.
He is Melbourne’s richest man and a philanthropist on a scale few in this country
come near. He throws a good party and isn’t bland.

Never mind, Richard, whatever happens, you
can always make a home in Sydney with credentials like that.

So what would Melbourne be left
with? Not much, it seems. The town’s great comfort has been its passion for
minority sports, thousands of people prepared to turn out just to watch AFL teams
train. But even that is under threat – is anybody going to the Commonwealth
Games?