It’s been an extraordinary few days in Victoria as a blizzard of national publicity has engulfed Police Commissioner Christine Nixon and Police Association secretary Paul Mullett.
Anyone who watched Sunday’s cover story or Four Corners would have thought that Mullett’s future was under a huge cloud after a deluge of damaging bullying allegations.
Alas, it has only really been The Australian which lashed out in this editorial on Tuesday against the parochial Victorian-based media for being too soft. Try these lines for size:
Four Corners has exposed a Government pinned down by a Police Association ruled through fear for the benefit of insiders and bolstered by a $14 million legal fund for those it favours. Relations between the association and Police Commissioner Christine Nixon are deep frozen.
Repeated complaints of bullying and intimidation have been either ignored or met with further bullying and intimidation by the union. And when corruption has been exposed, it has often been the whistleblowers and investigators who have faced the harshest criticism. Four Corners’s dramatic insight comes on top of video evidence of police abuse of suspects.
It has been best described as an old-style culture that does not accept internal investigations or acknowledge corruption. Equally damning has been the failure of the Victorian Government and local media to protest. The Government has stonewalled all calls for a proper inquiry. The Australian exposed a secret meeting between Mr Bracks and Police Association secretary Paul Mullett in the days before last year’s election.
This week, after the Four Corners program, Mr Bracks sided with Mr Mullett. The local media have bent over backwards to preserve their relations with the Police Association and powerful police media unit. The big expose’s have come from this newspaper and national television programs Four Corners and the Nine Network’s Sunday.
Rather than putting the heat on new Police Association President Brian Rix, Mullett’s boss was instead treated to this enormous puff piece in the Sunday Herald Sun about his long and loving marriage to former Channel Ten crime reporter, Shirley Hardy, daughter of Frank.
Rather than calling for his sacking, the Herald Sun on Wednesday gave Paul Mullett a big slab of the opinion page to spin his tired lines.
Surely it is time for the Bracks Government and the parochial local media to stand up against the bullying by Mullett and his old school alumni from the old Armed Robbery Squad which has dominated the Police Association executive for decades.