Archive for January, 2019

The Quiet Australian

January 14, 2019

quiet mr morrison

I don’t normally go out of my way to get past the Daily Telegraph paywall so I am reliant on The Guardian (which provided the above photo) for news that, in a piece published in the DT, Mr Morrison has declared an intention “to reframe the Coalition government as the champion of ‘quieter Australians.'”

If that means a break from Mr Shouty, I’m looking forward to it. A longer and more permanent break later would be even better.

The promised emphasis is on “security and native species.” The latter apparently means  “local” environmentalism as opposed to the too-hard global warming.

Keep your eyes peeled for an Indian mynah trapping program.  It wouldn’t cost much, and could well kill more than one bird with the same stone.

Right to silence

January 11, 2019

I had mail. Voicemail.

This is senior constable [HH] from the AFP.  I’m ringing about (sight pause) an event last year.  Please call me on [a Canberra number].

HH also provided a case number.

It was that slight pause which put me on my guard.  Why wouldn’t HH tell me what she was ringing me about?  I have had no dealings with the AFP last year or, indeed, since my father died in Canberra in 2016 when they came round to his house to get some information for the coroner.  I hadn’t reported anything lost or stolen which she might be getting back to me about.

I rang the number.  HH wasn’t available.  I gave my name and the case number and said “Please tell HH that unless she says what it is about I won’t return her call.”

The young policewoman (these days they are all young to me) bristled.  I should ring.  It would be to my advantage to do so etc.  Don’t not answer if HH rings you again.

I had never said I wouldn’t answer.  I told the young policewoman so.

My elder sister, visiting from the UK, overheard my end of  that conversation. She told me I sounded quite rude.  She hadn’t known to whom I was speaking or to what kind of message I was responding.  Perhaps she thought I was returning a call by a potential instructing solicitor.

By now I was reasonably sure that I was the suspect.  But suspected of what?

It’s not a pleasant feeling waiting to be accused of you know not what.  I weakened and rang again before HH got round to ringing me back.

This time I was put through to HH.  She told me that the “event” was that payments had been made for a number of (fake) AirBnb bookings last year and the moneys had been paid to and then withdrawn from what HH called “your [ie my] account” with the XXX bank.  It would probably have been more accurate for her to say “an account in your name” but you have to remember I was a suspect.  From HH’s perspective, why mince words?

This is the tough moment.

You have a right to silence.

Police have their own agenda and no question is asked without it.  Even in my limited practice of the criminal law I have had enough cases where my clients have said something to the police which they supposed to be exculpatory which has ended up being used against them to be wary.  I have read of many more such cases.

Imagine if you are pulled over by a Highway patrolman (OK, it could be a patrolperson) for speeding.  You might not be able to contest your guilt but the penalty may well be a lively controversy.  The policeman’s first words are likely to be: “Did you know you were doing XXX km per hour?” What can you answer?   “Oh, yes, wasn’t it fun?” won’t help you at all.  “I had no idea” would look equally witless.  It takes willpower to remain silent or training as a politician to answer with some kind of non-answer.  (“Really?” “Is that how fast you say I was going?” or “We’re stopping the boats.”)

I buckled, but only because I was reasonably confident.

I have never had an account with the XXX bank.  I have become aware of some incidents of identity theft over the past couple of years starting with when I received a letter from a credit company telling me they had rejected my application for a card or a personal loan (I can’t remember which). I had never made any such application.  My theory is that whoever did was working off an old driver’s licence they’d got hold of somehow.

I told HH this and later sent her a copy of an email I had sent to a credit reference agency back in 2017 outlining what I knew.

I haven’t heard back from HH, not even to acknowledge receipt of what I sent her.

Maybe I’m still in the frame.