Disgraced by the community, recently disbarred by the legal profession and now excoriated by a Royal Commission into her adventures in the Victorian justice system, we should – instead – be thanking Nicola Gobbo for her great community service in helping to jail many major Victorian criminals.

What Nicola Did

Let’s be clear.  I don’t like Nicola’s basic line of work, her friends or her style.  She defended some of Victoria’s worst criminals, even when she knew they were guilty.  She befriended many known criminals, partied hard with them and also – it seems –  with the police!   

But, without Nicola providing police with information from her clients or their acquaintances, major criminals like Tony Mokbel, Carl Williams and many others (up to 1,000 cases are said to be impacted) would not have been convicted.  We all cheered when the Victoria Police Purana task force successfully prosecuted criminals and put an end to the gangland wars in Victoria.  Now the Royal Commission findings threaten to release known criminals and tarnish the careers of those brave police who took them on, and found a way to convict them.  The cases were not trumped up.  But the manner in which the evidence was gathered was outside the ethical norms of the legal system, by both Gobbo and Purana.

Do We Want Law Enforcement or Justice?

I believe that, if a person is guilty of a crime, they should plead guilty, not be defended and waste valuable taxpayer’s money on unnecessary court cases.  That would be true ‘justice’…but of course the ‘law’ doesn’t work for justice, only for a debated result between lawyers and judges.

By contrast, even priests are now required to report confidential revealed confidentially about sexual harassment to the police.  Teachers are required to notify social workers of children who they think may be being abused.  In each case, this is for the perceived greater good of the society – that possible criminal behaviour is picked up early and stopped.  We expect the truth to come out.  So why should police not be able to receive information from defence lawyers that a criminal act has occurred??  Is it ‘justice’ we want or merely ‘law enforcement’?

The Legal System is the Real Problem

Perhaps the real problem is the legal system, not informants (called whistleblowers in other industries…).  Society wants and expects justice, not legal or political shenanigans.  If the legal system was really interested in delivering ‘justice’ (the Victorian department is called the ‘Department of Justice’), getting correct, truthful information – by any reasonable means – would be supported.  Instead, under the guise of ‘legal ethics’, the system is tearing apart an unlikely Victorian hero, who has done more than most to improve our society.  Once again the whistleblower is shafted, while the society and the system reaps the benefit.

What Am I Missing?

Why is no one – no one – prepared to speak up for Nicola?  Why are they not speaking up for the Victorian Police, who stopped the gangland war?  Surely the greater good justifies the actions they took.  A travesty is being committed by the legal system in our name.



 Jess Hill has written a seminal book with this name on domestic violence/abuse in Australia.  As we all know, this is a scourge within our society.  At least one woman a week is killed from this, usually by a partner or ex-partner.  But we – the general population – seem to have no idea how to stop these killings, or the huge number of cases of ongoing domestic abuse within our society.

Short-listed for the Stella Prize, this book examines why domestic abuse (a wider term, covering mental as well as physical abuse) occurs in a way I’ve never seen before.  Like Bruce Pascoe’s ‘Dark Emu’ (on indigenous history) and Esther Perel’s ‘State of Affairs’ (on why affairs occur), it provides deep insights that conflict with orthodox thinking on a major society issue.  I strongly recommend you read it to understand why men kill, maim and abuse their loved and loving partners.  Here’s my brief summary.Read More »

LAW 5 JUSTICE 0: The Predicted Score of the Royal Commission into Victorian Policy Informer 3838

So a Victorian police informer has been revealed, a(nother) Royal Commission announced and major gangland criminals are lining up to have their cases reviewed and decisions annulled, due to legal procedural errors by the Victorian Police. A whistleblower is struck down. The Police’s reputation is trashed. Criminals are likely to win. I predict the score will be Law 5 Justice 0 – a thrashing for Justice. We will all be losers. Here’s why.Read More »


As the domestic violence and sexual assault royal commissions roll on in Australia, revealing the extraordinary amount of inappropriate contact between people, and in the light of the Oxford University research showing us who can touch whom where (‘Maps show where touching is allowed’), the truth is: most of us want and need more touching, not less.

Personally, I’ve always struggled with the ‘right’ amount of touching, particularly for women or girls. The desire to show friendliness, affection, to commiserate, to share joy are all good reasons for touching another person.  But where to touch, how much to touch, for how long and how will it be construed by the recipient? Read More »