Former top Vic Lib Damien Mantach charged over $1.5m taken from party


 Updated 18/11/15 2.30pm

Not the first time either…. he had a go at making some extra bucks in the apple isle of Tassie too a while back and was moved on…mmm just like those priests who have rumours made about them tongue in cheek)

Former Victorian Liberal Party state director Damien Mantach.

Former Victorian Liberal Party state director Damien Mantach.

Former Victorian Liberal Party state director Damien Mantach has been charged with 44 counts of obtaining financial advantage totalling about $1.5 million.

In August, Mantach was accused of embezzling election campaign funds, with the money alleged to have vanished over four years to fund his lifestyle.

An audit of the party’s finances after last year’s state election loss uncovered unauthorised financial transactions, with money missing from both state and federal campaign funds.

Victoria Police fraud and extortion squad were called in to investigate.

Police said a 42-year-old man from Ocean Grove is to appear in the Melbourne Magistrates Court this afternoon.


Victoria Police investigate Liberal Party state director over embezzlement claims worth $1.5m

Updated 20 Aug 2015, 7:27pm

The police fraud squad is investigating allegations former Victorian Liberal Party state director Damien Mantach embezzled around $1.5 million of election campaign funds.

The money is alleged to have vanished over four years to fund Mr Mantach’s lifestyle.

An audit of the party’s finances after last year’s state election loss uncovered unauthorised financial transactions linked to Mr Mantach, with money missing from both state and federal campaign funds.

The Victoria Police fraud and extortion squad has been called in to investigate.

Liberal Party president Michael Kroger said Mr Mantach had admitted to wrongdoing.

“We feel profoundly betrayed and terribly disappointed with what’s happened,” Mr Kroger said.

Key points:

  • Liberal Party accuses former state director of embezzling $1.5m
  • Alleged theft happened over four years
  • Victoria Police fraud and extortion squad called in to investigate
  • Party believes Mantach took the money to fund his lifestyle

He said the party believed Mr Mantach had acted alone.

“We’re not aware that anyone at the party head office or any officials had any involvement at all,” he said.

It also emerged that Mr Mantach repaid tens of thousands of dollars during his time as state director of the Tasmanian branch.

In a letter to members posted on Facebook, Tasmanian Liberal president Geoff Page said in March 2008 that when he left the role, Mr Mantach fully repaid a liability of nearly $48,000 for personal expenses.

Mr Page said the division considered the matter closed and had robust internal financial processes.

Mr Kroger said he did not believe the missing money influenced the 2014 election result, or that it would affect the next federal election.

Liberal leader Matthew Guy said the party was furious at what he called a “pretty basic effort at embezzlement”.

“We want our money back,” he said.

“We want this matter sent to the police and we will be doing everything we can to ensure that justice is done.

“I saw someone making a comment that we’re white hot with anger, that’s just the start of it.”

Mr Kroger said the missing money was confined to the party’s Victorian division and he was confident some of it could be recovered through assets bought with the funds.

Mr Kroger conceded the Liberal Party had failed to properly monitor spending.

“Obviously it should have been picked up years ago — it wasn’t,” he said.

Former premier Denis Napthine, who led the party during last year’s campaign, said he was surprised and bitterly disappointed by the allegations.

The party’s administrative committee met this morning to discuss how to deal with the missing money.

Mr Mantach has been contacted for comment.


 

Paris attacks: Scenes of devastation in the French capital

Featured


It is wake up time people. Have the media laws kept you just that little bit away from the slaughter, the suicide bombings and massacre of innocent folks going about their day?
WELL… BE WARNED I AM POSTING AN EXTREMELY DISTURBING IMAGE OF THE CONCERT HALL BECAUSE I CAN! I hope the BEST bands in the WORLD have the guts to play in this hall and not for rich celeb types either. Maybe the orphans and widows etc???
HOW ABOUT A QUICK COFFEE AND CAKE? see that a bit further down…THE AMAZING thing is folks are queuing up to have a coffee there since it happened.
FRANCE ONE DAY YOUR PLACE NEXT. GOING TO LISTEN TO SOME MUSIC AND CHILL OUT FROM THE CRAZY WORLD AROUND THEM. THIS IS HOW THE ENDED UP AFTER GOING TO SEE Eagles of Death Metal  (Who need support from every corner of the world)
Dying to see a band

Dying to see a band

+ Add New Category

La Belle Equipe

La Belle Equipe

Related Story: As it happened: At least 120 people killed in multiple Paris attacks

Related Story: Coordinated terror attacks leave France in shock
Related Story: Information for paris bombing map

About 120 people have been killed in multiple terrorist attacks in the French capital, including about 100 who were taken hostage at a rock concert, according to Paris city officials.

Here is a collection of images and footage from Paris as the situation unfolds.

Paris attacks: Weapons seized during pre-dawn raids, French PM warns more attacks being planned

French police seized “an arsenal” of weapons during dozens of pre-dawn raids against Islamist suspects in the early hours of Monday (local time), as prime minister Manuel Valls warned terrorists were planning more attacks in the wake of Friday night’s atrocities in Paris.

The raids focused particularly on the Lyon area, where police made five arrests and seized a rocket launcher, a Kalashnikov assault rifle, bulletproof vests and handguns.

Mr Valls said authorities have conducted at least 150 house searches in cities around France since the attacks.

Earlier reports had said pre-dawn police operations were carried out in the Paris suburb of Bobigny as well as in Jeumont, close to the French border with Belgium, and in the southern city of Toulouse.

Thirteen raids were carried out around the south-eastern French city of Lyon, a local police source said.

They led to five arrests and the seizure of “an arsenal of weapons”, including a rocket launcher, a Kalashnikov assault rifle, bulletproof vests, handguns and combat gear, the source said.

French media have reported at least six people were arrested in another raid in the Alpine city of Grenoble.

Mr Valls said terrorism could hit again in “in days or weeks to come” and said the attacks in Paris, which killed 129 people, were “planned in Syria”.

He said French intelligence services had prevented several attacks since the summer and police knew other attacks were being prepared in France as well as in the rest of Europe.

“We are making use of the legal framework of the state of emergency to question people who are part of the radical jihadist movement … and all those who advocate hate of the republic,” he said.

“We know that operations were being prepared and are still being prepared, not only against France but other European countries too.”

On Sunday night (local time) French jets launched extensive air strikes on what the government in Paris said were Islamic State targets in the terrorist movement’s stronghold Raqqa.

Prosecutors earlier revealed a growing Belgian connection to the Paris attacks, with officials conceding a poor district in Brussels with past links to international terrorism is a “gigantic problem” and a hotbed for extremism.

A manhunt is also underway for Salah Abdeslam, a Belgium-born man identified as the only surviving terrorist from the attacks.

Seven UK terror attacks ‘stopped’ in last six months: Cameron

British prime minister David Cameron said UK security services had foiled about seven terror attacks since June.

“Our security and intelligence services have stopped something like seven attacks in the last six months, albeit attacks planned on a smaller scale [than Paris attacks],” he told BBC Radio 4.

“We have been aware of these cells operating in Syria that are radicalising people in our own countries, potentially sending people back to carry out attacks.

“It was the sort of thing we were warned about.”

In response to the Paris attacks, Mr Cameron said he wanted Britain to join the fight in Syria to carry out air strikes against Islamic State (IS) militants.

He will still need to convince more lawmakers to launch any action and will take a proposal to MPs soon.

Mr Cameron said Britain was engaged in a “generational struggle” against extremism and that he has boosted funding for security services in direct response to the threat posed by IS.

He also said there were “hopeful signs” from Saturday’s talks in Vienna on Syria that progress was being made on how to deal with the IS.

“You can’t deal with so-called Islamic State unless you get a political settlement in Syria that enables you then to permanently degrade and destroy that organisation,” he said.

ABC/wires


Paris attacks: What we know so far

A series of coordinated terrorist attacks ripped through Paris shortly after 9pm on Friday November 13. Here is what we know so far.

What we know about the attacks

What we know about the attackers

  • At least eight attackers were involved, operating in three separate groups.
  • Seven of them died, including six who detonated vests laden with explosives.
  • An international manhunt is underway for Belgian-born Salah Abdeslam, who is believed to be the eighth attacker.
    • Abdeslam, 26, was questioned and released near the Belgian border soon after the attacks.
    • One of his brothers, Ibrahim Abdeslam, was involved in the attacks; he died after detonating his suicide vest on Boulevard Voltaire.
    • Another brother, Mohamed Abdeslam, was arrested in Brussels.
  • Another attacker was named as Omar Ismail Mostefai, 29, who was identified from a severed finger at the Bataclan concert hall.
  • Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attacks, saying they were in response to insults of Islam’s prophet and air strikes in IS territory.

What we know about the investigation

What we know about France’s response

  • French president Francois Hollande told the French people “we are going to fight and our fight will be merciless”.
  • France launched air strikes against IS militants in Syria.

    bbc.com

    Paris attacks: Bataclan and other assaults leave many dead – BBC News

     People could be seen escaping from the Bataclan concert hall shortly after a series of explosions

    France has declared a national state of emergency and tightened borders after at least 128 people were killed in a night of gun and bomb attacks in Paris.

    Eighty people were reported killed after gunmen burst into the Bataclan concert hall and took hostages before security forces stormed the hall.

    People were shot dead at restaurants and bars at five other sites in Paris. At least 180 people were injured.

    These are the deadliest attacks in Europe since the 2004 Madrid bombings.

    French President Francois Hollande, visibly shaken, called Friday night’s almost simultaneous attacks “a horror” and vowed to wage a “merciless” fight against terrorism.

    Paris saw three days of attacks in early January, when Islamist gunmen murdered 18 people after attacking satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, a Jewish supermarket and a policewoman on patrol.

    Live: Follow the latest developments here

    In pictures: Paris shootings

    Eyewitness accounts from the scene

    The attack on the 1,500-seat Bataclan hall was by far the deadliest of Friday night’s attacks. Gunmen opened fire on concert-goers watching US rock group Eagles of Death Metal. The event had been sold out.

    “At first we thought it was part of the show but we quickly understood,” Pierre Janaszak, a radio presenter, told Agence France Presse.

    Speaking outside the Bataclan concert hall President Hollande said the attacks were “an abomination and a barbaric act”

    “They didn’t stop firing. There was blood everywhere, corpses everywhere. We heard screaming. Everyone was trying to flee.”

    He said the gunmen took 20 hostages, and he heard one of them tell their captives: “It’s the fault of Hollande, it’s the fault of your president, he should not have intervened in Syria”.

    Within an hour, security forces had stormed the concert hall and all four attackers there were dead. Three had blown themselves up and a fourth was shot dead by police.


    Attack sites:

    La Belle Equipe, 92 rue de Charonne, 11th district – at least 19 dead in gun attacks

    Le Carillon bar and Le Petit Cambodge restaurant at rue Alibert, 10th district – at least 12 dead in gun attacks

    La Casa Nostra restaurant, 92 rue de la Fontaine au Roi, 11th district – at least 5 dead in gun attacks

    Stade de France, St Denis, just north of Paris – explosions heard outside venue, three attackers dead

    Bataclan concert venue, 50 boulevard Voltaire, 11th district – stormed by several gunmen, at least 80 dead

    map of attack sites

    The attacks took place at six sites across Paris, mainly in the centre of the city

    What we know

    #Paris: Power, horror, and lies


    Meanwhile, not far from the Place de la Republique and the Place de la Bastille, three busy restaurants and a bar were targeted by gunmen armed with Kalashnikovs.

    Around 40 people were killed as customers were singled out at venues including a pizza restaurant and a Cambodian restaurant, Le Petit Cambodge.

    “We heard the sound of guns, 30-second bursts. It was endless. We thought it was fireworks,” Pierre Montfort, a resident living close to Le Petit Cambodge said.

    Media captionAmateur footage captured the panic at the Stade de France in Paris, following a reported suicide blast

    The other target was the Stade de France, on the northern fringe of Paris, where President Hollande and 80,000 other spectators were watching a friendly international between France and Germany, with a TV audience of millions more.

    The president was whisked to safety after the first of at least two explosions just outside the venue to convene an emergency cabinet meeting. Three attackers were reportedly killed there.

    As the extent of the bloodshed became clear, Mr Hollande went on national TV to announce a state of emergency for the first time in France since 2005. The decree enables the authorities to close public places and impose curfews and restrictions on the movement of traffic and people.

     Ben Grant: “There were a lot of dead people… it was horrific”

    Paris residents have been asked to stay indoors and about 1,500 military personnel are being deployed across the city.

    All schools, museums, libraries, gyms, swimming pools and markets will be shut on Saturday as well as Disneyland Paris. All sporting fixtures in the affected area of Paris have also been cancelled, AFP reports.

    Police believe all of the gunmen are dead – seven killed themselves with explosives vests and one was shot dead by the security forces – but it is unclear if any accomplices are still on the run.

    US President Barack Obama spoke of “an outrageous attempt to terrorise innocent civilians”.

    UK PM David Cameron said he was shocked and pledged to do “whatever we can to help”.

    The Vatican called it “an attack on peace for all humanity” and said “a decisive, supportive response” was needed “on the part of all of us as we counter the spread of homicidal hatred in all its forms”.

    Spectators invade the pitch of the Stade de France stadium after the international friendly soccer France against Germany  

    Spectators flooded the pitch of the Stade de France after the France v Germany football match as news of the attacks spread
    Rescuers evacuate people following an attack in the 10th arrondissement of the French capital Paris  

    Rescuers evacuate people following one of the attacks
    General view of the scene with rescue service personnel  

    Witnesses have been speaking of “carnage”

    Analysis: BBC’s Europe correspondent Damian Grammaticas

    It’s just 10 months since Paris was the scene of multiple terrorist attacks, first the massacre of staff at the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and then a hostage-taking at a Jewish supermarket.

    What happened in Paris on Friday night is exactly what Europe’s security services have long feared, and tried to foil. Simultaneous, rolling attacks, with automatic weapons and suicide bombers in the heart of a major European city, targeting multiple, crowded public locations.

    The tactics have been used before, in Mumbai and elsewhere. But how they’ve come to Europe is one of many questions that will have to be answered.

    Were the attackers French citizens? If so, how they were radicalised, armed and organised – was it in France, in Syria, and by whom? Why weren’t they detected? Is France, after two major attacks this year, uniquely vulnerable or does the carnage in Paris mean all of Europe faces new threats to our public places and events? And if a Syrian link is proven, will France recoil from that conflict or will it redouble its commitment to the fight against radical groups there?


    Are you in the area? Have you been affected by what has been happening? Do you have any information you can share? If it is safe to do so, you can get in touch by emailing [email protected].

    Please include a contact number if you are willing to speak to a BBC journalist. You can also contact us in the following ways:

    • WhatsApp: +44 7525 900971
    • Send pictures/video to [email protected]
    • Upload your pictures / video here
    • Tweet: @BBC_HaveYourSay
    • Send an SMS or MMS to +44 7624 800 100

      Paris attackers most likely backed and trained by Islamic State in Iraq or Syria, says security expert

      Posted about an hour ago

      A security expert says it is “extremely unlikely” that the eight men who carried out the Paris attacks could have done so without military training in Iraq or Syria.

      The latest reports out of France suggest there were three teams involved in the weekend’s attacks that left 129 people dead.

      Neil Fergus, the chief executive of the security consultancy Intelligent Risk Group, said it appeared the terrorists had a significant support team.

      “There’s no doubt that they… certainly had accomplices that had done reconnoitring of those sites, and that means they had logisticians, transport people, they undoubtedly had a safe house, or indeed, multiple safe houses, people who procured the motor vehicles,” he said.

      “They had to have transported weapons, not just side-arms of course.

      “We know that they had Kalashnikovs, AK-47 long-arms, explosives, TATP explosives themselves have to be transported carefully and of course they were constructed into suicide vests or belts either before being sent to France, or Belgium and then to France, or in France.”

      Mr Fergus is certain the terrorists were trained by Islamic State in the Middle East, either in Iraq or Syria.

      “There have been improvised training camps in France that the French authorities have detected before, but this type of operation, these types of activities in which these eight perpetrators were involved evidence a great deal more sophistication in terms of training and experience,” he said.

      “For example we have eyewitness accounts of the way that they went about their evil business in the theatre, with one person providing very professional cover of the main assailant as he systematically executed people in that theatre.”

      He said the type of operation suggested a great deal of sophistication in terms of training and experience.

      What modus operandi was used to be able to plan and execute this operation in this way? It has implications for (Australia), and we need to study it carefully.

      Neil Fergus, chief executive of the Intelligent Risk Group

      “It’s not ad hoc training in a forest firing at some targets.

      “That’s people who have gone through proper military training, and indeed, as I said before, almost certainly, to do that sort of callous cold-blooded operation, they have been blooded in the fields of Syria or northern Iraq.”

      Mr Fergus said it was impossible to be certain, but knowing the very hierarchical, compartmentalised structure of IS, the operation was almost certainly authorised by Islamic State’s senior leadership group in the Middle East.

      “It would be almost inconceivable to think that a local cell would be able to gather all of the resources and capabilities, some of which are clearly from offshore, outside of France, to put this together,” he said.

      Security lessons for Australia

      Mr Fergus said the attack’s success pointed to a failure of intelligence in France.

      “What is incredible is that an attack, or a set of attacks of this nature and this complexity, were planned and executed without intelligence services in the region, or indeed in Europe, getting apparently any inkling, any indication that such a scale of operation would be in prospect,” he said.

      “The more people that are involved in an operation, the more likely that intelligence services will detect something is afoot.”

      Mr Fergus said there were security lessons Australia can learn from the attack.

      “I have no doubt that the senior security authorities in Australia, including Duncan Lewis, director-general of ASIO, will be keenly looking to French liaisons to understand their post-event analyses, particularly on whether there had been intelligence that had been missed, or indeed whether the perpetrators have exercised a heightened level of security to such an extent that they did slip under the radar.

      “And that has some implications not just for Australia but for the rest of the civilised world.

      “What modus operandi was used to be able to plan and execute this operation in this way?

      “It has implications for us, and we need to study it carefully.”

      Topics: terrorism, unrest-conflict-and-war, security-intelligence, defence-and-national-security, france, syrian-arab-republic, iraq

Penny Bailey death: Stephen Bailey charged with murder of his mother

Featured


This weavel “Allegedly”killed his mum for reasons unknown to anyone so far…The one and only suspect has been caught,What a little snivelling dog this bloke was…Tragic for the family although I am certain they have found the answers they needed quickly.

Stephen Bailey has been charged with the murder of his mother, Penny Bailey, whose body was found in bushland on Thursday night.

Ms Bailey was last seen at her Mont Albert home on Sunday and reported missing by her family two days later.

Investigators found her body near the Mullum Mullum Creek in Donvale two days later.

Bailey was arrested on Thursday before his mother’s body was located.

Victoria Police said a 34-year-old Mont Albert man had been charged with one count of murder.

He will appear in the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court later today.

Ms Bailey is the daughter of Laurie Kerr, who played 149 games for Carlton Football Club in the 1950s and was named in the club’s team of the century.

He later founded public relations company International Public Relations.

Her mother Vivienne Kerr is currently the number one female ticket holder at the Blues, while her sister Judy Mullen is the president of the Women of Carlton coterie group.

Stephen Bailey played football for Box Hill in the VFL, and West Adelaide and Norwood in the SANFL.

In a statement, Ms Bailey’s family said she would be remembered for her “warm heart”.

“The Kerr family would like to publicly express its gratitude for the outpouring of support it has received since Penny’s disappearance,” it said.

“Penny was a beautiful woman and mother of three children. She will be remembered for her caring nature, warm heart and love of family.

“The Kerr family is large. Vivienne and Laurie Kerr had nine children – there are 34 grandchildren and 24 great grandchildren.

“The entire family is focused on providing Penny’s daughters, Belinda and Shannon with comfort at this time.

“We would also like to thank the Victoria Police for their professionalism and the caring and sensitive manner in which they conducted their investigations.”


 

Penny Bailey body found as son Stephen arrested for her suspicious disappearance

Missing mother
 THE son of a woman found dead in Donvale last night has been charged with her murder.

Stephen Bailey, 34, was arrested after his mother Penny Bailey went missing from their Mont Albert home on Wednesday.

He was charged with murder this afternoon.

It comes as Carlton great Stephen Kernahan says the club is in shock over the death of Ms Bailey, who is the daughter of former Blues footballer Laurie Kerr.

Kernahan’s tribute came as it emerged Stephen Bailey was a best-and-fairest winner at VFL club Box Hill Hawks and a prominent player in the SANFL.

A body believed to be that of Ms Bailey was found in bushland near Mullum Mullum Creek in Donvale about 7.10pm yesterday, 24 hours after police investigating the Mont Albert mother’s suspicious disappearance arrested her son.

“The body has not been formally identified but is believed to be that of missing woman Penny Bailey,” Acting Sergeant Julie-Anne Newman said last night.

Ms Bailey was one of nine children born to the renowned footballer and PR guru and his wife, Vivienne.

Laurie Kerr played for Carlton in the 1950s and was named as an emergency in Carlton’s Team of the Century.

Former Carlton player Laurie Kerr.

Laurie and Vivienne Kerr, right, with his family in 1967: Libby, 5, Judy, 6, Penny, 11, Paul, 14, Greg, 3, Louise, 17, Peter, 19, and Mark, 9.

Stephen Bailey was an onballer who played reserve grade football for Carlton in 2002.

He was playing at Donvale when he was called up to play reserve grade football for the Blues.

Bailey then headed back to play with Donvale and two years later played in the VFL with the Box Hill Hawks.

He won Box Hill Hawks’ senior best-and-fairest in 2004 under the coaching of Andy Collins.

He later crossed to the SANFL and became a prominent player for Norwood.

Kernahan said he was shocked and saddened at the news of Ms Bailey’s death.

“Our heart goes out to them,” he said.

Stephen Bailey, left, playing for Norwood in June 2006.

Stephen Bailey for Norwood in April 2006.

Kernahan said he was feeling for the entire Kerr and Bailey families, especially Ms Bailey’s mother.

“Vivienne’s a matriach of the football club, she’s the No.1 ticket holder. We know all the family well,” he said.

Mr Bailey, who was arrested in Smithfield Rd, Flemington, on Wednesday night in relation to his mother’s disappearance, played 54 games with Norwood from 2005 to 2007.

Penny Bailey’s mum, Vivienne, right, with daughter Judy Mullen at a Women of Carlton event.

Norwood Football Club president Paul Di Iulio said he was surprised when he heard the former Redlegs players had been arrested.

“I was shocked, I’m shocked at anything like that,” he said. “It’s not good news to hear.”

When asked if Mr Bailey was quiet, Mr Di Iulio said: “That’s my understanding. People I have spoken to say he kept to himself.”

Mr Di Iulio said Mr Bailey had ben a handy player at Norwood.

“He seemed like a reasonable bloke,” he said. “He played in the midfield and on the half back.”

Mr Di Iulio said Mr Bailey left Norwood to play at West Adelaide Football Club, also in the SANFL.

But he said he had departed on good terms and had left for other “football opportunities”. He said Bailey had not returned to the club since.

Forensic investigators at the scene of the discovery at Mullum Mullum creek in Donvale. Picture Yuri Kouzmin

Stephen Bailey spotted walking through the underpass at Flinders St to Southbank.

Ms Bailey’s body was found in bushland near the bed of the Mullum Mullum creek — just metres from a car park in Reynolds Rd.

A crime scene was established near Reynolds Rd just east of Springvale Rd after forensic specialists from the Crime Scene Unit reached the scene last night.

State Emergency Service crews set up flood lights as forensic crews scoured bushland near the creek.

The dumping ground could be clearly seen from a walking track across the small creek.

A local woman who walked past the crime scene on her way home said she was shocked by the discovery.

Local Amy Stephens said the discovery was “terrifying”.

“I am so shocked because this is such a good area,” she said.

“It is so close (to home) and such a nice area that you just don’t expect it to happen.”

She said children and families often used the area and nearby a reserve and sporting oval.

“There are often Scouts teams near here and sausage sizzles — it’s very close to everything,” Ms said.

“This is one-in-a-million — nothing like this happens.”

Penny Bailey and her son Stephen.

Mr Bailey remains in hospital.

Mrs Bailey was last seen at the Mont Albert home she shares with her son about 9pm on Sunday.

Detectives seized a black four-wheel-drive Volkswagen Tiguan from the property, which they loaded on to a flat bed trailer and have taken it away for forensic examination.

Police launched an investigation after the woman was reported missing by family on Tuesday night amid a disturbance at her house.

Her son was seen leaving the townhouse on a bicycle about 11.45am on Tuesday.

Stephen Bailey near the intersection of Elizabeth and Bourke streets in the CBD.

Det Insp Mick Hughes said the alarm was raised after a disturbance had been discovered at the Strabane Ave home.

“There is concern from what we witnessed at that scene,” he said.

A crime scene was established at the house.

Police also have seized two wheelie bins from the nature strip, while a mobile phone was taken into evidence.

Detectives inspected clothing and gloves from inside the bin.

Earlier, Ms Bailey’s siblings and children had forced entry into the townhouse after unsuccessful attempts were made to contact her.

Neighbours woke to find their street filled with police.

They said they hadn’t heard any disturbance from the townhouse over the weekend.

After his football career ended, Laurie Kerr pursued a career in journalism and built the public relations empire IPR.

Kerr studied at St Kevin’s College in Toorak, where four generations of his family would later go on to study.

Kerr died on December 28, 2001. He was 72.

Forensic police take the rubbish bins to check for evidence. Pictures: Ian Currie


Andrew Johns is a disgrace and an embarrassment. He has proven so time and time again!

Featured


ANDREW Johns ‘passed out’ at Toowoomba airport.

ANDREW Johns ‘passed out’ at Toowoomba airport.

Some things (ungrateful millionaire ex player and media star)  DO NOT CHANGE

How long does the old boys club protect and support tools like him? There are too many better deserving to be in the spotlight than the likes of Andrew Johns.

Channel Nine dumps Andrew Johns from grand final day broadcast following drunken airport incident

Michael Carayannis and Michael Chammas

Channel Nine stands down Andrew Johns from Sunday’s NRL grand final broadcast following an intoxicated incident at Toowoomba airport on Friday night.

Channel Nine has stood down Andrew Johns from Sunday’s grand final broadcast following the intoxicated incident at Toowoomba airport on Friday night.

Johns, a regular member of Channel Nine’s Sunday Footy Show, wasn’t included on the panel leading into the grand final coverage on Sunday.

Bad form: The Facebook post of Andrew Johns asleep in Toowoomba Airport with a comment by the poster.

Bad form: The Facebook post of Andrew Johns asleep in Toowoomba Airport with a comment by the poster. Photo: Facebook / Helen Wright

He has also been told he will not be part of the broadcast of the all-Queensland grand final between the Brisbane Broncos and North Queensland Cowboys at ANZ Stadium.

It couldn’t have come at a worse time for the former Newcastle halfback, who is deep in negotiations with Fox Sports about joining his brother Matthew at the pay TV network.

It also comes a fortnight after fellow Channel Nine rugby league commentator Brett Finch checked himself into rehabilitation following a stint back in April.

It comes after Johns was accused of “disgusting and disgraceful” behaviour, photographed lying on the floor at Toowoomba’s Wellcamp airport on Friday night after allegedly propositioning a married woman, who labelled Johns’ behaviour “a very bad example”.

Helen Wright, who later received an apology from the rugby league immortal, detailed Johns’ behaviour on Facebook, saying: “I wish that football commentators [had] more pride and a much higher standard of behaviour in public”.

“This is not an example that should be presented to children that were present! Many of the children had taken photos of him passed out. My own sons have played football all their lives and we love the game. But not this aspect of the game. Regards Helen Wright.”


Andrew Johns apologises for ‘disgraceful’ behaviour at airport – after getting ‘drunk and making sexually explicit comments to a mum of three before passing out’

  • NRL immortal Andrew Johns has been accused of drunk behaviour
  • The formal NRL player allegedly passed out at Toowoomba airport
  • Helen Wright shared a photo of Johns on the floor on social media 
  • The mother-of-three claims he tried to kiss her and made a lewd comment
  • Ms Wright told Daily Mail Australia he has already called to apologise 

By Lucy Thackray for Daily Mail Australia

22:30 EST, 3 October 2015

A woman has accused former NRL player Andrew Johns of ‘disgusting behaviour’, alleging he was drunk and disorderly at an airport and tried to kiss her before passing out on the floor.

A photo of the NRL immortal allegedly lying ‘passed out’ on the floor of Toowomba’s Brisbane West Wellcamp Airport went viral on Saturday morning when Queensland woman Helen Wright posted it on social media.

‘Andrew Johns was absolutely disgusting. He was severely intoxicated,’ wrote Ms Wright, describing the alleged incident, said to have taken place on Queensland’ east coast on Friday night.

The mother-of-three tells Daily Mail Australia Mr Johns made contact with her on Saturday, ringing to apologise if his behaviour had offended her.

The 42-year-old says while waiting for a delayed flight, Johns tried to kiss her and made a lewd comment when she refused.

A photo of the NRL immortal allegedly lying ‘passed out’ on the floor of Toowomba’s Brisbane West Wellcamp Airport went viral on Saturday morning when Queensland woman Helen Wright posted it on social media

‘Andrew Johns was absolutely disgusting. He was severely intoxicated,’ wrote Ms Wright, describing the alleged incident, said to have taken place on Queensland’ east coast on Friday night

‘When I refused to kiss him and replied I was happily married and had three sons his question to me was “did you have a cesarean birth?’

‘Disgusting, disgraceful and a very bad example for all to see.

‘Then he proceeded to pass out on the floor of the airport,’ she alleges.

Ms Wright claims many young children were present and some even took photos of the recently separated commentator while he was ‘passed out’ on the floor.

Ms Wright claims many young children were present and some even took photos of the recently separated commentator while he was ‘passed out’ on the floor

She is calling for NRL identities to be better role models, particularly for the children who look up to them.

‘I wish that football commentators have more pride and a much higher standard of behaviour in public,’ Ms Wright posted.

‘This is not an example that should have been presented to children that were present!’

‘My own sons have played football all their lives and we love the game.

‘But not this aspect of the game.’

Daily Mail Australia made numerous attempts to contact Andrews Johns’ management.

Channel Nine declined to comment.

The all Queensland NRL grand final will be held in Sydney on Sunday night.

She is calling for NRL identities to be better role models, particularly for the children who look up to them


Problem after problem after problem

Ecstasy use controversy

On 26 August 2007 Johns was arrested for fare evasion on the London Underground, and subsequently found to be in possession of one ecstasy tablet. He was cautioned and released with no further charges. Johns initially claimed that an unknown person had pushed the tablet into his pocket which he later forgot to remove before leaving the crowded venue. This initial statement was met with a great deal of cynicism from both the press and the public. On 30 August, Johns revealed, live on the Footy Show, that he had regularly taken ecstasy throughout his playing career, mainly during the off-season. He claimed he had suffered from depression and bipolar disorder and the drugs helped him in dealing with the high level of psychological ‘pressure’ associated with his career as an elite sportsman Not long after the incident he released his ‘tell-all’ autobiography that went into further details regarding his depression and drug use while playing in the NRL.

The ARU released a press statement shortly after the controversy arose, stating that Johns’ drug use was known to the ARU and was a key factor in its decision to not proceed with contractual negotiations in 2004. Brett Robinson, then high-performance unit manager, said that, as well as Johns’ age and injury history, the knowledge of his drug taking had been influential in the ARU making its final decision.

When Johns was named the Best Player of the Last 30 Years in early 2008, the accolade allayed concern that Johns’ shock drug admission the year before had tarnished his remarkable efforts on the field for Newcastle, NSW and Australia. On receiving the award he was quoted as saying his health was now in great shape. “I’m at the best place I have been in a long time,” he said. “It’s not until you step away that I realise all the pressure I was under, I’m not going to miss playing at all.”
Racism controversy

In June 2010 during the lead-up to Origin II, New South Wales centre Timana Tahu withdrew mid-week from the NSW squad following reports Johns referred to Queensland player Greg Inglis as a “black cunt” during a training session.Johns was subsequently fired from his role as NSW assistant coach. Though he apologised for the incident on Tuesday 15 June,it is alleged it was not the first time Johns had used racist language in a football environment. Inglis has since demanded Johns be barred from any involvement in rugby league.

More Joyous Scandal

Johns was the catalyst to the More Joyous Scandal, engulfing leading Sydney horse trainer Gai Waterhouse, larrikin advertising figure John Singleton (racehorse More Joyous’s owner) and bookmaker and son of the horse trainer Tom Waterhouse. Johns passed information from Tom Waterhouse that horse More Joyous was “off” on to brothel owner Eddie Hayson and former jockey Allan Robinson. Singleton received word of this and, while visibly inebriated, verbally attacked Gai Waterhouse on live television. Johns feared his Channel 9 commentating career would be over due to the trouble he caused Tom Waterhouse, a Channel 9 advertiser. Johns’s commentating career survived, although his reputation was further damaged. Both Waterhouses were cleared of any major wrongdoing by a Racing NSW inquiry, however, Singleton and Gai’s longstanding partnership ended.



Sydney shooting: two people shot outside NSW Police headquarters at Parramatta

Featured


Parramatta shooting: Four arrested in western Sydney over terrorist attack outside police HQ; suspects linked to Baryalei terror raids

Three of four males arrested this morning over last week’s fatal terrorist attack at Parramatta police headquarters were targeted in Australia’s biggest counter-terrorism raids a year ago.

Police this morning arrested four males aged between 16 and 22 in counter-terror raids across western Sydney.

A fifth person, a 24-year-old man from Merrylands, was also arrested this morning but was not detained as part of the joint counter-terror raids operation.

He was arrested as a result of an outstanding warrant for identity fraud and other fraud matters.

Police allege the four men arrested in the counter-terrorism operation are directly linked to the fatal shooting of police accountant Curtis Cheng outside the Parramatta police HQ last Friday.

Eighteen-year-old Raban Alou was arrested at Lane Street, Wentworthville, the same home where his older brother Kawa was arrested in sweeping raids in September last year and released without charge.

Police also arrested a 16-year-old boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons and who was in the same year at Arthur Phillip High School as Farhad Jabar Khalil Mohammad, the 15-year-old who shot Mr Cheng.

At Marsfield, police arrested another target of the September 2014 raids, 22-year-old Mustafa Dirani, a former student of Arthur Phillip High.

This afternoon police released two of the four who were arrested, both aged 22, after the detention period allowed in their warrants expired.

Police also returned this morning to the Guildford home of Omarjan Azari, who is in jail on a charge of conspiracy to murder after being arrested in last year’s raids.

The 2014 raids were sparked by a phone call to Azari in which Australia’s most senior Islamic State lieutenant, Mohammad Ali Baryalei, allegedly directed him to kill a random member of the public.

Members of the group who were raided in 2014 and Baryalei, who has since been killed in Syria, were known to congregate at the Parramatta mosque where Farhad Jabar Khalil Mohammad spent several hours before he carried out last Friday’s attack.

The 15-year-old was shot and killed by police at the scene of the shooting.

15yo gunman ‘did not act alone’

Police are investigating where the gun came from and whether one of the four men arrested this morning supplied it to the gunman.

NSW Police Force Deputy Commissioner Catherine Burn it was unclear whether or not the four arrested today inspired the terrorist attack on Parramatta Police HQ.

“We have certain suspicions and we are clearly going to have to sift through all of this over the next couple of days,” she said.

She said the motivation of the 15-year-old was still unknown but police definitely had the suspicion he did not act alone.

“What we are investigating is a terrorism offence so what we would suggest and we suspect is that there was some influence — whether it was ideologically, religious or politically motivated — that determined and influenced the 15-year-old to go and commit this horrendous act of violence,” she said.

But Ms Burn said the teen gunman had “not been a target of ours and is not somebody we would have assessed as a threat”.

Acting Deputy Commissioner Neil Gaughan told reporters no terrorist organisation had claimed responsibility for the attack.

Meanwhile, New South Wales Premier Mike Baird said “there’s no doubt” Sydney had a problem with Islamic radicalisation.

“Importantly though, this is a minority. It is something that will be dealt with,” he said.

“It will be dealt with on the basis of the Muslim community [and] it’ll be done more broadly with the whole community.”

Three arrested plus gunman went to same school

Mr Baird said he was concerned about religious radicalisation in the state’s schools, but insisted the problem was not widespread.

Two of the males arrested today, along with a teenager charged with threatening police yesterday, and the teenage gunman from the Parramatta attack all went to Arthur Phillip High School.

But certainly my strong assurance to the people of NSW is that our schools are safe.

Mr Baird said he had asked the Education Department to accelerate the work it was doing to combat radicalisation among school students, but he downplayed the extent of the problem.

“There have been some isolated incidents. They are being dealt with by police, they are being dealt with by the Department of Education together and that’s what we need to continue to see,” Mr Baird said.

“We need to understand that we are in a new world. The risks that are emerging are new.

“But certainly my strong assurance to the people of NSW is that our schools are safe.”

Earlier, Federal Justice Minister Michael Keenan defended programs designed to stop young people becoming influenced by radical extremism.

“We are working to try and divert people if we think they are falling under the spell of ISIL in the Middle East,” Mr Keenan told the ABC’s AM program.

Mr Keenan said Australia was a world leader in the global response, and was also making inroads at a local level.

In a message to parents today, Arthur Phillip High School principal Lynne Goodwin said NSW Police had advised the school that “there is no ongoing threat as a result of last Friday’s tragic event”.

“I would like to reassure the whole Arthur Phillip High School community that the school continues to be in close liaison with the Department of Education and the NSW Police to uphold our exemplary levels of student safety and student wellbeing,” Ms Goodwin said.

“Our school counsellors are available for all students, if required, today or in the future.”

Police reach out to Turkish counterparts to find gunman’s sister

Farhad’s sister flew out of the country, bound for the Middle East, a day before the NSW Police headquarters shooting.

The woman is a key focus of inquiries into the crime, with police suspicious of the timing of her travel.

“We have passed the details of that young lady on to the Turkish national police who will actively try and find her for us,” Mr Gaughan said.

“I might stress at this time there is no suggestion that she has been involved in any criminal activity here, but obviously investigators are very keen to have a chat with her about what she knows about her brother’s action.”

Hundreds of police involved in dawn raids

More than 200 officers took part in this morning’s raids, launched at 6:00am AEDT.

Media player: “Space” to play, “M” to mute, “left” and “right” to seek.

Video: Woman at Merrylands home raided by police lashes out at media (ABC News)

Neighbours living across the road from the Marsfield property confirmed it was not the first time police had visited the home.

Elaine Archer told the ABC when she saw police vehicles this morning she thought to herself, “Ok, here we go again”.

“We went through it the last time they raided the same house,” Ms Archer said.

This morning’s operation followed last night’s raid on the home of an Arthur Phillip High teenager who allegedly used his Facebook page to threaten police.

Parramatta shooting: Police search mosque in shooting investigation

The Parramatta Mosque has been searched, a senior police source has told the ABC, as investigations into Friday’s fatal shooting of a civilian police force employee continue.

Farhad Jabar Khali Mohammad, 15, shot and killed 17-year police force veteran Curtis Cheng at close range outside the Parramatta police headquarters.

A senior police source told the ABC Farhad attended a mosque shortly before the shooting.

The mosque believed to have been searched overnight is a few blocks away from the site of the shooting that killed Mr Cheng, 58, as he left work at 4:30pm on Friday.

A senior figure at the Parramatta mosque has confirmed that police searched the mosque to look for a black backpack which they believe Farhad used to carry the gun he used to kill Mr Cheng.

Police said the warrant was undertaken by arrangement with leadership at the mosque, who gave their full assistance to police.

Earlier, a police source said the teenager had been armed with a revolver and did not know Mr Cheng.

After shooting Mr Cheng, Farhad fired at officers who emerged from the building to respond to the incident, but was killed when special constables returned fire.

Earlier, senior law enforcement sources said it appeared the teenager had acted alone.

“The people there (at the mosque) went looking for him after prayer,” one source said.

“There is a fair bit of information that he acted alone.”

They said after prayer he changed into a black robe.

Neil El-Kadomi from the Parramatta Mosque said Farhad visited the building in the past on occasion but he did not know him by name.

Media player: “Space” to play, “M” to mute, “left” and “right” to seek.

Video: GRAPHIC CONTENT: Video shows shooter outside Parramatta police headquarters (ABC News)

“Because he was very quiet nobody noticed him,” Mr El-Kadomi said.

“He’s not known in the mosque. He came to the mosque to heal himself before he did the crime, which is wrong.”

Mr El-Kadomi said the mosque had nothing to do with the shooting and did not condone it.

“The boy, he did it alone. He died and his motive died with him,” he said.

“You have to be an active person in society, you have to join others in building Australia.

“So, we don’t agree with what happened in Parramatta.

“We’ve got nothing to do with it and I hate the linking of the mosque with the crime.”

Shooter’s relative tipped off police

The ABC was told by a senior police source that it was the older brother of the Parramatta shooter who tipped off them off about the identity of Farhad.

It is also understood Farhad’s sister Shadi went missing on Thursday and flew out of Australia on a Singapore Airlines flight bound for Istanbul, and may be attempting to reach Iraq or Syria.

Her family told police she had taken all her belongings.

Media player: “Space” to play, “M” to mute, “left” and “right” to seek.

Video: Parramatta shooting response mature, not panicked: security analyst (ABC News)

Police searched Farhad’s North Parramatta home and confiscated computer equipment.

ABC’s police source said the youth had been “carrying on” outside police headquarters for a few minutes before the shooting.

“He drew attention to himself to the extent some people caught it on their iPhones,” they said.

The gunman walked past a plain clothes female detective.

“She was wearing a business suit and she wasn’t carrying a gun,” a source said.

“This poor bloke [the victim] was apparently the first one to walk out of the building — he had a connection to the police force — that was it.”

Phone hook-up between Turnbull, Baird and Muslim leaders

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and NSW Premier Mike Baird have been holding talks with Muslim community leaders following the shooting.

Media player: “Space” to play, “M” to mute, “left” and “right” to seek.

Video: Tackling radicalisation must involve Islamic community: Bishop (ABC News)

Ms Bishop said the issue of radicalisation must be addressed.

“So we’re certainly reaching out to the leaders of the Muslim community … but working with the families at a grassroots local level … it’s the families that will be a frontline of defence against radicalised young people … so we will be working very closely with them,” she said.

The ABC’s Fran Kelly told the Insiders program that a phone hook-up between “the Premier, the Police Commissioner and the Prime Minister with seven or eight members of the Muslim community” took place last night.

She said Mr Turnbull used the phone call to convey the message that “we have a remarkably cohesive society, respect is key to that and [urged] everyone to work together to expose preachers of hate”.

The ABC understands the community leaders were impressed by the move and communicated their willingness to work with governments. One leader said the conversation reset the relationship.

Muslim community leaders said they were shocked by the tragic shooting of Mr Cheng.

They called for more to be done to stop extremist leaders from recruiting vulnerable youths.

Sydney Muslim community leader Ahmad El-Hage said the Government only acted when extremist thoughts turn into acts of violence.

“And we tell them this is not correct we need to act way before that,” he said.

Mr El-Hage said the Government needed to focus on the extremist leaders rather than the young people they target.

Youth worker Sheikh Wesam Charkawi, who works with high school boys to counter radical ideas, said the acts of one person should not reflect upon the broader Muslim community.

He also said some of the youth he worked with feel marginalised.

“Some of them in their families feel that there’s a disconnect, some of them come from broken families and so there is an array of issues that can lead to criminality,” Mr Charkawi said.

He said despite youth being impressionable and often naive, nothing could justify what the shooter did.

Relative known to police and counter-terrorism authorities

As part of their investigation, police are now trying to trace the ownership and history of the revolver used by Farhad in the attack.

The ABC has been told the youth had never come to the attention of police.

“We don’t know anything about him,” the source said.

But it is understood a relative was known to law enforcement or intelligence agencies.

“[The relative] was a bit of a problem, he did come to the attention of police and counter-terrorism [authorities],” a source said.

One source confirmed the teenager was a Sunni Muslim who was born in Iran.

He said he was of Iraqi-Kurdish background and may have been a refugee.

“It is interesting he is a Kurd, the Kurds are among those bearing the brunt of ISIS, it doesn’t make any sense,” the source said.

‘He was callously murdered’: Civilian IT worker on his way home from work was shot dead at ‘very close range’ by a lone gunman outside police headquarters in Sydney’s west

  • Lone gunman opened fire outside police HQ before being shot dead
  • Civilian IT expert was also killed in double shooting at station in Sydney
  • Witnesses described seeing two bodies on the ground covered in sheets
  • Police allegedly warned about possible attack through intelligence sources

A lone gunman shot dead a civilian police IT expert at close range outside a force headquarters in a targeted attack which has been described as a ‘brutal’ and ‘callous murder’.

The black-clad assailant also fired a number of shots at special constables guarding the NSW Police station in Parramatta today before he was gunned down and killed by one of the officers.

Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione offered his condolences to the family of the unnamed police employee who was killed on his way home from work and said there was no further threat.

He refused to be drawn on whether the double shooting was terror-related, but admitted that officers from within the counter-terrorism command were working alongside the homicide squad. 

Commissioner Scipione said the gunman, who was wearing dark trousers and a flowing dark top, acted ‘aggressively’ after shooting the IT worker and brandished his gun in the street at 4.30pm.

A civilian IT expert working for police is believed to have been shot dead after a lone gunman opened fire outside a force headquarters in Sydney, pictured officers gather around a white sheet covering a body

A civilian IT expert working for police is believed to have been shot dead after a lone gunman opened fire outside a force headquarters in Sydney, pictured officers gather around a white sheet covering a body

The gunman has also reportedly been killed after an exchange of gunfire with special constables who guard the entrance of the main station in Parramatta 

Witnesses have described seeing the gunman, who was dressed all in black, running down the street brandishing a pistol at 4.30pm today just before he was shot, pictured is the scene outside the station

Witnesses have described seeing the gunman, who was dressed all in black, running down the street brandishing a pistol at 4.30pm today just before he was shot, pictured is the scene outside the station

 He said: ‘I have viewed a number of pieces of footage, I can tell you that this was a brutal crime. It was a terrible crime.

‘We’re attempting to identify a man who was seen to approach the victim and discharge one single shot. Subsequently the assailant remained in the street here in Charles Street before he fired several further shots at a special constable.

‘A number of special constables came out of the building and as they’ve emerged they’ve come under fire.

‘In the exchange that followed the gunman was shot and killed. An employee of the NSW police force has been callously murdered here today. This is a very sobering time for us.’

When asked whether police were warned about a possible attack at the station, Commissioner Scipione revealed there had been a number of alerts in 2014 and 2015 about remaining ‘vigilant’.

‘We have drawn officers back to the special warnings which are contained within alert 2015,’ he said.

‘We’ve refreshed that alert and yet again highlighted the importance of remaining vigilant and being ready to respond should they have to at any location but particularly around police stations. I want to ensure that we don’t jump to conclusions, as I’ve said. 

‘I’ve indicated that but we’re keeping an open mind. At this stage we’ve got nothing to link this event to any terrorist-related activity but we could not say that that wasn’t the case. So clearly you would understand we have officers from within the counter-terrorism command.’ 

The attack occurred outside a daycare centre used by police force families and the children were locked inside for four hours after the shooting with a dead body at their doorstep.

Detectives have launched a ‘critical incident investigation’ and confirmed that two people had been killed after a number of shots were fired.

Witnesses have reported seeing two bodies lying on the ground covered in white sheets (pictured)

An ambulance NSW spokeswoman said paramedics were on the scene at Charles St, in the city’s CBD

An ambulance NSW spokeswoman said paramedics were on the scene at Charles St, in the city’s CBD

Detectives have not yet established the identity of the deceased, according to a spokesman

Detectives have not yet established the identity of the deceased, according to a spokesman

Detectives have launched a 'critical incident investigation' and confirmed that two people had been killed after a number of shots were fired

Witnesses have described seeing the gunman, who was dressed all in black, running down the street brandishing a pistol at 4.30pm today just before he was shot.

They also reported seeing two bodies lying on the ground covered in white sheets.

Real estate agent Edwin Almeida said he saw a man with a gun screaming and pacing up and down outside the building on Charles Street.

He said he then saw the man lying on the ground with a police officer pointing a gun at him.

‘We looked out the window, saw security guards and what appeared to be a plain clothes police officer with gun drawn pointing at the person that was now lying on the floor surrounded by a pool of blood,’ he said.

He wrote on his Facebook page: ‘Four five shots fired by man outside our office and in front of NSW police head quarters. Man shot down by guards and detectives.’

A man called Nathan told 2GB Radio that he saw a man lying on the street surrounded by blood.

‘I saw the guy dressed in black on the pavement with blood everywhere,’ he said.

Channel Seven helicopter pilot Andrew Millett said: ‘We can see two bodies on the ground approximately 200m away from police headquarters’.

Ambulances were called to the scene at 4:35pm after ‘reports of two patients’, a spokeswoman said.

Officers in body armour have been seen patrolling the Parramatta CBD and guarding train stations, pictured is Charles Street

Officers in body armour have been seen patrolling the Parramatta CBD and guarding train stations, pictured is Charles Street

A section of Charles Street (pictured) between Macquarie Street and Hassall Street has been cordoned off and is currently being manned by police

An investigation is believed to be underway into whether the shooter had been recently charged by a detective from one of the State Crime Command squads

It is understood one of the victims is not a sworn officer but a civilian employee from the IT department of NSW Police.

Finance worker Rizwan Shaikh, who lives opposite the police headquarters, said he heard the shooting.

‘I finished work and was in the shower and I heard the gunshots,’ Mr Shaikh told The Daily Telegraph.

‘I heard six or seven gunshots and it was pretty loud. In two to three minutes there were cops everywhere.’

Miffy Hong, 33, said her mother called her just after 5pm to tell her she could see a body covered by a sheer near police headquarters.

‘She told me come back I don’t know what’s happening, she doesn’t speak English,’ she said.

The NSW Police Force building is home to the State Crime Command, which includes the homicide, drug, Middle Eastern organised crime and gangs squads.

An investigation is believed to be underway into whether the shooter had been recently charged by a detective from one of the State Crime Command squads.

Police have shut down the whole area and drivers have been told to avoid the scene at Charles Street.

Parents of young children locked inside Goodstart Early Learning, just metres from where the shooting took place, have voiced fears about their welfare.

Dennis Entriken, whose three-year-old daughter has not been allowed to leave, told Daily Mail Australia: ‘It’s very frustrating. One of the dead bodies is right out of the front of the chilcare centre.

‘What did they see, what did they hear? Is she scared? Is she OK?

‘They’ve told us she’s safe which is good… it’s the unknown which is the issue.’

He said police had warned him that she would not be out anytime soon and said there were around 10 children inside.

‘If she saw nothing and she’s blissfully unaware then that’s good,’ he said.

A section of Charles Street between Macquarie Street and Hassall Street has been cordoned off and is currently being manned by police.

Officers in body armour have been seen patrolling the Parramatta CBD and guarding train stations.

Witnesses described hearing what sounded like a car tyre exploding before buildings near the headquarters were evacuated.

Several roads in Parramatta were blocked after the shooting and helicopters were seen circling overhead, pictured is Charles Street

Several roads in Parramatta were blocked after the shooting and helicopters were seen circling overhead, pictured is Charles Street

Two people have been hurt and there are reports of a shooting outside police headquarters in Parramatta, in Sydney’s west

Two people have been hurt and there are reports of a shooting outside police headquarters in Parramatta, in Sydney’s west

Witnesses described hearing what sounded like a car tyre exploding before buildings near the headquarters were evacuated

The Australian

Mr Scipione said today’s incident was a targeted killing.

He said the victim, believed to be an IT worker, was “callously murdered here today”. “This was a brutal crime, this was a terrible crime,” he said.

The identity of the gunman is not yet known, Mr Scipione said, and neither is the motive for the killing.

He said the victim “was simply leaving work,” and offered his condolences to the family.

Police secure the scene of the shooting. Picture: Phillip Rogers

How today’s events unfolded

A massive police operation is under way in Parramatta in Sydney’s west after two people were shot dead outside NSW Police Force headquarters.

The operation began about 4.30pm today and police are advising people to avoid Charles Street and Hassall Street as a 2km exclusion zone has been set up.

The Daily Telegraph reports that police had warning of the attack through intelligence sources and one victim of the shooting “was a public servant working for NSW Police.”

“He was shot before (the) shooter was killed,” they report.

It is then believed “the gunman was shot by NSW Special Constables.”

The shooter, “believed to be of Middle Eastern appearance and dressed in black”, according to The Daily Telegraph, “launched an attack from the street, peppering the front of the building with bullets.”

“He shot a police IT expert before being gunned by special constables who guard the entrance,” they report.

Police said a critical incident investigation had been launched following the deaths of two people.

“The incident occurred outside the NSW Police headquarters building on Charles Street about 4.30pm today after a number of shots were fired,” the service said in a statement.

“It appears an officer has discharged his weapon, responding to a report that a person had been shot.

“Two people have died at the scene.” It said officers were still to establish the identity of those killed.

Two people were reportedly shot dead outside NSW Police headquarters.

The attack happened close to a childcare centre used by police force families.

Goodstart Early Learning centre staff member Ashmi Golwala said she heard at least three “loud sounds”.

“They sounded like crackers and I went outside to see what was happening and a police lady told me to stay inside,” she told The Australian.

A 2km exclusion zone has been set up around the NSW Police headquarters.

Real estate agent Edwin Almeida says he heard shots and saw a man in a black gown pacing and waving a gun outside the police headquarters.

Mr Almeida said his frightened staff ran into their office and heard three to four gun shots.

“We looked out the window, saw security guards and what appeared to be a plain clothes police officer with gun drawn and pointing at the person that was now lying on the floor surrounded by a pool of blood.”

Mr Almeida filmed part of the attack (see video above) and later described it to friends.

“There was blood everywhere … after the security and detectives fired on him,” he posted on Facebook.

“Staff being escorted to railway station by police. Great support from NSW police. These guys are bloody awesome.”

Some reports suggested the attack was a drive-by shooting, but Mr Almeida disputed this.

“This guy was not driving that’s for sure. He didn’t appear to be wanting to get away,” he said.

— Additional words: Rick Morton, with AAP

Police on Hassell St as night falls following the shooting. Picture: Jonathan Ng

Andrea Lehane: Mother struck in ‘callous’ mini-motorbike hit-run to have life support switched off

Featured


These pathetic weasels need to be  found, dobbed in, whatever…Gutless and those who are protecting them are even weaker. STAND UP

  James Lehane says his wife Andrea will be remembered as an extraordinary person. (Supplied: Andrea Lehane fundraising page)

A mother of two who was critically injured when she was struck by a motorcyclist in a “callous” hit-run will have her life support switched off, her husband has confirmed.

Andrea Lehane, 34, was walking through a pedestrian crossing at a Carrum Downs shopping centre in Melbourne’s south-east when she was bowled over by a mini-motorcycle.

CCTV captured the moment she was struck. It shows a group of motorbike riders speeding off after the collision.

Ms Lehane’s husband James issued a statement to Macquarie Radio saying his wife had suffered “unsurvivable brain damage” in the crash.

“The team at the Alfred [Hospital] have done an extraordinary job but the damage done has been confirmed to be too great,” he said.

Mr Lehane said his wife’s life support would be switched off at some point today or tomorrow.

He said, for his wife’s final act of generosity, the family had consented to organ donation.

“I will be taking her children, her three-year-old son and four-year-old daughter to see their mum for the last time before this occurs.”

Mr Lehane said in the statement that his wife would be remembered as an extraordinary person.

“She was very content in her life and loved and cared for her family and friends. She always put them first,” he said.

“She will always be remembered and missed. Words cannot explain how I feel.”

Yesterday, Victoria Police Inspector Bernie Rankin appealed for the motorcyclists involved to come forward, saying he was certain they knew what had happened.

“It was just callous,” he said.

“Even the motorcycles following the offending one that struck the woman saw what happened, saw the whole thing unfold in front of them.

“They were aware she hit that ground very heavily and of course, they would also be aware the likelihood of her suffering serious injuries was high.”

Mini-bikes ‘a recipe for disaster’

The mini-motorcycle that hit Ms Lehane was most likely an illegal cheap import from China, according to the Victorian Motorcycle Council.

Vice-chairman Peter Baulch said they were slipping through a loophole in legislation and design rules.

“It’s just a recipe for disaster as we’ve seen this week,” he told 774 ABC Melbourne.

“I’m not normally a supporter of regulation for regulation’s sake … but clearly there is a void or a gap in our current regulations that allows these illegal bikes to be imported and sold.

“Unfortunately it puts the burden back on police to enforce the existing regulations in respect of helmets, protective clothing and the like.”

Mr Baulch said history indicated banning the motorbikes would not work.

“Unfortunately experience tells us that when these culprits are apprehended they get a gentle slap on the wrist from authorities — there’s no real deterrent to prevent this recurring,” he said.

Frankston Council ban on mini-motorbikes difficult to enforce

Frankston Council, which takes in Carrum Downs, banned unregistered mini-motorcycles in 2007 under local law after complaints about noise and risk of serious injury.

Mayor Sandra Mayer said police had seized eight motorbikes in the past year in the area while the council had impounded another 10.

But she said it was a difficult problem to tackle.

“We used to have community safety meetings a couple of times a year in the area and the police would always say, ‘Well, we can’t very well chase someone on a bike through a park in a police vehicle’,” she said.

“One thing you can do as a resident, if you know where these people live, if they’re your neighbours, then notify police.”


Bedside vigil kept for Melbourne mother Andrea Lehane after Carrum Downs hit and run

September 25, 2015 – 10:23AM

Chloe Booker, Marissa Calligeros, Rania Spooner

Monkey-bike mows down mum-of-two

Andrea Lehane remains in a critical condition in hospital after one in a group of five youths on motorbikes struck her in a Carrum Downs car park on Wednesday.

A Melbourne mother who was run down and left for dead by a gang of young hoons on mini “monkey” motorbikes has suffered “unsurvivable brain damage”.

The family of Andrea Lehane, who described her as “extraordinary wife, mother, daughter, sister, aunty, niece and friend”, confirmed her condition as they kept a vigil at her bedside, radio station 3AW reported on Friday.

Ms Lehane, 34, was struck walking across a pedestrian crossing in the Carrum Downs Regional Shopping Centre car park about 5.10pm on Wednesday.

Andrea Lehane with husband James Lehane.Andrea Lehane with husband James Lehane. Photo: Facebook

She will leave behind two children aged three and four.

Her distraught husband, James, released a statement on Friday morning, saying his wife would not survive the incident.

“On Wednesday afternoon my family’s lives changed in an instant from a careless and avoidable accident,” he said.

Andrea Lehane is a mother of two.Andrea Lehane is a mother of two. Photo: Facebook

“As a result of the impact, my wife suffered unsurvivable brain damage.

“The team at The Alfred have done an extraordinary job, but the damage has been confirmed to be too great.

“Being a nurse, Andy was always keen on organ donation, so as a family we have consented to her going through a complete organ donation process.

“Some time today or tomorrow she will go into theatre, with her life support machines, for her final act of caring and giving.

“I will be taking her children, her three-year-old son and four-year-old daughter, to see their mum for the last time before this occurs.

“She was an extraordinary wife, mother, daughter, sister, aunty, niece and friend. She was very content in her life and loved and cared for her family and friends – she always put them first. She will always be remembered and missed. Words cannot explain how I feel.”

Mr Lehane has requested privacy for his family, saying they would like time to grieve.

Ms Lehane was flown to The Alfred hospital in a critical condition with severe head and chest injuries on Wednesday.

Police described the behaviour of the five motorcycle riders, believed to be teenage boys, as “callous”.

Confronting CCTV footage shows them roaring through the busy carpark and slamming into Ms Lehane as she nears the end of the pedestrian crossing.

The first rider passed her, then performed a wheelie, while the second bike, carrying two people, struck her.

The two boys fell off the bike, after which the passenger ran off, while the rider jumped back on his bike and sped off.

One woman, who asked not to be named, described the horrific sight of seeing her laying face down on the ground.

“Everyone was just trying to help her out,” she said, still visibly shaken.

“There was just blood everywhere, flowing everywhere.

“They need to do something to make it safer.”

She said one bystander had jumped into a nearby car and chased after the group of hoons fleeing on their bikes.

“My thoughts are for her now,” she said, after laying a card among the flowers.

Meanwhile, local residents have likened the shopping centre car park to a “drag strip”.

“Everyone drives way too fast around it, like a drag strip, and definitely not enough lighting at night. She was hit on the crossing!” one woman said on Facebook.”Too awful for words.”

Residents placed flowers and a teddy bear next to the pedestrian crossing where the woman was struck, along with notes expressing support and sympathy.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with you, get well soon,” one note reads.

“We weep for all, we pray for humanity,” another states.

Detective Inspector Bernie Rankin, from the Major Collision Investigation Unit, said it was not yet clear whether the youths were riding “monkey” bikes or other motorcycles.

Frankston Council, which takes in Carrum Downs, was the first in Victoria to ban the bikes in 2007.

It is illegal to ride most monkey bikes, also known as pocket bikes, on public roads or footpaths.

But is not illegal to own one for use on a private property, such as a gated farm and the small vehicles can easily be bought online.

In general, the bikes have a top speed of 70km/h.

Most monkey bikes, formally known as miniature motorcycles, do not comply with the Australian Design Rules and cannot be registered as a motorcycle.

“Riding a monkey bike without a valid motorcycle licence means a rider will be committing two offences, including driving an unregistered vehicle and driving without a licence,” said Robyn Seymour, the director of vehicle and road use policy at VicRoads.

However some monkey bikes, including a line manufactured by Honda, do comply with Australian Design Rules and, therefore, can be registered.It is understood those select bikes have the right compliance plates to meet Australian road safety standards.

Frankston Council, which takes in Carrum Downs, was the first in Victoria to ban monkey bikes entirely in 2007.

Anyone with any information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.


 

 

7-Eleven management vow to fully refund all exploited workers (Really? let’s see)

Featured


Senior 7-Eleven management have apologised “unreservedly” to exploited workers and vowed to fully refund underpaid staff, even if they are now overseas.

A Senate Committee held a special public hearing in Melbourne to examine the exploitation of workers at the chain store, as part of an inquiry into Australia’s temporary work visa program.

The convenience stores have come under scrutiny following an ABC Four Corners investigation which revealed the company was systematically paying its workers about half the minimum wage.

Many of the staff were foreigners who were being forced to work in contravention of their visa conditions.

The inquiry today heard the underpaying of staff in the convenience store chain was systemic and had been happening for decades.

7-Eleven Australian chairman Russell Withers admitted the behaviour was abhorrent.

“I want to stress that this has been highly embarrassing and I apologise unreservedly to any worker that has worked in a 7-Eleven store who has not been paid correctly,” he said.

New methods of staff exploitation were revealed during the inquiry, including some franchise owners who charged workers tens of thousands of dollars to secure a working visa.

Mohammed Rashid Ullat Thodi lost his job as a result of speaking out about the pay scam.

He told the inquiry some store owners had charged workers $30,000 to $70,000 to sponsor them on a visa.

“While it could be either an arrangement of taking the money off their pay, like if you work this many hours you could get this many pay,” he said.

He said the money went straight to the franchise owners.

Mr Withers maintained rogue franchisees were the cause of the problem.

“It is simply not in our knowledge whether the franchisee employee has been underpaid or not,” he told the inquiry. This prick has built his empire on this very lie!!!

But during the inquiry consumer advocate Michael Fraser, who said he alerted 7-Eleven to the problem in 2012, questioned how senior management did not know of the problem.

“How does an Indian in Melbourne, an Indian franchisee and a Pakistani franchisee in Sydney, and a Chinese franchisee in Brisbane, how do they all know the same scam?” Mr Fraser asked during the inquiry.

“How is it possible that me with no budget can stumble on such a big wage scandal buying a loaf of bread yet head office with all their oversight find no systemic problem?”

7-Eleven said it should know next month how many of its 620 franchisees underpaid their staff.

Calls for workers to be given visa amnesty

Tens of thousands of workers have potentially been affected. Most are on visas restricting their working time to 20 hours per week.

Many have been forced to work 40 hours, but paid for only 20.

Complaints were met with threats that they would be reported for breaching their visas.

It has led to calls from lawyers that anyone who has breached their visa conditions while working for 7-Eleven be given an amnesty.

The Greens member for the seat of Melbourne, Adam Bandt, said it was crucial the workers were able to give evidence free of any threat of deportation.

“Something is wrong in Australia where the head of 7-Eleven is a millionaire if not a billionaire and the people who are working in 7-Eleven stores are getting paid for only half of the hours they work and threatened with deportation back to their home country if they complain,” he said.

“We’ve heard from many, many people now that they want to complain, to be paid the fair Australian minimum wage, but they’re told that if they do it, they’ll be reported to the Immigration Department and deported.

“Now that’s not fair.

“These people are working long hours for low pay.

“They shouldn’t also have to face [a] threat of deportation if they speak up and do the right thing.”

7-Eleven has set up an independent panel to investigate the underpayments.

Former state director of the Victorian Liberal Party, Damien Mantach, busted embezzling $1.5 million in the election campaign funds.



money hungry 2

abc.net.au

Embezzlement allegation: The Liberal Party will have to rebuild trust

The Drum

Opinion

Fri 21 Aug 2015, 9:58am

It’s the thousands of ordinary Liberal Party members who should feel most outraged at the alleged embezzlement of $1.5 million of campaign funds. And the party hierarchy will have to work hard to earn their trust back, writes Terry Barnes.

The Victorian Liberal Party is in a state of deep shock after revelations its former state director, Damien Mantach, is accused of embezzling $1.5 million of party funds over a number of years.

While investigations are continuing, Victorian Liberal president, Michael Kroger, has emailed party members saying that Mantach is the only person in the frame, and all will be done to recover as much of the missing funds as possible.

It appears a breathtaking $1.5 million of party funds was diverted for personal benefit. Victorian Liberal parliamentary leader, Matthew Guy, said that what was taken was “a very significant portion of the money raised by the party in fundraising … People did a lot of work to get that. We all feel completely gutted and furious”.

There certainly will be former Victorian Liberal MPs closely defeated in last November’s state election whose anger will be, like Guy’s, white-hot, sharing his view that the missing funds could have saved their campaigns. Current marginal seat federal MPs will feel likewise. But having escaped with their parliamentary pensions or severance packages, they personally got off lightly.

What really angers and disappoints about Mantach’s alleged actions is that they were not really stealing from a mere corporate entity, the Victorian Division of the Liberal Party of Australia. Nor did they ruin the large corporate donors and high net worth individuals who donate to political parties, because that is part of what they do to build political networks, relationships and influence.

No, the grand embezzlement and the governance failures that allowed it to happen are above all an utter betrayal of, and insult to, thousands of ordinary Liberal Party members and supporters across Victoria who are not wealthy or personally powerful but are the soul of the party.

They’re the ones who turn out in all weather at election times to support MPs and candidates, door-knock, stuff letterboxes and talk up the Liberal cause to anyone who will listen.

They’re the ones who greet you at the polling booth on election days with a smile and a how-to-vote card, and look forward to bantering with voters and their counterparts from other parties.

They’re the ones who faithfully attend branch meetings, local party events, run the trivia and soup nights, and buy the tickets in the raffle that inevitably is a part of any political gathering – and donate back the prizes.

They’re the ones who drive up to hundreds of kilometres to attend party councils and pre-selection conventions.

They’re the ones who organise local electorate fundraising functions, work tirelessly to make them well-attended and successful, and cheerfully endure the proverbial rubber chicken and drinks at bar prices, because they buy their own tickets as well as sell them.

They’re the ones who pay membership subscriptions or respond to bigwigs’ circular appeals for donations. Many may not be able to afford to give much, but their trickles join to become a funding river for the party: a river, it seems, that can easily be dipped into by the unscrupulous.

And they’re the ones who are most entitled to feel gutted and angry at what has happened.

As a group, most ordinary members of the Liberal Party are older and more conservative than their MPs. They are often retired, and volunteer for party work because it gives them the satisfaction of furthering a cause, or an MP or candidate, they believe in passionately.

Others are young activists with stars in their eyes and idealism in their hearts.

Unlike the likes of Malcolm Turnbull, most Liberal rank-and-file members don’t have palatial mansions to go home to, nor much spare cash. Contrary to the Liberal silvertail image, many members and local Liberal supporters are students, pensioners or self-funded retirees on very modest incomes, and donate what they often can ill afford.

Yet they do so willingly and turn out for the party because they believe, as the Victorian Division’s website is bannered, that “The Liberal Party exists to provide high quality governments that empower people to solve the major challenges they face in their lives”.

This grassroots faith is what’s been shaken to its core by what has happened.

The Liberal organisation will recover and be reformed. As incoming Victorian president earlier this year, taking office just as Mantach left, Kroger was refreshingly open and honest with his members and the public as soon as the appalling situation was confirmed. That welcome candour is a good start to rebuilding trust in a crisis.

But just as with former Health Services Union leaders Craig Thomson, Michael Williamson and Kathy Jackson, this is yet another case of an elected or appointed official feeling somehow entitled to take advantage of the so-called “little people” who are their rank-and-file members, even though ultimately they owed everything to those they betrayed.

This week’s revelations, be they Mantach’s alleged activities or Jackson’s humiliation in court, should remind elected and appointed office holders in political parties and politically-active organisations alike that respecting the trust of their members and the public is fundamental to public life and a healthy democracy. Their position and status is a conferred privilege, not a personal fiefdom.

Fortunately, most of these office holders, across the political spectrum, work very hard to earn and retain that trust.

The Victorian Liberal Party will likely find, as the HSU has found, and indeed as federal MPs are finding with ongoing public anger over abused parliamentary “entitlements”, when the bond of trust with their ordinary members and supporters is broken, it is very, very hard to restore. But if it looks to its grass roots members, and respects and honours their values, aspirations and commitment in reforming its governance and accountability, the party will recover better and stronger for this scarifying experience.

Terry Barnes is a policy consultant, former senior Howard government adviser and member of the Victorian Division of the Liberal Party. Twitter: @TerryBarnes5.


abc.net.au

Tasmanian Liberals assure members former state director repaid all money

Thu 20 Aug 2015, 7:23pm

The Tasmanian Liberals have assured members the party is not affected by allegations former state director Damien Mantach stole $1.5 million from the election fund of the Victorian Liberal Party.

The police fraud squad is investigating the allegations against Mr Mantach, who served as state director in both Tasmania and Victoria.

The money is alleged to have vanished over four years to fund Mr Mantach’s lifestyle in Victoria.

Tasmanian Liberal Party president Geoff Page used Facebook to confirmed that Mr Mantach did owe the Tasmanian branch money in 2008.

“I have today been advised that Mr Mantach had in 2008 a liability for personal expenses to the Tasmanian division totalling $47,981.78, which was fully repaid by Mr Mantach to the division upon his departure in March of that year,” he said.

Mr Page went on to assure members he was confident no other funds had gone missing.

“As the debt was settled in full the Division considered the matter closed,” he said.

“The Tasmanian division has robust internal financial processes which, in keeping with our obligations to our membership have been periodically reviewed and continually improved since 2008 and are annually audited.”


abc.net.au

Police to investigate Liberal Party $1.5m embezzlement claims

By Jean Edwards

Thu 20 Aug 2015, 7:27pm

The police fraud squad is investigating allegations former Victorian Liberal Party state director Damien Mantach embezzled around $1.5 million of election campaign funds.

The money is alleged to have vanished over four years to fund Mr Mantach’s lifestyle.

An audit of the party’s finances after last year’s state election loss uncovered unauthorised financial transactions linked to Mr Mantach, with money missing from both state and federal campaign funds.

The Victoria Police fraud and extortion squad has been called in to investigate.

Liberal Party president Michael Kroger said Mr Mantach had admitted to wrongdoing.

“We feel profoundly betrayed and terribly disappointed with what’s happened,” Mr Kroger said.

Key points:

  • Liberal Party accuses former state director of embezzling $1.5m
  • Alleged theft happened over four years
  • Victoria Police fraud and extortion squad called in to investigate
  • Party believes Mantach took the money to fund his lifestyle

He said the party believed Mr Mantach had acted alone.

“We’re not aware that anyone at the party head office or any officials had any involvement at all,” he said.

It also emerged that Mr Mantach repaid tens of thousands of dollars during his time as state director of the Tasmanian branch.

In a letter to members posted on Facebook, Tasmanian Liberal president Geoff Page said in March 2008 that when he left the role, Mr Mantach fully repaid a liability of nearly $48,000 for personal expenses.

Mr Page said the division considered the matter closed and had robust internal financial processes.

Mr Kroger said he did not believe the missing money influenced the 2014 election result, or that it would affect the next federal election.

Liberal leader Matthew Guy said the party was furious at what he called a “pretty basic effort at embezzlement”.

“We want our money back,” he said.

“We want this matter sent to the police and we will be doing everything we can to ensure that justice is done.

“I saw someone making a comment that we’re white hot with anger, that’s just the start of it.”

Mr Kroger said the missing money was confined to the party’s Victorian division and he was confident some of it could be recovered through assets bought with the funds.

Mr Kroger conceded the Liberal Party had failed to properly monitor spending.

“Obviously it should have been picked up years ago — it wasn’t,” he said.

Former premier Denis Napthine, who led the party during last year’s campaign, said he was surprised and bitterly disappointed by the allegations.

The party’s administrative committee met this morning to discuss how to deal with the missing money.

Mr Mantach has been contacted for comment.


Australian Broadcasting Corporation

Broadcast: 20/08/2015

Reporter: Madeleine Morris

Victoria’s Liberal Party has been blind-sided by claims a former Director stole $1.5 million of funds with the fraud squad investigating allegations and branch members asking if other financial dealings are suspect.

Transcript

SABRA LANE, PRESENTER: Victoria’s Liberal Party has been blindsided by allegations its former director stole $1.5 million of party funds.

The party believes Damian Mantach siphoned off the money using fake invoices and Victoria police is now investigating.

Liberal politicians are furious and say the loss is a slap in the face to party members.

Late today, the Tasmanian Liberal Party confirmed Mr Mantach had to repay tens of thousands of dollars in personal expenses he racked up while director of that state’s party.

Madeleine Morris reports.

LIBERAL PARTY MEMBER: We’re white hot with anger. That’s just the start of it.

DENIS NAPTHINE, FORMER VICTORIAN PREMIER: I’m surprised, I’m shocked, I’m bitterly disappointed.

MADELEINE MORRIS, REPORTER: Sombre-faced and genuinely shocked, Victorian Liberal MPs arrived this morning to be briefed on the alleged theft of $1.5 million by one of their own.

LIBERAL PARTY MEMBER II: We just want to get to the truth and the bottom of the matter.

MICHAEL KROGER, LIBERAL PARTY VIC. BRANCH: Good morning, everybody. Well as you know, the Liberal Party is today referring some matters to the Victoria Police relating to the unauthorised removal of some party funds from the party head office, solely the work of one person. It should’ve been detected a long time ago. It wasn’t, which is regrettable. And the party’s obviously gonna make sure that this never happens again.

MADELEINE MORRIS: That person is Damien Mantach, the Victorian Liberal Party’s state director until March this year. The party believes that over a period of four years, Damien Mantach siphoned off money from Victorian Liberal headquarters via fake invoices for fake work.

The irregularities were uncovered when new state Liberal president Michael Kroger ordered a forensic audit of the accounts when he took over after last year’s disastrous state election.

NICK ECONOMOU, POLITICAL ANALYST: The state Liberal Party is in a bit of trouble and it’s been subject to a great deal of internal tension. There’d been problems within the parliamentary wing of the party. That contributed of course to the Liberals’ defeat at the last state election. And we also know that there were all sorts of tensions in the party organisation, the party membership.

DENIS NAPTHINE: I’m absolutely devastated, but particularly for the candidates across the state of Victoria who worked extremely hard, for the Liberal Party members and volunteers who worked extremely hard. This is a real shock to all of us.

MADELEINE MORRIS: That includes Angelo Kakouros, chair of the party’s South Barwon branch. He’s been fielding calls from party members all day.

ANGELO KAKOUROS, CHAIR, LIBERAL PARTY SOUTH BARWON BRANCH: It is a lack of trust and great, great disappointment.

MADELEINE MORRIS: But Mr Kakouros says his branch has been worried about the former state director for some time.

ANGELO KAKOUROS: I’ve had concerns with Damien Mantach for the last three to four years as a state director and personal experience and just the way things have operated and the communication between Damien, the administrative committee and some of the people within the organisation with their communication here locally in our area.

NICK ECONOMOU: It’s a very, very big task to try and keep track of what’s going on and to keep paid full-time officials answerable and accountable in what is essentially a voluntary organisation. The state treasurer of the Liberal Party would be a volunteer after all. Now, on top of this we’re getting increasing regulation to try and regulate the flow of donations. … But I suspect that that may be encouraging clever people to be a bit tricky here and try and find ways to squirrel resources away.

MADELEINE MORRIS: Today, Michael Kroger admitted there was a systemic problem with the Liberal Party accounting and changes were being made.

MICHAEL KROGER: More people in the accounting section and different oversights in relation to levels of authorised expenditure and a greater role for the party finance committee and more attention on these matters by the party executive.

MADELEINE MORRIS: It’s not the first time Damien Mantach has been in the headlines. Two years ago, he was investigated and ultimately cleared over payments he authorised to a former Liberal staffer who quit after being implicated in a scandal that snared the Police Minister.

And late today, the Tasmanian branch of the Liberal Party confirmed Mr Mantach had to repay nearly $48,000 in personal expenses when he was Tasmanian branch state director.

The fallout today extended all the way from Spring Street to Canberra.

BRENDAN O’CONNOR, FEDERAL LABOR MP: In 2013 the Prime Minister said, and I quote, “I know Damien Mantach well. He’s a person of integrity. So let’s see where this investigation goes. He has my confidence.” Does the Prime Minister agree that this ringing endorsement is yet another failure of judgment on his part?

TONY ABBOTT, PRIME MINISTER: But I can inform the House that matters concerning the individual in question have this morning been referred to the Victorian Police.

MADELEINE MORRIS: Today, no answer at the Mantach family home and Damien Mantach couldn’t be reached on the phone.

There is palpable shock here in Victoria that this could’ve happened to the party which prides itself on good financial management, particularly amongst Liberal rank and file. One branch chair told me it was like finding out the priest had been stealing from the collection plate. But there’s also relief it’s been uncovered by the party’s new state leadership.

ANGELO KAKOUROS: Michael Kroger, the state president, he’s doing a fantastic job in order to bring honesty and transparency back into the party.

MADELEINE MORRIS: The impact for the party may yet be felt in the place it will hurt most: the coffers.

NICK ECONOMOU: The Liberal Party really does rely heavily on membership fees and donations, so I think something that might damage the reputation of the party’s fundraising ability could be really seriously damaging to the Liberal Party.

LIBERAL PARTY MEMBER III: I think this is simply a matter of we’ve been robbed. We want our money back and we want justice done. Police will investigate and i think that’s all I should say at this point in time.

SABRA LANE: Madeleine Morris reporting.


Rachael Brown reported this story on Thursday, August 20, 2015 12:20:47

 abc.net.au

 Fmr Vic Liberal state director accused of stealing $1.5m from party over four years
 TRANSCIPT

ELEANOR HALL: Let’s go now to Victoria where that state’s branch of the Liberal Party is having some trouble of its own.

The Liberal leader Matthew Guy has accused the former state director of the Victorian Liberal Party, Damien Mantach, of embezzling $1.5 million in the election campaign funds.

Mr Guy says his party is “white hot” with anger, and that the funds could’ve made a difference in last year’s election.

In Melbourne, Rachael Brown reports.

RACHAEL BROWN: The Liberal Party says discrepancies were uncovered during a forensic audit of the party’s funds after last year’s state election loss.

The party’s former state director Damien Mantach is being accused of stealing $1.5 million over four years, but the audit continues.

Mr Mantach has not responded to the ABC’s calls.

Liberal party members were called into a crisis meeting this morning, and heading in, the party leader Matthew Guy made no attempt to mask his feelings.

MATTHEW GUY: We are furious; we want our money back.

RACHAEL BROWN: The matter has been referred to the Victoria Police Fraud and Extortion Squad, which says it’s investigating the disappearance of funds, but can’t comment further.

Mr Guy says, if the allegations prove true, it’s a massive betrayal of trust.

MATTHEW GUY: An enormous part of our election war chest, enormous. People did a lot of work to get that. I mean, we have a fundraising team who’ve done a huge amount of work; they’re always under a lot of scrutiny as you can imagine, and a lot of pressure.

But they’ve done a huge amount of work. We’ve got a lot of supporters, a lot of branch people who have worked their guts out for this party. And for what it appears to be one individual to do this to us leaves us bitterly cold.

RACHAEL BROWN: The Liberal party leader says the funds could’ve changed last year’s election result, which saw Labor’s Daniel Andrews dismissing the Napthine Coalition government.

Denis Napthine, who led the Victoria’s first one-term government in 60 years, says the fraud allegation is shocking and bitterly disappointing.

The party’s new president, Michael Kroger, has released a statement saying, when the audit turned up suspicious transactions amounting to $1.5 million between 2010 and 2014, Damien Mantach was asked to explain himself.

It was after this discussion that the party’s administrative committee voted to refer the matter to police.

Mr Kroger admits there’s a weakness with the Liberal Party’s checks and balances.

MICHAEL KROGER: Yeah, well on this occasion they clearly failed. So yep, quite up front about that. I’ve only been in the job four months, as you know. This has been going on for four years, so you know, it should have been picked up before and wasn’t, unfortunately.

RACHAEL BROWN: But he says there won’t be a clean out of branch holders, that the alleged fraud didn’t extend to other employees, officials or office bearers, and was limited to the party’s Melbourne headquarters.

He says civil action hasn’t been decided on.

MICHAEL KROGER: We’re sensitive to a number of issues, including the fact the person involved has a wife and family, and there are other matters which we want to take into account. But yes, we’ll be recovering a good deal of the funds in a cooperative relationship with the person involved.

RACHAEL BROWN: Mr Kroger says he doesn’t know where the money’s gone.

And he’s hit back at a suggestion that this is in a similar vein to the trade union boss Kathy Jackson being forced to repay $1.4 million of misappropriated members’ funds.

MICHAEL KROGER: When the Liberal party becomes aware of a serious matter like this, what do we do?

We investigate it quickly, we report it to the appropriate authorities, who in this case will be the Victoria Police. We don’t hide it; we don’t ignore it; we deal with it.

On the other hand, it’s taken a royal commission at massive public expense bringing these union and Labor leaders kicking and screaming before the public to get any type of information from them at all, at massive public expense. And even now they want to sack the umpire.

RACHAEL BROWN: One commentator has told The World Today that there might be more to this than meets the eye.

Damian Mantach stepped down from the director’s job in March. A couple of years ago he was one of the senior Liberals secretly recorded during the police command crisis that led to Ted Baillieu resigning as premier.

The commentator says this audit and slur on a former power player in the executive committee might have more to do with the ongoing power struggle and factional rifts at the upper levels of the Victorian Liberal party.

ELEANOR HALL: Rachael Brown with that report.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,098 other followers

%d bloggers like this: