Gambling On Australian Vice: Casinos, Tobacco, Underbelly, Murdoch And More, by Greg Tingle - 9th July 2011

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Australian vice and the dark side is enjoying a red hot period with the pending return of Underbelly, sin tax, tobacco wars, casino attacks, and who can forget Murdoch's News Of The World - phone hacking scandal. Media Man with the Australian vice special...

Underbelly Razor: Dark Side Vice Cat Fight Fan's Dream Come True...

Move over Roberta Williams...these are the real femme fatales. The hit TV franchise takes a historical twist for the next series, following the story of Sydney's famed "vice queens" Tilly Devine and Kate Leigh. The sins and colourful histories of the two women will return them to the spotlight they fought over for more than four decades from the 1920s. Typically draped in furs and dripping in diamonds, Devine and Leigh wrestled for control of the mean streets of Sin City Sydney, with armies of tough men risking their necks for the vice queens. The show is set to make stars of the key female leads in the way it has for actors Gyton Grantley (as Carl Williams) and Firass Dirani (as John Ibrahim). Lased largely on the book Razor by Larry Writer, it will cover the razor gang feuds that boiled over in Darlinghurst, Kings Cross and Surry Hills. The razor gangs got their name after pistol licensing laws brought jail terms for concealing a gun, so crims switched to carrying blades. Devine built her legend on a string of brothels in Palmer St, Darlinghurst, with standover man husband "Big Jim" working out of the Tradesman's Arms, a notorious "bloodhouse" now trading as the trendy East Village pub. Leigh, who lived out her years in a terrace in Devonshire St, Surry Hills, made her mark as the queen of sly grog. After local laws prohibited public drinking after 6pm, the Dubbo-born woman did a roaring trade in illegal liquor and drinking dens. Entry to her establishments could be gained by asking the question: "Oh, is Mum in?", earning Leigh the maternal nickname. But motherly types they weren't, with Devine arrested 204 times and Leigh ordering the murder of countless rivals. The small-screen drama will build towards their most violent clash - a frenzied riot that took over Kellett St, Kings Cross on August 9, 1929. The TV series is expected to spark a new interest in their underworld haunts, from the old to the new, like chic Darlinghurst wine bar Love, Tilly Devine.

Channel Nine And Murdoch's Daily Tele Team Up To Offer Reader Underbelly Role...

Want to be in Underbelly Razor? Here's your chance. Sin City Sydney's Channel 9 has put the recruitment call out for one lucky Daily Tele reader to be seen in the top rating vice themed show. In an effort to help ensure the production's historical authenticity, the winning extra must be willing to cut or colour their hair to suit a 1920s style and not have any obvious tattoos on their arms, face, hands, legs or chests. Readers over the age of 18 can enter via thetelegraph.com.au with the winner to be advised next Monday. Be ready for filming on set any day before August 1, with a wardrobe fitting prior to shooting. No, not that kind of shooting silly.

News Corp Kills News Of The World After Phone Hacking Scandal...

News Corporation has taken the most unusual step of killing its UK Sunday tabloid News of the World after the paper was boycotted by advertisers even including ones from the gambling and adult sector, following revelations that its phone-hacking victims included the families of UK soldiers and a murdered schoolgirl.

The decision to close the 168-year-old paper is seen as a push to put the scandal behind it and to end protestations about the legality of its conduct.

The closure comes as News Corp seeks to buy the 61% of British broadcaster BskyB that it does not already own and is seen as a way for News Corp to try gain British Government support for that deal.

Announcing the shock decision was James Murdoch – who chairs the British newspaper arm of News Corp – said that “wrongdoers turned a good newsroom bad”.

Murdoch said News of the World has been “sullied by behaviour that was wrong”.

“Indeed, if recent allegations are true it was inhuman and has no place in our company,” he said. “The News of the World is in the business of holding others to account. But it failed when it came to itself.”

Murdoch said this Sunday will see publication of the last edition of the News of the World, with revenue going to “good causes”.

The News of the World is the highest-selling newspaper in Britain, with 2.6 million copies sold each Sunday.

Media analyst Mark McDonnell of BBY advised the scandal will have wider repercussions for the News Corp brand and could be a game-changer for its £12 billion ($17.8 billion) BSkyB bid.

“Whether News Corp can successfully pursue UK ambitions is in doubt,” McDonnell said, citing questions about whether News Corp’s promises to get the BskyB deal across the line needed a fresh look. The Government has deferred its decision on the takeover.

“The idea that a company can treat this exercise like a parochial brand damage issue I think is going to be sorely tested,” McDonnell said.

“There’s quite clear intent for this matter to be prosecuted both through the official legal challenges as well as politically and through competitor media outlets.”

Police said roughly 4000 people may have been targeted by News of the World illegal telephone taps.

It's expected that The Sun daily newspaper would soon publish seven days a week.

Insiders say numerous Australians have also been tapped, and that its possible Australia's Daily Telegraph and even The Sydney Morning Herald may have some bad eggs who have tapped a number of well known Australians including Elle "The Body".

MP Nick "Mr X" Xenophon Happy With His Anti Gambling Efforts...

Independent South Australian Senator, Nick Xenophon is very happy with his anti gambling efforts to date. Last Thursday was his last day as the balance-of-power man.
On July 4, he officially made that journey. In the past three years, Senator Xenophon’s wide ranging political and persuasive powers have succeeded in giving greater prominence to a range of issues that may have otherwise been sidelined in a world of party dominated politics. Gambling reforms re poker machines have been his big thing. He was also instrumental in passing shield laws to better protect journalists and their sources and implemented a $5 million fund that was negotiated for taxi industry safety and security. After all that work, the Senator says he is now looking forward to spending less time trawling through hundreds of hours of legislation and estimates he will probably get an extra hours sleep each night. He says he will also be able to adopt a more concerted focus on community issues in his home State. As a friendly gesture, his Senate colleagues gave him a feather duster to mark the occasion of losing the balance of power; a tongue in cheek reference to his new role dusting shelves in the Green dominated Senate. Losing the balance of power will be a new challenge but Senator Xenophon says, “I’m still going to be a pesky persistent bastard”.

Casino Patron Dies After Incident With Crown Casino Security...

Melbourne police do not believe a man who died after a fight with security staff at Crown Casino provoked bouncers before they swooped on him. Anthony Dunning, 40, died at The Alfred hospital Thursday after four days on life support. At least four Crown security guards have been stood down and are helping a homicide squad investigation. Security footage has also been handed over to police. An autopsy of Dunning will be carried out to determine exactly how he died. Homicide Squad Detective Senior-Sergeant Ron Iddles said Crown Casino had a "moral obligation" to inform police of the incident. He said police had only become aware of the incident after friends of Anthony Dunning contacted police. He appealed for witnesses to the shocking incident, which occurred in the Velvet Room at Crown Casino at 10.30pm on Sunday. Det-Sen-Sgt Iddles said CCTV footage showed an intoxicated Dunning standing outside the Velvet Room when he is asked to leave by staff. As he and his two friends were being escorted out, his female friend slapped one of the security guards. She was pinned to the floor by security guards and when her partner came back to assist her, he was also dragged to the floor. "Anthony, unaware of this, has continued to walk out with security staff and he's turned around to see what's happening and before he's been able to do anything he's been put down and held on the floor by five to six security officers,'' Sgt Iddles said. Dunning's arms, legs and head were pinned and he was held face-down for five to six minutes and it was only when security guards prepared to handcuff him that they realised he was unconscious. "From what I can see on the video footage, I don't think he's done anything to provoke them,'' he said. Det-Sen-Sgt Iddles said police were keen to speak to witnesses as the video footage did not reveal what was said during the incident. "I'm particularly interested in what was said by security staff and what might have been said by Anthony and his friends,'' he said. Det-Sen-Sgt Iddles is concerned that police were not called by the casino on the night of the incident, even though Dunning was taken away by ambulance in a critical condition. But he said Crown Casino were co-operating fully with the investigation. Under the Crimes Act, security staff are allowed to use appropriate force to restrain somebody but it has to be proportional to the threat. A paramedic crew arrived at 10.03pm and for 40 minutes treated Mr Dunning for cardiac arrest. He was taken by ambulance to The Alfred where he remained on life support until yesterday. Police were notified of the incident on Monday after Dunning was admitted to hospital in a critical condition. Crown spokesman Gary O'Neill said an internal investigation had begun and the casino was co-operating fully with police. Crown said "The staff and management of Crown offer our most sincere sympathy to the family and friends of Mr Anthony Dunning. Given the police investigation, Crown is not in a position to make any further comment." Friends of Dunning said he was a a "gentle" and "nice-natured man". A family friend, Tony Fenelon, said Dunning had been "wonderful to our grandkids". "He was just one of those people that didn't ever get into any trouble, he's just a very nice-natured person," he said. A work colleague who rang 3AW said Mr Dunning was a "very gentle person". "Everybody who works with him can vouch that he's just a funny, fantastic fellow. He would not have provoked this to any point ... I've been around him many times when he has had a drink and he's the most controlled person I've come across." "While the police investigation is underway, and it is underway now, we won't be making any further comment," said Crown's media spokesman Gary O'Neill. Previously Mr O'Neill had said the bouncers were no longer on their normal rostered duties, and after an internal investigation was finished they would not return to working on the gaming floor. Police have appealed for anyone who witnessed the events on Sunday to contact them. Melbourne talkback radio on Friday morning received many calls from listeners recounting their own stories of heavy-handed treatment from Crown security staff. Earlier this year, a father and two sons accused Crown bouncers of unprovoked violence that left them with facial and arm injuries. Casino patrons are advised not to do anything to provoke security and to of course have fun.

The Notorious Prison For Australian Schapelle Corby And Bali Nine...

With the recent news that Schapelle Corby may have been set up, we go inside the infamous "Hotel Kerobokan", Bali's most notorious prison. It earns its name from the fact inmates can pay off the guards to get services such as sex and drugs, but more so because international lawbreakers are constantly checking in and out. It is currently holding more than three times the maximum capacity it was designed for, and houses such Aussie "guests" as Schapelle Corby and the Bali Nine.

Kathryn Bonella, author of Hotel Kerobokan and Schapelle Corby's autobiography My Story, unearthed the shocking inside story of Bali's notorious jail.

Life in 'Hotel K'

Bonella's research found that the harsh reality of life inside "Hotel K" is of widespread drug use, prostitution and violence. Many inmates were convicted of acts of extreme violence which they continued inside. And there was no segregation of inmates for their crimes, so a tourist caught with one ecstasy pill at a nightclub would be packed into a cement cell alongside murderers and drug lords.


Bonella writes that corruption is rife, with prisoners able to pay guards to smuggle drugs, organise women for their entertainment, organise a cell upgrade to a private or less crowded cell and deliver to their cell door anything from McDonald's to a gourmet meal from their favourite restaurant. Many international inmates can bribe the right guard to slip outside and go to the beach.


Hotel Kerobokan's filthy and disease-ridden cells include a "United Nations" of prisoners, including Australians, Americans, Germans, Brazilians, French, English and Italians crushed together in misery. Many were tourists who'd been enjoying life in tropical paradise until they got caught, usually for drugs. A Brazilian surfer told Bonella "I fell from heaven to earth in the blink of an eye."


Each crammed stinky cell has a single squat toilet for inmates to share, Bonella says. They tend to block up and spew out sewerage and rats and mozzies are also a familiar yet unwelcome sight.

Notorious cells named tikus ("rat cells") are feared by inmates. As a form of punishment, Bonella writes they're stripped down to their undies and locked inside for months at a time. Several have died from AIDS and tuberculosis while imprisoned in the isolated, filthy area. Scott Rush spent a month inside one.

Hotel Kerobokan by Kathryn Bonella is published by Pan Macmillan and is on sale now at leading bookstores.

Western Australian Gang Members Charged Over Evidence...

Nine members and associates of the Coffin Cheaters outlaw motorcycle gang face charges of lying to Western Australia's corruption watchdog.

WA police say the nine will be summonsed to face 29 charges of giving false and misleading evidence to the Corruption and Crime Commission. Two of them face additional charges of disclosing a restricted matter.

The commission's private hearings resulted from an application by WA Police to use exceptional powers during continuing investigations into outlaw motorcycles gangs.

If convicted, the gang members face penalties of five years' jail and a $100,000 fine on the false and misleading Evidence charges and three years and $60,000 for the Disclosing Restricted Matter charges.

Three of those charged are due to appear in the Perth Magistrates Court on July 29 and the other six on August 5.

The charges follow the recent sentencing of five members of the Finks outlaw motorcycle gang to two years' jail each for contempt of the CCC as a result of their appearances at private hearings.

Police said dozens of outlaw motorcycle gang members had been charged recently with about 60 offences involving seizures of illicit drugs, firearms and cash, and more than $1.3 million in assets had been frozen.

Australia Launches World-First Plain Cigarette Pack Laws...

Australia introduced world-first plain packaging laws for cigarettes into parliament Wednesday, vowing not to bow to big tobacco's "intimidation tactics" and legal threats. Health Minister Nicola Roxon said the laws, which will have to be debated by MPs before being passed, would see Australia become the first country to go down this path. "Introducing this legislation today I think shows that the big tobacco's intimidation tactics have not worked. Our government won't be deterred from taking this action," Roxon told reporters. "And we believe that we are on very strong ground -- although this is a world first, taking this action -- and are determined to proceed with it." Canberra faces a bruising intellectual property row with global tobacco giants over the plan to remove all logos from cigarette packets and mandate they be drab colours with graphic health warnings in a bid to limit smoking. The Asian arm of Philip Morris launched legal action against the plan last month seeking "significant" compensation, and British American Tobacco has warned it stands ready to follow suit. But Roxon said Australia would press ahead with a plan being closely watched by countries mulling similar moves, saying she was determined to almost halve the proportion of Australians who smoke to 10 percent by 2018. About 19 percent of citizens are thought to be smokers, killing around 15,000 people and costing the economy more than Aus$30 billion (US$32 billion) every year in health and other expenses. "We're taking this action because tobacco is not like any other legal product. When used as intended it is lethal," said Roxon. "We will reduce the number of people that take up smoking to start with (and) we will take away any of the remaining glamour that might be attached to smoking." Although Australia would be the first country to mandate plain packaging, New Zealand, Canada and Britain have considered a similar approach and are watching developments.

Punters, er readers, stay glued to Media Man reports for more "can't miss" information on Australian pokies, gaming and casino wars.

*Media Man http://www.mediamanint.com is primarily a media, publicity and internet portal development company. They cover a dozen industry sectors including gaming. Media Man also publishes Media Man News

*The writer owns shares in Crown Limited

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