Gough on our side
... 4. colloq. to treat in an obsequious fashion in order to improve
one's social or political standing." (The
the phone rang late last Friday afternoon it was Bruce Baird's senior
hi Nick", he said, "I'm trying to get hold of Bruce Possum,
but I couldn't find Magnum Corporate Security's number in the phone
book. Has he changed the name of the business?"
way too late I'm afraid. Bruce Possum pulled the plug on Magnum in '88,
just before Laurie Connell's bank went down, and then he disappeared.
It was all handed over to the Homicide Squad ten years ago", I
that leaves me in a tight spot. You don't do bodyguard work do you?
I desperately need somebody for the weekend."
Mate", I sighed, "I just never do that stuff. What's got into
Bruce anyway? Has he developed a death wish? Why is he saying these
things about Kerry Packer and the others? Has he forgotten the rules?"
felt bad about the situation. Bruce Baird isn't my favourite person,
but nobody should live in fear just because they misunderstood things
that were said to them by John Alexander, Ken Cowley and Kerry Packer.
don't you call Patrick Stevedores, they know lots of the big boys in
that line of work", I suggested.
thanked me profusely and hung up. Bruce Baird had really got himself
in an ugly situation this time. The former NSW Roads minister, Olympic
minister under the Fahey Government, and now Federal MP for Cook is
famously a born-again Christian and if God exists, Bruce may need all
the help he can get from Him. God may have the final say, but Big Kerry's
reach is more immediate and can do terminal damage to your political
stood up in Federal Parliament last week to announce he and Nicholas
Whitlam had strolled down to see Alexander at Fairfax and Cowley at
News Limited and Big Kerry to tell them there'd be a "high level
of duchessing" of IOC members during the bidding process. They'd
secured an agreement that the media would turn blind eye to this, he
said, and his story seemed to me to have the ring of truth to it. Bruce
is, after all, a muscular born-again Christian. Why would he lie?
the other hand John, Ken and Kerry are honourable men. They all denied
Bruce's story outright and pointed out that the Sydney media had not
been entirely uncritical of Bruce's conduct even before Juan Antonio
Samaranch said "Sydernee! Sydernee!". By Friday night Bruce
was backing down. Nothing had been heard from Nick Whitlam, who had
troubles of his own with the long-running NRMA privatisation saga and
was probably lying low somewhere.
was not a good day for the Whitlams. Bruce had also blown the whistle
on the Olympic bid company's African operation. Gough Whitlam had toured
the Darkest Continent with Ken Coates, handing out cheap blankets, brightly
coloured glass beads and $2.7 million worth of what were termed "sports
scholarships". It was a last-minute bid to claw the crucial African
vote off the Chinese ... and, as usual, Bruce Baird had been told nothing
until after it was all over.
is all a seedy debacle, in the finest tradition of the "Olympic
spirit", and we have not heard the last of it.
sun was setting on a balmy Sydney evening when I went down to the cafe
for dinner. Howard, the solicitor with the Police Integrity Commission
(why didn't they call it the Police Integrity Group? -- some people
have no imagination) was sitting at the table in the lane tucking into
a fragrant bowl of pasta with basil pesto.
Mate", I said, "Is your mob issuing pseudonyms now? What's
this crap about this bloke you're alleging supplied cocaine to the cops
being called 'Lenin Marx Lambert'?"
but true", he replied. "And if Bob Carr did cocaine, his dealer
would be called Lincoln Washington Reagan".
fetched a cider from the bar and sat down with him.
know", he said, "Maybe it would have been better in the long
run if the AOC had've subcontracted the whole Olympic bid to the cops.
Those boys are real straight shooters. They'd have worked long demented
nights at top speed, they'd have had no trouble bringing across the
American and African votes, and there would have been no problems with
the sports medicine supplies."
but strange", I replied, "Have you ever considered that New
South Wales has never really changed since the days when it was run
by the Rum Corps?"
in Whispers from the mean streets
-- Best of 1999
the Bruce Possum story see Rumours of Bruce.