“The Mafia Looms”: AFP Commissioner

September 27th, 1998

Australian Federal Police Commissioner Mick Palmer has warned of a regional threat to Australia by international criminal networks exploiting the collapse of the economies of countries in the AsiaPacific.

Mr Palmer said on Friday that unemployment and social unrest were increasing dramatically in neighbouring countries and many economies were on the verge of collapse.

In one country, which he described as “critically important” to Australia, the banks had accumulated unredeemable loans of more than a trillion US dollars.

However, about 40% of this total had been lent to groups or corporations with organised criminal connections. Attempts by banking or corporate executives to recover the money had elicited threats or violence, including murder.

Mr Palmer said 40 to 50% of the economies of Russia and other former Eastern bloc countries were believed to be under the control of the Russian “Mafiya”, and 80% of all business profit went to pay protection. Up to 30% of the total income of organised criminal groups was being used to bribe government officials.

Unemployment in Indonesia was measured in millions, up to 100 million people living below the poverty line ($US1 a day).

“So, contrary to the rather complacent view we may have held a few years ago, that we live in a stable, peaceful and prosperous region, this is clearly no longer the case,” he said. There was little doubt that criminal groups and networks were in an excellent position to exploit the situation to the enormous detriment of the people living in those countries. There was clear evidence they were doing so already.

The AFP and other Australian law-enforcement agencies needed to adopt a wider role than mere enforcement, but must ensure that Australia kept its reputation as being a safe and trusted place for investment and tourism, and retain confidence in its financial infrastructure.

Australia must be seen to have “a sting in the regulatory tail”, and be a place in which law enforcement was seen to be honest, effective and relevant.

The AFP would focus on the criminal organisers of any illegal commodity. Mr Palmer, who expressed his personal regret at losing 400 federal agents in his 7 years as commissioner, said the AFP did not have the resources to be “all things to all people”. Instead, it needed to focus on core business, and deploy agents to the best advantage.

Australia needed its new agents to have high integrity, intellect and courage.

– Peter Clack

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About Jumpin' Jack Cash

Deep connections are the most important aspect of my existence. I don’t care if people don’t know what they want. I love books. I’m cynical of love stories, although I’m romantic. I adore gardens. I like women who challenge me. I love the rain as an excuse to stay inside and dream. I'm furiously impatient. If I ask you a question best to tell me the truth as I'm likely to already know the answer. I'm a carnivore. I continuously underestimate the magic of fresh flowers in my home. I love warm rain in the summer. My mood elevates to epic proportions when the sun shines. Tell me not to do something and I'll do it twice and take photos. Running is my antidepressant. I loathe lies. I rarely forgive a lie. Loyalty and honesty are my most noble virtues, and I value them more than anything in other people. I love to love, and am able to fall in love very quickly, although it's only ever happened once. I understood myself and fixed myself only after destroying myself. My greatest excitement comes from deliberately getting lost in foreign cities. I can be extremely loud and frighteningly silent. I hate insinuations. I love storms. Justice for all. I'm a proud man, but welcome the influence of the feminine soul. I have two sisters. I’m a dreamer. I’m a deep thinker. Don’t deal with guilt trips or drama that well. I'm extremely stubborn and persistent. I'm brilliant at keeping secrets. I love driving. I become absolutely and completely lost while watching a burning fire. When the toast pops from the toaster I’m never ready and shit myself. I play the guitar, but require much improvement. Solitude and warmth of the sun are perfect together. I’ve been married once and now divorced. I’m a music junkie. Chocolate mousse is the shit. I curse too much. I find it difficult to make friends. I spent four years as a firefighter. I’ve run my own company since 1991. Bright lights, big cities. I’ve been an executive producer of a feature film. Some people don’t care, and that’s the biggest let-down of the human race. There are cures and solutions for many evils, but no remedy for the worst of them all - the apathy of human beings. The sound of the Italian language being spoken is as good as my favourite music. I hate corrupt cops. I relentlessly and passionately pursue anybody and anything that sets my soul on fire. I'm a dog lover, and all my dogs are considered family members. I have an obsession with photography. I have some close friends who are household names, but shall always remain anonymous. I’m crazy but not lazy. Losing a soulmate has hurt me badly. My two young sons are the nucleus of my universe. I love airports. I love freedom. If you are dishonest or disloyal, I can erase you from my life and memory immediately and permanently. I yearn to explore, dream about and discover as many friendships, deep connections and places, one possibly can in a lifetime.
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