The Age newspaper today published purported details of a Police investigation into a senior Victorian minister. The leak itself may well be subject to an investigation itself, possibly by the Victorian Ombudsman or the Office of Police Integrity, according to those familiar with the matter.
The Age’s crime reporting multi-millionaire John Silvester is clearly very well connected with Victoria Police. His ability to extract leaks from members of the Police have today raised concerns about whether they’ll be handling the investigation into decade old claims against senior Victorian minister Theophanous properly and professionally.
Silvester was able to do what none of the political journalists or the Minister himself were able to do when making inquiries by finding out the specifics of the Police probe. It does seem odd that The Age’s crime reporter is able to find out more than the senior figures in the government. Why?
The wealthy journalist has very high level sources within the Police command, with very few of its secrets safe from his persistent inquiry. His father Fred Silvester was a former assistant commissioner for VicPol and was later the head of the Australian Bureau of Criminal Intelligence.
Silvester told La Trobe University students once “I was a beer-drinking layabout who fell into a career without any plans…” and that “I grew up around law enforcement.”
The writer has done well to convert his father’s contacts into his own.
Silvester is now of course a big deal in his own right, writing the highly profitable Underbelly series of books, that formed the basis of the even more profitable hit Underbelly TV series that appeared on the Nine Network and turned various drug-peddling and violent criminals into celebrities, often posthumously.
His colleagues at the Age don’t like him, no doubt provoked by wage-slave jealousy, accusing him of swaggering around The Age “like an aging, rich rockstar” and suggesting he “plays by his own rules, getting rich writing books while also double-dipping here.”
Another scribe said “He looks and talks like a cop. I think he likes to pretend he is one. He is far too close to his sources in a way that makes a lot of people very uncomfortable. He is Melbourne’s JK Rowling of true crime.”