‘Thoughtful’ judge to be state coroner

A FEMALE solicitor had been told off by a judge for the then sin of coming to court in polka-dot stockings and a suit with a skirt that finished above the knee.
While debate over the issue raged in the media, one magistrate made her own sartorial statement. Jennifer Coate spent the next week wearing stockings that were “most fantastically patterned”, recalls her friend and colleague, County Court judge Felicity Hampel.
Ms Coate made it her business to cross and re-cross the yard at the centre of the city court complex many times, smiling serenely, apparently unaware of the comments her lurid legs were causing in the legal quarter. That was 1993, but the underlying principle still holds. “She’s never afraid to say or do what is right,” says Judge Hampel.
Jennifer Coate is to be the new state coroner. She leaves the County Court bench and her role as the first president of the Children’s Court to take up her appointment tomorrow.
Attorney-General Rob Hulls said yesterday Ms Coate would be the first woman and the first judge in the role.
She replaces Graeme Johnstone, whom Mr Hulls thanked for his commitment over the past 13 years, particularly for his work on deaths in custody.
Judge Coate was unavailable for comment as she is still on the bench. But her appointment was greeted warmly by people who have worked with her.
Judge Coate worked as a teacher while studying law part-time. She has been a solicitor, barrister and academic, and contributed to a range of social policy groups and committees before becoming a magistrate in 1992 and a judge in 2000. She has also been a part-time Victorian Law Reform Commissioner since 2001 and presided over the establishment of the Children’s Koori Court in 2005.
“She’s a very thoughtful and considered person with enormous energy,” Judge Hampel said. “She’s a strong person but not an aggressive confrontationalist. She’s measured; she sits back and thinks and listens and always has a very calm approach to things. She has a great way of diffusing aggression or tension.”
The Victorian Law Reform Commission’s chief executive, Padma Raman, said: “She’s that right combination of an extremely bright lawyer who also understands law in the social context and brings into focus the perspective of people affected by the law, such as victims.”
Judge Coate is expected to oversee changes to the Coroner’s Court in response to recommendations by a 2005 Victorian parliamentary inquiry.

First published in The Age.

Gang of guards accused of jail violence

Prison Report – Ombudsman critical of custody centre
A GROUP of aggressive guards known as “The Family” dominates the Melbourne Custody Centre and often uses excessive force against prisoners, an investigation by the State Ombudsman has been told.
In a damning report tabled in Parliament yesterday, Ombudsman George Brouwer concluded that guards had seriously mistreated a remand prisoner being strip-searched on June 13.
CCTV footage released yesterday shows the prisoner being grabbed by the throat and pushed to the ground, with several guards then piling on top of him. He received a cut to the head.
Following a complaint from the prisoner, Mr Brouwer summonsed guards from the centre, an underground facility in Lonsdale Street below the Melbourne Magistrates Court.
Mr Brouwer wrote: “It is of concern that witnesses spoke of a culture that involves staff favouritism; the centre being dominated by a few staff; tolerance of abuse of prisoners; and an environment where speaking out means job loss.”
The report quotes guards claiming that a clique nicknamed “The Family” instigated violence with prisoners and struck prisoners unnecessarily.
“They thrive on aggression,” one guard reported.
Another claimed that prisoners were “badgered” verbally by guards with “degrading” remarks such as: “‘You’re a f—ing scumbucket. You deserve to be in here.”
Mr Brouwer concluded that some of the staff had inappropriate attitudes, lacked proper training and failed to follow procedure.
The centre is supervised by Victoria Police but is privately run by the GEO Group Australia, part of an $830 million international company with 59,000 beds in 68 jails and psychiatric hospitals in countries including the US, Canada and South Africa.
The GEO Group runs four correctional facilities in Australia, including Fulham prison in Sale. Managing director Pieter Bezuidenhout said yesterday that the company disagreed with the Ombudsman’s report. He said CCTV images showed the prisoner being aggressive towards a guard before he was restrained.
The officers involved would face disciplinary action where necessary, he said.
“GEO has a policy of zero tolerance for any failure to treat any person in custody appropriately.”
Victoria Police said it was investigating an alleged assault at the custody centre.
Mr Brouwer wrote that oversight of the centre by GEO and Victoria Police was inadequate.
The person in charge of reviewing incidents was three months behind in his viewing of CCTV footage, Mr Brouwer wrote.
He recommended that:
* GEO comprehensively review the centre and the suitability of the officers involved in the June incident.
* Prisoners be allowed access to phones.
* Victoria Police review its supervision.
* The centre, which lacks fresh air and daylight, should only be used to hold prisoners for short stays (some prisoners are held for up to 28 days).
A spokeswoman for Victoria Police said the centre’s operations would be reviewed but it was impractical to limit it to being a daytime holding facility.
Installing a phone system for prisoners would be almost impossible but the problem would be examined further.
Deputy Ombudsman John Taylor told The Age that some previous complaints of violence at the centre could not be investigated properly because CCTV footage had not been available due to “alleged system failure”.
First published in The Age.

Footage reveals prisoner’s torment


Karen Kissane

THE slim young man taken to a cell for a strip search was “cocky and arrogant”, one policeman would later recall. He wasn’t drunk or drug-affected but he was full of smart remarks. He had no idea that his bad night was about to get much worse.
He’d already been strip-searched by police, he told the guard irritably.
He got as far as taking off his top and his shoes and then gave voice again.
According to a guard the Ombudsman’s report calls “Officer X”, the man shouted, “I’ve been searched before, you f g dogs, and you can get f—-d!”
The prisoner raised his arms out at his sides, his palms open.
According to Officer X, the man started screaming “and I got a bit of a fright . . . I went to push him away and yelled, ‘Stop’, and he grabbed me by the shirt and tried to grab me in, and that was when I just pulled him down to the floor and then tried to put an arm lock on but he was on top of me. Then other officers came in and assisted me . . . to get him off of me”.
The silent CCTV footage suggested another story. It showed the prisoner with his back to the wall and his arms out in front of him, touching or almost touching Officer X’s shirt. Officer X lunged at him, hands reaching for the prisoner’s neck.
Officer Y grabbed the prisoner’s upper body and within seconds the young man was wrestled to the ground.
An officer who entered the room at that point later agreed that the prisoner had definitely been subdued. He was lying on his stomach in arm locks.
A female officer the report named “Z” was among the reinforcements.
Another witness recalled: “She was like a little whirlwind. She just flew over the top of the guys and just took over.”
The prisoner later said: “This other lady came in and just jumped on me . . . put me hands behind my back and bending my fingers back and that, nearly broke my wrists, both of them.
“And while I’m on the ground, she smacked my head into the ground and blood started coming out and that and she’s just slapping me across the head and that and just being really violent, she was.”
A guard agreed that Officer Z “pretty much took over what the guys were doing, and grabbed the prisoner’s arm and put it behind his back with quite a bit of force. I believe I then grabbed his legs with another female officer.
“But . . . the prisoner was twisted. So he’s got three people on his top half and he’s got two people holding the bottom of his body that way.
“So of course he can’t roll over. So I’ve said, ‘He can’t roll over’, because they’re all screaming at him, ‘F g roll over! Roll over! Roll over!’ The female officer . . . slapped the prisoner in the face or punched him in the face and said, ‘How does that feel? And that’s coming from a woman!’ She still had his arm behind his back, and I remember (Officer X) saying, ‘Be careful, you’re going to break his arm.’ ”
Officer Z later denied she had struck the prisoner or pushed his head in a way that caused a bloody split above his eye but admitted using inappropriate language.
She also admitted, after initial denials, that she had a personal relationship with Officer X.
Officer X was puzzled by the Ombudsman’s investigation. He was just trying to do his job, he said: “I really can’t understand, you know, why this has snowballed to this extent.”

First published in The Age.

Consent rules tightened under new rape legislation

MEN will have to be more careful about ensuring a woman is consenting to sex under new rape laws passed by State Parliament yesterday.
The changes close a legal loophole under which alleged offenders were able to escape conviction by claiming they believed a victim was consenting, or claiming that they had not thought about whether the victim was consenting.
Following the changes, even if jurors accept that an accused held such a belief, they can still hold him liable if they think he was “aware” that the complainant might not have been consenting. The changes also require a jury to find that the victim did not consent if she or he was unconscious at the time of the sexual act.
The changes were welcomed by those who work with rape survivors but criticised by the Criminal Bar Association, which said they would make trials more complicated and appeals more likely.
Attorney-General Rob Hulls said: “If you want to have sex, you have to ensure that your partner is agreeing to that sexual act. It’s not rocket science. There’s an obligation, under this legislation, to turn your mind to the issue.”
Mr Hulls said the change relating to unconsciousness addressed cases in which accused claimed they did not think about consent because the victim was asleep. “I think the laws strike the right balance . . . I want a system that encourages people to come forward about sexual crime,” he said.
The Criminal Bar Association said the changes were unnecessary because the previous regime was fair to the accused and victims. Spokesman Gerard Mullaly said the changes would mean “judges’ directions to juries will be more confusing, trials will be more complicated and appeals will be more likely to be instituted.
“We think there is a real risk that more appeals will be granted and more retrials ordered, which means that complainants will be required to go through it all again.”
The changes were welcomed by CASA Forum, which works with survivors of sex assaults. Spokeswoman Carolyn Worth said they strengthened the responsibility of men with regard to women who were affected by drugs or alcohol or who were frightened into submission.
She cited as an example a woman who has consensual sex with one man and then finds he has phoned some of his friends and told them to come over and join in. All the men might later claim they believed she consented, but the new laws would ask juries to question whether the men should have been aware that she was too frightened to resist, Ms Worth said.

First published in The Age.

Three life terms for three lives taken

‘You wiped out your entire family in one act. Only the two parents remained: you because you had always intended to save yourself, and their mother, because you intended her to live a life of suffering.’

THE courtroom was packed and buzzing, the public gallery full, but everyone instinctively fell silent when Robert Farquharson was led in to face his doom.
The first part of Justice Philip Cummins’ address offended no one. He talked about the need for the law to protect vulnerable children. “If the law fails there, the law fails,” Justice Cummins said.
Then he turned to Farquharson’s conviction three weeks ago for killing his children: Jai, 10, Tyler, 7, and Bailey, 2, who drowned when they were driven into a dam on Father’s Day 2005.
He said to Farquharson: “You wiped out your entire family in one act. Only the two parents remained: you, because you had always intended to save yourself; and their mother, because you intended her to live a life of suffering.”
At this, Farquharson shook his head. His two tearful sisters and half a dozen other relatives stood up and filed out of the courtroom in silent protest. They were not there to hear the quiet gasps when Justice Cummins finally came to his decision – a life sentence for each life taken, with no chance of parole.
Failing a successful appeal, Farquharson, 38, a man who was said to have dearly loved his children, will spend the rest of his life in jail for their murders.
Farquharson has always claimed he suffered a coughing fit and blacked out, resulting in the car veering off the road and into a dam.
He claimed he tried to dive in for his children but was unable to save them.
The prosecution at his trial alleged that he had planned the killings in revenge against his former wife, Cindy Gambino, for leaving him, finding a new man and making his life financially difficult.
An old friend, Greg King, testified that Farquharson had told him he planned to do something to the children, and that an accident would involve a dam and a special day, such as Father’s Day, so that their mother would suffer on the anniversary for the rest of her life. As Justice Cummins repeated these claims yesterday, Farquharson looked shocked, as if he had not heard them before. He shook his head, puffed out his cheeks, and muttered over and over, “bulls–t!”
The judge pointed out that Farquharson had refused offers of help that night from others who wanted to dive for the children, and that he stood by while his former wife’s new partner dived for them alone.
The judge said he believed the evidence of Mr King about Farquharson having formed “a dark contemplation”.
He told Farquharson: “You had love for your children, but it was displaced by vindictiveness towards your estranged wife, which led you to these crimes. I do not find that you had a fixed intention over months to kill your children, but you contemplated it over months . . . You have no remorse for these crimes, although you do regret their consequences for you.
“You breached in the most profound way the trust which the law, and your children, placed in you as a father.” Justice Cummins said it was most unusual not to set a minimum term and of no service to the community for the law to crush people.
But Farquharson had abused the trust of his children; had killed three; had killed victims who were unable to defend themselves; had planned the crime over time, and had done it all to inflict punishment on their mother.
“In all the circumstances, it is not appropriate to set a minimum term of imprisonment after which you will be eligible for parole.”
Outside the court, Farquharson’s brother-in-law, Ian Ross, read a prepared statement from Farquharson that said: “The court has found me guilty but I did not murder my children. I received a life sentence on the night my boys died, so I don’t care much about what other people think about me.
“I do care about how people remember or think of Jai, Tyler and Bailey, because they are three special boys and their lives were very important to me and all their family.
“I will appeal the verdict because I will not have the public believe that Jai, Tyler and Bailey were anything less than the most important part of both my life and the lives of their family. I will fight to clear the names of my three boys.
“They are what keeps me going because there is nothing much else more important to me.
“I cannot change what people think of me now. But with all my heart, I ask you to respect my children, Cindy and both our families.”
Farquharson’s family walked away from the court wearing badges supporting his innocence. A young female relative’s badge said simply, “Robbed”.
One of Farquharson’s sisters, Kerri Huntington, had one that said “Fact before theory”.
His other sister, Carmen Ross, wore the one that best summed up the stance of his distraught family, a family described by the judge as good people. The green letters on her round black badge said: “In Rob we trust.”
Murdered Mersina Halvagis, Nicole Patterson and Margaret Maher.
Murdered Sergeant Gary Silk, Senior Constable Rodney Miller and 18-year-old Kristy Harty.
Murdered two Bega schoolgirls.
Suspected of killing up to nine children. Arrested for the murder of Yvonne Tuohy

First published in The Age.

Crime and treatment


Karen Kissane – Karen Kissane is law and justice editor

Helping criminals rehabilitate involves looking on them as human beings worth saving rather than monsters, says the clinical head of Victoria’s service for mentally ill offenders.
AS ANYONE working in the trade will tell you, even the nicest people sometimes have the urge to punch their psychiatrist. Professor Paul Mullen works with those who sometimes act on the impulse.
He never holds the grudge. Not when he’s cleaning up his bloodied nose or nursing his bruises; not even at the moment of impact.
Take the time a man came into an emergency clinic late one Friday afternoon claiming to be Jesus Christ.
“Which denomination are you?” Mullen asked.
“Anglican,” the startled man replied.
Mullen said drily, “Are you sure you shouldn’t have told the Archbishop of Canterbury first?”
The man answered him with a punch to the face. Mullen tipped backwards in his chair and crashed to the floor, even then thinking to himself, “If anyone ever asked for it, you did!”
Recalling it now, he says with a rueful smile, “Most times that people have hit me, I’ve actually deserved to be hit. You have a moment of carelessness; you lose concentration and you say something you should have best left unsaid, and somebody hits you. It’s not the worst thing that happens in the world.”
As a forensic psychiatrist and the clinical director of Forensicare, Victoria’s service for mentally ill criminal offenders, Mullen is rather an expert on the worst things that happen in the world. He spends much of his working week shut in a small room talking with people who have committed the kinds of crimes that make us shudder: murder, rape, child molestation. The stalkers are light relief, really.
Mullen is a tall man with a shock of white hair and blue eyes that seem always to look out on the world with wry amusement. He has the kind of genial, unshockable manner that would be useful to someone whose work involves trying to elicit confidences. While his chat seems open and friendly, his pose suggests a man who likes to keep his distance. For the whole of our interview, he sits with his legs crossed and his arms tightly folded across his chest.
Mullen says he was a painfully introverted child. Now he is a professor (of forensic psychiatry, at Monash) and he speaks with the confidence of one who is accustomed to being heard – slowly and at length, his accent high-end Pom, his words placed with the care and grace of a writer crafting a sentence, his funny anecdotes scattered like gold coins along the trail of a treasure hunt. He talks about himself entertainingly, with an engaging mixture of wit, vanity and self-deprecation – and he doesn’t need an observer to tell him any of this. He analyses himself as sharply as he does others.
“It never occurs to me that people don’t want to hear what I want to say,” he acknowledges, with a charming shrug. He puts it down to his “peculiar childhood” as a treasured only child of older parents who doted upon him: “It’s left me with certain vulnerabilities but also certain strengths.”
Mullen has developed strong views over his years of work with people who have done dreadful things. He does not believe in evil, in the existence of the unconscious, or in pedophilia as an illness. But he does believe that a lot can be done to help offenders become people who no longer commit crimes.
He also believes that we are locking up too many people in general, as governments try to win votes by beating the law-and-order drum, and that in particular we are locking up too many people who commit crimes because they are mentally ill and cannot get the medical help they need to keep them stable and safe. “We manufacture mentally abnormal offenders . . . by failing to adequately manage young psychotic patients,” he warned in Forensicare’s annual report, released last week.
Mullen says up to one-third of people in Victoria’s jails have either major depression or a psychotic illness (this does not include those with personality disorders or substance abuse problems). “If you look at violent crime in Victoria, between five and 10 per cent of it is going to be committed by young male patients with schizophrenia, although they constitute only a tiny proportion of the population; about 0.5 to 0.7 per cent of the population have schizophrenic illness.
“The vast majority of people with schizophrenia don’t harm anyone. It’s a small group, which we can readily identify, of young, male, substance-abusing people who do not co-operate with treatment and are living disorganised lives in contact with criminals. Those people are in the mess they’re in, in no small part, because they’re ill. And if you treat them and bring their illness under proper control, they’ve got a reasonable chance of living a relatively normal life and even making some contribution to the community. And certainly, if you manage them appropriately, the chances of them finishing up in prison drop dramatically.”
Mullen was born in Bristol, England, during the war. He came to Melbourne in 1992 to set up what was planned to be a model forensic mental health service. He had spent the previous 10 years working in New Zealand, where he and his family had fled to escape Thatcherism. “The Falklands war was the last straw,” he says.
By the age of eight, he knew he wanted to be a doctor, probably because he had met so many during hospital stays for the operations that cured his childhood deafness. By 14, he had decided upon psychiatry as his specialty. He found his choice as a result of his precocious intelligence being harnessed by teenage testosterone.
“Like any curious, oversexed adolescent, I got into the dirty books – Emile Zola and all that sort of stuff,” he says. “And in the library at Muswell Hill in north London, where we lived by this time, they had this locked case where all these books came from. I noticed there was a book of Freud’s case histories. I read the cases and thought, ‘That’s wonderful, that’s what I will do. I will be that kind of doctor.”
What was so juicy about Freud’s studies?
“There wasn’t much sex, actually. It was very disappointing. But the reason Freud appeals is that he makes human beings seem terribly complex. He flatters us that beneath this banal, superficial ‘us’, are these fascinating depths of unconscious and forbidden desires and conflict.”
Mullen did his psychiatric training at the then world-leading Maudsley Hospital. The motto of its chief was, “Not everyone who’s out of step is able and creative. No one who is able and creative is in step.” Says Mullen, “They had a penchant for selecting oddballs really, as long as you were a smart oddball. I found myself with this group of extraordinary able people.”
Psychoanalysis did not work out for him. He rebelled against the authoritarianism of its teachers, using his then-photographic memory for facts and quotes to challenge them in classes and reduce them to “inchoate rage”. It even got him thrown out of one seminar. The memory still makes him smile. He likes that smart mouth of his. Later, he decided that the idea of an unconscious was nonsense: “We’re much simpler than we like to think.”
Forensic psychiatry – working with criminals – he also wandered into by a less-than-conventional path: the “trip tents” at Britain’s pop concerts in the 1960s. He was a bit of a hippy himself – “Long hair, boots, bells, bangles, the whole thing really” – and used to work in the tents as a doctor offering medical aid to people who had overdosed on acid. “No major pop event was complete without one,” he grins. “And we always removed all of their drugs from them.”
And where did the drugs go?
“Ah well, that was another story.”
That work led to giving psychiatric reports in court on those who were charged – for which he could charge money. By then, he had a young family and liked the extra income. It did not take long for him to work out that he could consult for longer and charge more over serious crimes such as murder. Soon, he became intrigued by the phenomenon itself: “To be honest, it was almost the ordinariness of murder which became fascinating.”
He had to work through the idea that murderers must be monsters, not real human beings, and come to terms with the fact that “it really is people who kill people, and that many of them are not particularly unusual, and very few of them are monstrous”.
To help people, he says, he must try to see them as human beings worth saving, and focus on the roots of their behaviour. That doesn’t mean he has to pull his punches. He says crisply that child molesters are just as able to control their sexual impulses as other people, and that they are not sick.
“It’s very convenient for individuals, or organisations like the church, to say that they or their priests have some kind of illness. They don’t. They’re committing what’s called sin. The sooner the church faces up to that and accepts that it has a responsibility to alter the social and psychological realities of the priesthood so they don’t fall into molesting children, the better.”
If pedophilia is not an illness, how does it make sense for psychiatrists to “treat” it?
“What we’re doing is managing people,” Mullen says. “Many of the people we see, their child molestation arose from opportunistic, unthinking brutality, really. They were drunk, they were frustrated, they had access to a vulnerable child. It isn’t their first sexual preference, it’s just that for one reason or another, that’s how they acted.
“For that group, you have to increase their awareness of the damage they’re doing. You have to increase their empathy for their potential victims, you have to give them some skills to more effectively direct their sexuality towards adults, and to some extent you try and reinforce effective normal sexual behaviour while trying to get them to associate their desires to molest children with painful, distressing ideas.
“You do get a small group whose primary sexual desire is towards children. And for that group, we often think of using libidinal suppressants. These are things which just decrease sexual drive.”
What the Americans call “chemical castration”?
“Only the very insensitive Americans!”
Mullen says he tries to shift a little the kinds of traits in offenders that are destructive to themselves or to others. Stalkers, for example, tend to be obsessive loners who are touchy about their own feelings but indifferent to those of others. “You can’t change them from being rather nerdy, insensitive people into perfect, sociable human beings. But you only have to change them a bit and they stop stalking people. That’s what we do.”
He is not often thanked. A few years ago, Mullen was outside Myer in Bourke Street when he saw a large man rushing at him from across the road, arms outstretched. Mullen was unnerved: the man was a former patient, a serial rapist who had spent his adult life in and out of jail. Mullen had treated him with drugs to suppress his sex drive.
The arms turned out to be affectionate. “He hugged me and thanked me. He was a hypersexual man, very high level of sex drive, very poor personal and social skills. In the previous five years, he’d been working, he’d re-established his relationship with his mother, and he even had a relationship with a young woman – presumably not a sexual one, but one which he valued. And he said his life had been transformed.”
Mullen has the kind of job that would lead one to think about the meaning of life and suffering. Does he believe in God?
There is a long pause while he considers. “Only very late at night,” he says at last, smiling.
And evil?
“Oh God, no. No, no, no, no, no. No.”
Most people use the term “evil” to talk about behaviour they abhor and cannot understand, he says. “But I just don’t think it’s very useful. If you want to stop bad things happening, it does not help to call them evil. It leaves you looking at them as some sort of overwhelming absolute, instead of something which, if you can get a few elements of understanding, you might actually be able to stop happening again.”
Karen Kissane is law and justice editor.
BORN 1944, Bristol, England.
EDUCATED London University.
CAREER HIGHLIGHTS Graduating as a doctor, 1968, and as a psychiatrist, 1974.
FAMILY Married, five children, seven grandchildren.
HOBBIES Reading novels, listening to jazz and modern classical music.
· www.forensicare.vic.gov.auFirst published in The Age, 10 November 2007

Two awards for Age writer

By Frances Atkinson

A BOOK that set out to give a voice to a woman killed by her husband won two awards last night at Sisters in Crime’s Davitt awards.
Karen Kissane, law and justice editor of The Age, won Best True Crime for her book Silent Death: The Killing of Julie Ramage, which also shared the Readers’ Choice award with Melbourne author Kerry Greenwood’s novel Devil’s Food.
Sydney Bauer’s Undertow won Best Adult Crime novel and Jaclyn Moriarty won Best Young Adult Crime novel for The Betrayal of Bindy Mackenzie.
In July 2003, mother-of-two Julie Ramage was strangled by her husband, James. He confessed to the murder but pleaded not guilty on grounds of provocation and was sentenced to 11 years for manslaughter.
At the Davitt awards ceremony at Melbourne’s Celtic Club, Kissane said she had found the case “fascinating in terms of what had happened inside this complicated, messy marriage”.
She said her book was “partly an attempt to give a voice to a woman who had been silenced forever. She was silenced physically by the husband who killed her, and silenced metaphorically, a second time, by the rules of evidence of a legal system that proved unable to provide her with justice.”
Sisters in Crime was formed at Melbourne’s Feminist Book Festival in September 1991 to promote women’s crime fiction.
This year’s awards attracted 38 books written by women. Bauer thanked organisers for their “unwavering, dedicated, enthusiastic support for female crime writers”.
Dr Sue Turnbull said the judges had come up with “the Connex test” to establish the success of the entries – “whether or not the book was engaging enough to distract the reader from the tedium of travel on Melbourne’s public transport system”.

First published in The Age.