The first meeting of the 17 Group for 2016 will be held on Wednesday the 3rd of February at 7 pm in unit 6 at 20 Drury St, West End. It will be addressed by best-selling author Matthew Condon on the topic:
7 past six years researching the life and times of former Police Commissioner and Knight of the Realm, Terence Murray Lewis, and the evolution of police and political corruption since Lewis’ induction as a constable in 1949. He interviewed Lewis for three years and had access to the bulk of Lewis’ personal papers, before Lewis severed the relationship in 2014. The result of this research produced the “Lewis Trilogy” – Three Crooked Kings, Jacks and Jokers, and the recently released All Fall Down. Condon interviewed more than 1,000 people for the trilogy, including former Premiers and politicians, convicted murderers, former prostitutes and brothel madams, police, petty gangsters and civilians caught up in the corrupt system known as “The Joke”. What he didn’t expect was a raft of attempts to shut down his work, and innumerable behind-the-scenes incidents that indicated The Joke was still sensitive territory after half a century, and continued to impact on Queensland life.
Matthew Condon is the author of several novels, works of non-fiction, and is the two-time winner of the Steele Rudd Award for short fiction. His novels include The Motorcycle Café, The Pillow Fight and The Trout Opera. His non-fiction titles include Brisbane and, as editor, Fear, Faith and Hope: Remembering the Long Wet Summer of 2010-2011. In 2013 he published Three Crooked Kings – the first instalment in a trilogy on the life and times of former Queensland police commissioner Terry Lewis, and crime and corruption in Queensland and NSW over a half-century. The book tells an epic story of corruption so deeply entrenched that it changed Queensland society. It was awarded the John Oxley Library Award 2013, and was shortlisted for several other awards. The second volume, Jacks and Jokers, was published in April 2014 and was nominated for a Walkley Award. The final instalment in the trilogy – All Fall Down – has just been published. Condon has worked as a journalist for thirty years both here and overseas. He is currently Adjunct Professor in the Creative Arts at the Queensland University of Technology.
Leon showed his usual mixture of patronising interest in the topic and hauteur at the provincialism of our culture. “The creature you called ‘Joh’ could have taught his minions some of the moves that the creature I called ‘Josef’ put on a more official and institutional basis than the ridiculous ‘brown paper bag’!”
When we asked for further details he googled up the paragraph hereunder from Wikipedia, and said “ Perhaps up to ‘extrajudicial executions’, and on their own small scale, your people were running level, but look at how our people outdistanced you from there on!”
‘ police force of the USSR, including traffic police, firefighting, border guards and archives. It is best known for the activities of the Gulag and the Main Directorate for State Security (GUGB), the predecessor of the KGB. The NKVD conducted mass extrajudicial executions, ran the Gulag system of forced labor camps and suppressed underground resistance, and was responsible for mass deportations of entire nationalities and Kulaks to unpopulated regions of the country. It was also tasked withprotection of Soviet borders and espionage (which included political assassinations abroad), influencing foreign governments and enforcing Stalinist policy within communist movements in other countries.
So, once again it looks unlikely that the great internationalist outdistancer will favour us with his condescending presence, but then imagine the annoying putdowns we will be spared, and turn up to get the inside story on some corruption that may be ‘a poor thing’ but is at least ‘our own’.