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Sunday, April 09, 2006


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Interesting. I was the script editor on that project, which came through Film Australia. Someone said to me that the difference between the Victorian and NSW cops was one of scale. In Victoria, the Homicide Squad preyed on one sector of the industry, which was quasi-legal and done by doctors. In NSW, a proportion of the cost of every abortion went to the police and they were said to distribute it systematically.

In NSW, unless I am much mistaken, the abortion issue has been settled. In Victoria it remains ambiguous, because the reformers had to take on police corruption first. That was the only way to get Melbourne to admit the horror beneath the surface. So the story got sidetracked, and never got back properly.

On the topic of religion, the Homicide Squad in Melbourne was split between Micks and Masons. They took it in turns to run the squad, because they made money off abortions. The whole story blew up because the cops started to raid the quasi-legal abortionists. They did this because Francis Xavier Holland became head of the Homicide Squad.

He wasn't trying to stop abortions. It was believed (though never proved in court and he was miraculously never charged) that he did a deal with one doctor, and together they felt they could create themselves a monopoly by driving the other abortionists out of business.

Unfortunately for them, they made two mistakes. They made off with patients' files, which enraged Bert Wainer. And they charged Peggy Berman, the Irish catholic orphan who managed the supply of brown paper bags to the cops, with corruption.

A fascinating story.

Funny (funny odd, not funny haha) to read this as my housemate and I have *just* turned off the tv; we have been re-watching the mini-series 'Brides of Christ', specifically the episode that deals with this very issue. Pretty traumatic. I really wish I had watched the doco now.

A total aside - the mini-series is still incredibly good, after all these years. Have you seen it? Any opinions? We have been debating whether or not Sister Paul and Sister Catherine had more than platonic feelings for each other. Watching them cry when they have to leave each other breaks my heart!

PS Mr Tiley, you are the Everywhere Man. xx

I did see Brides of Christ when it was shown in England in the early 90s. I can't remember it well enough to say about Srs Paul and Catherine. Actually, I found it irritating in the way it collapsed historical and personal events - it was a melodrama, yet claimed as a wonderful drama by the Australian TV industry.

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