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July 2013

Come quick, there's trouble at mill!

Thanks to readers "Mick" and JackM for the tip.

A Brooklyn-based crane company owned by prominent debt collector Mick Gatto and business partner Matt Tomas is on the brink of collapse after failing to pay its own debts to a subcontractor.

The looming insolvency comes as Fairfax Media revealed on the weekend that a secret recording of Mr Tomas providing assistance to Victoria Police as part of a murder investigation has been leaked to dozens of figures in Melbourne’s underworld.

Elite Cranes faces a liquidation order in the Supreme Court next month over the failure to settle a $67,057 debt with another crane-hire company APAC Cranes.

In October last year, the Magistrates Court ruled that Elite Cranes owed the money to creditors of APAC Cranes, which was placed into administration in 2011 with debts of more than $1 million, according to documents lodged with the Australian Securities and Investment Commission.

Read more:


Mick and matt
(conspicuously bulgy Mick Gatto and Matt Thomas, no photographer credit, wonder why?)


A covert recording of a conversation between gangland figure Matt Tomas and detectives from Victoria Police's Purana taskforce about a sensitive murder investigation has been leaked to Melbourne's underworld, including members of outlaw motorcycle gangs.

Mr Tomas, who is a business partner of Mick Gatto, is understood to have provided information that could assist police during the discussion, which was taped by a concealed recording device.

Some names and details from the conversation had been deleted in the 35-minute tape, which has been widely circulated among criminals and associates of Mr Tomas in the past few days. Mr Tomas is believed to be fearful of another attempt on his life and has been advised by at least one associate to take his family overseas immediately.

A source with specific knowledge of the tape said Mr Tomas had been ''hung out to dry'' and estimated more than 50 people had heard the conversation, including members of at least two bikie gangs.

Mr Gatto confirmed he was aware of the tape. He said it was a ''hell of a lot more'' than 50 people who had access to the recordings. He declined to speak on behalf of Mr Tomas, who did not respond to several requests for comment from Fairfax Media. ''We've been mates for a long time but it's not my job to defend him. I'm busy enough defending myself,'' Mr Gatto said.

A Victoria Police spokeswoman said the force was aware that copies of the tape had been passed around Melbourne's underworld.

''This recording was relevant to a matter before the court and was handed over to the defence by investigators in response to a subpoena granted by the court. It is not uncommon for material subject to a subpoena and handed over lawfully, to then be circulated within the criminal community,'' the police spokeswoman said.

She denied Mr Tomas had assisted police with their investigation. ''It is important we make clear the person was unco-operative with police and would not supply a statement relating to the matter,'' the spokeswoman said.

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Last word goes to Monty Python.

UPDATED You can lead the lady to Kevlar Kev, but you can't mess up her hair or her hijab.

As every gentleman in a warzone knows, the ladies get first dibs on ballistic vests, kevlar lined seats and carbon-fibre brain holders.

Rudd and rein

(Kev Djakarta?  Or did she go of her own Accord?) 

Kev's hand

We had enough Kevlar to go around but it was beauty before ballistics in Mogadishu.


(NB Mrs Smith is keen for you to know that this is not Mrs Smith)

And this is a little bit of video I took in Mogadishu before the camera guys told me to hold the iPhone sideways for best results!   Prize for the listener who correctly identifies the secret sound at about 50 seconds in.

Tomorrow night for 3 hours from 7.30PM on SBS

I did a bit of television for the SBS people today which will be on the SBS news tomorrow night, I had a quick chat with their producer for you today.


Sir John and Lady Gorton visited our diggers in the Vietnam war-zone, Lady Gorton or Betty was a "First Lady" in so many ways as her grandson Ben remembers.

Yesterday we were among many Australians who tried to correct the ABC and others who misreported Australia's "First Lady" visiting our diggers in a war zone.

Ben Gorton, grandson of Sir John and Lady Gorton (or John and Betty as he fondly remembers them) wrote in to our site and let us know how he felt.

Today it's been my privilege to speak with Ben about family, duty and Australia.

Sir john and lady gorton