Views mixed on organised crime

8 October 2009

Professor Mark Findlay says the costs of organised crime are largely speculative and that big financial collapses have a greater economic impact.

In an interview with Lawyers Weekly, Professor Findlay responds to claims by Australian Crime Comission (ACC) boss John Lawler that organised crime poses as much a threat to national security as terrorism.

"The cost to Australia of major financial collapses through an absence of probity and an absence of effective oversight are most probably far more significant than any cost of organised crime.

"All too often the information on organised crime, we are told, is sensitive and secretive, and therefore we simply have to trust law enforcement agencies that they are telling the truth.

"These characters get up and talk about the on-going threat of organised crime because they know it means they are going to get more resourcing and more powers if they argue that the threat is big."

Professor Findlay is sceptical of the ACC's coercive powers, saying there was little evidence of their success, particularly when it came to financial and corporate crime.

"We've had hysteria in Australia over the last ten years of giving extraordinary powers to investigatory agencies because of the fear of things like organised crime."

Contact: Greg Sherington

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