The Age from Melbourne, Victoria, Victoria, Australia on December 6, 1998 · Page 21
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The Age from Melbourne, Victoria, Victoria, Australia · Page 21

Melbourne, Victoria, Victoria, Australia
Issue Date:
Sunday, December 6, 1998
Page 21
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22 6 DECEMBER 1998 THE SUNDAY AGE The annual AMP Walkley Awards recognise excellence in Australian journalism. They're generally regarded as the most prestigious journalism awards, as they cover television and radio, as well as print media. Words that won the Walkleys. Again. GARRY LINNELL Best Feature Writing. Hope Lives Here. "Time to go and let the emptiness rise up and take over once more. So you go through the routine. You clock off. You wave goodbye to the others and then you climb into your car and go home. You could just about do this drive in your sleep. The road is flat, the paddocks and fenceline never changing. Nothing to look at, nothing to keep that emptiness at bay. And you know that when you get home Lisa will be feeling the same. You'll walk in the door and say hi and kiss her and she'll ask you how your day was and then she'll go back to being busy, filling in the time, looking for something else to do. She might go back to painting one of the rooms, making it come alive with color. Or she could be doodling away on some other project, always keeping herself active. Perhaps if she's lucky one of her sisters will ring and they'll sit and talk for ages. But she won't ring herself. It's too hard. She even hates the thought of picking up the receiver and punching in the numbers. Better to wait and let it ring. Maybe you might go and work out the back. You've started building coffee tables, anything to keep your hands busy. You might take the dog for a walk. Perhaps you'll tell yourself that the car was making a strange noise on the way home, so you'll pop the hood and tinker away. But it's so damn quiet, isn't it? You walk down the hallway, the passage that Lisa just finished painting a beautiful rich yellow with stencils high up the sides, and there's not a bloody toy to stand on or trip over. There's no cartoons blaring on the television. And when you go outside and get the ladder out to check something just beyond your reach, there's no one to scramble up it before you, to see what the world looks like from six feet up, no one tugging at your trousers wanting you to look at that snail over by the rock, no one wanting to hold a hammer like you do, to punch a nail into some wood. No one wanting to be just like you. There is a spa outside. It's one of your pride and joys. You used to sit there with him and enjoy the rhythmic push of the water. You couldn't get him out of the bloody thing, could you? He could stay in there for what seemed like hours until his skin wrinkled up. You'd sit there and talk about all sorts of stuff, just you and him. The boys. For months Lisa couldn't even stand looking at the spa. She moved her eyes away whenever she had to walk past it. But sometimes at night you go outside and turn it on. All alone, you slide into the warm water and let it wrap itself around your hefty frame. Then you look up into the night and you talk to him. You tell him about the day you had, about all the things you did to fill in the time, about all the thoughts that flashed through your mind, their noise filling the void and cancelling out the quietness. How long has it been? Two, three months? You and Lisa do whatever you can to get by. But at night there is no escaping it. In the darkness you lie next to each other and listen to the sound of one another breathing. And as you drift off, you wonder: How long does it last? How long will it take before this aching emptiness fades, even a little? But you know the answer even before you fall asleep. When you wake the next morning, it will still be there. It always is". (Extracted from Hope Lives Here) GERARD RYLE & GARY HUGHES Best News Report. The Secret Police. "Senior police defied State Government orders to destroy secret special branch files on thousands of Victorians and continued using them, according to former head of the police complaints authority. Mr Hugh Selby said yesterday two "very senior" police officers revealed to him during a private meeting on 21 September 1987 how the files had been kept hidden at a number of suburban police stations in Melbourne. One of the officers had said he had directed the deception after almost 10,000 special branch files had been ordered burnt by the newly elected Labor State Government in July 1983. "They may have got near to the furnace, but none of them went in," said Mr Selby, who headed the police complaints authority from 1985 to 1988. "They were all - and this was done at the specific direction of at least one of the people (at the meeting) - they were loaded into cars and they were taken to suburban police stations where they could be accessed at any time." In October The Age reported that special branch files had been temporarily removed from the headquarters of the police operations intelligence unit and hidden during a 1989 ombudsman's investigation into whether, they had been improperly retained. The report led to a new ombudsman's investigation . into the special branch files. The ombudsman, Dr Barry Perry, said yesterday he could not comment on the current investigation or the claims by Mr Selby. Mr Selby who is now a law lecturer at the Australian National University, declined to give The Age the names of the two senior officers at the 1987 meeting. But he said he would be prepared to supply their identities and give a full account of the meeting to an independent judicial inquiry. He said he had recorded details of the lunchtime meeting in his diaries. "I got this phone call from two very senior officers, whom I decline to name. I was asked if they could pick me up and take me to lunch,' Mr Selby told The Age. "I was picked up in a special police vehicle and taken out to some very nice golf club somewhere out in the northern suburbs. "At lunch they ran all the conversation. They then decided to show me who really ran the Victoria Police force. "Given who those two people were and what they had to say, they weren't joking." Mr Selby said the two officers told him how the then police chief commissioner, Mr Mick Miller, had given specific instructions that almost 10,000 special branch dossiers be "taken to a furnace and burnt". Mr Miller's instructions followed an announcement by the then Police Minister, Mr Race Matthews, that the special branch was to be disbanded and its files destroyed". (Extracted from The Secret Police) ALAN ATTWOOD Best Coverage of Sport (all media). The Rise of Rafter. US Open 1997. "He got to the bar and there they were: John Newcombe, Tony Roche and Ken Rosewall ("the legends," Rafter calls them), all of them former US Open champions or finalists, singing Waltzing Matilda in his honor. "It was so great for them to be there," Rafter said. "It made my night." A night that degenerated into a cake fight in the early hours. Highlights of the final were replayed again and again. "I just wanted to keep seeing that last point and jumping into the crowd. And I still want to sit down and watch all that again." He may get the chance today when he returns to his home in Bermuda, where, he said, "nobody knows or cares who I am." After a short break, he'll go to Washington and report for Davis Cup duty. Already he's looking forward to it: "Once all the boys get together we really will enjoy it." Eleven years have passed since Australia last won a Davis Cup. The star of that final, played at Kooyong against Sweden, was Pat Cash. Rafter, the first Australian to win a grand slam title since Cash, now has a chance to match some of his Davis Cup heroics as well as his celebratory techniques. There may also be some lessons to be learnt from Cash, who won just one grand slam title and was then dogged by injuries. Asked about Cash's career, chequered in every way, Rafter said: "I think Cashy also lost a lot of interest in the game. I think he had so much pressure put on him, maybe he just didn't release it. "It's important for me to keep enjoying the game because I do love it. When things start to become a little hectic, I'll have to try to get away from it a little bit so I can still enjoy it." The image of Rafter flat on his back after winning the final seems certain to become one of the great sporting moments. It seems that, while it was not rehearsed, Rafter has been a student of victory gestures. "I love what Borg used to do (sink to his knees), just love it; I loved what Bruguera did at the French (collapse on the red clay), I saw what they did and I wanted to do it myself. It seems like a natural thing to do. I had to bloody peel myself off the court. I wanted to lie down, I swear. But I just felt I couldn't stay there too long, because Greg was just going to get his bag and walk off." And Rafter is a great believer in sportsmanship. The US Open title is not his only recent prize. He is to receive a Diploma of Honor from a group known as the International Committee for Fair Play, in recognition of his gesture at an Adelaide tournament in January when he reversed a line-call. The champ's a role-model. And a popular guy. In the flood of calls came one from John Fitzgerald, a member of that '86 Davis Cup team. He was a mentor to Rafter when he started on the circuit; recently he's been an occasional coach. Rafter said Fitzy had phoned him to fire himself, saying his services were obviously needed no longer. Fitzy is another whom Rafter describes as a legend. A title he insists he hasn't earned himself. He's working on it". (Extracted from The Rise of Rafter) Seize the day. iff! (TO mm SAMUFUON TALBOT AOE 57 EAA A22

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