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We are proudly assisted by Business and Industry Development, ACT Government.

New!!

Updates to "Years in Review"

Published by the Australian Crime Commission: The Cost of Serious and Organised Crime in Australia, Dec 2015. 

Published July 2013 杨泾,  Walker J., and 吴志明. Where does China’s Dirty Money Outflow? - The Walker Gravity Model and Five Dimensions Analysis, Chinese Journal of Financial Theory and Practice, July 2013.

Published September 2013 Walker,J. and Unger B., (2013) Measuring Global Moneylaundering: - the Walker Gravity Model,, in Research Handbook on Money Laundering, Eds Brigitte Unger and Daan van der Linde, Edward Elgar Press.

Published 26/10/2011 Pietschmann, T. and Walker,J. (2011) Estimating illicit financial flows resulting from drug trafficking and other transnational organized crimes, Research Report, Vienna, U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime.

Published 1/1/2010 in the Review of Law and Economics: Measuring Global Money Laundering: "The Walker Gravity Model", by John Walker and Brigitte Unger (Utrecht University School of Economics)

Currently assisting:

bulletthe Catholic University of Milan (TransCrime), with analysis of the Organised Crime Investment Portfolio;
bulletthe Victorian dept of Justice with a workload and finance forecasting model for the whole of the Justice portfolio;
bulletthe Singapore Ministry of Home Affairs with the development of a forecasting model for crime and justice;
bulletthe ACT Dept of Justice and Community Services with a Prison Projections Model.

Previous Projects:

bulletthe United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Vienna, with analysis of illicit financial flows from Transnational Organised Crime;
bulletthe ACT Dept of Justice and Community Services with a Police Staffing Model.
bulletAnalysis of the Proceeds of Crime & Cost-effectiveness of Anti-Moneylaundering efforts in European Union Countries.
bulletthe Victorian Court of Appeal with Court Workload projections;
bulletthe IMF in developing a methodology to measure money laundering risks.

 

Finalist in the ACT Chief Minister's Export Awards, 2008, recognising my work with the Chinese People's Public Security University, the UNODC and the IMF.

Presentation to Norad, Oslo, Estimating Illicit Flows from Developing Countries

2008 in Review!

 Updated estimates of ML in and through Australia

6-page Summary Report

100-page Main Report

Modeling Global Crime:

Illicit Drugs

Money Laundering

Justice System Resource Allocation:

Forecasting Trends in Crime

The Costs of Crime

Staffing the Police

Indigenous Over-representation in the Criminal Justice System

 

 

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约翰步行者罪行趋势分析
What do we Do?
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In Review

2015 in Review

2014 in Review

2013 in Review  

2012 in Review 

2011 in Review  

2010 in Review   

2009 in Review   

2008 in Review   

2007 in Review

As we conduct new analyses and new projects, we will attempt to keep you informed.  We welcome enquiries, particularly if they lead to interesting new projects and insights.  We also welcome comments on our work and on our website.

2007 in Review

The year began with a busy period forecasting trends in crime and criminal justice system workloads, developing various resource allocation formulas for police and legal aid, and researching motor vehicle thefts.  I was then invited to the Ministry of Home Affairs, Singapore, to demonstrate my crime trends forecasting techniques, and they have indicated that this could lead to a substantive project in 2008. 

In May, Austrade encouraged me to travel with the ACT Chief Minister’s Trade Mission to China, meeting academics and agency staff in Shanghai, Beijing and Shenzhen all in the space of a week.  This too paid off, when the Chinese People’s Public Security University (effectively China’s national Police Academy) invited me to teach their post-graduates and lecture to the academic staff through November and December. 

Karan and I travelled via a one-day presentation on cybercrime (Singapore), spent a week in Beijing “acclimatising”, before flying to Utrecht (Netherlands) for a conference, organised by Prof. Brigitte Unger (Utrecht University School of Economics) specifically to generate discussion about my global model of transnational crime and moneylaundering, with leading researchers invited from around the world.  Eminent speakers, both critics and proponents of my modelling work, agreed that the key deficiency was the poor global data on the proceeds of crime and the degree of moneylaundering engaged in by different criminal groups.  Participants from the International Monetary Fund, World Bank and the Brookings Institution all indicated that some funding for research to address these deficiencies may be possible in 2008. 

 

[L-R: Elod Takats (IMF), Raymond Baker (Brookings Institution), Peter Reuter (Rand Corporation), me, and Brigitte Unger (Utrecht Uni School of Economics)]

The year ended with six weeks in Beijing, teaching a class of 15 postgraduate criminologists from all around China, and meeting senior academics.  While it was very hard work living night and day in a Chinese-speaking suburban environment, we managed to communicate in Chinese (sometimes!), English (sometimes) and sign-language (frequently), and made a lot of friends there!  The local restaurants will certainly miss us, as we caused great excitement and amusement (“la, bu la, ma?” is useful, meaning “is it spicy?”). I even performed (karaoke) in Beijing’s number 1 nightclub, and Karan and I managed an occasional swing dance in unlikely places! There is every indication that I will be invited back to work again in China – for more substantive research projects – two senior and influential academics told me that I had “inspired” them!  We were showered with gifts, some of the students were actually in tears when we said our goodbyes, and we have been invited to just about every possible corner of China!  A fantastic experience all round! 

 

 [Postgraduate Class, Chinese Peoples Public Security University, Beijing]

My work featured several times in both the Queanbeyan Age and the Canberra Times during the year, and finished the year in the Australian.

  

  

2008 in Review

The year started relatively slowly, focusing on trying to find enough information about bulk cash smuggling around the world to put together a worthwhile report on the issue, for the Australian Institute of Criminology's programme of money laundering research (not an easy job!!), and assisting the Victorian Department of Human Services to construct a demand model for juvenile custody.  During March, however, I was invited to travel to Oslo to present my global model of economic crime and money laundering to a conference on Illicit Financial Flows from Developing Countries, organised by the Norwegian Aid Agency, Norad.  Raymond Baker's work had concluded that something like US $800 billion flows FROM the poorer countries TO the richer ones, as a result of corruption, trade pricing frauds and the theft of (or underpayment for) natural resources - ten times the funding that the rich countries "generously" give to the poorer in "aid".  Although my model is based on completely different data and assumptions, it is capable of producing estimates of the proceeds of crime laundered out of developing countries, and the resulting figure of US$850 billion supports Baker's result.

I then decided to take advantage of the ACT Chief Minister's 2008 Trade Mission, which was to be in May and include a visit to Washington.  I figured that, after the success of the Utrecht conference, and the interest shown by Norad, it might be time to try to get a hearing at the IMF, World Bank, and even the US Treasury itself.  1.  The Utrecht conference had demonstrated that the model was academically respectable, but lacked good data on the proceeds of crime and on money laundering processes.  2. The Oslo conference demonstrated that the model was a useful contribution to a very important global economic problem. The IMF and World Bank were represented at both of these conferences, and had heard all the arguments.  Putting these two together, it seems obvious that these organisations, with responsibilities including developing countries and the health of the global financial systems, should be making efforts to collect the "missing" information on proceeds of crime and money laundering, and I was going to try to persuade them to do so. 

I was very surprised at the warm welcome I received in Washington - in complete contrast to the skepticism I would have received a decade or so earlier.  The Financial Integrity Group at the IMF immediately asked me to write a discussion paper on measuring a country's attractiveness to money launderers, which gave me the opportunity to think over the concept in more detail than I had done before.  Subsequently, I was asked to assist in a series of IMF workshops, in which senior staff of Financial Intelligence Units of the Pacific Island countries (held in Singapore in June) and the western Asia and eastern African region (held in Pune, India, in October) were encouraged to think about the levels of proceeds of crime and the methods of money laundering used in their countries.  We are proving that the sort of data required by my model is, in fact, possible to collect.  Initially, we are happy for the workshops to generate "ballpark" estimates, with credibility - not accuracy - being important.  In the longer term, it will be appropriate to develop more sophisticated methods of estimating the size of the illegal "industries" that generate the proceeds of crime.

Participants in the IMF AML/CTF Workshop on Policy Development in the Pacific Island Countries, Singapore, June 2008.

Participants in the IMF AML/CTF Workshop on Policy Development in South Asian and East African Countries, Pune, October 2008.

2009 in Review

After a very exciting early January reunion of the Canberra Bulls Speedway Club, a highlight in an otherwise quiet January, I found myself preparing for some interesting voyages of discovery in March and April.  Following the very successful Pacific Islands workshop on the proceeds of crime and moneylaundering (Singapore, June 2008), the IMF had asked me to assist in the preparation of a Report to the Asia Pacific group of Anti-Moneylaundering agencies (APG), identifying and quantifying risks of moneylaundering in the Pacific island countries.  Around the same time, the Council for Security Cooperation in the Asia Pacific (CSCAP) asked for my collaboration in a study of "factors contributing to the development of crime hubs in the Asia Pacific".  The IMF project commenced with visits to Pacific island coordination agencies in New Zealand and then later to law enforcement and anti-moneylaundering agencies in Fiji, Papua New Guinea and Samoa.  Our report was very well received at a full meeting of the APG later in the year.

The timing of the CSCAP meeting (in Bangkok) meant that I actually had to fly into Bangkok direct from Samoa, losing my suitcase on the way.  Nevertheless, the survey mechanism I suggested, which would aim to identify the geographic, demographic, economic and governance factors that contribute to the development of crime hubs, was well received, and I was asked to further develop it for a second meeting to be held in Phuket later in the year.  It was good to see my friends, Ernesto Savona (head of Transcrime) and Brigitte Unger (University of Utrecht), in Bangkok, where their presentations were very helpful.

Then, as the end of the Australian financial year approached, I was offered two short-term consultancy projects in Australia.  The first was to assist the Supreme Court of Victoria in measuring their likely future workloads, while the ACT Department of Justice and Community Services and ACT Policing were hoping to develop a staffing model for ACT Policing, similar to the one I had developed for Victoria Police.  As is usual in the justice system, these problems both involved my favourite "art" - blending very dodgy data and fairly heroic assumptions, and turning them into something surprisingly useful.  At the end of June, I again assisted the IMF in a successful training workshop in Singapore, this one involving law enforcement and anti-moneylaundering agencies from South East Asian countries. 

Old friend Max Kommer, from the Dutch Ministry of Justice, visited in September with his partner Marian, as part of their round Australia safari, but their stay was short as I had to fly to Washington for a Global Financial Integrity conference on Financial Flows from Developing Countries - a follow-up to the Oslo meeting the previous year.  In this group, which consists mainly of finance and tax experts, my criminology is a little peripheral to their discussions, largely because the absence of data on the global proceeds of crime gives them virtually no basis for discussion.  But there was ready acceptance that the first step in working out how great are the financial costs imposed on developing countries by criminal activities (including corruption) OUGHT to be estimating how much money is made, and smuggled out, by these criminals. 

A follow-up meeting of the CSCAP group in Phuket in October gave me a chance to try out some ideas, including the "questionnaire plus expert workshop" methodology that had appeared to work for the IMF.  But then the travelling really began!  Again, I took advantage of the ACT Chief Minister's Trade Mission, this time to the U.K., where I had a number of very interesting meetings with British Government agencies involved in the fight against organised crime and money laundering.  Among other things, I wanted to alert them to the project in which I am assisting Brigitte Unger and the University of Utrecht in a European Union study of the economic and legal effectiveness of anti-moneylaundering strategies.  I was then based in Utrecht for the month of October, while we developed the project methodology, and in early December was invited to travel with them to speak at the prestigious Annual Conference of Economists at Tor Vergata University, Rome, where an entire session was organised on "The Past, Present and Possible Future of “the Walker Model” of Transnational Crime and Moneylaundering". An interested observer was Professor Ray Chou from Taiwan, whose encouragement was very rewarding.  As an expert in forecasting himself, he was interested also in my criminal justice system projections methodology, and the presentations I was preparing for the next stop on the trip - Beijing.

From Rome, Karan and I travelled back to Australia via Beijing, where I had been invited to speak as a "Distinguished Professor" to the graduates of the Chinese People's Public Security University.  I gave my "usual" presentation on estimating the extent of money laundering around the world (the "Walker Model of Transnational Crime and Moneylaundering"), but then - with Ray Chou's perfect translation of Que Sera Sera into Chinese, and with the active encouragement and help of some of the staff and students, I presented my justice forecasting methodology in the form of Karaoke.  It is a wonderful way of getting complicated mathematical ideas over to a non-mathematical audience, and it worked very well with the Executive of the Victorian Department of Justice back in 2001 - for example, the relationship between age and offending patterns can be presented using Frank Sinatra's "When I was 17, it was a very good year", and changing the words to reflect offenders' changing offence patterns instead of Frank's changing taste in women as he got older.  But would it work in Beijing????  Well, the sight and sound of over 50 senior Chinese police singing away to the words on the screen was worth the effort!  It was very well received, and probably a presentation that they would all remember - but that is exactly the point, isn't it?

 

 

 

A section of the audience, and Professor Wang Dawei offers his congratulations after the Musical!

2010 in Review

After a typically quiet January, the year's real work began with a February workshop on forecasting crime trends in Singapore.  It is very interesting, leading a forecast modeling project when the data are official secrets and the workshop participants are reticent to speak to a foreigner - even one who has security clearance!  Anyway, we did our best, and the idea of strategic planning in the criminal justice system, based on analysis of available data and expert workshop, was established in Singapore. 

In March, I was again engaged with the ACT Policing Model, which now has a snazzy new name - the ROADMAP - the Resources, Operations And Demand Model for ACT Policing.  March also saw another trip to Washington for a Global Financial Integrity conference on Financial Flows from Developing Countries.  Again, in this group, which consists mainly of finance and tax experts, my criminology is a little peripheral to their discussions, largely because the absence of data on the global proceeds of crime gives them virtually no basis for discussion.  But this time there was serious interest in estimating how much money is made by crime and corruption, and smuggled out of developing countries by these criminals.  Following the conference, there were informal discussions on how it might be possible to set up a study to estimate these proceeds of crime figures around the world.

This indeed led to an invitation to speak at the joint UNODC - World Bank sponsored conference in Vienna in April, where I put the proposal that the "It can't be done" brigade must be ignored because "it is too important NOT  to be done".   My presentation was a plea for the UNODC to put as much effort into data collection and analysis of the other forms of crime as they put into illicit drug research.  This proved to be the trigger for one of the most exciting periods of my working career.

The Victorian government's stated intention to increase the size of the Victorian Police operational staff numbers prompted renewed interest in workload projections across the whole of the Victorian Criminal Justice System, and tenders were called for the development of a projections methodology.  I teamed up with criminologist Stuart Ross, for whom I have always had great respect, and Neville Norman - a much lauded public sector economist - both from the University of Melbourne, and we won the contract to start in June. We had, of course, a head start on rival contractors because of the modelling work I had done for Victoria's justice system agencies for almost thirty years, but even so to expand my exist model from a relatively simple "police-courts-corrections" to a model capable of projecting workloads for over twenty diverse agencies was extremely "challenging"!  But the astonishing level of active participation of those 20+ agencies made it really worthwhile.  Some agencies that had never really compiled workload-related data before came to the party, and project managers Jonathan Spear and Ben Mante were magnificent.  I think this is one of my best ever models, and - in principle - it is adaptable to other criminal justice systems.

A final meeting of the CSCAP project took place in Phuket in early August, but it was my day at the Nepean Speedway on 5th September that gave me more satisfaction:

I'm no World Champion but at least I had a go!

The year ended with two and a half months overseas, beginning with a two-week follow-up forecasting exercise in Singapore in late October and two months in Vienna working with the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, assisting them in the development of a ground-breaking model of the proceeds of crime and money laundering around the world.  The need for this project was identified both in the discussions earlier in the year with the GFIP group and at the joint UNODC - World Bank conference in April, and I was very proud to be the preferred candidate for the consultancy, and that my gravity model of moneylaundering was to be central to the analysis. 

       

A bonus was the opportunity to see out the old year in Vienna, where the project team tested the gluhwein range and demonstrated their fancy footwork in the Graben (Thomas Pietschmann, UNODC)!

2011 in Review

2011 proved to be a juggling act - with Melbourne and Europe alternating as the focal points of my work.

The first six weeks of 2011 was spent in Vienna finalising the UNODC report "Estimating illicit financial flows resulting from drug trafficking and other transnational organized crimes".  Not quite the report that I had hoped it would be, as we were not able to find reliable estimates of a very wide range of important crime types, but nevertheless we produced a report that set a benchmark for research into the proceeds of crime and money laundering.  At the same time, and for most of the rest of the year, I was working via emails with both the Victorian Department of Justice and Victoria Police to finalise their respective workload projection models.

From May onwards, I was working hard developing online surveys and adapting my gravity model, for the Utrecht University project "The Economic and Legal Effectiveness of Anti-Moneylaundering in the 27 Countries of the European Union" (ECOLEF).  Workshops in Tallin, and then in November in Vienna, helped to bring data and insights from the consultation processes led by Brigitte Unger.

Joras Ferwerda, Ioana Deleanu (ECOLEF project) with Karan and me at the Vienna conference dinner.

More Juvenile Justice projections modeling work took me back to Melbourne from time to time during the middle of the year.   The ACT Policing model was at last implemented as part of their annual budget preparation cycle.

In November, Karan and I went to Washington for the 2011 Annual Conference of the American Society of Criminology - my first attendance at that conference.  I was to give a presentation as part of a panel led by Ernesto Savona, focusing on the proceeds of organised crime groups (OCGs) and our forthcoming project on the Investment Portfolios of OCGs in the EU member countries, for which I was to be contracted to the Catholic University of Milan, TransCrime.  Among the highlights was a very pleasant working lunch with the founder and head of Global Financial Integrity, Raymond Baker, and some very revealing conversations with senior World Bank researchers.  But the highlight of them all was during the Panel session.  The first speaker was internationally famous Professor Jay Albanese, whose first slides showed the front cover of our "Estimating illicit financial flows" report.  He enthusiastically extolled the many virtues of this report, as a model for all who were interested in researching those areas, before saying that it was so hot off the press that he hadn't yet been able to get a printed copy.  Ernesto commented that I had a copy, which then required an explanation - that I was one of the authors of the report.  A very satisfying way to close out the year!

2012 in Review

An early March trip to Centurion, South Africa, marked the start of yet another project aiming to use the gravity model to estimate the extent and origins/destinations of money laundering at a national level.

In May, I travelled to Utrecht for another ECOLEF conference, returning Canberra to sign a contract with the Australian Crime Commission to develop a methodology to estimate the Costs of Serious and Organised Crime in Australia.

By the middle of the year, the Victorian DoJ Workload Projection Model was attracting the attention of the Victorian Attorney General and Minister for Justice - and  the skeptics amongst the Supreme Court Judges.  While the Ministers responded very favourably to a methodological presentation by Stuart Ross and myself, the same could not be said for the Judges. Bizarrely, at a later presentation specifically for them, those same Judges became enthusiastic supporters of the Model - a result that would eventually have a profoundly positive impact on the development of the Model itself.  The Department awarded us (Stuart and me) a new contract to try to develop the Model to address the likely trends in re-offending - another "never-before-achieved" type of Model!

October took me back to Singapore for further developments in their criminal justice projections model, and on to Kuala Lumpur, where I gave a series of presentations to the Universiti Teknologi Mara, Shah Alam,  Selangor on my money laundering modeling.

November 15 was the 40th Anniversary of the Australian Institute of Criminology, and I was pleased to be invited to join the celebrations, along with past and present members of the Board and staff.

and the year drew to a close with the Final ECOLEF Conference in Amsterdam and the presentation of my final report to the ACC on an approach to estimating the Costs of Serious and Organised Crime.

2013 in Review

The year 2013 started with a short exercise to produce projections of prisoner numbers for NSW, which was interesting because of the relative reluctance of invitees to the Projections Workshop (compared to those who have attended similar workshops in other jurisdictions) to express any firm expectations.  The uncertainties surrounding the likely future directions of the NSW Government cast a pall over the proceedings, and the subsequent projections weren't very confident. 

The rest of the year was dominated by two trail-blazing but extremely problematic projects - the Victorian DoJ's Recidivism modeling and a new project in which KPMG were to develop an Action Plan for the Victorian dept of Human Services Homelessness programmes.  Former Secretary of the DoJ, Penny Armytage - a longtime supporter of the "Walker Model" for prisoner projections - had resigned from DoJ and was leading the project, and recognised the potential for a similar model for homelessness, and I was sub-contracted to KPMG.  It turned out not so simple, however, as DHS had nothing like the quantity or quality of data that can be found in the criminal justice system.  The problems encountered in the Recidivism project involved the enormous database that had to be analysed, while the problems for the Homelessness project involved the abject inadequacy of the available data.

Less frustrating, but also involving their own data problems, were the South African money laundering project,  which involved very pleasant trips to Centurion in May and September, and the Organised Crime Investments project with TransCrime, for which I travelled to Milan also in September. 

With project manager Kathy Nicolaou and her family at the Lion Park, Johannesburg

Throughout the year, Stuart Ross and I worked steadily with Ben Mante (VicDoJ) on an evaluation of our Victorian DoJ Workload Projection Model.  No less than the Minister had asked for the first output projections of the Model, which were based on 2009-10 data and a Workshop in 2010, to be compared with the actual subsequent trends of 2010-11, 2011-12 and 2012-13. This took place in the shadow of the Jill Meagher tragedy, with unanticipated changes occurring across the criminal justice system - particularly to remand and parole.  Nevertheless, the results were very pleasing, with few areas where the projected trends were more than 5% from actual, and all in areas where the Workshop participants couldn't have anticipated the events that caused the changes. 

There were a couple of unexpected bonuses during the year ......... 

Firstly, as a result of an emailed enquiry from two Chinese PhD students - Jean Young (Renmin University of China) and Cary Wu (University of British Columbia) - who had obtained official Chinese data on the origins and destinations of suspicious transactions. Our research compared these data with the output of my gravity model, showing that the model was extremely accurate in "predicting" these flows, and this resulted in a joint publication - 杨泾,  Walker J., and 吴志明. (2013) Where does China’s Dirty Money Outflow? - The Walker Gravity Model and Five Dimensions Analysis, in the Chinese Journal of Financial Theory and Practice. 

Secondly, in a pleasing "bookend" to the disappointing start to the year, I found my name in the front page lead article of the Canberra Times one day in October, in an article describing the overcrowding the in ACT's prison - the Alexander Maconochie Centre (AMC).  They had obtained a copy of my 2001 projections, which had been carefully put together (using an adaptation of the model used in Victoria) in the design phase for the prison, but had been replaced by ACT Treasury's own projections.  Sadly for Treasury, their projections (for which no methodology has ever been identified) were around 100 prisoners too low after only a few years of operation.  By contrast, my 2001 report had a projected figure for 30 June 2013 that was out by only four prisoners!

2014 in Review

With so many problematic projects continuing from 2013, this was probably one of the hardest years of my career.  It's wonderful to be in demand, but it can be a real slog, particularly when projects never seem to come to fruition!  The Recidivism model became so big and complex that Excel simply couldn't cope with it, and a simpler approach was tested - fortunately with credible results.  The Homelessness modelling became a story of "driver variables" that simply wouldn't drive - it began to look like there was no statistical basis for projections, until the search for linear models was abandoned.  No-one was more surprised (or excited!) than me when a logarithmic model actually produced good "fit" with known trends, and so could be used for projections. Both projects reached satisfactory conclusions during the year - to my great relief!

ACT Corrective Services - no doubt with the sheepish blessing of the Treasury - engaged me to update my 2001 projections, and an excellent series of workshops brought together everything that could be known that could impact on future trends.  The Government subsequently announced a significant upgrade of the prison's capacity.

The Canberra Times lead article of April 29 2014

The Australian Crime Commission asked me to implement my proposed approach to estimating the Costs of Serious and Organised Crime, and numerous meetings took place to explain the methodology - the most satisfying of which were those with the Australian Tax Office, which enthusiastically - and very effectively - adopted the approach to estimate the costs of various tax crimes - a very useful "proof-of-concept"!

Other projects progressed slowly.  The Organised Crime Investments project based in Milan was finding it even harder than expected to compile data on the proceeds of crime in EU countries and how they were invested by crime groups, which meant that my role changed from building a model of these investment patterns to merely describing how such a model could be developed.

May saw me back in South Africa for another series of workshops with the Financial Intelligence Centre.  My visit coincided with President Jacob Zuma's second term swearing in ceremony in Pretoria, which was a spectacular affair attended by around 40,000 excited members of the ANC - and me! 

Jacob Zuma's second Inauguration in Pretoria

In July Stuart Ross and I successfully tendered for a project to update the Legal Aid Funding Models for the Legal Aid Commissions and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services, both of which I had developed in earlier years, and the model for Community Legal Centres which had been developed in house by the Cwlth Attorney General's Department (AGD).  The same month, I was honoured to be invited to advise the Financial Action Task Force's "Mutual Evaluation" of Australia's anti-moneylaundering legislation and operations.

Karan and I spent a week in one of our favourite places - Prague - at the Annual Conference of the European Criminology Society in September, where I gave a presentation at a session on my contribution to the TransCrime Organised Crime Investments project. 

With Russell Smith at the Conference of the European Criminology Society, Prague

As the year came to a conclusion, so did a number of projects.  The Victorian Dept of Human Services finally accepted KPMG's report on Homelessness, including my module on projected homeless numbers.  Penny Armytage and I celebrated quietly - but wholeheartedly - at a nice Russell Street Japanese restaurant.  TransCrime presented our draft report on the Organised Crime Investments project to the European Commission in Brussels.   Some quite imaginative thinking resulted in a set of Legal Aid Funding Models that provided AGD's with a rational basis for allocating the available funds.

What a year that was!

2015 in Review

Oh, boy!  If I thought that 2014 was one of the hardest years of my career, 2015 turned out to be almost as full-on!  It was dominated by two projects: - the Australian Crime Commission's "Costs of Serious and Organised Crime", and the Victorian Department of Justice's Criminal Justice Forecasting Model. The two projects intertwined in an unexpected, but very rewarding, way.  While generally despairing of the scarcity of usable data across the whole spectrum of issues needed to estimate the costs of serious and organised crime, one of the more surprising was the inability of State and Territory criminal justice administrations to estimate the proportion of their operational costs that relate to serious and organised crime.  It really would have put the entire project in peril, so it was particularly rewarding when I realised that the Victorian DoJ model could, in fact, be used to estimate the downstream costs across the whole criminal justice system of that State, and that we could assume similar proportions in other States and Territories, adjusted for their crime-type mix.

Both projects ended the year triumphantly, however.  After many trials and tribulations, project manager, Mandy Carter, and I went to Perth in December to attend the launch of our reports on the Costs of Serious and Organised Crime.  It was nice to hear myself described by the Minister and the ACC CEO as a "pre-eminent economist and criminologist"!

L-R: Commonwealth Minister for Justice, Michael Keenan, project manager Mandy Carter, myself and ACC CEO Chris Dawson at the launch of our report

Along with the more mundane work of updating the Victorian model to 2014/15, and the exciting discovery that it could be used to help the ACC project, this modelling work also ended on a high when, in December, the Victorian Department of Infrastructure asked if the model could be extended to 2049/50 to help their long-term infrastructure planning.  It turned out to be easier than I expected, due mainly to the robust nature of the formulas used in the model, and becomes yet another demonstration of the utility of this model!

I shouldn't finish this account of my work in 2015 without expressing my great appreciation to Mandy Carter (ACC) and Ben Mante (Vic DoJ) for their patience and willingness to work through and solve problems that arose.  It really has been a pleasure to work with you both!

Away from work, I became one half of the "Ten Pound Poms" jazz duo, and played clarinet with Simon Pitt on guitar at the George Harcourt Hotel (below) and at the Merimbula Jazz festival in June. I won't claim that Merimbula was an overwhelming success, but I learnt a lot about something called "foldback", which there wasn't enough of!  We are a work in progress, but now we have two more clarinet players, and a flute player, and Karan plays bass clarinet, while I mostly improvise on saxophone.  (I can either read music or play music - but not both at the same time!).  I have learnt that next to every bum note is a good one, and if you do happen to play a bum note, play it again and they'll think it's very jazzy!  Great advice!

Simon Pitt on guitar and myself on clarinet and bass clarinet at the George Harcourt Hotel

Once again, the year ends with more work already in the pipeline.  No rest for the wicked!

 

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