Saturday’s Storyology schedule in Brisbane was sure to impress any crime enthusiasts in the audience. In a setting that resembled ABC’s ‘The Book Club,’ accomplished journalists Quentin Dempster, Kate Kyriacou, Joshua Robertson and Kerry O’Brien sat down to discuss all things crime and punishment.
We first heard from The Guardian’s Joshua Robertson on organised crime in Queensland. Mr Robertson, who had previously handled the investigations desk, spoke of cannabis being the most trafficked drug in Queensland.
The News Daily contributor Quentin Dempster then fired off a list of questions about hydroponic cannabis plants, to which Kerry O’Brien interrupted, saying: “Why, are you interested in buying some Quentin?”
“No it’s not my drug of choice, Dempster said.
“They [cannabis traffickers] just sound like very enterprising people.”
This back-and-forth banter between Kerry and Quentin was incredibly amusing.
The recent story embroiling the Ibrahim family in a billion-dollar drug syndicate was raised. But Robertson hesitated in calling it a major triumph.
One billion dollars sounds like a lot of money but it is only the tip of the iceberg, he said.
“People tend to think there is one Mr Big at the at the centre of these organised crime syndicates.
“From what we’ve seen, there are usually multiple Mr. Bigs.”
Moderator Madonna King then passed it over to Kate Kyriacou, Courier- Mail Chief Crime Reporter and author of ‘The Sting: The Undercover Operation that Caught Daniel Morcombe’s Killer.’
Kyriacou took out a Clarion award in 2016 for her report on the undercover police effort that lead to the confession and arrest of Brett Peter Cowan.
While panellists praised both Kate’s work and the undercover work Queensland Police did in closing Daniel Morcombe’s case, Kerry O’Brien raised concerns for the state of investigative journalism today.
“It’s difficult because investigative journalism is very expensive yet so underfunded, O’Brien said.
“A four corners program will take around seven weeks to produce.”
Despite funding woes, Kyriacou seemed convinced that, as the English proverb goes, if there’s a will then there’s a way.
“Of course, it’s difficult and it takes time,” Kyriacou said.
“But every day I fight for the time I need to work on my projects.”
Left, Melissa Maykin, Middle, Kerry O’Brien. “I’m the thorn between two roses,” he said.
The day finished on a lighter note with singer-songwriters Patience Hodgson, John Patterson, Hannah Shepherd and QWeekend columnist and comedian Mel Buttle sharing their favourite Brisbane stories.
Josh Patterson, from The Grates, recalled a night out in summer when a bouncer rejected him for wearing shorts.
“We were like, dude it’s the middle of summer and even the coppers wear shorts,” he said.
Mel Buttle then added her two cents regarding Brisbane’s hottest suburbs.
“I like to find a suburb of Brisbane that’s not a main one, not The Valley, Paddington or West End.
“Just go to a normal suburb and find an old bloke and sit down and have a yarn about what’s happened to the country for 50 minutes.
“That’s a popular Brisbane past time,” Buttle joked.
Despite some weird and wonderful experiences, everyone agreed Brisbane is a truly unique place to live.