VOFF October 26th 2016

New informational short film / pilot - "Swimming Between The Flags" envisages a longer documentary in the future

David Blackall, journalism lecturer at the University of Wollongong, recognises some of the details that make up Australia’s largest superannuation fraud - Trio Capital. 

His students conduct investigative journalism by digging into some of the drama surrounding Trio: the murder, attempted murders, the politicising, and the cover-ups. 

This recent informational video about Trio Capital was made in view of attracting television network sponsorship for the production of a long form documentary. The film would examine how a transnational organised crime gang infiltrated and exploited weaknesses in the Australian financial system. Set in a global context, the documentary will examine serious financial matters that affect a wide demographic and how these sorts of crimes, are integrated with large networks, boiler room scammers and elite fraudsters, who operate precisely the way Trio was masterminded, in many countries and across many financial institutions.

Promo video by David Blackall

Link on YouTube:

David Blackall staff profile: https://ris.uow.edu.au/ris_public/WebObjects/RISPublic.woa/wa/Staff/selectPerson?id=9689&group=4123

Thursday October 3rd 2013 at 10.45 AM

Nick Rheinberger interviews David Blackall on the ABC Illawarra Mornings program. They discuss the Freedom of Information process and the proposed documentary 'Swimming between the Flags. Duration of radio interview is14 minutes.

Oct3,2016-interview D.Blackall abc radio.mp3

transparency & integrity

Freedom of Information (FOI) laws are important to democracy, in more than 90 countries, as they assure transparency in public decision-making. The citizen's 'right to know' helps to expose corruption and maladministration, or it assures citizens that operations are being run well. Government does not always uphold the good intentions of the FOI Act, while some government agencies persistently block access to information. Rather, it appears these agencies are against the idea that ordinary people can access what they believe as government secrets – the spirit of the FOI Act. 

David Blackall and Jolyon Sykes in their article 'The Trio Capital fraud and its victims: A study in freedom of information legislation failure', examine the story of the largest superannuation fraud in Australian history, and how FOI has failed to help its victims. David Blackall as a tutor in journalism recognises that the FOI Act can be a benefit in certain investigative situations, but can also be a slow process, it can be costly and is not always rewarded with results.


Blackall and Sykes’ article on Trio is in the book, Freedom of Information: Ten Years On, Freedom Fighting or Lazy Journalism? Abramis UK, 2015 pp223-232.

'Trio hedge funds: Government regulators and the public's right to know’ 

In another article 'Trio hedge funds: Government regulators and the public's right to know’ David Blackall provides an ongoing account of the battle by a non-profit victims' group to access information about a financial crime. There are limits to what the public are allowed to learn concerning the security and safety of the Australian financial system. Issues about security are recognised and understood by consumers, but at times (as the case for VOFF with Trio) crucial information appears to be blocked as a means to protect the financial regulators’ failings. The article appeared in the Australian Lawyers Alliance, publication - Precedent No. 134, May/June 2016: 33-38. The article is available for $4 AUD at the Lawyers Alliance website.

Link on YouTube:

Steel Skeleton: Port Kembla Steelworks Documentary

by University of Wollongong students of journalism. Video was uploaded to Youtube on Nov 12, 2015 

The Port Kembla Steelworks was once the lifeblood of the Illawarra.

The region flourished off the backs of thousands of local and immigrant steelworkers, who transformed Wollongong into the backbone of Australia’s steel industry. But the demise of domestic manufacturing has forced these workers out of their life-long jobs at Port Kembla and into the unknown.

While many locals have had fulfilling careers because of steel, others have become casualties of the dying industry they helped build.

The question is now whether the steel industry can be saved, who will save it and what needs to change. The answer may lie in an unexpected approach driven by a former worker and unionist - Paul Matters.

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