More prison time for less crime – Interview with Dr Stephen King

Australia is locking up a record number of people. Our detention rate has grown steadily since the 1980s and is now around its highest level in a century.

According to research by the Australian Productivity Commission there are over 40 000 Australians in prison. And many more flow through the prison system each year.

And it is expensive.

Imprisonment costs around $330 per prisoner per day and – on average – costs taxpayers about $120,000 per prisoner per year.

That’s about $5.2 billion in total.

However, as imprisonment rates have increased by about 25% in the past decade – the rate of offending has dropped 18%.

Put simply, crime is down, but more and more people are being locked up.

So how can it be that we have less crime but more people in prison?

It’s the conundrum at the heart of a recently released Productivity Commission research paper entitled Australia’s Prison Dilemma.

Joining me now is Stephen King – Adjunct professor at Monash University – and Commissioner with the Australian Productivity Commission…

Why is it that so many people are being locked up, yet crime rates appear to be dropping?

Gladys Berejiklian cancels daily COVID press conference – Interview with Denis Muller

Last week NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced an end to the state’s daily COVID press conferences – as it documented record new infections and deaths. Instead, she said, the government would provide prepared videos.

Despite surging numbers and her locked-down constituents suffering mental anguish – the Premier said she would abandon the daily opportunities for politicians and health authorities to be questioned by journalists in person – stating “I will turn up when I need to”…

The move has been described as a serious abrogation of responsibility, a dereliction of duty  – especially as these regular face-to-face events may be the only opportunity to hold the government to account during the current crisis, when lock-down decisions are made by a small group of ministers in secret.

On the other hand, some suggest that the end of daily COVID pressers may be bad news for journalists it, it might be good for journalism.

To discuss this, I’m joined by journalism expert Denis Muller – Senior Research Fellow, Centre for Advancing Journalism, The University of Melbourne…

How do you see this move by the NSW Premier to stop the daily press conference? Is this hindering the role of the Fourth Estate? What even is the fourth estate?

High Court rules media outlets liable for Facebook comments – Interview with Dr David Rolph

80 percent of Australians are social media users – Yet while platforms like Facebook, Insta and twitter may indeed connect and inform us – enabling us to share content and comments about content – it is also a place for offensive commentary.

We’ve all seen or been victims of hurtful, defamatory troll comments – often by anonymous users.

What do we mean by defamatory? Anything that could injure a person’s reputation can be defamatory. So, if a comment on Facebook brings a person into contempt, disrepute or ridicule, that maybe considered defamatory – and has legal ramifications.

But who is liable for defamatory comments?

Last week, in a landmark case, the high court ruled that media outlets are legally responsible as the “publishers” of user comments on their Facebook pages.

And this decision could have far-reaching consequences for social media users throughout Australia.

In essence anyone who runs a social media page can hypothetically be sued over derogatory comments — even if you aren’t aware of the comment…

To discuss this I’m joined by Dr David Rolph – Professor of Law, University of Sydney.

More Australian Students Contract cheating – Interview with Dr Guy Curtis

According to a newly published report, it seems 1 in 10 Australian University students are paying others to do their assignments. RTR’s Allan Boyd caught up with senior lecturer Guy Curtis to discuss the concept of Contract Cheating…

New research shows that 10 percent of Australian university students are contract cheating – four times the rate than previously thought.
Contract cheating involves paying other people to do your uni work and then submitting it as if it were your own. This practice includes sitting exams and essay-writing – referred to as ‘ghost-writing’. And it seems the practice is on the rise…

Incidents of contract cheating have hit the media, such as the MyMaster scandal which involved thousands of students employing a Sydney company to write essays and assignments for them – as well as sit online tests – and paying up to 1000 bucks for the service.

And whilst previous research has suggested between 2 and 4 percent of Australian university students handed in work written by contractors – new research suggests it’s more like 10 percent – and they’re getting away with it.

To discuss this, I’m joined by Dr Guy Curtis – Senior Lecturer in Applied Psychology, at UWA… whose article was published in the Conversation.

Identify and Disrupt – Interview with Kathryn Gledhill-Tucker

The so called Identify and Disrupt bill was recently passed by the federal government. It enables officers to covertly hack into your online accounts, impersonate you and disrupt or modify your data. Indymedia’s Allan Boyd caught up with Kathryn Gledhill-Tucker – Nyungar technologist and digital rights activist currently serving on the board of Electronic Frontiers Australia.

Last month a federal government bill to create new police powers to spy on criminal suspects online, disrupt their data and take over their accounts was passed in the senate.

The Surveillance Legislation Amendment (Identify and Disrupt) Bill proposes, among other things, that officers could take control of an online account and impersonate someone.

The bill allows officers to disrupt data by modifying, adding, copying or deleting information in order to frustrate suspected criminal activity.
The government claims the new powers would mainly target terrorists, paedophiles and drug traffickers operating online.

Despite the intention to catch bad guys, and with some limited amendments, digital rights activists are not convinced the bill goes far enough to protect vulnerable internet users.

To help us understand what’s going on here I’m joined by Kathryn Gledhill-Tucker – Nyungar technologist and digital rights activist currently serving on the board of Electronic Frontiers Australia, and campaigner for human rights across movements…

Here’s a really good discussion with Dr Monique Mann and Angus Murray on the efa website.

I Back!

So I’ve had a few months off from doing the journo stuff. I just spent 15 weeks FIFO at a mining exploration camp in the Pilbara. I was working in construction as a Trades Assistant/Labourer and Driver for a remote services company. Then a few weeks back doing Web Development here in Perth. But that’s it for the moment – back into it. You can hear me on RTRFM’s talks shows:  Indymedia and On The Record. And I’ll put my content here…

Adult Media Literacy in Australia – Interview with Dr Tanya Notley

For most of us, it’s hard to imagine a media-free day. We need media to stay informed, interact with our community, be entertained and participate in democracy. But to do these things effectively, we need a basic level of media literacy. But what is media literacy? And why is it important? RTRFM’s Allan Boyd caught up with one of the authors of a new report into media literacy

Most of believe that media, and media diversity is important, and we consume so much of it – often reading the news from the moment we wake up, scrolling throughout the day – and can often be the last thing we do at night. Social media is by far the most common type of media we use – with 83% of adults using social media on a daily basis. But how well do we understand media? A new study on Adult Media Literacy in Australia provides a comprehensive analysis into how Australians understand and use different forms of traditional and digital media. I spoke with the lead author of the study – Senior Lecturer in Digital Media Dr Tanya Notley from the Institute for Culture and Society at the University of Western Sydney.

Indigenous deaths in custody – Interview with Alison Whittaker

It has been 30 years since the 1991 Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody. To discuss I spoke with Gomeroi woman, Fulbright scholar, law researcher, essayist/activist/writer and poetAlison Whittaker – who is a Research Fellow, at University of Technology Sydney.

This month marks 30 years since the 1991 Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody. The report investigated 99 deaths over 10 years and made over 330 recommendations intended to protect Aboriginal people in custody. Despite this, the number of Indigenous people imprisoned has increased 100 per cent in the past three decades.
Indeed the numbers are stark – When you break down it all down, around three per cent of the Australian population make up nearly 30 per cent of those behind bars.

In Western Australia, 40 per cent of prisoners are Indigenous. In the Northern Territory, it is more than 80 per cent.

Aboriginal people are jailed at 13 times the rate of non-Indigenous people. They are also jailed younger, and more likely to die of preventable medical causes, more likely to be incarcerated for minor offences, and more likely to be on remand. To date there have been 474 deaths in 30 years: why are Aboriginal people still dying in custody?

To discuss this I was joined by Gomeroi woman, Fulbright scholar, law researcher, and essayist/activist/writer and poet – Alison Whittaker… who is a Research Fellow, at University of Technology Sydney. Alison’s recent article on Indigenous deaths in custody was published in the Conversation last week.


533 million Facebook accounts exposed – Interview with Prof Paul Haskell-Dowland

66% of Australians have a Facebook account – with over 16 million Australians using the social-media platform every month. And we would expect our personal information to be safe and secure.

But this month, the private data of 533 million Facebook accounts was made publicly available online – causing concern with cyber security experts.

I spoke with Professor Paul Haskell-Dowland, Associate Dean for Computing and Security at Edith Cowan University. Paul’s article on the recent Facebook Breach can be found at the

The website to discover if you have been a victim of this and other breaches is: – and you can add your email or phone number.



Also here on the RTRFM website:

Neck chains on Aboriginal people in 1958 – Interview with historian Dr Chris Owen

Perth historian Dr Chris Owen from the University of Western Australia recently wrote about the barbaric and illegal use of neck chains on Aboriginal people in WA’s Kimberly region – used from the 1880s – right up until 1958. (Read Guardian article)

Dr Chris is the author of Every Mother’s Son is Guilty: Policing the Kimberley Frontier of Western Australia 1882-1905.  He joined Indymedia’s Allan Boyd to talk about the cruelty of white colonialists and the Massacre Map.

And just a warning: The following interview discusses and describes the brutal treatment of Aboriginal people.