Clive Small was formerly a NSW Assistant Commissioner of Police. He co-wrote Evil Life with Tom Gilling who later joined with Terry Jones to write The Griffith Wars, a book I have mentioned previously. Both books cover some of the same territory, but Evil Life gives a far wider view of the ‘ndrangheta, (Calabrian Mafia) in Australia, starting early in the 20th Century cane fields of Queensland and progressing to the present day.
One of the more disturbing aspects is the degree of political influence this criminal organisation has had, including their ability to get members of parliament elected. Neither of the major Australian political parties can claim the historical, higher moral ground when it comes to relationships and attitudes to this organised crime group.
Convicted ‘ndrangheta members have often received underwhelming sentences for serious crimes and in many cases have been acquitted on appeal despite strong evidence of their guilt. Politicians, many police officers and at least one judge have been found to have questionable in their relationships with those they were supposed to be bringing to justice.
An additional point of interest in this book is the inclusion of Graham Potter in the criminals mentioned with links to Mafia activity.
While there are a lot of interesting details given within the book, particularly when covering familiar topics (Griffith, Graham Potter, and other incidents and identities I recall from past news reports), it wasn’t always easy reading. It was hard work at times wading through countless Italian names, many of which were similar, and at times identical.
But it’s not specific details that make this book worthwhile, it’s the bigger picture that Small and Gilling bring to light, of related major criminal groups driving the majority of the illegal drug trade, as well as the political/legal apathy, expediency and at times corruption, that enable them to continue flourishing.
(interview with Clive Small from http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/lifematters/evil-life—the-calbrian-mafia-in-australia/7122112)