Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Meet the man who looks after bikie gangs


Australia - ON a side street tucked away from Fremantle's bustling cappuccino strip, Michael Tudori sips a macchiato washed down with sparkling mineral water - as traditional Italians do. It's a suburb not dissimilar to his childhood, growing up around Northbridge where his father Lawrence and uncle Bert became kings of illegal gambling in the 1970s before Burswood Casino took over the market. "It was a very colourful childhood," Mr Tudori, 40, said. "Northbridge was a great place as a kid. "My Nonna, my grandmother, lived in Parker St. In the back lane there were a whole lot of Italian carpentry shops. You had the Peter's Ice Cream factory in Northbridge. You would go to the Re Store and all the Italian places around. It was a wonderful place as a kid growing up, it was always very colourful and it was safe." It was Mr Tudori's Italian migrant father, an open wariness of police and a keen interest in 1980s courtroom TV drama LA Law that encouraged his entry into law after graduating from John XXIII College in Mt Claremont. "I remember as a child coming home (from school) and I knew I'd cop flak on the bus because Dad had been arrested that night for running the gambling clubs," he said. "We always knew when the clubs were going to be raided. The police would ring us. It was just all part of the process. They would all get taken down to the lock-up. Dad or my uncle would pay away everyone's fines and they would have an after party, a bail-out party. "In those days the magistrate would say: 'Laurie or Bert were you up or down?' If they were down they would keep the fine down, but if they were up that night the fine had to be a bit higher that time. That's just the way that Perth worked in those days. I've seen police corruption first-hand. I've seen police getting paid off in the days before gambling finally became quashed because of Burswood and I think that has always stuck in my mind. Police are fallible. "You get brought up thinking you can always trust a police officer, and you do and you must instil that faith in your children. But time has shown, especially in WA that if anything, the police are the biggest gang in WA."

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