Tasmanian Times

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche


Turn it Off

*Pic: Rodney Pople’s 2012 Glover Art Prize winner entitled ‘Port Arthur’ … with Martin Bryant …

I watch very little television these days; I have sold my soul to Netflix (for which shows like Orange is the New Black and all the movies are worth it) and I catch up with one or two other shows on iView, but that’s it. I can’t tell you what’s happening on Home and Away or why the Habibs are coming, or even who they are. Really, I don’t care.

So I won’t be watching on Sunday night when Channel 7 airs an episode of its ‘Sixty Minutes Lite’ Sunday night current affairs program, called—in what is a brilliant piece of marketing genius—Sunday Night.

Apparently they have uncovered ‘new footage’ of Martin Bryant taken during the Port Arthur rampage of Sunday afternoon, April the 28th 1996. I have not watched the footage but I have seen stills from it on the Daily Mail webpage to which this article linked. This footage has apparently been packaged up as some sort of ‘where is Martin Bryant now?’ story, hosted by veteran television “journalist” Mike Willesee, who really should know better than to touch this prurient crap.

I know where Bryant is now; I went to court to watch him receive 35 consecutive life sentences. Since then I have heard that he has not particularly enjoyed his time there—there have been several suicide attempts, he spends nearly all day in isolation, and so on. The issue I have with programs like Sunday Night giving him and the Port Arthur Massacre oxygen is that we all need to pretend that the man no longer exists.

I do not advocate for capital punishment but the extremely horrific nature of his actions that afternoon mark him as someone who should never have another day of freedom. I would further contend that in order for any healing to continue—it’s still continuing, twenty years on, and will continue for many of those involved for as long as they draw breath—everyone needs to forget that he’s there, or that he exists.

I was employed as a Ghost Tour Guide at Port Arthur at the time of the massacre. I was not there that afternoon but I had spent several summers previously living on site and working with Nanette Mikac, Nicole Burgess and Elizabeth Howard.

Nicole and Elizabeth were shot at point blank range as they cowered in the small gift shop attached to the Broad Arrow Café. Nanette told her two young daughters, six-year-old Alannah and three-year-old Madeline, that they were safe as she ran with them up the hill leading out of the site towards the ticket booth; Bryant stopped his yellow Volvo and shot all three of them, an act witnessed by a very good friend of mine.

One of the girls ran behind a tree, trying to hide. I can’t begin to imagine the absolute terror that all three of them felt.

I attended their funeral in the Melbourne suburb of Heidelberg, not far from the hospital where Nanette was working as a nurse when she met her future husband, Walter. The sight of Nanette’s coffin flanked by the two smaller coffins bearing her daughters is something that I will take with me to my own grave.

The sight of Walter, his face twisted with unimaginable grief and his daughters’ elastic hairbands circling his wrist, is also etched onto my soul. In a moment of splendid incongruity perfectly in keeping with Nanette’s personality, the three coffins were escorted from the Church to the tune of ABBA’s ‘Dancing Queen’.

A common tenet of journalism is that it’s supposed to serve the public interest. Airing “new footage” of Bryant that Sunday afternoon must fail such a test. There is no interest to be served in packaging it up with recollections and psychologists’ opinions so that it threatens to rip the fragile scabs off some very, very deep wounds.

This is not journalism; it is crass, artless, sensationalist bullshit. I invite you to turn it off, and listen to ABBA instead. You’ll feel much better about yourself.

*Cameron Hindrum lives, writes and works in Launceston.

Author Credits: [show_post_categories parent="no" parentcategory="writers" show = "category" hyperlink="yes"]


  1. Huskydog

    June 4, 2016 at 3:59 pm

    I accidentally pressed the ‘Do noy advise me of further comments’ link…..

    Please add me back to being notified of comments

    Thank you!

    Ed: up to you … just click the notify box agin!x

  2. Tracey

    June 4, 2016 at 1:59 pm

    One other confirmed point. Martin Bryant did not have a firearms licence.
    I ask those around him at the time, again why did a person with a known personality disorder have access to firearms. And why did the Police not prosecute based on that fact.
    I’m sorry but those with conspiracy theories may have a valid point.

  3. Gregory Whittaker

    June 4, 2016 at 5:08 am

    You’re right Cameron, I watched Mike Willesee embarrass himself with this puerile tripe. All I hear is Martin Bryant is the shooter and anyone one who disagrees is a conspiracy theorist as despicable as Bryant. not once has a ‘journalist ever tried to prove Martin Bryant guilty, not once has a ‘journalist tested the DPP’s timeline against witness statements, or witness descriptions of the shooter against what martin Bryant actually looked like, not once has a journalist ever covered the plethora of stunningly unbelievable coincidences and anomalies that accompany the Port Arthur Massacre (these are documented). Cameron, instead of bleating on about Willesee’s shoddy journalism, how about you put your talents to proving Martin Bryant is guilty, prove he was at Seascape Cottage when the Martins were killed, or at the Broad Arrow Cafe, or even that the guns police have were even used in the shootings. I’m betting that you can’t. Don;t worry if you can’t, the Police couldn’t either, that’s why it was essential that Avery badger Martin Bryant into pleading guilty.
    PS Don’t bleat conspiracy theorist to me and walk away satisfied that you have defended the status quo. You better show me the evidence because I really want to know how you justify Martin Bryant rotting in jail for the past 20 years. If your evidence based i will humbly apologise, but if you can’t I expect you to tell the truth and walk with me on the dark side..

  4. Ozzyols

    March 8, 2016 at 7:31 am

    I think before this devolves much further we need to remind ourselves of a couple of things.

    In little over a months time the families and friends of 35 innocent people will be facing twenty years without their loved ones. The 23 survivors and their families may have it even worse, 20 years of potentially reliving the events of that tragic day.

    We can argue who did it, and what the impact of the gun reform was… but that really is a mute point and it is not for us dogpile our suppositions and opinions on probably the worst day of their lives.

    Three days earlier many of us would have stopped to honour our service men and women. May the creed of ANZAC Day ring true here… and it’s the only thing that matters


  5. Ann Hirschmann

    March 8, 2016 at 2:06 am

    Sadly most of the uninformed comments on the Port Arthur disaster are coming from our so called countrymen from the mainland who did not experience what we all experienced that terrible day almost twenty years ago. I for one cancelled a trip there on that day as was previously planned due to tickets which were about to expire that weekend. I was devastated to find out when my husband and I arrived in the Huon Valley (due to the change of plan) to find out that by lunch time twelve people had already been killed. By night time thirty five innocent beautiful people lost their lives. Hobart went into mourning and as people went about their daily tasks no one spoke as no one could find words to describe the horrific act. There was a stillness and a
    community in total sorrow. Yes we as locals all knew who Martin Bryant was as Hobart is a small place and as he was a local; he frequented our local shops and surroundings. For anyone to suggest that the twenty seven year old wasn’t capable of using a shot gun…..Well any fool can use a fire arm as it the cowardly way that certain people settle their grievances. Please respect the families and community who know best what happened on that terrible day. I know members of families who lost loved ones and are still grieving today. To those who were not in Tasmania at the time, please spare a thought for all the families who lost their loved ones and remember thirty five innocent people who lost their lives. Cowards will always find a way to use a shot gun as it is the easy way out for losers.

  6. Tracey

    March 7, 2016 at 7:49 pm

    Andrew you have just shot your self in the foot. You use the term “estimated 3.2 millon guns in Australia”. Exactly!, they didnt and dont know how many guns are in Australia – they are full of bluster and bluff. By banning them they lose more control of managing them. People do not accept or listen to any authority completly – so the risk of another Martin Bryant is still there except the Authorities dont know who’s got what anymore. They will have you beleive that they have it under control. If they were registered they would have a better chance of managing the situation.

    Andrew your naivety on fireans shows, there is an exceptional number of H Catigory Firearms in Australia that can do as much damage as the Firearms you beleive should have been banned. Many of them are heavy caliber semiautomatic and are owned legally by ordinary citzens. These people compete and travel all over Australia and overseas with them. When did you last hear of one of these lawful owners running amuck with one of these firearms? You didnt. They present as big a risk as did anyone else prior to Howards Legislation and still do. Do you think that these Lawful Competitors should have these types of semiautos taken off them??? Just Try, the NZ Govt. was warned by the Judiciary and legal fraternity at the time of Port Arthur not to go there as a large proportion of them were shooters and hunters of diffrent persuasions.

    Keep in mind these firearms are concealable.
    There is one diffrence here, they all are registered and all are required to belong to club.
    Why, because they can be monitored for their behavioural habits and the firearms are traceable.
    It works Andrew and it would have worked if Howard hadnt been ‘playing to the gallery’ and it works in NZ too.

    As far as Martin Bryant legally obtaining a firearm, that is absolute rubbish.
    In the eyes of the law no individual can legally obtain, possess or use a firearm with a metal health problem or a head injury that limits their mental capacity. And that has always been the case. Again what were the people doing around him at the time, allowing him access to any weapon.
    Howards Legislation does not stop anyone with mental health issues from illegally obtaining a firearm as Lindt Cafe issue demonstrated.Mann Monas was a known to have issues. So Andrew Im unsure of your reasoning above??

    Your take on the statistics between Australia is ill informed go and watch Bill Whittle on Youtube and educate your self. The facts are what they are and have been collated by better informed people than you an I. Keep in mind that Bill Whittle is a Ultra Conservative just like John Howard claims to be.
    Semi Automatic weapons are not hard to obtain in Australia, over aperiod of time the applicants go through a stringent vetting process and must justify the continued use of them.
    Ferule Animal cullers are able to purchase AR15 rifles, but have to meet certain criteria to retain them.

    Oh dear, wasnt that what I was suggesting should have been done when John Howards created a nightmare with his legslation.

    Fact: 1 We still can buy and retain semi auto weapons in Australia.

    Fact: 2 We are still at risk of another Port Arthur

    Fact: 3 There still a large number of unregistered Semi Auto weapons in Australia and they are increasing ( 500 brand new Glock 19s smuggle in Australia two years ago, not all accounted for)

    Fact: 4 You can ban semi autos all you like Andrew and you wont stop them.

    Fact: 5 There are criminals amongst our Authorities that facilitate the entry of smuggle goods – case in point 500 Glock 19s
    Johns Legslation did a good job of stopping that- Not!!

    Andrew you can argue all you like, but the Authorities dont and can’t control certain processes or paths into Australia and the more you ban something the bigger commodity it becomes just like drugs.

  7. Andrew A

    March 7, 2016 at 5:47 pm

    Andrew #69: Agreed.

    Tracey #68: A drop in the ocean? There were an estimated 3.2 million guns in Australia in 1996. 700,000 represents nearly a quarter of the guns. Hardly a ‘drop in the ocean’. As for unregistered/illegally owned guns, do you have reliable statistics on them?

    Yes, you can’t legislate all firearms out of existence. You can legislate some of them out of legal existence, which *does* reduce the number owned. Despite what you seem to suggest, there are a crapload of people in the country who won’t own a gun if it’s illegal, simply due to it being illegal.

    As for the number of people killed in the US, all the statistics are based on ‘per capita’, meaning the total population is eliminated as a factor. The US has 10 firearm related deaths per 100,000 population. Australia has less than 1. In other words, were the populations equal, the US would still have over 10 times the number of gun related deaths as Australia. If you eliminate suicides, we’re now looking at over 20 times the number of deaths per capita. Note: I’m not saying that’s a result of Howard’s legislation, but it does show that your comment about manipulating statistics is ridiculous.

    As for fixing social and mental health issues, sure, I’m 100% behind that. But these things are not mutually exclusive. Go ahead, let’s fix social and mental health issues (as if it were that simple), but at the same time, let’s also make it more difficult to obtain weapons purely designed to efficiently kill people.

    The comment of yours I find the most peculiar is “why did he have access to any type of item that could be used as a weapon”. Whilst I consider that a bit extreme, given even a pencil can be used as a deadly weapon, I do agree with the sentiment, which is that someone with his mental issues can’t be trusted with deadly weapons. And you know what? Part of the Howard legislation is that it makes it a hell of a lot more difficult for someone with his mental issues to obtain the most deadly of weapons. Good thing right?

    Ultimately, lets bring this down to the simple facts. Martin Bryant legally obtained weapons that he used to quickly and efficiently kill a lot of innocent people. It’s a lot harder to obtain those weapons now. I don’t care what kind of rhetoric you want to profess, but IMO this is a good thing.

  8. Andrew

    March 7, 2016 at 4:56 pm


    people see what they want to see.

  9. Tracey

    March 7, 2016 at 4:31 pm

    Andrew twenty years down the track and Howard’s legislation objectives haven’t worked and haven’t had a review of any great nature. Mate you miss the point you have been gullible enough to accept that is what Howard was trying to achieve, making the population safer, yeah right …
    Look at the photos and lists of what was handed in the buy back.
    Andrew gun licence applications rose by 32% last year just in Queensland alone. I love folks like you that comment and have not got a clue how many firearms are held by people in Australia, your figure of 700,000 is a drop in the ocean of the actual firearms legally and illegally owned.
    You can’t legislate firearms out of existence, you need to manage them, NZ has done this well.
    Prohibition never worked in the 30s in the US, alcohol became an illegal commodity.
    And no legislation hasn’t worked in this case.
    Google Bill Whittle, he presents the actual statistics on gun crime. Keep in mind that the US figures that we keep hearing of their so called shocking gun violence includes, suicide deaths, Residents defending from home invasion, and Police shootings deaths all lumped into one shocking figure representing 300 million plus people. Easy to manipulate statistics with that size population. Andrew you will never remove guns from society, fix the social and mental health issues, Like the people around Martin Bryant should have done. Why did he have access to any type of item that could be used as a weapon in his state of mind??
    Don’t tell me no one had any idea he was unstable !
    Most of all, fix the Pollitical Corruption that prevents common sense management of such issues. Time for Pragmatists to take control, not Idealists that have no practicle experience with such issues.

  10. Andrew A

    March 7, 2016 at 2:22 pm

    Tracey #66: do you suggest that the entire criminal code is a failure because crimes are still committed?

    As for the AR15 CAR purchase, I have no idea why that’s legal. Does that purchase suggest that the Howard legislation achieved nothing? Not to me it doesn’t. 700,000 guns were turned in. That’s 700,000 guns that weren’t needed, that are no longer in public possession.

    Where are you getting these stats suggesting Australia has the third highest gun crime in the world?

    Regarding the lever action shotgun: there’s still debate about whether it should be available given the similarities to the pump action ones that were banned. Does this mean the law is a failure? No, simply that it isn’t defined well enough and needs revision. Should we consider all laws that need revisions to be failures? No, because then you’d be excluding practically every law that has ever existed.

    Sorry Tracey, but I still completely disagree that the Howard legislation was just a ‘political stunt’.

  11. Tracey

    March 7, 2016 at 12:24 pm

    Hmm? Andrew, you have shown your ill informed ignornance in those short few words. Lindt cafe prime example of Howard’s failed legislation. Firearm still on the street unaccounted for, not on ticket.
    Click on this URL and tell me Howard’s laws are working.


    Keep in mind police intelligence did not find this haul, a mining rail lines inspector did.

    Recently I observed a Primary Producer (Farmer) and his wife purchase a AR15 CAR that is a carbine semi auto version of a M4 M16 style so called assault rifle from a gun shop in Queensland.
    Primary Producers can still obtain these weapons. As you stated what for?
    Rules for some not others. These firearms are still obtainable in Australia and there are thousands off ticket, in the general populations hands, are we safer with Howard’s law, no!
    New Zealand kept their military style and semi autos on ticket by way of an E Category licence. A fair amount of them are accounted for. Gun crime one of the lowest in the world.
    Now here is the kicker, Australia the third highest gun crime in the world behind Brazil. Check the actual facts Andrew, America is twelfth in the world per capita.
    Hence why the reporting of statistics here in Australia need an overhaul.
    Gun crime in Australia does not lead in the use of weapons to harm people.
    Your comment on lever action shot guns is interesting, adverts for lever action shot guns Pardus brand for $1099 dollars from Queensland Gun Exchange today. No different action or mag Capacity to the type the Federal Police have tried to ban???
    Sorry Andrew do your homework, Howard’s legislation was a political stunt!

  12. Andrew A

    March 7, 2016 at 11:17 am

    Tracey #62: “John Howard’s legislation after this sad event has failed with more illegal firearms on the streets than ever”; Failed? Are you serious?? I think you’ve completely missed the point of the legislation. The purpose was, (1) to reduce the availability of guns from the general public that serve no purpose other than to kill people, and (2) to tighten up control so that people who shouldn’t own guns can’t obtain them legally.

    How many people have been killed in Australia by assault rifles since 1996? As for pump-action shotguns, yes, one was used in the Lindt cafe incident, which was one purchased before 1996 and never registered. I’m not sure how you could call that a failure of the legislation though.

  13. mark h

    March 6, 2016 at 10:38 pm

    Bryant should be encouraged that upon his death he donate his body to science. Or at least his head.

  14. Andrew

    March 6, 2016 at 10:13 pm

    oops, I just did a quick check and Bryant was given his first gun at age 14, not 12.

  15. Tracey

    March 6, 2016 at 9:37 pm

    Mike Willesee and Channel 7 should be ashamed of themselves. Why rake up the past and open an old wound. This was very a sad case done by a person who was quite mad.
    Channel 7 has embarked on a journey of reporting and sensationalising events that may and in a recent case in the US didn’t relate to a Firearm events of late.
    Misinformation and poor reporting needs to be reviewed by these Corporations.
    I would suggest that this story was to keep reminding the public how bad firearms are, towards further restrictions.
    Keep going, you will drive them underground to a point of losing complete control of them.
    John Howard’s legislation after this sad event has failed with more illegal firearms on the streets than ever.

  16. Andrew

    March 6, 2016 at 9:22 pm

    Cameron: and a fair comment about Carleen as well. I agree.

  17. Andrew

    March 6, 2016 at 9:16 pm

    HuskyDog: writes with his right hand and shoots with the other?

    Okay, if you say so.

    Cameron: yeah, I’d heard that. I don’t know that it undermines the accuracy of the book in an overall sense, but there was certainly a payout – it seems Carleen got a chunk of money for use of her manuscript, which is fair. This is interesting: http://www.crikey.com.au/2009/05/27/dear-fairfax-martin-bryants-mother-set-to-sue/?wpmp_switcher=mobile

    The legal demands on the second page are particularly notable.

    I’ll read with interest the book you mention as well, when it’s published in. It seems like a very credible text.

  18. Helen

    March 6, 2016 at 9:15 pm

    I was living in Hobart when the training video turned up at the tip shop in 2004. The story I heard at the time is a person bought it unawares. Made copies, watched it and became traumatised. Cops said it wasn’t disposed of correctly, accidentally ended up at the tip shop and got in a bit of trouble. Said they couldn’t be sure they retrieved all the copies. Fast forward to 2011 the footage is uploaded on the Internet for the first time. Cops give a statement that the tape was “stolen” in 2004 but they never figured out who stole it.
    As soon as I read your blog I thought of the tip shop tape straight away. Turns out this new footage is from this police training tape. To put it bluntly, sounds like sixty minutes cashing in on police incompetence. My thoughts go out to the victims and family.

  19. Huskydog

    March 6, 2016 at 2:31 pm

    Andrew #56

    You obviously did not watch the police video interview with Bryant last night! NOT a falsehood…

    He demonstrated how he holds a rifle….Up to his LEFT shoulder & presses the trigger with the finger of his LEFT hand! Note: He only WRITES with his right hand!

    The gunman in the BA Cafe shot from his RIGHT HIP…

    And try reading a decent book about Bryantby broadening your outlook…’Mass Murder’ by Dr. Keith Allan Noble & contributed to by many researchers…Available free in ebook by download….

  20. Cameron

    March 6, 2016 at 1:59 pm

    One comment regarding Born or Bred; its authors were involved in lengthy legal action brought by Bryant’s mother, Carleen, apparently because they used images of him in the book without her permission, and borrowed heavily from a book she had started writing also without her knowledge or permission.

    In short, the inference seems to be that they took advantage of her. The legal action was resolved for an undisclosed sum. This episode is covered in a new book, reviewed in Saturday’s Examiner, called The Media and the Massacre.

    If I haven’t already said so, Bryant’s mother remains one of the unacknowledged silent victims of the events of April 28th. My heart goes out to her.

  21. Andrew

    March 6, 2016 at 9:34 am

    One thing: I neglected to mention this, but there’s a a consistent falsehood that is propagated, which is that Martin Bryant was left-handed.
    This is untrue. He was right handed, and had been handling guns since he was twelve. This is covered in the Born Or Bred book.

  22. Jimbob

    March 6, 2016 at 4:08 am

    Fiona (49) where the hell do you get the idea that he killed someone with every shot??? There 35 people killed and *23 wounded*… helllooo?

  23. Surreal

    March 6, 2016 at 3:01 am

    Husky Dog

    No… not disputing… mocking… I just chose the most outrageous one of those you typed. The others weren’t really worth the effort until I have seen something to verify your suppositions.

    True I was the one to imply the police by reading between your lines… perhaps I should have said Tasmanian State Government, or some dastardly secret private organisation that sought to destroy the tourist attraction of Port Arthur. Or… it could have been and even more secret society who needed corpses to continue their super zombie soldier program… The ideas of who might have done this are ENORMOUS

  24. Tamara

    March 6, 2016 at 3:01 am

    To all the conspiracy theorists… live a day in my shoes…where near on 20 years later, its till feels like yesterday, where this monstrosity has ruined your family, your families lives and all you ever believed in? Does that thing deserve forgiveness? Do I deserve the teenage life I should have had, had I not been involved? The wounds run with all that were involved and will never truly heal apart from trying to put a smile on your face every day

  25. Andrew

    March 6, 2016 at 1:31 am

    Hello Cameron,
    Thanks very much for your personal reflection and sharing about a very traumatic event. I note that you said you did not wish to watch, and that you hoped others did not as well. Good for you; you explain your position and suggest why others might follow your example.

    Now, I’d suggest that people who think there is something odd about the way Bryant’s case was handled talk to some actual legal professionals about why certain decisions were made. That may fill in a few gaps, or at least provide another possibility.

    If anyone really wants to delve into Bryant, perhaps they should read the book, ‘Born or Bred? Martin Bryant: the making of a mass murderer’ by Robert Wainright & Paola Totaro. This rather confronting book examines much known information, is very well researched and answers many questions some have about Bryant, such as his experience with guns (the short answer is that he had plenty). It’s also a disturbing and sad read, so approach with caution.

    If people want to believe there is something odd, I guess they will though.

  26. Justathought

    March 6, 2016 at 1:15 am

    After WATCHING the show on tv, i honestly dont think martin had the ability to tie his shoe laces let alone shoot from the hip, maybe u should of watched it, he had no idea what was going on, an we apparently see a note he wrote saying guilty but never acually seen him plead guilty at all. No im not saying im heartless my heart goes out to every family involved BUT to blame a backward person for crime he clearly didnt do or didnt do alone is ludicrous btw not one clear video of him at all NOT ONE.

  27. Huskydog

    March 5, 2016 at 8:26 pm

    Surreal #48

    Out of 10 relevant points I made, you can only dispute ONE?…lol…I must have hit a nerve with my facts!

    ‘So, are you implying then that the police are responsible for the massacre?’ –

    Where did I implicate ‘police’?

    Are you saying that the police had the morgue truck built & then sold it? Because that’s not what my statement says! But if you’re saying that then so be it….lol…

  28. Fiona

    March 5, 2016 at 7:05 pm

    Funny how quick people can attack someone simply because they want to know that they have the right person. One person seems to think it inconceivable that educated people could set something in motion that could have completely gone wrong but someone with a low IQ could pull it off a master piece. Usually I am not someone that believes in conspiracy theories. I stumbled on the acticle by chance. I have read and re read to make sense of something. Other massacres have occurred but never have they shot and killed with every shot fired. But he did? How do we know that someone who might have been employed to create havoc with no body count didnt suddenly change the plan. Wow thats never happened in life has it. At the ended of the day yes the victims of these families need to heal and if thinking that they have the perp makes them sleep easier at night, all well and good. But hey innocent people have been sent to prison!!!!

  29. Surreal

    March 5, 2016 at 6:16 pm

    Huskydog #31

    “9) A 22 body morgue truck was built prior to the massacre, used once at PA & then sold off…”

    So, are you implying then that the police are responsible for the massacre? That’s a pretty big chance to take making a comment like that.

  30. lola moth

    March 5, 2016 at 5:33 pm

    dave #44. Where on earth did I say that I think that every person in prison is guilty? My views are quite the opposite and I have been actively involved in helping the defence where I know the accused to be innocent. I have also been a prosecution witness in trials that have resulted in 63 convictions for murder and 147 convictions for manslaughter. I said that to think that hundreds of people conspired together to convict one particular innocent person for no reason at all and let the guilty person go free, that type of thinking would be deluded.

  31. Steve

    March 5, 2016 at 5:13 pm

    #42; If it were all a conspiracy, there’d have been no need for a trial. Shot resisting arrest. Clean and tidy, with no loose ends to be woven into alternative theories.
    Ultimately, I always think the biggest reason to disregard conspiracy theories is that they rely on there being some part of the Government competent enough to be capable of successfully conspiring.

  32. Dave

    March 5, 2016 at 4:39 pm

    @ Cameron #35 Sorry Cameron but you have used your vehicle of employment to garner further exposure for this “shallow grab” at ratings! I’m sure far more people will watch as a result than won’t! Shot yourself in the foot I’d say!
    Cheers to you too

  33. dave

    March 5, 2016 at 4:28 pm

    @ lola moth #41 Sorry but I think you are deluded if you seriously think every person in jail is guilty!

  34. Douglas Ainsworth

    March 5, 2016 at 4:25 pm

    @ Andrew #28 Thank you for stating the obvious.
    No Trial, no evidence and all backed up with the admissions of a man so below par mentally that his affairs were dealt with by the Public Trustee!
    Sounds reasonable to me, not!
    Can anyone tell me why there was no Coronial Inquest?
    Can anyone tell me why it was necessary lock away evidence?

  35. Dave

    March 5, 2016 at 3:43 pm

    @ Cameron #35 if asking questions makes me a conspiracy theorist, so be it! 35 people died at the Port Arthur massacre and Martin Bryant (with the IQ of an 11yo) pleaded guilty! Deal done, no questions asked. Why was there never a coronial inquest? I can think of 35 good reasons why there should have been!

  36. lola moth

    March 5, 2016 at 3:29 pm

    When you are a victim of crime you want the person responsible punished. You don’t want just anyone punished, just the person responsible. Creating one more victim would be as senseless as the crime itself. Anyone who thinks that hundreds of people have conspired together to deliberately put an innocent person in prison for life whilst the real perpetrator goes free is deluded.

  37. Michael Bugg

    March 5, 2016 at 3:24 pm

    Here it is again, Cameron and others who seem to have missed it… one error apparent:

    @ Andrew – who are you referring to when you say ‘farfetched conspiracies’?

    @Cameron – original lawyer quit, replaced by Avery, then Bryant changed plea months later.

    @Cameron – Not being able to handle presenting witness testament is not a valid reason for *** refusing to examine*** case evidence.

    @Tony – No trial was heard, only the entering of Bryants plea(s) from not guilty under Gunson, then guilty under Avery…. Shooting at close range with a) accurate head shots b) high kill:wounded ratios c) in a short time frame d) in a small enclosed space e) limited bullets used with semi auto is a feat of a marksman…
    The witness statements stating non recognition of Bryant as shooter are leaked documents. These were not made public by media nor presented in a court of law.

    @ every reader/ commentor – please respond to Dougs comment 16.

    Enjoy fruitful discourse, but please 15. John, take your ad hominem and peddle it down to the grave you are digging for yourself.

  38. Lord Boofead

    March 5, 2016 at 12:43 pm

    I disagree completely with this, the Author has maybe been fortunate enough to not encounter either online or in person the subhuman conspiracy theorist trash that think that he didn’t do it.

    As we get further and further out from the event more stupid and mentally unstable folk believe the wild paranoid conspiracies so the truth needs to be repeated. Those of us with a connection will never forget anyway.

    Last I was at a spoken word event and was unfortunate enough to encounter a ‘Rapper’ who was a local who thought it was a good idea to do a rap about how it was all a conspiracy.

  39. David

    March 5, 2016 at 10:39 am

    I was living in Tas at the time. Just a couple of thoughts. 1. The style of shows like ACA and Sunday Night have never really been about news and very often have their facts wrong. Talk to people who have been on those shows and many will tell you all kinds of details were incorrect.
    2. I feel culture shaping events like this one are destined to be in our minds for a long time to come. It changed Tasssie and the nation. I don’t like the way it’s dealt with on current affairs shows and I won’t be watching this one (rarely do) but I’m not against it being dealt with in the public space.
    3. The problem with conspiracy theories is after a while those who believe it begin to use third party opinion that eventually become “facts” that become the foundation of the conspiracy. I might add that it’s fairly pointless trying to talk people out of a good conspiracy theory, just google the term conspiracy theory and you see why. I mean no offence but it’s more of a way of seeing things generally than a genuine investigation into one particular event.
    4. I still have strong feelings rise from that event, I suspect I always will.

  40. Cameron

    March 5, 2016 at 9:50 am

    #34. Hi Seth. Thanks for the critique–I’m always interested in feedback.

    Firstly, Orange is the New Black is brilliant television. Well scripted, well acted, showcases diversity, good stuff. In the right hands, the medium is capable of wonderful things.

    Secondly, I am capable of deciding what I want to watch and what I don’t want to watch. I don’t want to watch Martin Bryant killing people, and I don’t want to watch an experienced journalist like Mike Willesee stooping to the gutter depths of rank tabloid lowest-common-denominator voyeurism to try and grab a few Sunday night ratings. It is disgusting, if my piece hasn’t already made that clear.

    Thirdly, calling what I wrote journalism is probably a bit of a stretch–I’ll concede that. It’s an opinion piece. Newspapers and websites like Tasmanian Times often publish those, too. It’s when the two get confused that there can sometimes be a problem. But I don’t think there’s much confusion here. I have a very clear point of view and I’ve written accordingly.

    Fourth, I formed a judgement about this show based on this article:


    In an ideal world, yes I would watch the footage and the episode and then make up my mind. But the world is not an ideal place. I refuse to take any part in the ghoulish ratings grab that so commercial televisions seem to have signed up to. They don’t need my ratings and they won’t get them. If that makes me presumptuous, intolerant, whatever you would like to call it, fine. These are just words. I don’t give a shit.

    Finally, as some other commenters have pointed out, here I am giving this story oxygen when I stated that we really shouldn’t be doing so. Perhaps this makes me a hypocrite; perhaps, on this occasion, I’m guilty as charged. I’ll cop that though. Hypocrisy is just another word. If using it makes you feel better, go for it. No shits given here.

    George Orwell famously said that if liberty means anything, it means the right to tell people what they don’t want to hear. I would like to think that people who read my piece are now thinking twice about watching Channel 7’s “journalism” tonight. If that’s the case, then my job here is done–but people can hopefully decide that for themselves. Broadcasting it is not helpful though. It achieves nothing, possibly except dredging up a few nightmares and bringing that awful day back to life for people who are trying to forget about it and move on.

    Of course, televisions come with an off button for a reason. I hope a good few of them are exercised tonight.

  41. Michael Bugg

    March 5, 2016 at 9:42 am

    Journaliesm and Repoorting are close friends when it comes to Tasmanian news stories.

  42. Cameron

    March 5, 2016 at 9:22 am

    #24 Dave. How amusing that you ask a conspiracy theorist’s questions and then claim not to be one.

    I am trying to heal, along with scores of others who have been affected by this event directly and indirectly. My healing won’t be helped by Channel 7’s irresponsible grab for shallow ratings.

    If my piece has made other people think twice about watching this rubbish, then I’ve won.


  43. Seth F

    March 5, 2016 at 3:40 am

    Dear Cameron,

    This is a terrible piece of writing, I feel you are probably new to journalism so i take this into consideration when writing a response to this article.

    I think we can all agree the events that transpired at Port Arthur were horrific and obviously a deep emotional toll has been paid by all people involved but your writing has stuck out from most things i read and see on a daily basis purely for its unashamed lack of care.

    It troubles me deeply to read you would rather watch ‘Orange Is The New Black’ on Netflix and slander other peoples Journalism before even taking time to watch the program, take the information given to you then report back in a responsible manner.

    If we can divorce ourselves from the events of the Port Arthur massacre and read your writing for what it is then I hope people will see how irresponsible this example of journalism really was.

    There are two main points I would like to make here and one is that the things channel seven choose to show in regards to advertising a program may or may not be representative of the work or content of said program, the other is your personal attack on others work before even taking the time to review the content yourself.

    Television networks are obviously a corporation built to profit like most others but as a journalist your job is to analyze, scrutinize, evaluate and report on facts in an unbiased and informative way.

    Just as you believe channel 7 have ignored their duty to serve the public interest I believe you have ignored your duty.

    If your emotional wounds are too overbearing to scab over and allow a modicum of rationale to enter your work then you have definitely ignored your own ‘tenet’

    I don’t blame anyone for not wanting to watch this program but the fact it has not even aired yet and has been disregarded as unimportant is dangerous and unfortunately brings down the credibility of any outlet that chooses to publish this piece.

    Kind Regards,

  44. Cheryl Thomas

    March 5, 2016 at 2:23 am

    Thank you Cameron for your extremely well written piece. I too would rather not remember or see what that monster did. pray for the families concerned and I won’t be watching Sunday Night.

  45. AussieHeth

    March 5, 2016 at 1:26 am

    I was in LA when this blazed across the airwaves in my hotel room. I remember so well the shock horror that this was from Aus …from Tassie ..it all seemed far too surreal. And then the following of it until I returned home. The absolute horror of grief etched into so many loved ones lives. Their pain was palpable even without a family/friend connection. Now why would anyone even consider putting a nation & the wild thru that grief & sorrow again ??? Answer: …MONEY the root of all evil !!! The leaders and people in power in every industry have LOST THEIR MORAL COMPASS !!! A public light should never be shone on this murdering scumbag. Any redemption for him rests fully between him & God. One man’s evil acts must NEVER be revisited publicly.

  46. Huskydog

    March 5, 2016 at 1:05 am

    1) Pleaded NOT GUILTY for 6 months
    2) Kept in solitary confinement for 6 months
    3) Three lawyers…The first two resigned…The last lawyer, Avery convinced Bryant to plead guilty at a HEARING…No trial….
    4) No guardian present at his police interview despite being under the guardianship of the Public trustee because of his IQ of 66 (an 11 year old boy)…
    5) No DNA or fingerprints taken by authorities at the BA Cafe nor from the Volvo or BMW…
    6) Many witnesses stated the gunman was NOT Bryant…Bryant was left handed but the BA Cafe gunman was righthanded & shot from the hip…
    7) Bryant was witnessed to be elsewhere at the time of the BA shooting…
    8) During the time ‘Bryant’ was on the phone with police at Seascape, many shots were fired in the background & passed off as ‘coughs’…
    9) A 22 body morgue truck was built prior to the massacre, used once at PA & then sold off…
    10) The gunman stopped & assisted 2 girls in a broken down van on the way to PA…He fixed their van & bought $50 of marijuana from them…Bryant had no knowledge of engines & did not smoke…
    TEN points are enough but I could go on….

  47. Michael Bugg

    March 5, 2016 at 12:13 am

    @ Andrew – who are you referring to when you say ‘farfetched conspiracies’?

    @Cameron – original lawyer quit, replaced by Avery, then Bryant changed plea months later.

    @Cameron – Not being able to handle presenting witness testament is not a valid reason for examining case evidence.

    @Tony – No trial was heard, only the entering of Bryants plea(s) from not guilty under Gunson, then guilty under Avery…. Shooting at close range with a) accurate head shots b) high kill:wounded ratios c) in a short time frame d) in a small enclosed space e) limited bullets used with semi auto is a feat of a marksman…
    The witness statements stating non recognition of Bryant as shooter are leaked documents. These were not made public by media nor presented in a court of law.

    @ every reader/ commentor – please respond to Dougs comment 16.

    Enjoy fruitful discourse. but please 15. John, take your ad hominem and peddle it down to the grave you are digging for yourself.

  48. Steve

    March 4, 2016 at 11:47 pm

    #20; That’s actually very fair comment Rob. I totally agree with the sentiment to leave this one alone, but then we’re not leaving it alone?!

  49. Andrew

    March 4, 2016 at 11:07 pm

    Douglas Ainsworth: He pleaded guilty, hence why there was no trial. “Everyone should be watching, very closely”; for what??

  50. Mick Kenny

    March 4, 2016 at 10:27 pm

    Gun control debate in the US recently cited Australia’s response to mass shootings, further encouraging conspiracy theories based around their peculiar attitudes to weapons. That said, global commercial media are about selling advertisers to audiences, becoming increasingly dismissive of the social, moral or ethical dimensions of the industry. This is evident in the growth of voyeuristic programming involving people in ever more contrived situations, for example, AKA reality television. I recommend a good book instead, or perhaps an SBS documentary, followed by some independent media.

  51. Helen

    March 4, 2016 at 9:29 pm

    I remember the day so well. The news put terror into the hearts of everyone in Hobart. I remember trying to track down my teenage children to make sure they were safe only to hear one say that they had been headed for Port Arthur that day but decided to go somewhere else at the last minute!!!. People who lived in Hobart at the time were changed forever…………years on I remember being in Qld when loud bangs started happening near to us…………I freaked out and locked myself in my caravan………it was only fireworks but I remember commenting “you can’t do that around Tasmanians !!!”

  52. Selina Spowart

    March 4, 2016 at 9:25 pm

    This is all very well and I agree on a lot of points but what are we going to actually do?
    The reality is that damaged people in our society exist and will continue perpetrating these kinds of acts. Punishing the individual may be appropriate and certainly sensitivity around the victims and their family is necessary, but we need to dig deeper on our social issues like foetal alcohol syndrome and mental illness

  53. Dave

    March 4, 2016 at 9:04 pm

    Cameron, I do love a good read! What a pity this wasn’t one of them! Funny how I see you doing what you are accusing others of.
    If the subject is so “touchy” why even further promote the story with your own brand of sarcastic half wit humour!
    As another already wrote:
    35 innocent people died.
    There was no full trial. (Bryant pleaded guilty)
    There was no coronial inquest, 35 people died and no inquest!
    And why was evidence locked away?
    I’m no conspiracy theorist but!

  54. Cameron

    March 4, 2016 at 8:25 pm

    Rob, #20. …

    I wouldn’t be watching anywhere if Channel 7 had anything to do with it. I stated some facts and I used the experiences I’ve had to remind everyone why this is so painful and why no one is served by having this shit dished up again.

    Spare me your pathetic patronising bullshit.

  55. Tony Crome

    March 4, 2016 at 7:54 pm

    Fiona Kenward … One quick Google and yes, there was a trial, he pleaded guilty.. He shot everyone at close range, so no, he didn’t have to be a marksman… And…. How can you say in one breath did he have a trial and then one sentence later say two witnesses say it wasn’t him… Who was it ??? Santa Claus??? I just hope he dies soon, and the world is rid of a piece of garbage and the taxpayer is saved some money…

  56. Yoli Lawrence

    March 4, 2016 at 7:48 pm

    Dear Cameron. Thank you for articulating so perfectly what our family has felt for 20 years. In this house the “thing” is only referred to by that moniker… We do not give it gender, assign it name, or even identify it as anything living… It is just a cancerous mass that has infected and destroyed lives. we too shall not be watching

  57. Rob

    March 4, 2016 at 7:40 pm

    Oh please… you’ve stopped watching commercial television in favour of Netflix! lol how very academic of you! I don’t mean to trivialise the shocking experiences you’ve had but enough of the holier than thou diatribe. You’ve used a pending television show as a vehicle to peddle your own dramatic and pot-stirring journalism capable of “rip[ing] the fragile scabs off some very, very deep wounds” by actively recounting events that happened in Port Arthur. The same events that your article states should not be aired on commercial television ever again. Perhaps if it was on Netflix you’d be ok with it?

  58. Campbell Lynne

    March 4, 2016 at 7:28 pm

    RIP Port Arthur Victims and loved ones.
    Let the survivors heal <3
    Love & Light to all

  59. Glenn

    March 4, 2016 at 6:29 pm

    Thank you Cameron for your nicely written piece. You are the right person to be saying this, with your history with the place and time. It’s a reminder of what many of us think, why do we have to have such inane journalism stirring things up and basically glorifying the act just by putting it in the public eye in such a way? The best way to deal with it is not to watch. Agree with the comments above in that it’s a pity his idiotically smug dial is the first thing we see. Never mind, it’s both good and bad.

  60. Andrew

    March 4, 2016 at 6:19 pm

    Thank you for writing this article. It perfectly summarised my own thoughts toward this upcoming Sunday Night “special”.

    Seeing the recent advert for it made me sick. What low-level of sensationalised “journalism” will Channel 7 stoop to next?

    And to some of the laughable comments on this article. Yes, sometimes horrific, evil acts are committed by others. Your inability to process these tragic events by resorting to far-fetched conspiracy theories is a sad reflection of your own psychological states.

  61. Douglas Ainsworth

    March 4, 2016 at 6:11 pm

    35 innocent people dead!
    No Trial!
    No inquest!
    Alleged evidence locked away from public view!
    Give me a break Cameron Hindrum, everyone should be watching, very closely!

  62. John

    March 4, 2016 at 5:29 pm

    Commenter Fiona,
    Take your shabby conspiracy theories and peddle them elsewhere. Surely you should be too busy selling shares in the Tasman Bridge to comment here on this excellent piece and lower the tone.

    Well written article that hits the nail on the head.

  63. Cameron

    March 4, 2016 at 4:24 pm

    #7 I don’t why that’s happened there, Simon. The article sort of exploded on Facebook while I was enjoying my Saturday morning. One of those unfortunate little pecadillos of the internet, perhaps. It certainly wouldn’t be my choice.

  64. Cameron

    March 4, 2016 at 4:22 pm

    To answer queries in a couple of comments here, Bryant initially pleaded not guilty; then he sacked his lawyer (if memory serves) and changed his plea to guilty. So there was no trial.

    Rambo, for these reasons my friend was never required to give evidence. Which is just as well — I don’t think he would have coped.

  65. Fiona Kenward

    March 4, 2016 at 3:01 pm

    Would love to know when he actually had a trial, was there one? Did he have a fair trial? For someone that had such a low IQ how do shoot as if he was a marks man? Why also did two of the closest witness state it was not Martin?

  66. Ben

    March 4, 2016 at 2:36 pm

    Totally agree. I remember a furore occurring after a tape that police shot (probably for evidence) in the aftermath, was discovered at a tip having not been destroyed… Wasn’t in the public interest for the imagery to go public then. I hope some legal time period hasn’t simply expired and footage become available for lazy producers that rely on emotive content for ratings. They should know better. RIP victims, rot in silence and without an audience Bryant.

  67. Rose Frankcombe

    March 4, 2016 at 2:22 pm

    The despicable nature of the murderous crimes committed at Port Arthur twenty years ago have left an indelible scar on many psyches, not least the surviving victims of that horrific episode in Tasmania’s already checkered history. Each time a reminder of the events is raised emotional upheavals occur for many people. The shame it has brought to this place cannot be erased, but there can be a dulling of the imagery by not revisiting it for the sake of social melancholy and alarmist headlines.

  68. Sarah

    March 4, 2016 at 1:34 pm

    I won’t be watching this. You have summarised my thoughts and level of disgust quite succinctly. I’m Tasmanian, I have personal tragic ties to the Port Arthur Massacre and what they are doing is absolutely soul-crushing and distressing to me on every level. I do not understand their mentality in wanting to push this at all. Why? Why would they want to sensationalise such a tragedy and in such a way that there is no respect for the victims? Thank you from the bottom of my heart for writing this article.

  69. Rambo

    March 4, 2016 at 1:33 pm

    “Bryant stopped his yellow Volvo and shot all three of them, an act witnessed by a very good friend of mine.” And your friend testified witnessing this at the trial? How come we only hear of this surviving witness now?

  70. Simon D

    March 4, 2016 at 1:19 pm

    Given the sentiment of this article it is unfortunate that the majority of links I have seen on Facebook this morning feature a close up photo of Bryant’s youthful face rather than the superb painting above.

  71. Rob Newitt

    March 4, 2016 at 12:40 pm

    my wife and I both worked at Port Arthur, I worked on a gvernment scheme, and she started as a ghost tour guide, then progressed to day work.
    I knew most of those people personally.
    It is very upsetting to see the media stoop so low just to get “air time”.
    The main stream media outlets have no conscience when it comes to the news….if it sells it’s good.
    But good for who??….not the people involved or their families. It’s only good for the shareholders of the companies….
    This story is neither wanted or needed….those that know, know what happened, and believe you me, I know more than has ever been reported.
    We worked very hard to keep my wife out of the media, given what she did…which has, to the best of my knowledge, never been reported…..
    Mainstream media has a lot to answer for…..

  72. deborah

    March 4, 2016 at 12:22 pm

    I agree with all that you are saying here Cameron. Very disappointing that the notorious photograph of the murderer is showing up as the Facebook link to your article though.

  73. Chris

    March 4, 2016 at 11:45 am

    Agee wholeheartedly, that why I have never watched 36 minutes or equivalent on commercial TV.
    What compels people to watch crap is beyond me, only that they are contributing to the advertising which sells suck jun

  74. Charlayne Turhal

    March 4, 2016 at 11:40 am

    Very well stated. It is a disgrace that sensationalist television will re-traumatize all those involved in this incident.

  75. Sonja Lingbeek

    March 4, 2016 at 11:34 am

    Well said Cameron, I could not agree more and thank you for expressing these thoughts.

  76. Christine MacDonald

    March 4, 2016 at 10:24 am

    Thank you Cameron Hindrum for such a well written piece. I could not agree more. One has to wonder about the quality of crap that so called journalists put out there as “newsworthy”. No wonder the public is turning away from this gutter journalism. I will not be watching.

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