Mr Big of Bankstown: The scandalous Fitzpatrick and Browne affair
When an article printed in a local newspaper in 1955 resulted in the gaoling of rough-hewn Bankstown businessman Ray Fitzpatrick and trouble-making journalist Frank Browne, one of the most extraordinary legal cases in Australia’s history unfolded. Mr Big of Bankstown mixes bribery, corruption, violence and power-wrangling, to reveal the Underbelly of 1950s Australia.
Fitzpatrick’s penchant for rorting the system and Browne’s reputation for fiery verbal attacks got the pair in trouble when they used Fitzpatrick’s newspaper to teach MP Charles Morgan a lesson. In an unprecedented use of parliamentary privilege, Fitzpatrick and Browne were imprisoned solely on a vote of the House of Representatives – without charge, trial or legal representation for making unsubstantiated and erroneous claims.
Amongst the business rivalries and factional politics of post-war Bankstown, the Fitzpatrick and Browne affair pitted the right to free speech against parliamentary privilege.
Shortlisted – 2012 NSW Premier’s History Awards (New South Wales Community and Regional History Prize)
Praise for Mr Big of Bankstown:
[Moore’s] research is thorough, and his narrative and conclusions are presented in clear and readable prose.STEPHEN HOLT, THE CANBERRA TIMES
Taking the reader into the heart of a near-forgotten controversy, Moore has made a significant contribution to our understanding of the history of politics and free speech in Australia.RICHARD EVANS, AUSTRALIAN HISTORICAL STUDIES