"Defiant, articulate and, most importantly, poor...", Reportage 1994

The son of a Tasmanian wharfie and a school teacher, Avon Lovell joined the Hobart Mercury as its first university graduate cadet. He worked for the Sydney Morning Herald and the Adelaide Advertiser as well as independent publishers such as The Globe and Nation Review.
Back in the early 1970's when the term 'investigative journalism' was not even in use in Australia, Lovell was one of the first to identify rackets in poker machines and clubs that were linked to the infiltration of the US mafia into Australia. He wrote under a pseudonym because according to the Nation Review's editor at the time, Richard Walsh he was wary of those he was exposing. When Walsh was called before the Moffitt Royal Commission into Organised Crime in Clubs he refused to reveal the identity behind the pseudonym.
Avon Lovell signs and fingerprints books, using a tape recorder as a paperweight, as you do... Book Launch
Lovell fled Sydney for Perth where he took up a safe job publishing with the West Australian Museum. Later in the seventies he published a small but vigorous newspaper, Westlore News Journal, and then turned his attention to book publishing. By the early eighties he was working his way out of threatened bankruptcy.
Avon & the beloved 'Osborne 80' upon which The Mickelberg Stitch was originally penned.
Long before it was fashionable to do so his inclination was to expose abuse of power and delve into corruption and organised crime. So in December 1983 when Brian Mickelberg was trying to persuade Avon to take an interest in their case by making a fingerprint from a rubber mould, it seemed to him "a good story". The fingerprint had been the lynchpin in the evidence that convicted the Mickelbergs.
Media interest is nothing new to this freelance journalist.
He is still trying to publish that good story despite more setbacks than most would have the heart to deal with. After 700 court appearances in 9 years and more than 60 separate court actions arising out of his publication of the Mickelberg story, Lovell had to develop creative legal skills more than journalistic ones.
He considers that his career as a journalist and writer was cut short by the virtual "banning" of the Mickelberg Stitch and the subsequent reputation he has within some media circles as a person obsessed. However, for Lovell his journalistic integrity was on the line. He has been thrown out of the court press box and followed and arrested after refusing to name a source. "There's no part of my life that hasn't been exposed to the police. If I wasn't a rampant optimist this would be total suicide territory", he says.
Extract, Wendy Bacon & Denise Hare 'Reportage' winter 1994


Where is he now?
Avon worked for the C.E.P.U. as an industrial advocate, donates time to organisations such as Whistleblowers (Australia) for which he is the State Chairperson and National Vice-President. A member of Media Alliance (Australian Journalist's Association) and P.E.N. International, Lovell is dedicated in his pursuit of freedom of speech in Australia, and other social justice issues. The United Nations High Commission for Human Rights tribunal will soon hear the case of Lovell vs. Australia. This will fight for the right to appeal charges of contempt of court, in line with all other criminal proceedings and U.N.H.C.H.R. guidelines.
Quotable quotes:

"What I have achieved to this point is due largely to all the good people who have supported me both monetarily and morally to get me this far." September 2002

"I'm going home for a cup of tea." To the Royal Commission into Police Corruption in Western Australia.
"I have contempt, I have the utmost contempt for the court system. We have a corrupt police force. The enquiry starts today or the royal commission can only be seen by the rest of us as a joke" On A Current Affair June 11th 2002.
"Leave my mailman alone...He knows nothing!" News crews camped on Avon's lawn get desperate; 18th July 2002
"The only thing that the West Australian public don't know about me is whether I dress to the left or the right...And it's the right." On ABC radio, regarding privacy issues in W.A.

"Get stuffed...Ask me a decent question and I'll give you an answer." Responding to media circus.

"Whoever coined the phrase 'the law is an ass' was really on to something." Television documentary.
"The method of their (Mickelbergs') conviction rankles at the very core of my heart. No man in our system of justice should ever be convicted and jailed for a day, let alone two decades, on anything but the most scrupulous evidence. Freedom of the individual is too precious to sacrifice without the utmost effort at fairness." From Split Image.
"It's better than gaol, I guess..." On being fined $30,000 for his most recent contempt of court charges, August 15th, 2002
"Don't call me obsessed, its not what we talk about every weekend at family barbeques"To The Australian.
"They were convicted in the worst possible way with evidence you wouldn't send a shoplifter down for" Of the Mickelbergs.
"It is an abomination, a complete breach of the presumption of innocence" An outspoken Avon on A Current Affair June 11, 2002.