Published: 29 Aug 2012
Summary: In this 16 minute film follow the journey of new employee Martin Tully who finds himself caught up in a cartel. Does Martin cheat with his competitors or tell the truth?
SCENE 1. INSIDE THE COFFEE SHOP
MARTIN TULLY (38): nurses a coffee. Handsome and well dressed, he fidgets for a while before speaking.
MARTIN: I know it’s a cliche but...
SCENE 2. OUTSIDE ON THE COURTHOUSE STEPS
Camera flashes and chaos. Within a scrum of media Martin’s face is revealed. He is being jostled. In slow motion he turns to camera as the screen is blinded by a flash.
MARTIN: (Voice over from the previous scene.) ...but a year ago if you’d told me...(ironic snort) well you know...there’s no way I would’ve believed you.
SCENE 3. INSIDE THE KINGS HEAD PUB - EVENING 3
The flash fades away to reveal Martin standing with a group of fellow workers having their photo taken.
NICOLA: shows them the photo
MARTIN: Oh good one
PAUL: Yes, very nice
GORDON is buying a drink at the bar and takes change from the bar maid.
GORDON: Thanks very much. Oh, actually, you’ve given me too much.
Gordon hands back some of the change.
BARMAID: Thank you
FIONA ALSTON: (late 40’s) has a drink in her hand and is talking with MARTIN. She is a powerful mix of beauty and brains.
FIONA: Martin. How was your first day?
MARTIN: Great. A little daunting but, no it’s been good. I’ll be fine. Just give me a couple of weeks to get up to speed...
FIONA: No time for that I’m afraid. Before Neale left was working on a major tender submission and I need you to take it over.
MARTIN: Okay. Great. It sounds exciting.
FIONA: It will be if we win it.
A big boisterous bear of a man cuts a path through the crowd towards them. He seems to know everyone.
GORDON HAYES (42). Walks towards FIONA and plants a kiss on her cheek.
GORDON: Well, well, well, if it isn’t the beautiful Fiona Alston.
FIONA: Gordon. Nice to see you. Gordon Hayes, Martin Tully.
Gordon turns to Martin and fixes him a stare. Then he shakes Martin’s hand.
GORDON: Ah, Neale’s replacement?
Martin feels a little uncomfortable.
GORDON: You got his car too.
Martin is surprised.
GORDON: Shame you didn’t get his wife!
Gordon laughs and Fiona smiles.
GORDON: No, seriously, he was a great loss. He knew his way around. He was a good man, Neale.
MARTIN: You make it sound like he’s dead.
GORDON: If you leave this industry you might as well be.
FIONA: Gordon works for Cartwall...
GORDON: Oh, no. Come on! Cartwall works for me!
Fiona makes polite laughter at an old joke.
GORDON: Ah look, I gotta keep going, Fi. I’ll get some stuff over to you in the morning.
Gordon looks at Martin and pats him on the shoulder.
GORDON: Nice to meet you. Look forward to doing business with you.
Martin and Fiona watch Gordon leave.
MARTIN: Cartwall? As in...
FIONA: As in the competition. Nature of the industry, Martin. Eventually you get to know everyone. See you Monday.
Fiona leaves. Martin is left standing alone and finishes his drink.
SCENE 4. OUTSIDE IN A CITY STREET AT NIGHT.
The title of the film The Marker comes up on the screen.
SCENE 5. INSIDE FIONA’s OFFICE AT CTG GROUP. THE FOLLOWING WEEK.
FIONA is speaking on the telephone to someone when Martin enters. She holds up her hand as if to stop him coming in but Martin walks in and stands at the opposite side of her desk.
Fiona speaks to the person on the other end of the phone.
FIONA: No. It’s all good. Mike, can I call you back in five? Thanks. Bye.
She puts the phone down
MARTIN: So I’ve compared these figures from last year’s and I think we might be a little tight with our contingency cover of two weeks. Which is going to effect the bottom line, and the competition might ...
Fiona pushes an Ipad towards Martin and swipes through some pages.
FIONA: The competition has allowed four weeks for contingency...
She leans back in her chair.
Martin is dumbfounded. Excited, he swipes through the file. He looks up at Fiona.
FIONA: I told you Martin. Eventually you get to know everyone. And everything.
SCENE 6. OUTSIDE. MARTIN’S HOUSE. THE EVENING OF THAT DAY. IT’S DARK.
SCENE 7. INSIDE MARTIN”S HOUSE THAT NIGHT
Martin’s wife LUCY (32) is working on her laptop. The SOUND of the FRONT DOOR opening. She smiles to herself. Martin appears.
LUCY: Hey baby. How are you?
MARTIN: Ah. I’m shattered.
He wraps his arms around her and kisses her softly.
MARTIN: How are you doing?
LUCY: Oh, I’m just letting work know that I’m going to need some leave.
MARTIN: Holidays? As long as it’s not in the next two weeks- they’ve already got me working on some big tender.
LUCY: Who said anything about holidays?
Lucy grabs his hands and places them on her stomach. Martin looks puzzled. Lucy beams. Then it clicks. She’s pregnant.
MARTIN: Oh my God!
MARTIN: That’s amazing!
LUCY: I know!
They embrace, smiling and laughing.
SCENE 8. OUTSIDE. A SWEEPING SHOT OF THE CITY. DAY TIME.
SCENE 9. INSIDE. MARTIN’S OFFICE AT CTG GROUP. SEVERAL WEEKS LATER.
Martin is working at his computer when he gets a text message on his mobile phone. It is from Gordon. The message appears on the screen
GORDON: Ka-ching!$$$$$ You guys got this one. My turn next! Gordon Martin reads the message and puzzles over it. Fiona appears at his door.
FIONA: Oh. There you are. I just got off the phone with Carl Pentland.Congratulations we got the tender. I’m just on my way to tell the team but I wanted you to be the first to know.
MARTIN: Yeah. I... Yeah
FIONA: Good work, Martin.
She leaves and Martin watches her as she goes.
SCENE 10. INSIDE AT THE KINGS HEAD PUB THAT NIGHT
Crowded. Raucous. Celebration drinks all round. Gordon, Fiona and Martin are sitting together toasting with champagne.
GORDON: I wonder what the poor people are doing?
FIONA: You shouldn’t speak about our clients like that, Gordon.
GORDON: No you’re right. They are paying for the champagne.
They all laugh and toast again. Martin pipes up.
MARTIN: Oh, and let’s not forget our competitors. Mate, it wasn’t your day.
GORDON: No, but what goes around, comes around, mate. Look, we’re all friends here. What are doing this Saturday, actually? I’m having some ‘competitors’ around to my place for some drinks. You and your wife should join us?
Gordon has his arm around Fiona and they move closer together when he says this.
MARTIN: Thank you, but I think I’ve already got something on.
GORDON: OK. Maybe next time.
Fiona and Gordon withdraw slightly and seem put out that Martin has turned the invitation down. Martin looks uncomfortable at their closeness.
SCENES 11 – 21 ARE A MONTAGE OF SCENES OVER A PASSAGE OF SEVERAL MONTHS INTERCUT WITH DIALOGUE FROM MARTIN AND GORDON.
SCENE 11. INSIDE A CAFE
Martin is telling someone about how the arrangement with Cartwall works.
MARTIN: It’s been going on so long now. It’s just the way things are done. They stick to the South and East and we’re North and East. We don’t cross territories and it is the same for the smaller guys
SCENE 12. OUTSIDE A CAFE. GORDON IS EXPLAINING HOW THING ARE DONE TO MARTIN.
GORDON: Now if they keep their heads down – we don’t step on them. The last thing we want is a price war. No one wins a war.
SCENE 13. INSIDE THE CAFE
The tenders get rotated around. You just fill them in as you’re told. And if someone new starts up that doesn’t want to play ball then we...
SCENE 14. OUTSIDE A CAFE.
GORDON AND MARTIN TOGETHER: Just price them out.
SCENE 15. INSIDE THE BOARDROOM. FIONA GORDON AND MARTIN DRINKING WITH THE CITY LIGHTS IN THE BACKGROUND.
GORDON – speaking to Martin: Now these guys out west – I need you to get them onside.
SCENE 16. INSIDE THE OFFICE CARPARK. MARTIN SPEAKING ON HIS MOBILE PHONE.
The workers keep their jobs
SCENE 17. OUTSIDE THE CAFE MARTIN SPEAKING WITH A CLIENT
MARTIN: The clients think they are getting a good deal
SCENE 18. INSIDE THE OFFICE CARPARK. MARTIN SPEAKING ON HIS MOBILE PHONE.
MARTIN: And we make our budgets
SCENE 19. INSIDE MARTIN’S HOUSE AS HE AND LUCY PUT A NEW COT TOGETHER
MARTIN: And no one says anything because...
SCENE 20. INSIDE THE BOARDROOM. FIONA GORDON AND MARTIN DRINKING WITH THE CITY LIGHTS IN THE BACKGROUND.
GORDON AND MARTIN TOGETHER: Because it works
SCENE 21. OUTSIDE A CAFE.
GORDON: Look, everyone needs to understand that this is how things operate
SCENE 22. AT A BARBECUE IN THE BACK GARDEN AT JEFFS PLACE.
JEFF’s daughter is jumping on the trampoline. JEFF’S partner KATE (34) is talking to Lucy.
LUCY: Oh . We’re really lucky. I don’t think we could have coped on his salary alone if he’d stayed where he was...
JEFF (38) and Martin are drinking and talking near the barbecue.
JEFF: Seriously mate that is unbelievable. What? You haven’t been there a month and you nail your annual budget.
MARTIN: Mate, it’s all about timing.
JEFF: So are we talking a bonus?
Martin grins and nods then glances over his shoulder.
MARTIN: Uh-huh. Between you and me? It was already a done deal. All I had to do was rock up, polish it up and take the cash...
JEFF: Oh. It sounds perfect. Hey, have they got any room in the finance department?
MARTIN: I felt pretty guilty taking the bonus.
JEFF: Mate. Don’t feel guilty-they need to catch you first!
SCENE 23. CITY BUILDINGS. TIME PASSING
SCENE 24. INSIDE. MARTIN’S OFFICE AT CTG GROUP.
Martin is writing notes and receives a text message from Gordon on his mobile phone
GORDON: What are u doing? You need to get this sorted. G
Martin reads the text message and picks up the land line to call Gordon. Gordon doesn’t answer and Martin has to leave a message
MARTIN: Yeah Gordon it’s Martin. I’ve been trying to get onto those guys for the last couple of days. I’ll let you know when I do, mate.
Martin puts the phone down and looks worried.
SCENE 25. OUTSIDE MARTIN’S HOUSE. WEEKEND.
LUCY and MARTIN have been shopping and are unloading the car.
LUCY: I’m just not into the secrecy thing. I mean what’s wrong with finding out. Kate knew. It makes sense, don’t you think?
Martin receives another text message from Gordon and is more focused on that than on the conversation with Lucy.
The text message from Gordon comes up on the screen.
GORDON: Need to talk about this new tender asap.
MARTIN: Yeah, that’s great.
LUCY: What is?
LUCY: Well, that we find out the sex.
LUCY: Well why not. I mean some people end up...
MARTIN: Some people don’t need to know, Lucy. We don’t just go around telling everyone. That’s not how things operate.
LUCY: How things operate? What’s gotten into you Martin?
Martin’s phone rings and he answers it.
MARTIN: Hello. Yeah. No. It’s alright mate.
Lucy is annoyed and walks into the house.
SCENE 26. ENTRANCE TO A CITY BUILDING ON A BUSY STREET FOLLOWED BY A RIVERSIDE DOCK LOCATION UNDER A BRIDGE
MARTIN is walking out and speaking on his mobile phone. He seems confused. As he emerges he looks across the street to a car. The driver’s window winds down to reveal Gordon. Martin crosses the road and gets into the car. They drove off and park at an isolated place under a bridge at a riverside dock area. The get out of the car and walk over to the river to talk.
MARTIN: Look. I’ve been trying to get onto the guy, alright? But when he gets back from annual leave I’ll ...
GORDON: You know these guys, right?
MARTIN: Yeah, I guess.
GORDON: Don’t guess. We never guess. Mate, a couple of years ago I got an offer - another mob - a completely different industry. They threw the lot at me: super, cars, bonuses – you name it. It was a nice package. But that’s the thing. You can take the money and run a company or you can stay where you are and run an industry. Oh – you’re helping people’s jobs. You’re making a difference.
MARTIN: Yeah, I know.
GORDON: We’ve gotta look out for each other. Because I tell you now mate – no one else will. So we don’t trust anyone we don’t know and that’s why we don’t guess.
GORDON sends a text message to Martin’s phone. A telephone number appears on the screen.
GORDON: That’s my new number. Doubt anyone, anything seems a bit weird - you give me a call on that number, OK?
MARTIN: OK. Is anything wrong?
GORDON suddenly relaxes and throws an arm around Martin. He laughs. Shakes his head and grabs Martin around the back of the neck.
GORDON: No mate. Nothing’s wrong. Everything’s fine, OK? Don’t worry about a thing.
GORDON strides back to the car. Martin follows him.
SCENE 27. MONTAGE OF LOCATIONS INSIDE. MARTIN’S OFFICE AT CTG GROUP. MARTIN SITTING IN HIS CAR. WE SEE TIME PASSING AS IMAGES OF PEOPLE MOVING QUICKLY AROUND THE CITY.
MARTIN looks worried and is checking his mobile phone for messages.
SCENE 28. INSIDE MARTIN’S HOUSE. THE KITCHEN
Martin is pouring himself a glass of red wine. He notices Lucy’s mobile sitting on the bench. He stares at it. We hear THE SOUND OF A SHOWER begin in another room. He picks up the phone and begins to search through it. Lucy appears in a robe behind him. She is visibly pregnant.
LUCY: Hey hon. Oh. Is that my phone?
MARTIN: Ah, yeah. I was just trying to find a number.
LUCY moves close to Martin and jokes with him as if he is being jealous or possessive. She takes the phone from him
MARTIN: I don’t have my phone. It ran out of charge.
LUCY: Are you checking up on me?
MARTIN pushes Lucy away slightly and looks annoyed.
MARTIN: What do you mean?
LUCY: Well who are you calling?
MARTIN: What’s it to you? I don’t have to tell you who I’m calling all the time. You know I’m getting pretty tired of having to justify myself to you.
LUCY puts the phone down and walks out of the room, clearly annoyed.
MARTIN finishes his drink, alone.
SCENE 29. CITY. DAYTIME. TIME PASSING.
SCENE 30. IN THE CARPARK AT CTG GROUP OFFICES.
MARTIN sees Gordon drive past, leaving the car park.
MARTIN: (Yelling) GORDON! GORDON! GORDON! Hey!
SCENE 30. FIONA’S OFFICE AT CTG GROUP
Martin storms into Fiona’s office. She’s working.
MARTIN: Have you seen Gordon?
FIONA: Hi Martin.
MARTIN: Hi. Gordon. He was here.
FIONA: Was he?
MARTIN: I just saw his car...
FIONA: Well I haven’t seen him.
Martin turns away to take a deep breath, tries to calm himself. He is barely holding it together.
MARTIN: What’s going on Fiona!?! I’ve been trying to get onto Gordon for weeks...
FIONA: Maybe he’s just busy.
MARTIN: He’s not bust. You know I’ve been trying to get onto these guys, but
MARTIN: Aw, but I am trying... That’s why he’s ignoring me. That’s why he’s decided he can’t trust me.
FIONA: Martin! MARTIN: That’s why this whole thing is going to turn to shit if we don’t...
FIONA: We need you to do your job.
Martin nods. He gets the message.
MARTIN: Yeah He picks up his bad and leaves the room.
SCENE 31. MARTIN IN HIS CAR OUTSIDE THE FACTORY OF THE GUYS OUT WEST. HE IS LISTENING TO THE RADIO:
RADIO NEWS REPORT: The competition watchdog has new teeth to crack down on price fixing. The ACCC will be able to take action against competitors that secretly share price information...
MARTIN: quickly gets out of the car. He paces angrily and smashes a corrugated iron fence with his fist, paces again and screams in frustration.
SCENE 32. INSIDE MARTIN’S HOUSE. EVENING.:
LUCY is sitting on the sofa reading a book. She looks up when Martin comes in. She’s ready for a fight.
LUCY: Where have you been?
MARTIN: I got stuck at the office.
LUCY: No.I called and they said you’d left.
MARTIN: So now you’re checking up on me?
LUCY: No. I wanted to know whether you were going to be home for dinner or not.
MARTIN: Look, I’ve got a lot going on at the moment, Lucy.
LUCY: Oh. Well in case you haven’t noticed, so have I!
Lucy stands up and moves closer to Martin
MARTIN: I can’t do everything!
LUCY: Well neither can I. (Lucy pushes Martin) So maybe you need to make a decision whether you want to be here or not!
She storms off leaving Martin looking distressed.
SCENE 33. INSIDE CTG GROUP OFFICES
MARTIN walks through the busy office carrying Cartwall files. As he walks, he looks across the office. People glance up at him. He suspects them all. He trusts no one. A man alone.
He reaches the shredder and stands over it feeding the Cartwall documents in.
SCENE 34. INSIDE THE CAFE.
MARTIN: So... what do you reckon?
The camera pulls back to reveal he is seated with Jeff.
JEFF: What do I reckon? Well let’s see. You’ve got a bit of price fixing, some government tender rigging, dividing up the territories... It sounds like you’re running a cartel.
Martin looks away. Jeff looks around and leans in.
JEFF: Mate. What I reckon is that you’ve got to get out.
MARTIN: I can’t. No one. No one ever leaves.
JEFF: Then you need help. You need to talk to someone. Someone who knows about this stuff.
MARTIN: Yeah? Who?
SCENE 35. INSIDE CTG GROUP OFFICES
JEFF’s Voice over from the last scene continues into this scene as MARTIN is at his desk navigating the ACCC website.
JEFF: I don’t know, have you had a look online?
MARTIN: (Voice over for the beginning of the next scene) So I found the website...
SCENE 36. INSIDE THE CAFE.
MARTIN: ...and then I called.
The scene swings around to reveal Martin is talking to two officers from the ACCC.
PHILLIP: Now Martin, as we’ve discussed only the first person who approaches the ACCC can claim immunity – no one else. And that’s only in the case where the person clearly isn’t the leader of the cartel, and hasn’t coerced others into joining the cartel.
On that basis and on the evidence you given us so far, I can confirm that there is an immunity marker available to you.
MARTIN nods his head and smiles with relief.
Scene 37. INSIDE CTG GROUP OFFICES
MARTIN is in his office at the photocopier. The last person says goodbye. He begins to copy pages from a file. A voice over from the previous scene at the cafe continues.
PHILLIP: But to proceed, we are going to need your cooperation.
MARTIN: Yeah I understand.
MARTIN opens the lid and the light flashes across his face. It fills the screen with light as we cut to the next scene.
SCENE 37. EXT. COURTHOUSE STEPS
Martin is back on the courthouse steps. The flash recedes and we see that Martin isn’t the focus of the press pack. Gordon is in handcuffs being led to a waiting car. Martin turns and looks off screen. We see Lucy standing with a pram at the end of the street. Martin turns and walks towards her. They embrace and walk away.
The film ends with stills and text.
Over a still of Martin the following words appear: The ACCC gave Martin a marker under its immunity program. He disclosed everything he knew and fully cooperated to assist the successful prosecution. He was given full immunity.
Over a still of Gordon the following words appear: The Cartwall business was fined millions of dollars and is facing a class action from customers who were victims of the cartel. Gordon was convicted and sent to jail.
Over a still of Fiona the following words appear: Fiona was banned from managing any company and was fined $400,000 which by law only she could pay. She had to sell her house.
Businesses and individuals involved in cartels face hefty fines and penalties.
Individuals up to 10 years in jail and/or fines of up to $220,000 per criminal offence. Pecuniary penalties of up to $500,000 per civil contravention.
Businesses and individuals involved in cartels face hefty fines and penalties.
- For each criminal offence or civil contravention, the greater of:
- $10 million
- 3 times the total value of benefits obtained from the cartel
- Where benefits cannot be determined, 10 per cent of annual turnover of the company or corporate group.
If you have been part of a cartel and involved in price fixing, bid rigging, market sharing or output restrictions, come forward to apply for immunity from prosecution.
The events depicted in this film are fictitious. Any similarity to any person living or dead is purely coincidental.