Bottom is Australia’s pre-eminent crime expert outside of law enforcement agencies, and through a series of ground-breaking articles and books in the 1970s and 1980s was largely responsible for alerting Australians to the existence of organised crime and for many government inquiries and royal commissions into the subject. He gained the confidence of a number of honest detectives during this period, who provided him with a wealth of information on corruption, including the so-called “Age Tapes”.
Bottom’s major books include The Godfather in Australia, Connections 1 and 2, Bugged!, and the autobiographical Without Fear or Favour. Many sold over 100,000 copies and had an enormous impact on public understanding of the subject, forcing governments to act against their will. Bottom was generous with colleagues and provided a great deal of information and assistance to other journalists. Much hated by the underworld, he was under 24-hour protection for eleven years.