Years ago, when I first started my field investigations into the phenomenon, members of the public who wished to report a sighting, telephoned a fixed line telephone number in their nearest capital city; e.g. Adelaide if you lived in South Australia. There, someone would record details of the sighting and arrange for a group investigator to travel to the witness, conduct an interview, document the report and then publish it in a hard copy group newsletter.
A UAP group in another state, would learn of the sighting details, only when they received a copy of the relevant group's hard copy newsletter, delivered by Australia Post. In later years myself, and then Rob Frola of AUFORN, published a monthly listing of Australian UAP reports, from details send to us by Australian groups and individual researchers. These sightings were initially documented in a series of hard copy monthly research digests; and then later in electronic format.
The Internet cometh:
With the advent of the Internet, all this changed. A member of the public in Australia, looking to report their observation, now has a multitude of websites, and Facebook pages, where they can electronically record details of their sighting. A search using the keywords "report ufo sighting Australia" will turn up the possibility of reporting it to, UFOINFO (in the United Kingdom); VUFOA (Melbourne) ; UFORQ (Brisbane); VUFORS (Melbourne)' UFOPRSA (Sydney); or even MUFON in the USA. As can be seen, state boundaries, and even countries, are now regularly bypassed when it comes to members of the public reporting UAP.
National level sightings list:
This ability to report to a large range of places was brought home to me since Paul Dean and I have been compiling the monthly Australian national level sightings listing, with the assistance of all the major UAP groups in this country.
In any one given month, Australian sightings turn up in the case management system of MUFON; the web pages of such groups as UFORNSW and VUFOA; the Sydney Observatory; some dozen or so Facebook pages, Youtube, and numerous other sites.
It could well be that MUFON logs details on a Perth, Western Australian incident, which no one in Western Australia ever comes across. Sydney Observatory logs dozens of sightings a month (albeit of lights in the sky, some of whch are fireballs) some from my home state of South Australia, which SAUFON never hear about. Obscure Facebook pages with small number of members, based in any location in Australia, may carry a report from New South Wales. This has made trying to get a nation wide picture difficult, hence one of the reasons for Paul Dean and I to spend time gathering reports for us all to see.
In assisting compiling the first two monthly national level reports listings, I thought that there may well be issues of individuals becoming upset that they were not the first port of call for a report which happened in their state. I thought I would think my way through this issue, as no doubt it will arise from time to time, if it hasn't already occurred to some people.
1. What happens in a state where there is no established UAP group? This is the current case in Western Australia. When Paul Dean and I first had details of the 19 March 2014, Perth aircraft near miss with an "unknown object" case, we looked around to see who in Western Australia might investigate it. We found no one was looking into it. Therefore, Paul and I made the decision to do so, and our detailed investigation report on the incident will be released shortly.
2. What about where a report happened in one state, say New South Wales, and the witness lives in your state and contacts you? Upon receiving the details of the case, do you refer them on to someone in New South Wales, or because you are handy to do an in person interview, do you investigate, document and publish? This happened to myself and Paul Dean in the 29 May 2014 south coast of New South Wales case. The witnesses were living in Melbourne, so does Paul Dean, so we elected to interview them, document the incident and publish details for all to read in the monthly Australian national level sightings listing.
3. What happens when the witness lives in another state to yourself, but you are the group which receives the electronic report through your web page? From talking to groups which regularly receive such interstate reports, I find that almost everyone tries to conduct their own investigation, at a distance; and hardly anyone refers the witness on to a group in the state where the witness lives. Rightly, or wrongly this is what is currently happening. Perhaps we need to discuss a protocol between ourselves which would see interstate witnesses referred to a group in the state where the witness lives?
Does it really matter?
Ultimately, does it really matter who investigates a case, as long as someone does, and eventually publishes a detailed investigation report on the incident?