A well-meaning ex-con accidentally becomes a cause célèbre for the dispossessed youth of Australia. Wally Mellish (Colin Friels) and his girlfriend, Beryl (Jacqueline McKenzie), are raising her son when the former jailbird engages in petty theft. Wally and Beryl's home is quickly besieged by Sydney police. A misunderstanding ensues, and soon police think they're dealing with a hostage situation. The press jumps on the story, and the nation's youth begins to see themselves in Wally's plight.