Thing is, if they sought permission they may have got it in certain limited ways. CASA are actaully pretty easy to work with (I have had frequent dealings with them as RSO (Range Safety Officer) for the local rocketry club - albeit some years ago), and will often even give you permission to fly in all sorts of restricted airspaces provided you confirm each flight with the local ATCs and/or towers.
On the other hand, provided they kept below 300'AGL, they were below controlled airspace, and so mostly out of CASAs control - but not their authority. (Incidentally, did you know that you are not allowed to fly a kite above 300'AGL without clearance? For that reason kite lines are sold with a maximum length of 50M to ensure a reasonable margin. You can buy longer ones, but they will be custom supplied.)
On the gripping hand, in the presence of water bombers and similar aircraft (crop dusters, aircraft on approach, etc), CASA's controlled space can extend all the way to the ground, so always check the current NOTAMs (NOtice To AirMen) before flying anything.
In short, they screwed up, broke air safety regs, and were berks. Further, judging from the dust kickups, the copter they were flying was not a small beast, and I would have not wanted anything to run into it. Yes they got good footage, but only by doing something dangerous and illegal. As I said. Berks.