Campbell Newman and Bligh – a ‘quinella’ of losers

“In the courtroom of honor, the judge pounded his gavel
To show that all’s equal and that the courts are on the level
And that the strings in the books ain’t pulled and persuaded
And that even the nobles get properly handled”

In horse racing, when you pick two winners in any order it is called a ‘quinella’. There is one proviso — there have to be three or more horses in the race.

If you get the chance read the article on the front page of the Weekend (10-11 March 2012) AustralianNewman ally faces ‘$300,00 abuse probe“(excerpt shown above). Though I would not recommend paying hard earned money to subscribe to the Murdoch paper to read it online.

The Australian, Qld Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT), the Public Trustee (PTQ) and the Crime and Misconduct Commission (CMC) have given top billing to the ‘alleged financial abuse involving more than $300,000 belonging to elderly acquaintances who suffer dementia.’  The allegation is that Mayor of the Scenic Rim John Brent, using his position as POA*, ripped off an aged person suffering from dementia. There is mention in the article of a whistle blower.

I believe these state and media institutions have acted purely because Mayor Brent is an important person and ally of Campbell-Newman in the race for control of Queensland.

Not so for Ross, the former owner of AHIMSA house, a community centre in West End, Brisbane, recently sold by the bank, Challenger Managed Investments.

Over the past three years the Qld Public Trustee has placed all the responsibility on Ross and his friends to provide evidence of the theft of AHIMSA house from Ross and the community.

I have posted this article to give you an idea of how superficial and uncaring the media and authorities are on the issue of people with Power of Attorney (POA) taking advantage of elders.
As if it were not already obvious!

“the judge pounded his gavel
To show that ladder of law has no top and no bottom

And he spoke through his cloak, most deep and distinguished
And handed out strongly, for penalty and repentance”

In a crass and superficial world, this article and the focus on ‘family scandals’ in the Campbell Newman camp are likely to end his prospects of becoming Premier and may pave the way for a still unlikely Labor victory. Either way, there will be more  robbery of public and community property.

The polls have Campbell Newman behind in Ashgrove. The local community don’t want the Can Do man, women don’t want him and his highly conservative stance on Women’s rights — the developers friend does not deserve to govern, he can’t even win a seat in the parliament, even with the backing of  mining magnate, Clive Palmer, hell-bent on destroying Queensland, the lives of its workers and small towns .

I hope the polls are right. I hope Campbell Newman loses.

But I also hope Anna Bligh fails to retain her seat.

The Public Trustee preys over 600 – 700 files ‘administering’ the finances of the old and infirm. Predatory behaviour by rip-off merchants and con-men continues. Abuse of the elderly, the infirm, the disabled is rife as the population ages. Yet the inertia of the bureaucrats and the institutional media is such that they will act only when it is important people who are involved. In this case Labor appointees have acted to claw back the lead held by the opposition.

The public service is disabled under Bligh and Labor appointees like Peter Carne, the Public Trustee and former legal partner of  ex-Premier, Wayne Goss. A combination of inertia and incompetence in the public service has given the banks, the financial advisors, the middle class crooks free reign and advantage over ordinary people who worked all their lives only to be conned and forsaken. It is as if the politicians have relied on the inertia of the public service to create failure (the floods [sic]) so that they can pretend to come to the rescue and spin their way back into government. Meanwhile on the other side of town the LNP draws up its hit list of public servants who have to go. Mr Carne is on the top of the list but is there no bottom?
Mr Newman, what about the whole rotten system, do you care?

Labor does not deserve to govern. Premier Anna Bligh sold Queensland Rail in a state that moves minerals from one place to another. Community assets are sold for a song to private companies and individuals. Bligh does so on the advice of Treasury that argues (sic) that the 8% return they were getting from Queensland Rail was not enough. During the Bjelke-Petersen era QR was making 25% profits on coal freight royalties and subsidising urban rail with the takings from transnational mining companies. Not even Joh, the king of corruption, could sell QR. After the economy was re-regulated by Hawke, Keating and Howard these royalties were cut under Federal government legislation in the name of competition (ACCC legislation). So the Labor government has privatised QR’s profits (on coal) and socialised its losses (on urban transport).

In this case, I hope I have picked both Bligh and Newman as losers in this, a two horse race!

When all is said and done, it is better for people to campaign for direct democracy in working class organisations and in community groups than to be held in the thrall of election politics and at the mercy of bureaucrats.

Mr Campbell , you complain why does everyone say it is your fault — well it is systemic failure. Those 600 or 700 files of shame and disgrace in the PTQ’s office demonstrate this. There is something happening in there, but you don’t know what it is, do you, Mr Campbell?

“Ah, but you who philosophize disgrace and criticize all fears
Bury the rag deep in your face

For now’s the time for your tears.”

Thanks to Bob Dylan for
“The Lonesome Death
of Poor Hattie Carroll”

Ian Curr
11 Mar 2012

*POA = Enduring Power of Attorney

3 thoughts on “Campbell Newman and Bligh – a ‘quinella’ of losers

  1. Len Newey says:

    Sung to… What About Me ?

    Well there’s this little man wailing, I wonder if he’s ever gunna stop
    He’s been wailing down there, wailing most the day
    I think he wants to make it to the top
    He has been around, in this Brisbane town
    Once the mayor, he should know what to say

    What about me? I’ve got some flair
    I can be tough, I’ll grow my hair
    Anna doesn’t see, she won’t forgive
    But with me, I’ll show you, how to live

    We’ll Anna is Premier, she has finally made it to the top
    She’s been waiting back there, listening to your screams
    Those Qld floods, seemed they’d never stop
    She made us proud, she worked the crowd
    She really has been living the dream

    What about me? don’t despair
    I’m not like Campbell, I really do care
    Vote for me, I you want to live
    I won’t take much more than you give

    So we’ll both shout out to all those little people
    To those who are young, enrol now, and make the big, people, big
    So listen, as they whisper
    What about me?
    Now we’re standing in line , and all the voters, have gone home
    Strong words were exchanged, no victory was craved
    Anna and Campbell are lost and alone
    They’re not so lucky, they’ve lost the plot
    Sometimes they should be thankful, for what they’ve got

    What about us? It’s all up in the air
    The voters have had enough, they just don’t care
    Can’t they see, we got to live
    Will they ever learn to forgive!……..
    What about us ?… what about us ?…. what about us ?

  2. qldpublictrusteeexposed says:

    by qldpublictrusteeexposed
    The question is: Why do you have to fight with them for 16 years before you get justice?

    Why isn’t the Public Trustee trustworthy?

    A DISABLED man has won his fight to regain control of his finances following a “long, hard and arduous” 16-year battle with the State Government body appointed to manage his estate.

    Clinton VanDenBerg’s life changed forever in 1988, when a 10-tonne semi-trailer, driven by a 17-year-old unlicensed driver, slammed into his family’s car. The crash killed his sister, broke vertebrae in his mum’s back and left him with a permanent brain injury.

    “My life was totally destroyed,” he said.

    “Because of the fracture to my skull, by order of the court, the Public Trustee Queensland (PTQ) had to handle my finances.”

    Mr VanDenBerg, now 39, received an $807,000 Supreme Court payout nine years after the harrowing ordeal but his ability to manage his own affairs was restricted when he was placed under financial administration.

    “Medical fees were paid, I obtained a home, and legal fees were paid,” he said.

    “(PTQ) ended up having $550,000 to invest which was supposed to last me for the rest of my life.”

    The intelligent and well-spoken Mr VanDenBerg, whose only visible indication of a brain injury is his slow speech, claims the PTQ “lost” $95,000 of his money during the Global Financial Crisis, which he believes was placed into investments which produced a negative return.

    He also disputes more than $70,000 in fees and charges he paid during those 16 years.

    “I was told I only had to pay $25,000 for managing my affairs,” he said.

    Mr VanDenBerg said his bank account balance had depleted so much that when the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) awarded him full control of his finances on March 20, he was left with $1500 in his bank account.

    An opportunity came up in 1997 for Mr VanDenBerg to invest in a set of units on Bourbong St for $80,000, but his application for the money was denied by the PTQ.

    “The office said I didn’t have the capacity to decide what my money was getting invested in,” he said.

    “The person who bought them is still sitting pretty from what he’s made.

    “It’s very degrading and upsetting to think people can treat others like that.”

    Mr VanDenBerg was given a medical report in 2003 from a doctor – which he passed on to the PTQ – that declared him capable of managing his own affairs.

    But he says the report was ignored by PTQ and a review of his financial administration order was never carried out.

    Public Trustee Queensland Client Services executive director Tony Steinmetz said they were appointed to manage Mr VanDenBerg’s estate on December 18, 1996 and any applications to have an order revoked had to be made through QCAT.

    “As early as August 6, 2003, there is a file notation to the effect that Clinton has been advised a number of times of his option to apply to (QCAT) to regain control of his affairs,” he said.

    But Mr VanDenBerg said he was never aware the tribunal existed back then.

    Mr Steinmetz also claims PTQ was not aware of the medical report until June 2008 and that it “did not state that he is fully capable of managing his financial affairs”.

    “As the financial administrator, it is not normally PTQ’s role to approach QCAT for declarations of capacity, however when the issue came to a head in late 2012, PTQ did apply for a directions hearing with QCAT,” he said.

    Up until February last year, Mr Steinmetz said PTQ had received $332,688 in income on behalf of Mr VanDenBerg and paid a net $964,932 on his behalf at his request, including the purchase of his Gooburrum home.

    “As early as 2003, there are file notations of our warnings to Mr VanDenBerg that the current rate of expenditure of his funds is not sustainable over his expected life,” he said.

    “Mr VanDenBerg did make some adjustments to his expenditure but not sufficient to stop the overall depletion of funds.”

    Mr Steinmetz said PTQ had sole responsibility for the investment decisions in relation to the client’s funds.

    “The funds were invested in a range of funds managed by the Queensland Investment Corporation,” he said.

    “Whilst there was a downturn in the earnings of the funds during the Global Financial Crisis, the funds performed within the median range when compared to similar funds.”

    Mr Steinmetz said there were no investment losses.

    “There is no loss unless the investment is realised for less than its initial value, which did not occur,” he said.

    “What appears to be misinterpreted by Mr VanDenBerg is the fluctuation in value of the investment from time to time.”

    He has also said the PTQ’s fees and charges were set by regulation under the Public Trustee Act 1978 and were designed to reflect the cost of services provided.

    The Funds

    During the 16 years the Public Trustee managed Clinton VanDenBerg’s financial affairs, $641,999 was invested into six different funds in 1998 and 2002

    The PTQ claims $557,686 was withdrawn during that 16-year period to service Mr VanDenBerg’s expenditure

    A total of $276,679 was also received in dividends

    Mr VanDenBerg has paid $71,056 in fees and charges to PTQ
    THE Public Trustee is a self-funding statutory authority which reports to Queensland Parliament through the state’s Attorney-General.

    Operating under The Public Trustee Act 1978, it offers a range of services including enduring powers of attorney, will-making, deceased estate administration, management of investments and trusts and financial administration for people with decision-making impairment.

    Client services executive director Tony Steinmetz said PTQ currently provided financial management for about 8000 people, managed 3000 estates and looked after about 5000 trusts.

    PTQ managed about $2.25 billion in assets on behalf of clients, he said.

    Its website states that it provides “economical and accessible investment, legal and associated services and act as an independent and impartial administrator, attorney and trustee for the people of Queensland”.

    A personal trust officer is appointed to assist each client with the management of his or her financial affairs.

  3. Running on empty ... says:

    SCENIC RIM mayor John Brent is facing a $1 million claim over his assets from a creditor of his collapsed company, Bunjurgen, which traded as the Bunny Bites food processing business.

    The statement of claim was served on Cr Brent early Tuesday morning and gives him 21 days to prepare a defence.

    The issue stems from the almost $10 million owed to banks and suppliers of the business, based at Boonah.

    The ultimate penalty for Cr Brent could be bankruptcy proceedings if he is unable to pay or reach a settlement with the Tasmanian-based supplier and creditor who holds a director’s guarantee over assets.

    The claim is for $915,000 plus interests and legal costs.

    Cr Brent also lost about $457,000 in the collapse and his daughter, Sally Brent lost $105,000. Cr Brent also contributed an extra $100,000 of his own funds to help pay creditors.

    Bunny Bites was eventually sold to former McDonald’s Australia executive Stephen Jermyn while Mr Brent’s two children retain management positions within the company which is now known as Vegpro4.

    Apart from being mayor of Scenic Rim, Cr Brent is also a powerful figure in agripolitics as the chairman of Ausveg and Growcom. He is also a close political ally of Premier Campbell Newman and was at one time considered to be a likely deputy Premier.

    Cr Brent could not be contacted for comment.

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