Monthly Archives: August 2007

Laughing at the “disabled”, Michael Noonan exposes his naughty bits!

CAUTION!                                                                                                                          Some academics may be offended  by the film footage in this link.     Michael Noonan’s Naughty Bits

The controversial Bris Vegas film maker, Michael Noonan, has been accused of producing “misanthropic and amoral trash” and exploiting people with intellectual disabilities who are not competent to make decisions for themselves in his PhD thesis “Laughing at/with the Disabled.”

This criticism can be found in the now famous Australian (newspaper) article by two academics from QUT -Gary MacLennan and John Hookham entitled “Philistines of Relativism  at the Gates” (link here).   My critique of this article can be found here.

Since the screening of Noonan’s film “Unlikely Travelers” at the recent Brisbane International Film Festival (see my review here)) the supporters of MacLennan and Hookham’s criticism have maintained their rage against Noonan, explaining that the criticism had nothing to do with “Unlikely Travellers” but was aimed at “the other one”. “The Other One” is an as yet unfinished comedy film entitled “Down Under with Darren and James”.

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Filed under Aboriginal, art, australia, disability, film, society, Uncategorized

Censorship by the Wilderness Society, what next?

The above headline was Tony Jones, the anchorperson of ABC’s Lateline program’s comment about the Wilderness Society refusing to allow the media into their concert in Sydney on the weekend.

 The concert was picketed by a group of Cape York Traditional owners headed by Young Australian of the Year, Tania Major.

According to Lateline “The Aborigines say the environmentalists are treating them in a colonial manner by pushing for the World Heritage listing of Cape York without consulting the Indigenous people who call the area home.”

More details here Rift widens between Cape York traditional owners and green movement

I have written before about the colonial perspectives of the environment movement, in particular the Wilderness society. see this link The environment movement and Aboriginal Australia – the debate heats up.

 I apologise for not writing a full article today but I am busy getting ready for tommorows picket.  I shall return to this subject again in the future as I believe this clash, and a proper analysis of it is central to the green movement coming to terms with Australian reality and indigenous notions of country.

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The N.T. Intervention – a perspective from the other side of the front line

I have just included a new link on the link list – “That Manunga Linguist”

This blog belongs to a linguist working in Southern Arnhem Land and, amongst other things, is documenting the Federal government’s intervention as it happens on the ground.

An excerpt from “The Intervention” 
“The meeting started with a representative from Darwin’s FACSIA office running through the main points of the intervention: non-compulsory health checks, increased police, tying centrelink payments to school attendance, the wind-up of CDEP, removal of the permit system for the town area and emphasised that this was all in the name of protecting children and keeping them safe. This was all in English and not very plain English. An interpreter came with them but was not utilised.”

See also House-to-house raids in Alice Springs Indigenous Community on Bush Telegraph

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Brisbane family challenges Queensland’s adult guardianship laws

 Media Release 26/8/07 contact John Tracey (07) 32552146

Brisbane family challenges Queensland’s adult guardianship laws

A Brisbane family who has a member with an intellectual disability has organised a protest against Queensland’s guardianship laws.


The protest will be next Wednesday, the 29 August 2007 at 9.00 am. outside the Brisbane Magistrate’s Court, 240 Roma St. Brisbane.

(a client of the Adult Guardian is appearing before a magistrate there)


The protest will open with a traditional Aboriginal dance from family member Baganan Kurityityin Theresa Creed.

This will be followed by a forum chaired by Drew Hutton from the Qld. Greens


Spokesperson for the Family John Tracey says….


“We have called this protest to shine a light on Queensland’s adult guardianship laws”


“Qld. Guardianship laws are a totalitarian regime that encourages neglect, incompetence and cover-ups. People with intellectual disabilities are being allowed to fall through cracks in the system, some are ending up in gaol”.


“The only agency in Queensland authorised to investigate claims of neglect or abuse of Queensland adults with intellectual disabilities by their guardians is the Office of the Adult Guardian. The Office of the Adult Guardian is itself the legal guardian for many Queenslanders with impaired capacity. Therefore the only agency capable of investigating allegations of neglect and abuse by the Adult Guardian is the Adult Guardian itself – a clear conflict of interest.”


“The Guardianship and Administration Act was designed to be independent of the Attorney General and the Justice Department in order to avoid political interference. Because of this insulation it has become a law unto itself, with nobody including the Attorney General being able to investigate into its secret workings.”


“We are calling on the Queensland Attorney General to immediately take the Guardianship and Administration Act back to parliament and amend it to include some form of accountability structure for the Office of the Adult Guardian”.


“The Adult Guardian’s responsibilities to wards of the state can only be accountable, scrutinisable and transparent if its guardian function is separated from its investigative function.”


“ The Office of the Adult Guardian must be split into two separate agencies”.


“Our family has suffered the consequences of the system’s neglect, incompetence and cover-ups. We would love to speak openly about it but we have had a suppression order preventing us from doing so.”


“Like many Queensland families we will not see justice done until the Office of the Adult Guardian is reformed”


For more information or interviews contact John Tracey

ph. (07) 32552146



See also


I have considered the following carefully and I honestly believe it does not breach the restrictions placed on me about discussing this issue.

If there is a problem, I accept full and sole responsibility. – JT

The matters before the magistrates court on Wednesday relate to a person with a mild intelectual disability.

Four years ago this person owned a beachside unit and a 30 acre block of bushland on the Sunshine Coast. These were paid for by an insurance payout for orthopaedic injuries sustained in a car accident when he was 4 years old.

These two properties were selected by the persons family to provide an appropriate and fulfilling lifestyle for him.

Before he was able to move into these properties the Adult Guardian intervened and handed control of his assetts to the Public Trustee because they considered it an inappropriate use of money to buy a bush block as well as a primary residence. The money should be left in the bank they insisted.

The Adult Guardian then placed this person in an accomodation option of their choice and restricted contact with his mother and her family.

The car accident happened when this person was 4 years old. He had to wait until he was 18 before compensation could be awarded. As a child he lived in desparate poverty, as many Aboriginal people do, and was cared for by his single mother and grandmother. Because of his learning disability (not connected to the accident), his slow recuperation from terrible wounds and the stigma associated with his wounds his upbringing was difficult.

Today he is 25 years old and still has never recieved any benefit at all from his accident compensation payment.

A usual fee charged by the Public Trustee to administer the assetts of a person in a situation such as this is over one hundred dollars per week. They appear to be the only people who may be benefiting from this persons compensation payout.

For most of the past year this person has been homeless. He has lived in parks for most of this time and now he is in a hostel close to Fortitude Valley . He still spends much time walking around the inner city, especially at night.

The Adult Guardian have resisted moves by his family to get him out of the inner city, insisting his present hostel is the best possible accomodation option – despite him being (theoretically) wealthy enough to buy or build a mansion customised to his every need.

When he was living in the Park they refused to allow him to go to his family on Palm Island, insisting that living in the park was a better option than Palm Island.

This person has very dark skin and attracts the attention of the police when he walks around.

He has been arrested many times in the last year for various street offences and continues to get in regular trouble with the police.

He is in court on Wednesday and is facing imprisonment for these accumulated offences.

Before the Adult Guardian’s intervention this person was a wealthy land owner with allmost infinite lifestyle options. Since the Adult Guardian’s intervention he has settled into a homeless lifestyle and is now facing gaol.

I alledge that since, and as a direct result of, the Adult Guardian’s intervention the person’s mother has suffered a heart attack and two accute anxiety eposodes resulting in her becoming incapacitated . She is now on a disability pension.

The person (son) has been assessed by the same clinical psychologist 4 years ago, 7 years ago and aprox 15 years ago as having depressive and psychiatric conditions as well as not being able to cope with separation from his mother.

This same clinical psychologist reports have also explicitly reported that the person has never had a head injury after examination of all his medical reports since his accident.

The Adult Guardian and the GAAT (informed by the Adult Guardian) insist that the person has no depressive or psychiatric condition.

The GAAT (informed by the Adult Guardian) has deemed the person as lacking the capacity to make his own decisions on the basis of a brain injury as a result of his car accident.

The Adult Guardian’s information directly contradicts assesments by 3 separate psychiatrists who clearly and explicitly state the person has the capacity to make decisions about his life.

The Adult Guardian have no medical assessments to support their departure from the prior assessments.

The decision whether to retain a solicitor for the person to represent his interests in these matters is made exclusively by the Adult Guardian, his guardian for legal matters. If such a solicitor was retained, they would be instructed exclusively by the Adult Guardian.

The persons family are not legally able to seek legal advice on behalf of the person.

The persons family are not legally able to initiate legal action for the person as the Adult Guardian has that exclusive power.

All these issues have been presented to the GAAT which has either dismissed them without giving reasons why or refused to hear them alltogether.

This is why we have taken the drastic step of a public picket. We can think of no other option but political action to pursue the interests of the person.

This is why I have taken the risky step of putting this information here. There is no other forum or authority than “the people” for us to take our concerns to. We have exhausted all other avenues.


Filed under australia, disability, justice

new website launch – “Queensland the Cruel State”

Negligence one day, cover-up the next! 

Before you visit Queensland be sure to checkout   “Queensland the Cruel State”

This website is designed to warn people with impaired capacities, their families and travel associates of the dangers of Queensland’s guardianship laws.

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Picket – Expose the Qld. Office of the Adult Guardian. Stop neglect and cover-up.

See also ABC law report 15/8/06 “Guardianship and Administration Tribunal”  

Update – while the suppression order seems to have prevented media coverage of our picket, the Courier Mail has been following the issues with other cases and published the following on Sept 1……  “Unwilling ward of the state”

Join the campaign to reform  the Queensland Office of the Adult Guardian.

Please pass this link to friends and networks in Brisbane.

There will be a picket  Wednesday, the 29 August 2007 at 9.00 am. outside the Brisbane Magistrate’s Court, 240 Roma St. Brisbane to demand reform of the Queensland Office of the Adult Guardian.

(note – this building is not the office of the Adult Guardian.  We have chosen this venue because a client of the Adult Guardian is appearing before a magistrate there)

The picket will be opened by a traditional Aboriginal dance from Baganan Kurityityin Theresa Creed.

There will be an open forum during the picket chaired by Drew Hutton. All are welcome to speak.

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Disability and film

“The big dilemma for disabled actors is that they are a tiny minority, unable to get agents, regular work, or even their foot in the door.” 

“Liberal guilt is suffocating. Is it ever okay to laugh at the disabled?”

“………but the fact remains that the disability humor in “South Park” is outrageously funny. I’m disabled and I laugh at it, so it must be OK, right? There’s nothing worse than a disabled person who takes it all too seriously. That’s a one-way ticket to serious long-term misery.”

These quotes are excerpts from an interview,  “Hobbling Hollywood”   from the U.S. blog “The Warren Report” Warren Etheredge interviews Seattle movie critic Jeff Shannon about the representation of people with disabilities in Hollywood.The article is copyright so I won’t reproduce it but I recommend the link to those curious about the issues raised by Michael Noonan’s film “Unlikely Travellers” and the criticism against his PhD thesis “Laughing at/with the Disabled”.

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