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
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.