Submission to Queensland Guardianship and Adminstration Bill 2017
The Guardianship and Administration Amendment Bill was ill-conceived and any action on the Bill should be put on hold until the long overdue review of the QCAT Act has been completed. It is ridiculous to consider any amendment to the Guardianship and Administration Act when QCAT is the subject of numerous extremely serious issues.
The Guardianship and Administration Act and the QCAT Act cannot be considered n isolation, and attempts to do so amount to applying lipstick to an exceedingly ugly pig and expecting it to be transformed into Marilyn Munroe.
The QCAT Act provided for a review of the Act in 2011. The combination of decidedly critical submissions and Court of Appeal findings in Maher QCA11-225 that 'the quality of decision-making in QCAT is deplorable' resulted in the review being put on hold. An attempt re-activate the review in 2014 also drew extremely hostile submissions resulting on the review being put on hold indefinitely.
Other 'interesting' issues are
(a) The QCAT Act requirement that the president must be a supreme court judge and the deputy president a district court judge has not been complied with for prolonged periods.
(b) The QCAT Act requirement that the tribunal must retain 'specialized expertise'. has barely been paid lip service. Specialized expertise is defined as members with relevant 'education, qualifications, training and experience'. QCAT deceptively promotes a particular QCAT member as a 'doctor' when her only qualification is a PhD in english literature.
(c) QCAT ignores the Public Service Act provision regarding an internal complaints review facility. Senior registrar Julie Hay has advised that 'there is no point sending complaints as we don't take any notice of them' . The president's job description states that he is responsible to investigate complaints alleging misconduct of members however there is no indication that the president has ever observed this requirement. Attempts to bring the president and members to account have been laughed off with the comment that (quote) 'the president and members have immunity to prosecution for breach of civil legislation' (unquote)
(d) The Guardianship and Administration Act deliberately ignores separation of powers doctrine by joining two executive entities to all guardianship matters. Together with the immunities conferred on QCAT members, the joining has led to a culture of extreme arrogance and bias on the part of QCAT, the OPG and the PTQ, as was acknowledged by the Court of Appeal in its Maher decision.
(e) QCAT demonstrates bias toward the PTQ by ignoring the Costello Inquiry and the Cooper Review regarding major issues with PTQ financial accounting procedures, and the ASIC finding that PTQ preferred financial advisor Morgans Financial Services failed to comply with acccepted standards.
(f) QCAT deliberately imposes financial disadvantage imposed by preferring the PTQ over no-cost family administration, and conflict of interest with the PTQ as a retailer of financial products and also as the appointed financial administrator of parties who are forced to purchase decidedly sub-standard financial products which return a profit to the State of Queensland.
(g) QCAT consistently over-rules Enduring Powers of Attorney with no cogent evidence of malpractice on the part of the attorney. The Guardianship and Administration Act stipulation that QCAT can only appoint the PTQ as a last resort has rarely if ever been observed.
(h) The Guardianship and Administration Act contains a number of provisions that tribunal members 'MUST' observe, however it fails to mention any recourse or penalties appling to instances of non-compliance. The combination of systemic extreme arrogance and the immunity endowed on QCAT members results in habitual ignorance of legislation ostensibly intended to regulate their conduct . The president has ignored his responsibility to deal with malpractice, QCAT is able to nobble the internal appeal process, the Ombudsman, CCC, Anti-Discrimination Commission and Information Commission refuse to deal with complaints against QCAT, the Attorney General falls back on the 'separation of powers' excuse despite provision in the Act for intervention, and all three arms of government unite to prevent judicial review of QCAT, the OPG and the PTQ.
In view of the awareness of serious problems with QCAT, I allege that any attempt to proceed with the Guardianship and Administration Amendment Bill prior to completion of the long-outstanding review of the QCAT Act would constitute deliberate perversion of the course of justice.