The role of The Association of Family and Conciliation Courts. Australian Chapter (AFCC) update from Helen Tastard!

The Snow Review : an update from Helen Tastard.len Helen Helen  I have reissued my review of 2018, with some minor amendments. Details of the book which I reviewed are as follows:

Author: Keith Harmon Snow. Title: The Worst Interests of the Child ; the Trafficking of Children and Parents through the US Family Courts.   Atlanta [Georgia, US] : Burning Sage, 2016. Available in Australia from bookshops such as Readings. Price $45.00 (approx). A copy is also held by The National Library of Australia. Local public libraries may purchase it on your request.   This  document (review and commentary) is also known as The Snow Review.  HT

 “Although this work (The Snow Review)  is protected by copyright, the author, Helen Tastard, has waived her rights in some circumstances, to allow and encourage the dissemination of information about the role of AFCC ( The Association of Family and Conciliation Courts. Australian Chapter )  within the Australian Family  Court. Any republication must acknowledge Helen Tastard as the author.

The Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC) Australian Chapter is already silently taking over the Australian Family Court, with disastrous results. It is able to do this because of its privileged position. It was initially headed (in about 2015) by the now recently retired Australian Family Court Chief Justice, the Hon Diana Bryant, which seems to imply official links with the Australian Family Court. Its activities have so far been unquestioned by any official authority.  

Towards the end of this document is a draft list of people known to have links with AFCC Australian Chapter. Some listed are conference speakers and could have been recruited simply to enhance the standing of AFCC Australian Chapter. Even AFCC Australian Chapter members may not realize the true role of the Chapter. I apologize to anyone who is embarrassed by the disclosure of their name here.  All names have been previously been published online in the context of AFCC activities.

This revelation would not have been necessary if AFCC were to allow public access to its membership list. I have collected over 60 names. Australian Chapter membership (including organizational or corporate members) is about 200. This figure was claimed in early 2017 at an Australian Senate Committee Hearing concerning complaints about family consultants/psychologists to AHPRA (Australian Health Practitioners Regulation Authority).

Keith Snow’s book (of which details are given above and below or overleaf) helps to explain the origins and activities of the United States based Association of Family and Conciliation Courts.  

The name AFCC Australian Chapter indicates that it is part of the powerful and corrupt parent body which is described in Keith Snow’s book.   

The book’s details are :The Worst Interests of the Child : The Trafficking of Children and Parents through US Family Courts, by Keith Harmon Snow. Atlanta [Georgia, US] : Burning Sage, 2016. Available in Australia from bookshopzs such as Readings. Price $45.00 (approx). A copy is also held by The National Library of Australia. Local public libraries may purchase it on your request.     

The author, Keith Harmon Snow, is an international, award-winning investigative journalist. He lectures at the Santa Barbara campus of the University of California in the United States (US). His special interests are breaches of human rights and genocide.

Keith Snow regards the Family Court in US as engaging in mafia-like organized crime.  He does not refer directly to Australia, but the situation here has much in common with that of US. Hence this review and commentary.

Some of the harmful practices of US State Family Courts have not yet reached Australia but are soon likely to do so. This is because of the recent admission of Australia as the only country in the world with full membership of the influential US-based Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC).  The Australian Chapter (or branch or franchise since it is really a business) of AFCC was fully established only in 2015. It was brought to Australia and initially led by the recently retired Australian Family Court Chief Justice, the Hon Diana Bryant.  Its next  leader was Hon Steven Strickland, a judge of the Australian Family Court Appeals  Division. Justice Strickland has now retired from the post as head of AFCC Australian Chapter, to be succeeded in that role by another judge.    

The Australian Family Court’s involvement with AFCC dates back to the late 1990s when the previous Australian Family Court Chief Justice (Hon A Nicholson) was president of the parent body in US.   

The Constitution of The AFCC Australian Chapter was drawn up in 2016. It is actively recruiting new members and is apparently open to a wide range of occupations.  Only its Board members can have full access to its records.

It seems to offer open membership but an application can be refused without given reason. The AFCC Australian Chapter is a registered charity with some tax concessions.  Its charitable works or activities are not yet apparent.

It holds annual conferences in which rather basic and/or outdated educational information is presented through talks and seminars etc. A well-known Australian comedian was engaged at one of these as an entertainer and presenter.  There is no evidence that knowledge is imparted or behaviour changed for the better as a result of conference attendance.

AFCC Australian Chapter openly promotes itself a business and social network.  It boasts about the collaborative nature of its activities without any mention that this collaboration is most evident in Family Court decisions which promote child abuse.   The Australian government ignores the obvious conflict of interest which is routinely seen in all three branches of the Australian Family Court.[1] Politicians quote or invoke the non-existent principle of the separation of political and judicial powers when asked to help. This is despite all judges being politically appointed, often on grounds other than merit.  Once appointed, judges can only be sacked by Act of Parliament, and normally have a secure job until the age of 70. They can then take up lucrative positions with, for example, the forthcoming Australian Family Law Review.

 The chief grounds for a judge’s dismissal is bias.  However, an appeal judge can order an honest lawyer to remove all allegations of bias before an appeal can even be considered. This weakens a case so that the same judge can later refuse the right to appeal.  

 The AFCC Australian Chapter Constitution (printed on the letterhead of a large Queensland legal firm), describes it as a public company limited by guarantee. Its main “object” (their word which probably means “aim” or “objective” in normal language) is …

To be the Australian body of interdisciplinary professionals working together to improve the lives of children and families through the resolution of conflict in accordance with the mission of Association of Family and Conciliation Courts. To achieve the above the company may without limitation harness the resources of the community.

I suspect this “harnessing” means making as much money as possible from government agencies and from clients. The annual cost to the community of running the Australian Family Court could be about $AUD 11 billion.   A minimum of 6000 children each year are subject to abuse knowingly inflicted by the Australian Family Court through its AFCC inspired practitioners. Precise figures are not available through the Australian Bureau of Statistics.  The reviewer (Helen Tastard) welcomes comments on, and legitimate corrections to, these figures.    

AFCC aims are expressed elsewhere in slightly different terms but it usually portrays itself as a very worthy body made up of conscientious professionals who want only to do good.

The reality in both countries and in other former British colonies including Canada, New Zealand, Eire/ Ireland and South Africa, as well as Britain itself, is the complete opposite.   

According to Keith Snow, AFCC[2] involvement in the corruption of the Family Court system in US began about twenty years ago (i.e in the late 1990s). It resulted from well-meaning laws enacted by the Clinton administration designed to help needy families.[3] . Based on economic and financial incentives and with no accountability or regulation, it enables individuals in US state family courts[4] and other agencies to benefit personally from the funding.  It does this by appointing unofficial “gatekeepers” in various institutions.

A major factor in the rise of AFCC was the adoption and promotion of the false psychological theory of Parent Alienation Syndrome (PAS) by a group of US Family Court personnel (including judges, lawyers and psychologists/ family consultants/ family report writers).

That began in the 1990s.

Parent Alienation Syndrome (PAS) was the mid-1980s theory of US psychologist, Dr Richard Gardner, who approved of paedophilia and other sexual perversions. He also disliked women. The pro-Gardner and pro-PAS group in US either formed the AFCC or used the existing AFCC to form a franchise (that is, a business) in order to train others. They also founded a father’s group which is today known as the Children’s Rights Council. Its aim is to teach abusive litigants to use PAS to gain custody.

According to an obituary in the New York Times[5], Richard Gardner was a psychologist and not a professor of Child Psychiatry as is sometimes claimed. For a time, he worked as a volunteer at Columbia University in US.  Dr Gardner took his own life while suffering from a painful neurological disorder which might have affected his mind and behaviour.  

Richard Gardner maintained that children who suffered from what he called Parent Alienation Syndrome (PAS) had been indoctrinated by the other parent without cause.

He recommended that such children be removed from the so-called alienating parent and placed in the custody of the accused abusive parent. PAS was never recognized by the American Medical Association or any other professional body. 

A US journalist, Peter Jamison, in 2011 summarized the use of PAS by US family courts as follows:

Mother suspects father of sexual abuse against child; mother asks family court to investigate; court assigns psychologist to evaluate parents; psychologist declares that mother invented charges against father; mother is labelled with psychopathology based on discredited psychological theories; family court judge delivers child to abusive father. [6]

At the previously mentioned Senate Enquiry of 2017,  it was claimed that AFCC is an important international organization. Yet its own publicity mentions only four countries. These are US (some states), Canada (some states), Australia, which is the only country in the world with full Chapter status, and New Zealand which has some members but not enough to form a Chapter which requires a minimum of 75. No doubt there are individual and organizational (or corporate) members in other countries. Some of these could be judges and lawyers’ groups able to exert influence without being publicly named.  This would account for the great influence of AFCC despite its alleged total membership of only 4000.

The AFCC Australian Chapter representatives seem to have persuaded the above Senate Committee to recommend law changes which would make complaints about family report writers impossible without a Judge’s request. This could mean exemption from complaints as well as the legal immunity they already enjoy. [7]

In addition to the spoken submissions of AFCC representatives to the Senate Committee, a lengthy written submission was made by the relevant AFCC Australian Chapter Committee or Subcommittee of four.

The names are blacked out (redacted) on the printed version which is available to the public. Ms Belinda Spong (family lawyer) identified herself as one member but the names of the other three are not known. If they were the same three others who attended or gave spoken evidence at the Senate Hearing, such redaction was unnecessary. If instead they included any of the Australian Family Court judges known to be AFCC Australian Chapter members, why were their names redacted from the written submission?  Why would anyone wish to hide their identity from even the Family Court clients whom they claim to have helped to a peaceful settlement using the much-vaunted conciliation or mediation skills (or via consent orders)? These very clients provide the livelihood of judges and all who work within the Australian Family Court. The clients are the major stakeholders of the Family Court but they are routinely excluded and/or disparaged/ defrauded by judges and others.

The usual claim about protecting children’s privacy cannot apply here. It is doubtful whether any child could even find details of either submission without adult help, and such adults have usually been banned from contact with any affected children.

 Examination of the Australian Family Court Annual Report shows how close was the relationship between the recently retired Chief Justice Diana Bryant and AFCC. She was proud of the delegation of family consultants to represent the Family Court at some gatherings. Any of these could well be the sole expert witness advising a judge at a Family Court hearing. The potential for conflict of interest is obvious.   

The old, illogical and discredited PAS (as defined and used by AFCC) is still used by Australian lawyers to force even their own clients to sign unsatisfactory so-called consent orders in corridors etc outside the Family Court.  These false agreements can then be used by the judge to place or to leave abused children with abusive parents. At the same time, these court orders are used to exclude caring parents and others from the life of a child. The pre-judgement of which side will wineventually win is probably made before or at the initial hearing.

A caring/losing client will often be advised that they need not attend personally. The false implication is that one’s own legal team can be trusted to represent the caring client. Such clients are victims of their own unworldliness regarding court matters.   

Often the above consent agreements, which are often swiftly converted to court orders by a Registrar, are signed under threats or coercion by the lawyers of the more caring parent. While working under cover for the judge, these lawyers make sure they are paid by the caring party at every stage. Officially, the signed agreements are deemed to be the result of mediation or conciliation (hence the first ‘C’ in AFCC). Signing them means that an appeal can never be made but clients are not told of this. Thus, lawyers can virtually sack themselves when the client discovers the deception. But these lawyers have already been paid and they have earned the judge’s approval. They can therefore expect to progress in the profession and become judges themselves.

Of course, this forced signing results in decisions being made in the worst interests of the child and with total disregard for the 2012 Australian Family Law amendment which places the safety and welfare of children “front and centre”.  A child’s so-called “best interests” can be re-defined according to the whim of a judge, and a child’s life ruined, along with that of that child’s principal carer who may have invested life savings in order to protect the child, and failed. That person could have been the child’s only link with normality, as all evidence regarding child abuse, family mental illness, and contraventions of existing court orders, are ignored and suppressed. 

The United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child (which enshrines the right of a child to have a voice in court proceedings regarding that child), is routinely ignored in the Australian Family Court.    

Any client who officially complains about lawyers is likely to be blacklisted for years. If/when this client applies to have even slight contact restored after proven contraventions, the client will lose all contact with the child. All by order of the Court – which really means the judge who has openly colluded with the abusers’ lawyers.  

One would find it difficult to believe that this cruelty and injustice could exist with full government approval in Australia unless one had experienced or been closely connected with such a case, as has this reviewer, Helen Tastard).The latter has witnessed a known prominent member of that cartel that is the AFCC Australian Chapter, systematically deprive a depressed and abused child of any hope of a decent future. This was done by alienating the non-abusing applicant from the child and ordering “indemnity” costs against the applicant. This was done in the judge’s full knowledge that the costs of pursuing this case had made the applicant dependent on taxpayer funded assistance for the first time ever.

The actual hearing for this was held in a distant place and at such short notice that neither the applicant nor their lawyer was able to attend in person.  Thus, we can add lack of courage to the other undesirable character traits of some AFCC Australian Chapter judges.     

There is no available membership list of AFCC Australian Chapter but the group is known to include judges, lawyers, barristers, family report writers (usually psychologists or social workers), and representatives of Australian Legal Aid and Relationships Australia, all of whom work within the Australian Family Court.  While operating under the protection of the Australian Family Court, the Chapter is partly dependent on commercial support.

It lists among its conference sponsors for 2016 a prominent family law firm, a member of which was recently appointed to the Board of AFCC Australian Chapter.

Another sponsor of Australian Chapter conferences is a US subscription-based website which places online, details of contact arrangements for children of separated families.  

One parent can enrol the other without his/her consent and the relevant children also have free (but allegedly limited) access. Family law professionals also have free access to information on the cases in which they are involved.  AFCC has also been associated with a phone app which permits its members to receive confidential messages during conferences. One has to wonder why this app exists and what it can do that an ordinary mobile phone cannot.  Also, why some images of young children in AFCC promotional online documents seem sexualized.  Surely those in charge of AFCC realize that all this makes their conferences a magnet for paedophiles. Or are they really so naïve and out of touch that they have no idea of how they are self-portrayed?

Below is a draft list of people with some link to AFCC Australian Chapter, as published online. It is not complete.

Judges are indicated by an *.

Below is a draft list of 60+ people with some link to AFCC Australian Chapter, as published online in AFCC -related documents. It is not complete. Updated 4 March 2018.

Judges are indicated by an *.

*Altobelli, Tom

*Bryant, Diana  

*Cleary, Margaret

*Cole, Peter

*Foo, Edgar

*Harland, Alexandra

*Kelly, Charlotte

*Pearl, Jane 

*Sexton, Robyn

*Strickland, Steven

Anderson, Mark

Bala, Nicholas, Prof 

Bikerdike (or) Bickerdike, Andrew

Boland, Catherine, Dr

Bottomley, Lisa

Burt, Alison

Campbell, Jacky, Ms

Cohen, Robin

Cohen, Stephen

Darroch, Fiona

Earles, Rene

Edney, David

Eidelson, Noah

Entwhisle, Dr Timothy. Attended hearing of Senate Inquiry re AHPRA [8]Mar 17 but did not give evidence.

Fothergill, Jo

Freeman, Marilyn,

Gordon, Vicki

Greenberg, Lyn

Grobtuch, Olivia

Heard, Stacy

Henaghan, Marc, Prof

Jackson, Julie

Jenkins, Brigid

Jones, Ben

Kennedy, Simon

Korosi, Stan

Krabman, Peter, Dr

Lane, Belle

List, David – also gave evidence at 2017 Senate hearing into AHPRA complaints

Lodge, Paul

Mannan, Jennie

Martalas, Astrid

McIntosh, Jennifer, Prof

Murdolo, Adele

Neoh, Jenni – also gave evidence at 2017 Senate hearing into AHPRA complaints

Nicholes, Sally

Palmer, Mark

Papaleo, Vincent

Picker, Elizabeth

Sheridan, Lorraine

Sifris, Adiva

Simon, Robert

Smyth, Bruce, Dr

Spong, Belinda – see above note re AHPRA.

Stahl, Phil

Stavrakakis, Mary

Syzndler, Janine

Szarski, Lilia

Tan, Evelyn, Dr

Taylor, Nicola, Assoc Prof

Trudinger, Phil

Tustin, Don

Vaughan, Cathy

Vidas, Mary 

Vohra, Minal

Volk, Helen

Watts, Phil 

Woodcock, Pat

                                                 ©Australia February 2020.

[1] These are the Australian Family Court, The Federal Circuit Court (which was once called the Federal Magistrates Court) and the Western Australian Family Court. They collude as a single unit.

[2]The name varies slightly in some sources  

[3] K H Snow p 23-34

[4] In Australia the Family Court is a Federal Court but its lawyers are under state regulation.

[5] Stuart Lavietes. Richard Gardner, 72, Dies, Cast Doubt on Abuse Claims. New York Times, 9 June 2003.   There was clarification concerning his role at Columbia University on 14 Jun 2003. Both items retrieved 14 Nov 2017.

[6] Peter Jamison. “California Family Courts Helping Pedophiles [sic] , Batterers Get Child Custody”. In San Francisco Weekly News, 2011. (Source: Keith Snow’s book, p 19). 

[7] The Senate Committee recommended that COAG (Council of Australian Governments) Health Council which is mainly made up of Australian health ministers, consider changing the relevant law so as to roughly comply with The AFCC Australian Chapter request. The Health Council last met on 9 February 2018 but nothing further is known.   AFCC was represented at the Senate Hearing by Dr Jennifer Neoh, Ms Belinda Spong, Dr David List and Dr Timothy Entwhisle . 

[8] AHPRA= Australian Health Practitioners Regulation (or Regulatory) Authority.


Eviction Notice to protectors of 500 year old Sacred Birthing Trees Western Highway.

One has to ask under what Power does NIGEL POWERS have the power to order this eviction.

Is this the power of the law of the land issued by a court of law or is it the power of the law of money issued by a corporation? Not that it will make a difference in the end, as one hand washes the other with the blood of the families and communities they exploit, but it is a dangerous move by the Victorian State Government towards the final solution.

Nigel is currently the Manager Operations – South Western Victoria for VicRoads and leads the maintenance, management and improvement of the road network in this part of the state. He has over 15 years experience with bridges and structures and has fulfilled various roles including the planning, design, construction, maintenance and operation of bridges and other road structures.

Nigel has a passion for bridges which has led to roles on the Austroads Bridge Task Force and the Standards Australia Committee reviewing AS5100 – Australian Bridge Design Code. He also has a passion for working with academia to further research in the industry which has led partnering with various Universities to undertake research on bridge maintenance, management and rehabilitation. In 2014 Nigel formed the Australian branch of IABMAS and is the founding President.


The sewer is leaking.

As always an old bucket of rotten apples always leaks from the bottom. The apples at the top begin to rot and over a short period of time the rot oozes from the bottom. A simple fact of nature discovered by that wonderful Scientist Galileo, yes shit runs down hill, but remember it always starts at the top of the hill. For years I have asked for quality control in the legal profession and for years those requests have been ignored. Reason it would make those at the top of the hill accountable and the faeces that flows down the hill would not infect us all. Thank you Herald Sun for telling us about the fraud and crime oozing from the bottom of the barrel, now please can you also tell us about who the turds are at the top of the barrel and why this is being kept a big secret.  herald sun 23 06 2019 a herald sun 23 06 2019 bFacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

The Grave Robbing by The Lawyers continues.

Legal fee scandal: Lawyers ‘feast’ on Perth family estate
Kate Campbell | The West Australian
Sunday, 1 April 2018 2:00AM


A Supreme Court judge has launched a scathing attack on lawyers who “feasted” on a small family estate with their “indefensible” legal fees, describing it as a “scandal” that brings the profession into “disrepute”.

Justice Jeremy Curthoys’ withering takedown was aimed at the lawyers involved in the case of Angela Miller, who was contesting the will of her late de facto partner Andre Taylor, who left his entire estate — worth about $600,000 at the time of the three-day trial last October — to his two adult children, Elizabeth and Philippe.

In a recent judgment, it was revealed the combined legal costs were potentially more than $500,000 — in a case involving six lawyers, one from interstate, but which only should have had two, according to the judge.

The small estate had been “ravaged” by legal fees, he said.

The costs on this matter are not, as counsel for the executor described them, ‘unfortunate’. They are a scandal to the administration of justice and bring the legal profession into disrepute in the eyes of the public.
Justice Curthoys.
“Estates are not there to be feasted upon by lawyers but to go to the beneficiaries and those who might be entitled either under the will, the Administration Act or the Family Provision Act.

“No citizen of this community being informed of the costs incurred relevant to the amount of the estate could be (anything) other than horrified. Family provision matters are generally not complex and costs of this magnitude relative to the value of the estate are inexcusable.”

Ms Miller had a win in her legal fight, with Justice Curthoys awarding her a $220,000 slice of her late partner’s estate after he found she was his partner at the time of his death. But her legal team Culshaw Miller Lawyers’ costs amount to more than $140,000.

Under the breakdown in the judgment, legal fees for the defendants’ lawyers, first CGL before changing to Eastwood Sweeney Law, totalled nearly $285,000, while costs for the executor, Mr Taylor’s ex-wife Elizabeth Taylor, came to nearly $77,000.

Cameron Eastwood, lawyer for Mr Taylor’s children, told The Sunday Times he only ended up charging his clients $109,000 — less than half what he actually spent on the case, waiving fees worth nearly $160,000.

Ms Miller’s lawyers, Culshaw Miller, did not respond to The Sunday Times’ query. Final orders on costs have yet to be made. A Law Society of WA spokesman did not want to comment on this particular case but said the society was otherwise not aware of any cases where exorbitant or unjustified fees were charged in the profession.

“To the contrary, the legal profession is closely regulated, with lawyers required to uphold the highest standards of professional and ethical conduct,” he said.

“Specific provisions are in place to ensure the costs expended in legal proceedings are proportional to the value, importance and complexity of the matters in issue.”

The Legal Profession Complaints Committee’s 2017 annual report states it received 1421 inquiries in 2016-17, with the highest proportion of those (28.2 per cent) involving costs issues.

Australia commenced a reform of its ascendancy laws way back in 1993. This reform began and was run by guess who The Queensland Law Reform Commission. Finally in 2009 they released many volumes on the reform agenda. This Commission was run by guess who the lawyers. In 2013 The Victorian Law Reform Commission released a report on our Succession laws called succession law reform. None of the recommendations regarding the behaviour of lawyers who were appointed as executors were implemented bar one which was too obvious to ignore. That is that lawyers who are executors now are regarded as lawyers and come under the umbrella of the Legal Professional Act and can be disciplined by The Legal Services Commissioner, even though we all know they are useless a bulls tit.. The Commission requested the Law Institute of Victoria to write Guidelines for the lawyer executors but this was never done! This action would have been the beginning of introducing some accountability into the way the lawyers rob the graves of the dead but has been ignored by the Judicial System. And hence the feast by these soulless devils continues. In Australia there is absolutely zero respect for family and community in our legal fabric which dates back to 1788. No Treaty, no respect for family and community within our laws. For more information exploreFacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Labor to blacklist law firms


Take Note. The Labor Liberal Lawyer Alliance can put pressure on the Lawyer alliance when it comes to protecting their own nests like any other species of vulture.

It is interesting to observe that our political masters can put pressure on the lawyer cartel when it comes to protecting their own nest but they do SFA when they feed off the helpless people. The word to describe this culture is Hypocrisy. All that they need to do for our families and our communities is to eliminate the Legal Services Commission and make all lawyers comply with Australian Consumer Law and prosecute a couple of the serial offenders and hang em on the yard arm for everybody to see.  This would of course mean removing the heads of Consumer affairs Victoria and replacing them with non lawyer professionals who had the interests of consumers in their hearts instead of the interests of the Status Quo.

To achieve this miracle would require a treaty with the original peoples of the land as it would ingrain the respect of family and community into the spirit of our laws.

This is the song from the moon which helps to explain the issues.

Song of the moon

Terror was its aim, a fateful error, made to gain.                                                 Terra nullius, its final aim                                                                                     Genocide, performed by the insane.                                                                               The law of piracy were now proclaimed.

Blind men do not see,  that`s when we lose our liberty                                          A world invaded by Sovereignty                                                                                        The media our only tool,  making you and me to be a fool.                                 Now controlled by those who rule.

Chorus                                                                                                                                     Our child of wisdom, from which life was formed.                                                            Laws of nature are now deformed.                                                                            Respect our communities and our families                                                                   With the spirit of law so as we can live once more.

They come as demons from the sky, unlike vultures who can fly                      All these one`s   know is how to lie.                                                                          Like any good scavenger they see from afar                                                        They prey on the meek as they see them as weak. 

They feed for greed and not out of need.                                                                 They created the laws that make us bleed.                                                                The court of nought protects their fort, a big fat rort.                                              A castle built on sand and formed from stolen land

Our child called wisdom, which life was formed.                                                        Laws of nature are now deformed.                                                                            Respect our communities and our families                                                                    With the spirit of law so as we can live once more.

Rats of deception who have no conception                                                                  A world that is rife, with a life full of strife                                                            This judicial sleaze, this foul smelling disease                                                    Laws of war, laws of greed, these are the laws you do not need.  

Cast aside your wigs and gowns the false masks of thieving hounds                    Respect the beauty of life`s sounds.                                                                          Money and greed are not to be found.                                                                          In a land of wisdom grown from the ground.   

Our child called wisdom, which life was formed.                                                          Laws of nature are now deformed.                                                                           Respect our communities and our families                                                                 With the spirit of law so as we can live once more.

You have hurt my child through your laws                                                           Stop this evil and let the world love once more.                                                  The spoken word became no more as it was written into law.                              A tribe of scribes who only tell lies are now stealing our lives.

Our child called wisdom, which life was formed.                                                       Laws of nature are now deformed.                                                                           Respect our communities and our families                                                                  With the spirit in law so as we can love once more.

Our child called wisdom, which life was formed.                                                        Laws of nature are now deformed.                                                                            Respect our communities and our families                                                                   With the spirit of law so as we can love once more.Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Cancelled: Fired up: The Causes and Consequences of Flammable Cladding”

Looks as if the Event is too hot to handle. Especial since their is a state election.

A Message from Centre for Urban Research:

Hi All,
Thanks for your interest in attending the “Fired up: The Causes and Consequences of Flammable Cladding” panel event at RMIT on October 24th.
Unfortunately, given the changed availability of some panellists, and with difficulty finding new dates and admin support for a different date at this busy time of year, I am writing with the disappointing news that this event is now cancelled.
This is not great given the speakers who had agreed to be involved and the work put in so far, but on balance my view is it would have been too challenging to re-arrange the event for a new date, or to satisfactorily replace speakers for the existing date.
Strata Community Australia are potentially holding some ‘town hall’ events on flammable cladding in the lead up to the Victorian election, so it is worth keeping an eye out for that. And there will hopefully be other opportunities to improve understanding and engagement around this issue.
Again – sincere apologies and hope to see you at other events in future,
Elizabeth Taylor



The Cladding Challenge

With an aggregate rectification bill of billions of dollars, the fallout from flammable cladding is unfolding through the building industry, property market, and legal systems. As well as immediate practical challenges of making buildings safe and compliant, flammable cladding raises broader questions around risk in our buildings and cities, and the frameworks that govern them. How do we, and how should we, assign responsibility for cladding issues and for fixing them? How do governments balance tensions between accountability, certainty, and the immediate need to make buildings safe? How did we get here and what are the options moving forward?
In light of such questions, RMIT Centre for Urban Research and the School of Design present “Fired Up”: a public event comprising an expert panel to discuss the causes and consequences of flammable cladding.

Panel Event

The expert panel for “Fired Up” draws together a range of perspectives to help illuminate how the flammable cladding problem came about, what the range of consequences are, and what could or should be done to fix it.
Speakers will discuss academic, government, consumer and industry-based insights into different aspects of the combustible cladding challenge. The discussion will cover questions around the building industry, litigation, regulation, owners corporations, fire engineering, consumer rights, and planning processes.The event will comprise short speaker presentations followed by facilitated discussion, and audience Q&A.Discussion will include:

  • Causes: factors contributing to flammable cladding issues, and the systems involved
  • Consequences: the nature of the problems, who is impacted and how
  • What solutions there are and what the consequences of different solutions might be for safety, fairness, accountability
  • What we might learn from other risk-based issues in the built environment: asbestos, ‘leaky building’ (New Zealand), and combustible cladding responses in other jurisdictions.
Speakers include:
  • John Thwaites (Victorian Government Cladding Taskforce Co-Chair; former Deputy Premier of Victoria, Chair of the National Sustainability Council; director of Australian Green Building Council; Professorial Fellow Monash University).
  • Sahil Bhasin (National General Manager, Roscon Group of Companies )
  • Anne Paten (building consumer advocate – president, Victorian Building Action Group)
  • Samantha Ratnam (Leader of the Victorian Greens, Member of Parliament for the Northern Metropolitan Region)
  • Chair: Professor Ralph Horne, (Deputy Pro Vice-Chancellor, Research and Innovation – College of Design and Social Context, RMITUniversity)
  • Host: Dr Elizabeth Taylor, Centre for Urban Research, RMIT
RSVP today as spaces are limited, and this is likely to be a popular event!

The Cladding Issue Background

In the wake of London’s catastrophic Grenfell Towers fire, and of local incidents including the rapid spread of a balcony fire at Melbourne Dockland’s LaCrosse Tower, governments are increasingly acting to limit the use of Aluminium Composite Panels (ACP) with polyethylene (PE) cores. Also referred to as flammable or combustible cladding, the use of this material in high-rise buildings in Victoria is now presumed to be non-compliant with building codes. In its November 2017 interim report the Victorian Cladding Taskforce found the widespread use of combustible cladding to have been enabled by a poor culture of industry compliance; issues with supply and marketing of building materials; and multiple regulatory systems failures.Even with a commitment to increased compliance and to limiting the further use of ACP, Australia still faces the complex legacy of thousands of buildings swathed in what likely amounts to hundreds of thousands of square metres of combustible cladding. The Victorian Building Authority (VBA) is leading a cladding audit of residential buildings over three storeys; and of public use buildings over 2 storeys. The challenge of rectifying the roughly 1,400 non-compliant buildings already identified by the VBA – a figure which may increase to 5,000 or as many as 20,000 buildings in Victoria – raises questions not only around cladding but around the nature of risk and liability in the built environment.In Victoria’s case, decades of cumulative regulatory changes including to building warranty insurance, building surveying, and building authority jurisdictions, have combined with a prolonged boom in high-rise construction. The consequence is that while many groups may or may not be to blame for flammable cladding issues, in practical and financial terms the costs of compliance and rectification of cladding are falling on apartment owners who find they have been sold non-conforming apartments. Courts have ruled the VBA cannot order directions to builders to fix non-compliant blocks after owners move in. This, combined with cladding audits and with 2002 legislation exempting builders from home warranty insurance for apartment blocks over three storeys, means as many as 250,000 apartment owners in Victorian high-rise buildings have few consumer protections. And with major builders going into administration; there are sometimes no legal recourses for pursuing claims through the courts. Owners Corporations are grappling with complex rectification works and legal uncertainties with estimates as high as $40,00 to $60,000 per apartment; and millions of dollars per building.

Hosted by: Dr Elizabeth Taylor, Centre for Urban Research, RMIT