"31 August 2012 - Office of the Public Guardian re EMILY BROWN"

AlecommLogo1 03d07OFFICE OF THE PUBLIC GUARDIAN

To Whom It May Concern,

Please find below-listed a revised set of questions that I seek the answer to regarding my friend Emily Brown, who is being kept in an undisclosed location, with, as far as I know, the only people knowing her whereabouts are the government and or its agents.

The questions listed here-below do not have any privacy requirements, as I am not asking for personal information - and they are a matter that would apply to each and every person who is being held by the public guardian, however (for now) I seek the answers only for Miss Brown. Please provide the answers to these questions and I would like to think that as a representative of people who are under the “care” of the government, that you be freely disclosing this information in the interest of transparency and accountability, and not to appear that you are hindering our investigation.

"30 August 2012 - Office of the Public Guardian re EMILY BROWN"

Dear Ms MacDonald

I am replying to your email of 13 August 2012 regarding Ms Emily Brown.

This office currently manages Ms Brown's financial matters. As far as I'm aware there are no current proceedings in relation to Ms Brown. Under Privacy legislation I cannot answer your questions relating to Ms Brown's finances without her authority to do so. Ms Brown has not authorised the release of information to you.

Most of the information you have requested regarding Ms Brown's current address can only be answered by Ms Brown's guardian. The Public Guardian has been appointed as Ms Brown's guardian and you will need to refer your questions regarding her curent address and access to Ms Brown to the Public Guardian. The address for the Public Guardian is Locked Bag 5116 Parramatta 2124 or alternatively you can email them at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

"Public Guardians WorldWide Kidnapping and Trafficking People for Money"

naziflowersIt seems to be another one of those worldwide issues with governments trafficking in people yet again.  People all over the world are complaining about the money and their families being stolen by the Public Guardian, or Courts of the Protector etc.  They claim that documents are falsified, that judges are colluding with tribunals and that embezzlement is the norm.

How can our governments and our international tribunals continue to allow this when just the idea of people being trafficked makes us sick.  The thought that our own governments are doing it to the most vulnerable - elderly and disabled persons - and all for the seizure and use / sell of that persons assets is dispicable.

CRIMINAL CODE ACT 1995 - The Guardianship Tribunal Domestically Trafficking Persons to the Public Guardian

Offence committed for the benefit of an organisation

             (1)  A person commits an offence if:

                     (a)  the person commits an offence against any law (the underlying offence ); and

                     (b)  the underlying offence is for the benefit of an organisation; and

                     (c)  the organisation consists of 2 or more persons; and

                     (d)  the organisation's aims or activities include facilitating the engagement in conduct, or engaging in conduct, constituting an offence against any law that is, or would if committed be, for the benefit of the organisation; and

                     (e)  the offence against any law mentioned in paragraph (d) is an offence against any law punishable by imprisonment for at least 3 years; and

                      (f)  the underlying offence is a constitutionally covered offence punishable by imprisonment for at least 12 months.

Penalty:  Imprisonment for 7 years.

Guardianship Act 1987 - Sect 4 - General Principles

It is the duty of everyone exercising functions under this Act with respect to persons who have disabilities to observe the following principles:

(a) the welfare and interests of such persons should be given paramount consideration,
(b) the freedom of decision and freedom of action of such persons should be restricted as little as possible,
(c) such persons should be encouraged, as far as possible, to live a normal life in the community,
(d) the views of such persons in relation to the exercise of those functions should be taken into consideration,
(e) the importance of preserving the family relationships and the cultural and linguistic environments of such persons should be recognised,
(f) such persons should be encouraged, as far as possible, to be self-reliant in matters relating to their personal, domestic and financial affairs,
(g) such persons should be protected from neglect, abuse and exploitation,
(h) the community should be encouraged to apply and promote these principles.
Source : http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/nsw/consol_act/ga1987136/s4.html

3254 -Legislative Assembly Questions and Answers - Tuesday 15 July 2008 - Guardianship Hearing for Emily Brown - Ms Katrina Hodgkinson asked the Minister for Community Services

(1) How many DoCS staff attended the Guardianship Tribunal hearing regarding the custody of Emily Brown?
(2) What is the employment position description of each of the DoCS staff attending this hearing?
(3) (a) Did any barristers and solicitors, retained by DoCS, attend this hearing?  (b) If so how many?
(4) What was the total cost to DoCS, including legal fees, for attending this hearing?

Answer—

(1) Three.
(2) The Manager Casework was the applicant, the Manager Client Services attended as supervising officer and the Director Intensive Support Services was present due to the very complex nature of this case and at the specific request of the Guardianship Tribunal.
(3) DoCS was legally represented by a DoCS lawyer.
(4) No legal fees were incurred and the attendance of DoCS officers was seen as a normal part of their duties in relation to ongoing casework. No special costs were incurred in relation to this hearing.

Source : http://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/prod/la/lapaper.nsf/0/84AB3CC8C055E870CA257486001FC9CC/$file/081-QA-S.pdf

Former intensive care doctor warns government against merging public guardian and trustee

Professor Tom Faunce: "You never want to get into a situation where life and death decisions are hanging because of financial considerations."

ANU law professor and former intensive care doctor Tom Faunce has urged the government not to merge the offices of public guardian and public trustee, warning it could confuse crucial medical decisions.

"New South Wales Civil and Administrative Tribunal - Appeal Panel"

The Guardianship Division of the Civil and Administrative Tribunal[i] is where people who have had guardianship orders placed upon them can apply to have them revoked or changed.  This is only supposed to  happen when there is either nobody to care for the person.  Unfortunately, locking people up in Aged Care and or Residential facilities is extremely lucrative for all those involved - from the NGO who gets paid to "care" for the client, the solicitors appointed by the government who are supposed to act on behalf of the government and both the Guardianship Tribunals and the Public Guardians also. 

In studying various cases, there seems to be an extraordinary amount of human rights violations, whereby the Guardianship Tribunal, the Trustee and the Administrative Tribunal appear to be in collusion with each other in order to keep a person and their property under their absolute control.

No right to choose your own legal representation.

As a general rule, NCAT refuses to allow persons to have legal representation stating “the general rule in the Guardianship Division is that a party has the carriage of his or her own case and is not entitled to be represented by any other person”. [ii]

However “a party may be represented by another person only if the Tribunal grants leave for the person to represent the party”. [iii]

This means that you do not have any entitlement to legal representation to appeal any Guardianship Tribunal decision, unless the Guardianship Tribunal says you can.  And even then, it will only be if the Tribunal allows that particular legal representative to represent you.

"Why are family members being banned from visiting their relatives in nursing homes?"

Huguette Hebert was banned for a day from seeing her husband at a continuing care facility after she asked to stay in the room while he was changed to see if he had bedsores. (CBC)  Listen

Families of seniors in some care homes in Alberta have been banned from seeing their loved ones and say - short of going to court - which some are now doing, there is no way to appeal decisions made by staff at those homes.

Huguette Hebert visited her husband in an Alberta nursing home and asked to watch while his diaper was changed. She was concerned about bedsores. Not only was she told she couldn't watch -- she was made to leave. Here's how she describes that day:

"Woman's death shines spotlight on aged care"

A New South Wales family is demanding increased staffing levels for aged care in regional Australia after a coronial inquest into the death of a 91-year-old woman.

Martha McKee died of asphyxiation at the Mid Richmond Aged Care facility at Coraki, near Lismore, on July 28, 2010.

She died on a night when there were only two staff members caring for 45 residents.

Ms McKee was treasured by her family, and her 91st birthday was another milestone in a long and contented life.

"It was happy times. She just loved that birthday party. I will never forget that," her daughter Judy Keepance said.

"We were just smiling and taking photos."

Ms McKee was known by her nickname Bub. She lived all her life in northern New South Wales and was happiest when surrounded by her family.

"I actually got to say a few times that I loved her very, very much and that she meant the world to me," Ms Keepance remembered.

But Ms McKee's 91st birthday was the last time her family would see her alive.

Ms McKee was a high-care resident at the Mid Richmond Aged Care facility.

She had very little mobility and sought comfort from little things, as her dementia deepened.

"You are trusting, you are putting your loved one in a place. You are trusting they get the best of care," Ms Keepance said.

It was the earlier hours of the morning and there were two staff on duty on Ms McKee's final night: Judith Robson, a carer, whose registration as an enrolled nurse had lapsed; and Patricia Sawtell, a 20-year-old carer, who was on her very first night shift.

The Coroner, Magistrate Robyn Denes, found "Ms Robson was effectively on her own caring for 45 residents".

Ms Robson and Ms Sawtell checked on Ms McKee at 2:50am.

She had bed poles on her bed to help pull herself up.

Ms Robson later told police she spoke with Ms McKee before leaving the room.

"It's a long time before the morning. You need to get some more sleep. I'll see you in the morning," Ms Robson told police she said.

Martha McKee's death

But some time in the early hours of the morning on July 28, 2010, Ms McKee fell out of bed.

The two carers opened the door at 5am to find Ms McKee lying on the floor.

She had fallen out of bed, taking her mattress with her. Her neck was trapped by the bed pole.

"I saw Martha and saw she was wax-work white. I turned the light on and it was absolutely horrific. I could tell that she was dead," Ms Robson said in her police statement.

But Judith Robson did not check for any signs of life. She and Patricia Sawtell closed the door and telephoned their supervisor.

Ms Keepance says her mum might have been alive.

It's very important that people know she's not a number. She was our mother, my mother. And we miss her. We miss her very much.

Judy Keepance

"Mum might have been alive. And they could not go in there and check for basic signs of life and take the bed stick off her neck. I am shocked. I am furious," she said.

Ms Robson was the president of the local Surf Lifesaving Club and was trained in first aid.

But Ms McKee was left lying on the floor for another hour, before a nurse checked if she was dead.

"So, I will always wonder. If something could be done. If she was alive, something could be done to save her life," Ms Keepance said.

The Coroner found it was unclear exactly what time Ms McKee died or how long she may have suffered.

"What I can say is that, had she still been alive, she may have been able to have been resuscitated," Magistrate Denes said.

Police were called to the nursing home and the room was sealed off.

Ms Keepance was allowed in. She said goodbye to her mother and promised to find out what happened.

"I just told her that I loved her. And sort it out, I will," she said.

Regional standards

This case reveals a series of concerns about the standards of aged care, particularly in regional areas.

The Coroner expressed concerns about the staffing levels, even though they were legal.

"One carer to the 45 residents at Mid Richmond, as it was in July 2010, is unsatisfactory even if it meets the legislative requirements," he said.

At the time of Ms McKee's death, Mid Richmond was classified as a low-care facility, and its managers were not required to have a registered nurse on duty.

But the Coroner found that about 20 of the 45 residents were in fact high-care.

Unlike child care, there are no minimum staffing ratios for aged care.

Brett Holmes from the New South Wales Nurses Association says low staffing levels can place residents at risk.

"The size of the facilities in rural areas often means that they have fairly minimal staffing. And, as in this case, have a period of time elapse before you're able to get back around the rest of the facility to check on everyone," he said.

Aged care activists, like Linda Sparrow from Aged Care Crisis, say elderly Australians deserve better.

"In fact they are just as vulnerable as very young children, who have been not so long born," she said.

"And yet we don't seem to provide the care and attention at the end of life as we do at the very start of life, and I find that very troubling.

"People in aged care homes have the right to care, protection, to have their say, all the things that the rest of us take for granted."

'Appropriate staffing'

The owner of the facility, Baptist Community Services (BCS) declined to be interviewed, but released a statement.

"Based on our extensive experience operating aged care facilities, we maintain that our staffing at Coraki on the night in question was appropriate," it read.

"We also support our staff members who were involved during the events surrounding Mrs McKee's tragic death."

The association representing aged care providers declined to discuss staffing levels in the industry. It also released a statement.

"Aged and Community Services Australia wishes to offer its sincere condolences to the family of Martha McKee," it read.

"ACSA has nothing further to add to the Coroner's report of 26 August 2011."

The Coroner also questioned why bed poles had been fitted to Ms McKee's bed.

7.30 has obtained a Department of Health and Ageing advisory, issued six weeks before Ms McKee's death, warning about their dangers.

"She couldn't do anything physically and they shouldn't have been on her bed," Ms Keepance said.

"BCS were found to have been in breach of their responsibilities under the Aged Care Act."

But Baptist Community Services defended its use of the bed pole.

"A risk assessment was conducted on Ms McKee's use of the KA524 bed pole. It was determined that this was an appropriate aid for her to continue to utilise," it said in a statement.

BCS has since removed bed poles from its facilities, and retrained its staff in first aid. 

Audio: Listen to the story (PM)   (Source : http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-08-08/elderly-womans-death-shines-spotlight-on-aged-care/4186002)