Archive for November, 2018


November 27, 2018

kama reserve with cocky

When I go to Canberra, Kama Nature Reserve exerts a strange attraction.

It’s the trees. For example, these two:

2 trees at kama

The more upright of the two is showing signs of stress:

tree under stress

It still provides shelters to spiders (though you’ll have to take my word on that):

spider nest


The other proves difficult to photograph. How long has it been doubling back on itself?

twisted tree 2

tangled tree 2

And then there are the ex-trees, from the reserve’s days as a pastoral property:

lichen kama wide shot

Worth a second glance:

lichen kama


November 25, 2018

The domestic bath tub, I have been reading, is an endangered species.

This must be a trend which has been a long time coming. My father, who died 2 years ago aged almost 90, told me he hadn’t taken a bath since he was a teenager. It had been showers for him. When, aged 8 or 9, I was deemed old enough to take a shower rather than a bath, I too embraced the change. It was a step into adulthood and also modernity – a bit like the point later where I took up coffee (albeit instant at first) in preference to tea.

It seems everyone is in too much of a hurry these days for a bath, and they take up too much space.

Nevertheless, as an adult, living in (mostly) older and unrenovated rental properties, I have always had a bath, and taken one when time allowed. It is a simple and cheap pleasure.

It’s not only good ideas that come to you in the bath. It was in the outside bathroom at Bailey St, Newtown, at the cruelly early age of 27, that the cold tiles behind my resting head revealed to me that I was losing my hair.

D, too, appreciates a bath. Once we were living together we settled into taking more baths than either of us had taken before because we could share the water in a kind of Jack-Sprat (and wife) solution. I would go in first, when the water was hottest. D (who likes the water a bit cooler and to soak much longer) would follow.

So it was a blow when, on our last move, we were forced to move into a house without a bath. It had disappeared in the landlord’s renovations which took place immediately before our arrival.

D is determined. He managed to rig up a substitute in the outside laundry: a narrow and deep box made by him from non-waterproof chipboard which he lined with plastic and filled with a hose from the laundry tub. But it was cumbersome and not something which could be lightly enterprised. At the end the water needed to be siphoned off onto the lawn.

D is a great curbside scavenger. When we passed a discarded bath tub he would slow and sometimes stop to inspect it, but none was worth retrieving.

A week or so ago, D arrived in the car to pick me up from somewhere with a large wrapped object in the back: a small fibreglass bath which he’d found at the Salvation Army store at Tempe and bought for $50. It was a gamble. When we got home, we measured the bath and the shower recess. Yes, the bath would fit! We manhandled it in. We found a plug. There remained only the problem of how to get the water from the shower head to the bath without losing water or temperature.

This is D’s solution:




We’re very pleased with it.

Is it over?

November 11, 2018


This morning, at the eleventh hour, to commemorate the occasion at Marrickville war memorial.

Sydney sprummer blossoms, jasmine, gums and kunzea, perfumed the air.

Inside the hall there was a some kind of convention of Rubik’s cubers.


On the hour, a bell tolled from the church diagonally opposite.


The mother of a couple leaving the convention touched her children on the shoulder to stand still.

There were four or five others there who must have had the same idea that I had.

Across the road someone continued a loud conversation on his mobile phone oblivious of the moment.

Just after any notional silence had probably run its course, a few uniformed personnel wandered down from the nearby fire brigade and stood silently in front of the memorial for a minute or so.

In the laneway next to the former Marrickville hospital, now being turned into apartments, a lucky cat nodded below the rear view mirror of a parked car. I watched a peewit/magpie lark repeatedly attack its own reflection in that car and three others.

Tribunal being discreet

November 8, 2018

From DPO v Children’s Guardian [2018] NSWCATAD 258:

  1. The applicant was a member of a particular group as a young adult, over thirty years ago. That group was involved in an armed conflict with another group.
  2. Shooting broke out between the two groups and several people were killed, including a teenage girl.
  3. The applicant was convicted of manslaughter on the basis of the doctrine of common purpose. He fired two shots during the exchange of gunfire between the two groups. He did not, personally, kill anyone and he says that he fired the shots up into the air and in self-defence.

Just to explain a bit more.  Tribunal cases involving the Children’s Guardian are almost always about people trying to get a working with children check clearance.  Such clearances are required if you have a job or are involved in volunteer activities where you are likely to come into contact with children.

Under  the Act the Children’s Guardian must refuse a clearance to a disqualified person and cancel such a clearance granted to someone it becomes aware to be a disqualified person.  You are a disqualified person if you have committed as an adult any of a long list of disqualifying offences, of which manslaughter of a child (other than in a motor car accident) is one, unless you can prove to the Tribunal that you do not pose a risk to the safety of children.

If you already have a clearance or are applying for one and come within a wider range of suspicious circumstances, including being charged of a wide range of offences even if you were acquitted, the Children’s Guardian must conduct a risk assessment and may determine to cancel your clearance or refuse to issue one.  In that case, you can apply to the tribunal to review the Children’s Guardian’s decision.

Decisions of the tribunal are published in a manner which is designed to protect the privacy of the applicants; often there are also questions of protecting the privacy of victims or alleged victims of the wrongdoing or alleged wrongdoing which has caused the person to either be disqualified or found by the Children’s Guardian to pose a risk to the safety of children.

Still, I was amused by the Tribunal’s coy description which I have quoted above of the event which led to PMO’s conviction.  Surely, even if over thirty years ago, an armed affray between groups involving firearms and leading to the death of “several” people including one child would be well lodged in public memory?

I suppose I could have wracked my brains trying to work it out.  Instead, Google was my friend.

Suing Gina Rinehart- an update

November 7, 2018

Under the title Deep Pockets, I have been maintaining now for some years a post which endeavours to keep track of developments in the long-running dispute between Gina Rinehart and some of her children.

The latest instalment in this saga, listed in my chronology as number 52, is an interlocutory decision delivered by Justice Brereton on 5 November 2018 on a notice of motion which was first brought by Bianca in September 2015 after, following orders made in May 2015 that Bianca replace Gina as trustee of the family trust, Gina failed to deliver all of the trust documents to Bianca.

Since nobody clicks on the links, this is what I have written there about the latest decision:

52.   (5 November 2018) Hancock v Rinehart (Trust documents)[2018] NSWSC 1684

This was a notice of motion filed on 3 September 2015.  Paragraphs 4 to 17 of Justice Brereton’s reasons for judgment are devoted to  its “labyrinthine procedural history.”  Suffice to say that considerable parts of that history are unsuccessful rearguard actions mounted by Gina and her camp, including 38A, 41, and 42 above, though some of the intervening delays involved documents belatedly produced or discovered in the hands of third parties.  Submissions finally closed in August 2017.

After mulling over it for a mere 15 months, Justice Brereton determined that Mrs Rinehart had not handed over all of the trust documents which she was ordered to hand over on 28 May 2015, and that she should be required to swear an affidavit verifying her production in terms of his decision as to what should and what need not be handed over, which she could at least potentially be cross examined on at a later date.

That would be a first for Gina or close to it: the beauty of being a very rich person is that you never actually have to do anything yourself.  Everything can be attended to by others who will do what you want and tell you as best they can what you want to hear whilst shielding you in many cases from direct scrutiny.  Even now, the scale of the task of identifying and producing trust documents to the new trustee is such (though I wonder maybe not so much as is claimed involves  the identification of documents as opposed to the vetting of documents to see whether they might be withheld) that if cross examined Gina could presumably palm the responsibility off on some minion, at least so as to avoid any direct censure.

As it was, Brereton J did not  find that Gina had deliberately withheld documents  or that there was an absence of good faith in her compliance with the orders (see [101]).  That’s the beauty of all that expensive advice and arguable though ultimately unsuccessful grounds for withholding them. Nor was he prepared to find that Gina had acted so unreasonably (once again, there were arguable points) so as to attract the sanction of an order for costs on an indemnity basis.


Just to put this in context:

  • the proceedings commenced in September 2011, triggered by the proposals advanced by Gina on the eve of her youngest child’s twenty-first (maybe twenty-fifth, whichever was the one significant for the passing of trust interests to all of the children) birthday;
  • In October 2013, when an actual trial was imminent, Gina’s counsel announced that she no longer wished to continue as trustee of the trust – though it was evident that she still affected to jump rather than be pushed and wished to play a part in the selection of her replacement.  – I have called this a “Clayton’s capitulation.”
  • In mid-2014, there was a contested hearing on who should be the replacement trustee;
  • In May 2015, Brereton J published his decision that Bianca be the new trustee.

That is only one strand of the multiple fronts on which this dispute is being fought.  On another front, Gina’s victory on appeal to the Full Federal Court that proceedings brought by Bianca alleging breach of trust by her in siphoning off various mining interests from the trust should be referred to arbitration has been appealed by Bianca and is set down for hearing on 13 November 2018.

The “Deep pockets” that I had in mind in my main post on this topic were obviously Gina’s.  It is a scandal, hardly unique to this case, that deep-pocketed defendants’ rearguard actions, even when ultimately unsuccessful, are so rewarded, without even the censure of indemnity costs.   It doesn’t help that judges are busy people and decisions (reasons must be prepared carefully because an appeal on any arguable point is almost inevitable) are such a long time coming.