1. The sad case of Carolyn Flanagan
- Carolyn Flanagan was like any mum – all she wanted to do was to help her daughter with a loan to buy a business.
“I’d have signed anything for her, love,” she told counsel assisting the banking royal commission, Michael Hodge, QC. “If you can’t help your children, who can you help?”
That wasn’t exactly what Michael Hodge QC wanted to hear from the elderly lady who went guarantor for $165,000 for her daughter in 2010 to invest in a business that went bust. Westpac demanded her Sydney house with vacant possession, so they could get their money back. That was in 2014.
With Legal Aid she challenged the decision, but the Financial Services Ombudsman upheld the Westpac claim. Legal aid then escalated the case with the bank, who came to an arrangement where the bank has an stake in the house, the interest is paid and she is allowed to stay.
Here are some links:
- James Thompson, AFR – A parent’s pain exposed at the banking royal commission
- Stephanie Chalmers, ABC-Banking royal commission: Westpac sought to evict pensioner after daughter’s business failed
- Michael Pascoe, The New Daily – The new Nanny State, where your banker is your keeper
- Michael Janda, ABC – Banking royal commission: How do you protect parents who are going guarantor without killing small business?
- Frank Chung, new.com.au – ‘If you can’t help your children, who can you help?’: Elderly guarantor loses home to Westpac
- James Thompson, AFR – Banking royal commission lays bare messy worlds of small business and family
Seems small business is messy. Loans for $100,000 or so cannot receive the same due diligence as loans for $100 million. Westpac’s role was OK it seems, though more complete notes would have been helpful. However, to me the final decision could have been the default decision, rendering legal intervention unnecessary. There are concerns that the Westpac official would have been incentivised to approve loans, which are inherently safe as a house for the bank.
The case is complicated because Flanagan, even back in 2010 was legally blind. Now her health is significantly worse, and has a bad memory. However, if the bank had refused the loan it could have been accused of discrimination, ageism, or whatever.
I don’t know the loan rates, but $165,000 at 6% would cost about $10,000 in interest rates. If the Sydney house was worth say $750,000 in 2014, the interest would be about 1.5% of the capital. There seems every reason why Ms Flanagan and Westpac could have proceeded together in harmony.
- Weinstein, 66, was charged with rape, criminal sex act, sexual abuse and sexual misconduct for cases involving two women. “This defendant used his position, money and power to lure young women into situations where he was able to violate them sexually,” the prosecutor, Assistant District Attorney Joan llluzzi, said as she read the charges in New York Criminal Court.
The charges are serious:
- Weinstein was charged with three felonies – rape in the first degree, rape in the third degree and a criminal sexual act in the first degree – “for forcible sexual acts against two women in 2013 and 2004, respectively,” Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr.’s office said on Friday morning.
Problem is that it takes a brave woman to take on a case such as this. She can expect to have her reputation trashed by the defence lawyers.
One way or another though, he’s gone, he will never be the threat he was.
In many other cases, the matter is less clear. Staying away from local Australian cases before the courts, the case of Garrison Keillor, a radio star, is complex.
The complaint was made by a man, a close working associate, on behalf of a woman. Seems that the complaint can be like an assassination for the target. A complaint is made, the man’s career is gone.
Tarana Burke, who invented #Me Too all those years ago says celebrity cases were necessary for the issue to cut through. It has opened a moment for conversation and action. Sufferers of sexual trauma need support and practices all to common need to change.
There is much more to be said on this. Many have had to reconsider whether what they were doing was acceptable. And laws too. We learnt this week that in Queensland unless a woman overtly resists, consent may be assumed. Whether she is in fear of her life, or drunk can then be irrelevant. In Tasmania, by contrast, consent must be explicit.
Harvey W, however, will be consigned to the dustbin of history.
3. The soap opera continues in Trump-land
Last week the summit with North Korea was on, off, then perhaps on again.
Trump’s grammar skills have been graded an ‘F’ on social media, with users making fun of the letter he wrote to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
Robert de Niro banned Trump from all his restaurants, including the one in Perth.
The most important event, however, was that Trump ordered Justice Department to investigate FBI:
- In a series of tweets posted on Sunday, US President Donald Trump attacked the FBI’s Russia probe and announced that he would demand that the Justice Department investigate a possible FBI infiltration of his presidential campaign.
Trump also wants to know if the supposed infiltration was ordered by President Barack Obama’s administration.
Bruce Shapiro told Phillip Adams that the head of Justice, wanting to keep his job, complied, which was unprecedented and outrageous.
Vox asked eight law professors whether the move was legal. As such, possibly, although it appeared to constitute:
an unprecedented attack by a sitting president on the law enforcement apparatus of his own administration.
Every American school student now undergoes training drill on what to do if subjected to a hail of bullets from a mass murderer, now almost a weekly event in the USA. Shapiro reports that young people are lining up in droves signing up to vote.
Many of the potential Democrat candidates for the next presidential election are proposing economic measures based on the Scandinavian model. Measures that do something tangible for those on the fringe or left behind.
Trump may precipitate change that matters.