An open letter to employees of QCAT, the Public Trustee and the Public Guardian

from the Committee to Expose the Public Trustee

Hello,

The Committee to Expose the Public Trustee is a group of carers, family and friends of clients of the Public Trustee and/or the Public Guardian.

We are trying to shine a light on the adult guardianship system’s disregard for the human rights of people with impaired capacity and the subjective and arbitrary process by which a person’s capacity for personal decisions is assessed, decided and removed by QCAT.

Queensland’s guardianship system is cruel, authoritarian, neglectful and unaccountable.

We are aware that the problems are not the fault of workers in the guardianship system. The fault lies in the Guardianship and Administration Act that governs the guardianship system, which contains no enforceable human rights for clients of the system and a vague and ambiguous framework by which to assess and remove capacity for personal decisions.

The dysfunction of the Guardianship and Administration Act is compounded by the under resourcing and understaffing of the Public Guardian and Public Trustee, making it impossible for them to properly engage with their clients to the extent that they can make informed and sensitive decisions with them.

The Public Guardian is conflicted as a substituted decision maker and the investigative wing of QCAT – nobody investigate the Public Guardian’s decisions.

The Public Trustee is conflicted as a substituted decision maker with statutory obligations to the Queensland government to make a profit and represent the State’s interests over and above the needs of its clients and as a retailer of financial products it sells to involuntary clients, often selling their homes to do so.

The problems with the guardianship system are systemic, legal and political. So are the solutions. Unfortunately the government and senior management will not of themselves embrace change for they are the keepers of the status quo, the structural obstacles to change, those who don’t like their boat rocking.

We are asking you to help us to rock the boat and bring about change in the guardianship system.

We are lobbying the Queensland government to amend the Guardianship and Administration Act to include enforceable human rights and to hold a commission of inquiry into the guardianship system’s denial of human rights. You can find out more on our website.

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