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Completely lost with CoA and CSA behaviour

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honest disabled pensioner being attacked through CoA process

Hi, first post here

Am completely lost and increasing stress with the CSA now for many years but in particular with recent events regarding a CoA that has begun.

First, I received a CoA notice a few days ago, it arrived exactly 14 days after dated and with a requirement to respond within that time, obviously I could not.

To complicate things further, I ahve been on 'write only' now for well over 12 months and the last letter took them three months to respond even with reporting to the Ombudsman to whom they explained they were 'working on it', the matter regarded tax issues i needed clarification on, but was threatened if I were not to put in a tax return by oct31st and did, the date of the letter that eventually came was the day after I electronically sent the ATO my tax return, clearly the trigger for a half page insufficient reply, and too late.

However, I now have a CoA application, it does not list the income as assessed by the ATO because no such pressure was put on the ex to comply, yet the ATO did and there are significant discrepancies.

To cut a long involved story short, the ex bought a half million dollar house and a $20k new car days before she has dated the application back to (oct2008) and in Oct2009, the 'family home' was sold for $773K for which she may get a substantial windfall. She has complicated salary sacrifice things, and I can't know what is going on there, but none of the figures add up. She has gone back over 'property settlement' issues and made wild allegations that I am running a business and that I ahve a capacity to work and such.

I have not seen this person in some years, she is in contravention of orders and stolen the children, she refuses to mediate and I can njot afford financially or emotionally to pursue it. Seven months ago, the house i was living in was sold and I was given 60 days, there is a housing crisis and I could no longer afford nor find suitable accomodation, not working and the children gone, I was forced to live outside the city and now live in a fairly remote location (I don't even get a mail service to the house) and to top it off, this house was sold last month so will have to move shortly again in a few months when the lease runs out.

I am in extreme distress, very concerned about the privacy issues, and have no time to get help. I was informed that a 30 minute conference by phone would be conducted with a lawyer, as my 'condition' and the complexity of the matter is such, I can not defend myself properly, if at all in this time. Further, if I am on "write only" (which they may have lifted, how could I even have such a conference?).

Really, i am at my absolute wits end, i have found the CSA abusive, the CoA process a gross invasion of privacy, etc

In fact, I asked them and two officers suggested that I need not reply at all, but now I find that they are claiming they said, I "would not be prosecuted" for filling out the form. Further, not believing them and not getting any receipts for any of these 'conversations', I wrote a 16 page explanation, only to find out that they were intending to send this letter to the other party even though it clearly said i did not want this to occur and this is why i did not fill in the form, they are now sending that back to me and wont take anything in it into account, I was definitely given the impression if I did not respond, they would hold it against me.

I went through the estimate process as late as two months before (because of the tax return, even though they knew I was on a pension and that the previous years tax return changed nothing to this). I know that they have access to ATO, Centrelink and all other things and I ahve been extremely honest about thes things, but no one can predict the future the way they ask. I have continued to be charged overpayments effectively including being charged 5x the minimum when my workcover stopped and I had a zero income, they said that I must be lying as a result of new laws the previous july and cut off all phone or face to face communication. It was verified to be true and I proceeded through the centrelink processes with further changes to income, all of which I reported and were below the minimum allowance. I have no debt with the CSA and no ability to as they take all payments in advance from centrelink anyway.

I am at serious risk, my health is failing, significantly because of this now, and I have expenses exceeding the pension of perhaps $200 per week which is eating into the meager savings left form a generous property settlement to the other party.

As it stands, I have not made a reply, there is no basis for this application under reason 8 and reason 2 is scurrilous, my daughter is diabetic but has been so for more than 8 years.

Last time the CoA occured it was extremely damaging. I got back to work after having to live in a car and declared this with an estimated income of perhaps $45K and paid accordingly. My tax return that went in shortly afterwards showed an income of $12K and they suddenly reduced it to it's minimum. I protested saying I wanted to pay and that family court proceedings were in underway. In court I was portrayed as a 'deadbeat dad' with a job but minimum payments. Meanwhile, i was putting all of the money my children should have received into a separate bank account as they said i can not "estimate up" nor give the money directly to the ex-wife officially. The end result was that 9 months later, she put in a CoA to recover this money and while I cross applied with receipted establishment costs as there was no settlement and I had access to the children (who obviously required beds, etc) they offered me only a dollar a month in consideration to this and put me on a fixed payment even though the work I had gone back to was provisional on a 3 month period.

Anyway, at the end of this process, they asked me to prove very moderate costs even though I was prepared to pay and had the money that should have been paid, grocery receipts that they questioned what I bought, the house I lived in (even though it was fairly cheap and i had a court requirement to house the children in separate rooms, so a 3 bed required) and al manner of other things.

This time around, reason 8 brings into all kinds of things about home and location and "lifestyle" yet I live where I do because of my health, harrassment and because I was driven out of the city through high rents and necessity.

I feel completely debased and at a loss as to what to do or what they are 'playing at". I can't trust them and are incapacitated as well. I have suspicions about the motivations of the mother and the use of the CSA to harass me. I am completely disabled by grief at the sudden loss of the children against court orders and the mother has refused to mediate in any way since (there are certificates to go back to court to this effect).

I have significant costs coming up like moving and possible surgery, I have nothing but the savings of the property settlement that are going fast to live on. I was even told that if I could not reduce stress I would die within 5 years, my BP is 200/140 at rest, there is only so much a heart can stand and this is making it considerably worse.

As far as I can tell, even if I could work, I would be even worse off, they flippantly say the CSA calculator will show it isn't true, but in fact, the tax on a job that say pays $24K and the CSA would be significantly below that of the pension, but in fact I can't work and this is providing me with little hope that anything that I do will ever support me, I honestly, right now hope I do die before long.

However, I have been as honest as I can, almost pathologically so, with the CSA. I am being so now as well. I pointed out that they have access to, and have accessed the ATO and centrelink and all my bank accounts as a result and they should use this information and the statements already made, but they now claim that CoA and CSA are completely separate and anything i provide will be sent to the applicant. Further, they now tell me they will interview the applicant first at conference, so anything I have in response then will not be looked into.

Honestly, there is a presumption of guilt here where there is none other than the future can not be accurately predicted. There are serious crimes of fraud against the ATO, centrelink and the CSA alleged here, yet I can have no representation and there is no time to properly respond at all…

I am feeling seriously sick, literally, yet there seems nothing I can do. All that I found here, accidently when looking for the CSA calculator, seems to indicate my experiences are not uncommon…if there is anything that anyone could say to help or refer me to it would be greatly appreciated Desperate!.
LostDad,
            first point in regards to the notice of 14 days. I believe that the CSA have acted in an unreasonable way by only giving 14 days notice from the date of the letter. Do you have the envelope and does it have a date stamp? (Letters have been known to often miraculously take days to get from the printer to the post box. Even still, the guide says :-

CSA Guide (extract) - 6.7.1 said
Various provisions in the Child Support legislation allow CSA to give a 'notice in writing' or a 'written notice'. A notice must be served on the person who is required to receive, or comply with, the notice.

'Service' is delivery to the person who will be affected by the notice. The essence of service is that the relevant document must reach the person on whom it is to be served (Holmes and Ors v DFC of T 88 ATC 4906). A notice will be deemed to have been effectively served if it can be proved that the addressee actually received it.

There are various ways, or methods, by which a notice can be served on a person. In most cases, CSA will serve a notice by post.
….

Service by post

If postal service is used, the notice can be sent by normal prepaid post, by express post or registered post.

Service by post is deemed to occur at the time it would arrive in the ordinary course of the post. In proceedings in relation to offences under the Child Support legislation, a notice is presumed to have been received nine days after the date it was prepared (sections 160 and 163 Evidence Act) unless it can be proved otherwise.

Thus you still might have some time to reply. I would suggest that you reply saying that you are in the process of preparing and collating the information and expect the information to be made available within 14 working days, plus any time for postage. You could perhaps do this online from the CSA's website, or perhaps just a letter.

You mention a pension, what pension (I'm guessing at a disability pension) and are you still on that pension?

I think everything will depend upon either a capacity to earn or financial resources in that allegations have been made that you are running a business and therefore likely alienating income (I'm only saying what I think that they are thinking).

With regard to the reason 2 for diabetes, they are very likely just looking to claw in more without consideration of the object of the legislation, as they very often do, however if your income is limited to a pension then for it to be just and equitable, then I don't think it would stand.

I'll await your response to my question before looking into the reason 8.

I think many would be interested in what the contact orders say. I'd like to now if you're in a position to have contact according to the orders, please don't see this as some sort of indication that it will happen, it's more about the CS side.

You may wish to have a look at the SRL-Resource (Click on community at the top, then on SRL-Resource on the left).
Thanks Mike T and i have read many of your posts today and thank you very much for your reply

With much distress, I have had a delay of the "conference" to have time to reply, but really am at a loss. The application arrived by normal mail, it was not post marked, but this kind of thing is not atypical!

Yes, a DSP. I am not running any business and the only other 'income' is interest on what's left of a settlement from years back that I am eating rapidly and to which I have impending upcoming costs. I am feeling very depressed now clinically undoing significant progess I ahve made in the last 12 months, even considering the "s" word. In fact, it would seem that even if I were able to work, I would get even less than this pension at higher living costs for even trying.

In fact, the DSP is hard enough to qualify for and keep, but they seem to be indicating this is not sufficient to prove my incapacity. I sent them a photo of my head caved in after an assault in february last year as evidence of my condition for the period in question, they will not accept this into evidence as too "gruesome".

The ex questions how at one stage i estimated that i had zero income, which was true (and penalized for under new laws while i qualified for newstart, then the pension) but the income was the rate it was because the estimates start from the change in circumstance, not the entire year and all was true and correct. Predicting the new year will be difficult, I suspect that things may happen but I can't afford to keep paying amounts over the requirement in my desperate situation and the whole truth will only be known when the tax is assessed of course.



The contact orders are as you would expect, every second weekend, several days (not nights) during the weeks and half of all school holidays…still be less than 14% I think. There are no orders or anything against me and while I was seeing the children under the intirim orders, as soon as final orders were made, contact stopped and I don't know where they live. I know where they go to school, but I can get little info (like school reports) from them just to see how they are going. I fear of course if I were to even spy on them to see what they look like after a couple of years or the distress this might cause them, even with a court order to pick them up from school, and as a father, that would be a temptation. I followed through everything I could up to contravention orders but she would not mediate in any form, so certificates I can ill afford to act on have been issued (before I moved) and I have no idea what the courts would make of things now that I have recently moved. Also, as there are orders and no policing of them for effective kidnapping, I ahve no faith that any new orders would be adhered to and I don't want to put the children also through such a process (not that I ahve the resorces to fund such a thing) nor do i know the extent of possible grooming that has gone on. I ahve been sending birthday and christmas cards to the ex-s mothers address but this property was sold and is now invalid which I found out just before this christmas. This application was made the week after I asked simply for a valid address to send the christmas cards. In addition, as I do not know these kids now for two years, generally I ahve sent money. Last birthday I sent $100 to my daughter for an important teenage birthday. Scared that it would not reach her or be thrown away, I got a postal check made out to her and registered post to ensure she got it, this was in november, a month before the application.

Anyway, my children have been stolen and their rights denied and it would seem i never had any for the cost of $50K in legal fees. The orders of course say I should be kept informed of their location and have regular telephone contact and be informed of any health concerns.

I don't know if to respond or how to respond to anything put in this application and have absolutely no faith in it being treated compassionately. In fact, my distress and depression would make me incompetent to defend myself and I ahve had contradictory advice as to what I should do. These things seem to be a complete invasion of privacy and even seems to be putting the powers of the CSA directly into the hands of a kidnapper and tax avoider!

I wouldn't have that much of a problem telling the CSA or them telling her what is relevant from the investigation, but to give this person my bank details, health or anything else seems to be extremely concerning, even though I really do have nothing to hide and that this CoA seems to over-ride the laws already in place on 'hunches' and slander and in fact accusations of several levels of federal offenses if they were to be true, which they aren't, and to be judged regardless of the ATO or Centrelink.

Sorry for going on, but the level of stress and distress is absolutely crippling and I am at a complete loss. I will be trying to get some help with the response, but I really don't know what can be provided. I sought legal aid, but it would be a 5 hour return trip to the nearest office and not before the proposed conference date (now delayed to an unspecified date).

Everything they tell me just seem to make the situation worse, apparently the applicant is seen first so how can she be cross examined. I can't drive over 200kms to the actual conference in person, but only by phone and of course the ex wouldn't appear at the same time. If I were to go to the nearest office, i would not be seeing the person making the decision. The Lawyer who is looking at it, maybe a contracter, at the rates these people charge, this is more per hour than my whole years child support. the hours wasted already is more than that and we have not gotten anywhere and in the end, the "best interests of the children" will always see that the payer keep paying more surely.

All of a sudden after a year they are now prepared to talk to me, but low on any help and when i asked for an extention of time to seek advice, all week until today I was denied that, now I have no set date.

The claim is that it costs $700 plus for my daughters health but she also says she is loosing work time and income to make appointments. #1 she only works 3 days a week and #2, if she gave me the proper access of course I could take her and contribute even more making that point mute.

They won't take any of these things into account of course and kind of derogatory about it referring to me as the liable parent rather than the children's father, the whole thing is demeening and crippling. I see even now that if I were to attempt to say study to get back to some work or rehabilitate they may well question that. As it is, I must answer to home location and lifestyle, what ever that means. I live in the country now for costs and the housing crisis and it is a bit cheaper, but ironically I am going to have to move again because the house i presently live in was sold last month and the lease runs out in may!

Anyway…thanks for the reply and I hope that you can tell me more that I can do.

I wrote dozens of pages of reply, but I am not capable of navigating this and certainly not alone by phone in 30 minutes with a hostile lawyer with a biased system. I had thought then, just to say "no" to these baseless allegations…running a business=no…but then, it seems the onus is on me to prove that I am not and not that I am innocent of such things. I did send a letter, but because i did not want to have my ex read it, it has been sent back to me. They wouldn't accept photographic evidence of my disability, what exactly do they want then?!
When you say they wouldn't accept photographic evidence of your injury, how graphic is the injury in the picture, is it contemporaneous with the injury occurring or is it after any necessary treatment has been completed and some time after the actual date of injury?

Executive Member of SRL-Resources, the Family Law People on the site (Look for the Avatars).   Be mindful what you post in the public areas
The photo was from the day of the incident in february 09 just before the pension was granted (a head injury so there is blood for instance) and that the application is back dated to octber 08, so directly in relation to the time from mentioned. It was sent in a fit of peak, but with such a grievous injury, I am supposed to be running a business, cheating centrelink or have a capacity to work, but it is relevant in time and reason to the extent of what has happened to me and my post trauma pension and depression.

Anyway, yes it is graphic, with stitches in after being released from hospital (next day) but I couldn't wash the blood out for several days and it took months to heal! And, well within the time in question. This injury is unknown to the the ex as far as I know, but they straight out refuse to send it to her or to consider it, even to send it to the CoA team. I feel that they will vet anything I send anyway.
LostDad

I can see why you would want the photo placed within the COA, however, a photo such as this will be strongly objected to as it shows what happened at the time and not the long term effects of the injury. Many pictures can show gruesome images but this does not necessarily reflect the long term outcome of the injury. I would suggest that a better alternative is a report from your GP, Specialist and also the Registrar who treated you for your injury when it occurred with an assessment of the long term prognosis.

Executive Member of SRL-Resources, the Family Law People on the site (Look for the Avatars).   Be mindful what you post in the public areas
yes…well, that is extremely difficult from this remote location with no medical services, but of course, to even get a DSP you have to go through quite an invasive process.

I know, i sent the photo to shame them, but it was contemporary to the time in question and they won't let me turn up in person to show them the dent in the head which still exists today.

But really, that was not the main injury, much of which is psychological and a lot to do with the grief over the children and the seemingly hopeless situation that I am in. I read that they may even take study as a sign (though I am not doing any, but contemplating it) that I am capable of earning anything, it is only a matter of time before centrelink asks me to do something like that.

Obviously, centrelink has already made the assessment of capacity, but in questioning it, she is accusing me of defrauding social security, and the ATO as well as CSA and all are imprisonable offences. Further, I can't tell if she will make such claims to them as well, with no basis in fact, and  they actually encourage this with dob in phone lines and such. These are serious federal offences that there is no evidence for and I am not engaged in, but all i get is potential threats about it and the suggestion that I prove I am innocent of these things!

Appreciate that, it is almost impossible to prove you are not doing something when you are not, the presumption is obviously that I am guilty, so the reverse of common law. Of course I ahve no privacy from the agencies, but after all this time and the sort of person that my ex is now, surely i am not answerable to her personally?

My main objection to openly responding is privacy about the ex, I will answer anything and give them access to all that they have already, but I don't see why I should have this handed over to the ex wife along with such powers.

I also know the score with these people, this is just the first stage, the next will to produce actual shopping receipts and such and for things forthcoming that can't be predicted (future moving costs) and things i don't have receipts for (like the last moving costs)…I don't see why the ex should have these either or how anyone could reasonably produce them or they be anything but under estimates and incomplete.

Further, the stage after that will be that I shouldn't live like this, which is pretty frugal, in fact i have a negative income of some $200 by my calculation. My rent alone is 2/3's of the pension!

Then again, my health issues are also something completely private surely, these things are supposed to be confidential, they don't provide stuff to me and they won't to them, that I have a pension means that I have qualified, details are held by centrelink and not by me as to why. Going to a new doctor now can't assess me for the past, but the centrelink assessors can and are the only ones…hence the photo as a fit of peek, it was an evidence photo for the crime after all. I felt they and the ex could do with a dose of reality frankly!

Remember what they used this process for before in the first post. I ahve reason to believe this is a malicious attempt to use the CSA to harrasss me, they won't look into issues of motivation apparently.

There were any number of triggers to have a CoA if she felt this way, for instance my income suddenly fell to zero and this is dating back more than a year now, she clearly did not care about my daughter or any of this then. In fact, since she had made major commitments not keeping anything to support the children from the settlement just prior, you would think that she would be panicking then.

I have other coincidences of the timing of this that make me feel there has been some cyber stalking and en-rage-ment that I have after 4 years been "dating" and may have met someone and there is reason she may have read that publicly. Similarly, that i sent money for my daughters 16th or that I found out that she was about to inherit, none of which will be included. Motivation surely should be considered if these processes are not to be abused, I certainly don't want my private details in her hands if she has gone nuts.

I even feel I should call protection services to check up on the kids, but I don't even know exactly where they are!
LostDad

It is tough I know. And I am not in your shoes so can not reflect from your own personal position. But I can say this, if you get emotional on the issue you will loose track of the actual issues and this will be a detriment. Showing the magnitude of your injury in a photo to CSA and your ex partner may allow you to show the pain you have and are going through, but it doesn't show the long term effects that you will sustain and more importnatly the effects that this will have on your earning capacity. You have limited time in a COA conference and this needs to be used wisely,in regards to the time to submit a response, there is no legislative obligation upon you to actually submit a response and you can merely advocate your response during the conference. MikeT is the expert here so he may correct me especially in regard to the actual Policy and Guide.

I don't want this to sound like I am being condescending but I can sense that you area bit emotional at the moment, and rightly so, but consider what are the actual issues in the COA and what do you have to show for these issues from your very own perspective, build your case. Don't read to much into the superfluous mumbojumbo that the ex has put in, look only for the issues that are raised.

It is very difficult to go much into your matter here on the public site as it is open to view by all. I agree with MIkeT that it may be worth considering making application to join SRL-R to discuss your matter in a more private arena so you can be more candid. 

Above all, don't let this matter get you down. 

Executive Member of SRL-Resources, the Family Law People on the site (Look for the Avatars).   Be mindful what you post in the public areas
Seems to me that you need to take charge here.  Can I sugest a few tactics?  1.  Get back to CSA, telling them the date your letter was received and suggesting a due date for response as 14 days from when you speak to them.  Be insistent, but not abusive.  2. Respond in a letter to the specific allegations in the COA.  Do NOT complete the statement of financial circumstances form.  3.  In your written response tell them there are no grounds for departure from administrative assessment and you view the claim as mischievous and without any merit. 4, Ask them to arrange a personal interview with the SCO because you get extremely nervous in a phone conference and struggle to make your point known. 5. Get a medical certificte from your doctor explaining that you should not be placed under unnecessary stress due to your blood pressure.  6. Lodge a counter claim about the ex's undisclosed income and the high costs of your medical treatment.

Just remember, an SCO is a nothing better than a mediocre lawyer.  After all, if they were any good they wouldn't be doing CSA COA applications.
Thanks for the replies,

I recognize the emotional stress and outrage makes me ineffective, but then that just makes me feel worse because of the discrimination and inherent injustice in this. For one thing, the CoA is to over-ride the CS laws and write a special one just for this case without evidence or substantive information, something that would never be entertained in a court of law without strenuous investigation.

Anyway, I will look into the SRL-R but the link took me to the front page and I am not sure what that is.

Those tips are worth while, but in the distress of it all I have trouble sticking to those, making it seem unlikely that I would be successful in 30 minutes by phone to 'make a case' or discuss the points in question, I suspect it will be me that is questioned and the conversation directed in ways they seek to take it. I have read on this site that such lawyers may get 'brownie points" or even incentives, but the culture of the CSA seems to be such that it wouldn't take much to corrupt the "system" with bias, the facts have never stopped them before and I have consistently over paid by there admission without and credit or refund, even in the period in question.

eg 5x the minimum when you have a zero income, if a cheat is cheap, if really in desperation, cruel and unusual…yet they delighted in exercising this new law and the facts were subsequently proven!

So…The photo was dramatic as I say, but as I have corresponded with them in writing all this time, I asked the case officer to pass all of this to the CoA for consideration. He refuses to this passing on only the statements…all they say is things changed, but my letters show why they changed and more. So, again, selective evidence…the photo was after refusing the 16 page letter (on not wanting it to go to my ex in total) and such documentation such as this.



Ok, less ranting…it comes from the stress condition of course

So far, I have delayed the conference but it took a week and hours to do so in the face of refusals, even though the legislation above should have made it automatic. Thanks for that…

I have rung legal aid and others and will be seeking some help with what would be appropriate in the written response.

My concern is that they will be providing information about life choices that are none of anyone's business really. I don't want to share my rent details and bank accounts with her, not because I am hiding things, but because of a need for privacy. I don't have that much trouble showing the CSA for decision making purposes as I live a pretty spartan lifestyle, past experience indicates they know nothing about the cost of rent and such and think nothing of suggesting how one lives. The children may even be used as blackmail.

Some things like settlement money and stuff, should not be considered though this is a large part of this. I could never aspire to property and that is where the 100's of 1000's she got is now hidden and increasing in value exponentially without assessment, I can't do that so there is a little money in the bank on which i pay CSA and tax on the interest.

Grrr…again getting off track, they won't take this into account or the motivations for doing this!

Ok…so i have delayed the response and will seek advice, advice from people here will still be welcome as to what is appropriate, thanks in advance.

Which part is the financial statement (bank details, expenses, etc?) and why should I not (though this is what I most take exception to)…surely they need such things to make a decision?

thanks for the phrase in #3, this is how I feel, but they tell me that intent does not come into it.

They offered an interview with a different SCO from the one hearing it at another office, still several hours away, due to distance, not with the actual SCO…but they really decided for me to do it by phone. I don't know what "evidence" I need to have with me or anything…do I need all my bank statements and such?

#5 as I have only moved 7 months ago, I have lost most of my medical people, so I don't have a doctor that I could see in this way. I do have a counselor who is a social worker/psychologist and in fact was about to give her authority to speak to the CSA before this occurred anyway, they seemed doubtful as not an MD if they would 'accept' a letter from her even though she has far more familiarity with me and my state of mind. I am not on any medication at all, nothing has been effective, so I can hardly walk in cold in a remote area without bulk billing services and little time to get such things from just any doctor. So, a problem there.

The high costs of treatment are forthcoming and speculative really, the reality is that I simply can not afford to go too far down that road in these financial circumstances with the result that things are getting slowly worse. The best treatment I have found and what my old doctor suggested is to get completely away from stress and feel safe, this has completely undermined this work. Although cheaper anyway, this is the reason i moved so far away!

The mediocre lawyer, still has the ability to make any decision they like, reviewed by the CSA themselves and taking months with the decision in force while in review as I understand it. Such a 'lawyer' (they are not all lawyers in fact) writes this new law for this case effectively, and I am in no condition to 'fight' such people. I simply can not take in the law and the more I do, the more despondent and frantic I become. I guess that is kind of obvious!

Anyway, I will try and get some distance, see if i can get some help or advice and I guess I will have to respond in some way and that they accept this response and read it.

I just don't understand why one can be attacked in such a way when I have done everything I can to be honest about this stuff and any discrepancies are worked out at tax time anyway (as long as they are in her favor). The whole system is based on hypotheticals and in the end, who can really predict the future I had to put in 5 changes of estimate in last year alone! I thought being on a pension and doing nothing would some how protect me from this, but apparently that is not enough.

The really depressing thing is that I will have to be involved with these people till I am 59yo, 12 more years to go, and I now pray I don't live that long.

There are other issues people here may be able to help me with, like getting back on my feet in the short working time I ahve left should my health improve, but that would be another story and all that is meaningless with such a thing hanging over my head and able to be launched without warning or reason at any time.

I was wondering though, should or could I launch my own CoA against her right now, or does the CoA prevent me doing the same? Just a thought, the laws seem to be different for the applicant, but it may be the payer is just treated with contempt.


LostDad,
           I believe that you should perhaps reply to the COA along the lines of the following :-


I have considered your request for information and I believe that you have not provided any evidence that establishes any special circumstance or circumstances that would meet the requirements for a departure from a formula based assessment by way of reason 8.  More specifically:-

I have no additional income, property or financial resources and that you have not shown that you have established that and also that you cannot established this. I understand that unless you establish that I have additional income, property or financial resources, which again I stress, that you cannot establish, then would be in breach of the privacy act to make the demand that you have for information in regard to this reason. I understand that if you do actually establish that I do have additional income, property or financial resources, then you would then have a right to request such information.

A departure from a formula based assessment by way of reason 2 has also been mentioned. I believe even though diabetes could perhaps be considered as an out of the ordinary disease, the fact that you have to then consider that it is fair or "just and equitable" to consider this reason and that due to my financial situation as clarified above, that it would be not fair and also that it would not be just and inequitable to consider that I have the financial resources to pay more than the minimum rate of child support whilst solely on a disability pension, as such the full special circumstance cannot be met, as if the reason were to be investigated there would be no affect. It would be vexatious and I believe constitute harassment to proceed with under this reason, understanding that the final result would, due to the financial situation of having to depend solely upon a disability support pension, be one where there would be no change to the assessed amount.

I previously mentioned harassment I also wish this letter to constitute a complaint against the CSA officer who spoke to me. This officer said that a lawyer would be present of the conference. The CSA guide (section 2.6.5) clearly states that no party can have a representative at the conference. As such this was an incorrect statement and actually a lie, thus the officer was in breach of the APS guidelines. I firmly believe that the only reason this was said was as a tactic to make me believe that matter was more serious than it was and that I was being threatened with legal action. Considering that the officer is aware of my poor health, this act could and has had a serious affect on my health both emotionally and physically. As such I believe that for the CSA to allow this officer to continue any dealings with myself would be the CSA's agreement to the continued likelihood of myself being harassed by this officer. Due to the emotional well-being of myself seriously being affected by this comment and that as such I have suffered a loss as a result I believe that you as the CSA have a duty to offer a remedy for that loss or to otherwise make compensation payable.

I very much agree with what the others have said, although I'd perhaps say those things in other ways, perhaps a less blunt way (not perhaps add some of Big Red's words, also hopefully Big Red will give feedback on the above letter). Getting a doctor to confirm your health situation in a letter and including that would add weight.

LostDad said
My main objection to openly responding is privacy about the ex, I will answer anything and give them access to all that they have already, but I don't see why I should have this handed over to the ex wife along with such powers.
Unfortunately it is only fair that parent's have a right to respond and to then allow matters to be clarified. Uhhm I wonder if statements so provided, proven false or unsubstantiated, from a parent in regard to the other parent could be handled in another court?

The level of court ordered care is confusing every other weekend could be 1,2 or 3 nights or perhaps some other amount, so it could be 26, 52 or 78 nights. Half of school holidays would normally be 42 nights that would be over 14%. Now if orders don't exist and the other parent doesn't make the children available then the orders should be what goes. Note that nights care is only generally what is used and that daytime care can and has been taken into consideration and that from July 2010 the CSA and FAO systems have to be the same.

I'd strongly suggest trying to meet the contact as set out in the orders, if the other parent does not make them available, then perhaps consider taking the matter of the contraventions to court. I know that you have issues about how it may affect you, however I believe that this could affect could be turned around by a few simple but perhaps very hard to implement, changes in the way they are viewed. A 16 page letter, and you posts, indicates to me a strength that should, in my opinion, be considered a positive.

Here's a link to a post that you and others may find of benefit The ABC Model of Thinking and Feeling (about depression)
Thanks again Mike T

I will take a copy of that to my counselor and see what she says or can add, and also look at other suggestions as well as my own stuff.

I don't know about the lawyer thing, the lawyer is the SCO apparently working for or more likely contracted to the CoA, I ahve had no contact except in the forthcoming interview with this particular person. My interface has mainly been with the case officer in "personalized services". They saw fit this week to lift the 'write only' thing, possibly because I suggested that this discrimination would come to a head with the CoA as they were not supposed to have called me and that under these conditions, I couldn't even have a face to face or phone conversation regarding the matter. I also learned that this 'case officer' was not the same person dealing with the ex, so different people telling different things, except that I am assured that the ex never contacted the CSA even though there were dramatic changes in incomes and so payments throughout the year that might have triggered it.

Anyway, an excellent response, not sure about the legalities of the thing, i mentioned privacy many times, but that went no where, do I have rights to privacy or just discrimination for not being more open with them (and so my ex)?

As far as complaints to the CSA, they have gone nowhere either. They will often say they shouldn't have done something, but it does not curtail their behaviour. I even rang yesterday as they didn't ring me regarding the possibility of a delay in the conference and got switched to another case officer in the same office. For some reason, I could hear them before the phone call was taken and they could see it was me from the number put in, the officer was heard to say to his colleagues, "oh no, I've got "lostdad" on the phone here", I questioned him and brought it up with the manager who is also the case manager for me, and he apologized, but really, this is all one big joke to them it would seem and there is no real contrition and certainly no sanctions against such behavior, the only thing they are sorry for is being caught out!

I have tried to put it aside for a few days, count my blessings and such, treat myself a little better (get out in the sun, get some good food into me) but I received a "dear john" email from the person I have been seeing for the last month, she's back to work and two small children in shared care and really, not time for me…and lets face it, even without the 'pension' situation which is hard enough to explain, the complications of things like this and the loss of my own children and the inability to find a way forward into a productive future, is not what sustains a longer term relationship. So, again hard and timing is everything isn't it. I tried to keep all this separate and such, and these were not the main reasons, but lets face it, I am going nowhere at the present time and finding it hard to sustain hope.

Still, I suppose it was too good to be true. As for the kids, I can't see being able to get back to living in the city now that I have made this move, I can't see how I could support them anyway or survive the court process more. All advice is that even with court orders, it would not be appropriate (esp for the kids) if I was to force things by say, turning up at the school with court orders in hand or anything. Besides, it has been 18m-2yrs now, I thought that really the best chance was to just try and look after myself as best I can and perhaps one day reason would set in or they may find me. I can't know, but perhaps they never got the cards and things I wrote, perhaps their minds have been poisoned, who knows.

The actual court orders are friday and saturday (so one night) every second, and one day each child on the off weeks (I thought because of the huge age gap, sex and interests, that they could do with some alone time with each parent (this of course was suggested that I could not deal with the two of them, but it actually made it worse for me, better for them)) though I would have welcomed anything…and half school hols as said. After all that has happened, the grief over loosing them and the effects of the courts, I have tried everything (and I mean everything) to facilitate mediation options and non adversarial processes short of the court for which i personally have no skill to participate in. I can't describe the hurt I feel about their loss and there is no one that I can truly explain this to that will understand the loss of a child (though I suspect there are many just like me). Now that rents have forced me out of the city and in a matter of months I must move yet again (with further reduction in living standards and higher rents) I don't even feel that my "lifestyle" could accomodate them or be understood. I long for a home and some security in the future, to provide for my children (which in truth, I have substantially through CSA and property settlement) but I honestly can't see a way. One of the most distressing things about all this is that I also can't see a way out of these double binds with everything, I sacrificed my 'career' to support hers and the childrens needs for almost a decade working weekends and long hours and such to make it wok. Now I am trapped by that past and with poor health, all that I really could do seems to be restricted by processes like these. I couldn't 'run a business' or if I were to 'study' questions could be asked. Such hopelessness only things worse. For the last 6 months or so since moving, thing had improved, I took one day at a time in the hope that I would gain the strength and some kind of plan would come to give me direction. It helped a lot, but this is all threatening to bring that down. Also, I can't see how I could stand as an equal with a new partner or offer that to anyone.

Sorry, just rambling, for the next few days I will TRY to go back to one day at a time, I can't see a way out, but perhaps I can find some equilibrium before the next wave hits me!

Thanks again for the replies, and keep them coming if more to add, I will report back with other advice and how things proceed so that others may learn perhaps. There is an outside chance that the CoA would 'fix things' to a fixed amount, make some certainty and in fact take me out of the normal processes of estimates and reporting all the time, tax returns and such (though the CoA will I suppose always loom about like the grim reaper at any time)…perhaps this would be for the best, perhaps this would give me some opportunity, but I really don't understand these things or what to do. Obviously there are so many factors, many highly emotional, and this is in fact my major 'disability'. One of the most distressing things is that all I really ahve left is my own personal integrity, but this and extreme honesty seems to get no one anywhere in this world.
LostDad said
Anyway, an excellent response, not sure about the legalities of the thing, i mentioned privacy many times, but that went no where, do I have rights to privacy or just discrimination for not being more open with them (and so my ex)?

CSA Guide (extract) - 6.3.1: Privacy Act said
CSA is subject to the Privacy Act, which protects the personal information that government and businesses collect about individuals. The Privacy Act established standards for information collection, storage, security, correction, use, disclosure and access. It also provides safeguards for the collection and use of tax file numbers.

Personal information includes any information or opinion about an individual whose identity is apparent, or can reasonably be ascertained, from that information or opinion. Personal information does not have to be true and does not have to be recorded in a material form.

There are 11 Information Privacy Principles (IPPs) which regulate the treatment of personal information. Briefly, the IPPs have the effect that:

IPP 1 CSA may only collect personal information for lawful purposes directly related to a function or activity of CSA. It must collect information in a lawful and fair manner.

IPP 2 Where CSA collects personal information from a person about themselves, it must take reasonable steps to ensure the person knows why CSA is seeking the information; the law that requires CSA to collect the information; and any person or other organisation CSA usually gives the information to.

IPP 3 As far as possible, when CSA solicits personal information, it must ensure that the information is relevant to the purpose for which it is collected; that the information is up-to-date and complete; and that collecting the information does not unreasonably intrude on the personal affairs of the person concerned.

IPP 4 CSA must take reasonable steps to ensure that information is protected against loss and unauthorised access, use, modification or disclosure.

IPP 5 CSA must take reasonable steps to enable any person to find out whether it has personal information about them; and if so, the nature of that information, the main purposes for which it is used and how the person can access the record.

IPP 6 Individuals can access their own personal information subject to the Freedom of information Act 1982. (See chapter 6.6)

IPP 7 CSA must keep its information accurate, relevant to the purpose for which the information was collected, up-to-date, complete and not misleading. CSA must assist people who want to make changes to their records.

IPP 8 CSA must take reasonable steps to ensure personal information is accurate, up-to-date and complete before using it.

IPP 9 CSA must use personal information only for a purpose to which the information is relevant.

IPP 10 CSA cannot use personal information for a purpose other than that for which it was collected except:

    * with the consent of the individual concerned
    * where CSA believes on reasonable grounds that use of the information for that purpose is necessary to prevent a serious and imminent threat to someone's life or health
    * where required or authorised by law
    * where reasonably necessary to enforce criminal law, a law imposing a pecuniary penalty, or for the protection of the public revenue
    * for a purpose directly related to the purpose for which it was collected.

IPP 11 CSA must not disclose personal information to a person other than the individual concerned unless:

    * one of the exceptions (but not the directly related purpose exception) in IPP 10 is made out, or
    * the person concerned is reasonably likely to have been aware, or made aware under IPP 2, that information of that kind is usually passed to that person, body or agency.

Saying that, the CSA appear to be nonchalant in regard to observing the Privacy Act. It is has been put to them at a high level that the one COA form that asks for information in regard to all often reasons results in a breach of the Privacy act and that the COA forms should be split and be reason specific. In one instance some years ago a CSA worker lost case files of something like a dozen customers, they were left on public transport. I believe that not one of the parents got any assistance in any way for this appalling breach of privacy. I believe that all those parents had to foot the cost of protecting themselves against subsequent misuse of the information. I believe that in the UK a year or so ago, the CSA (I think it was someone entrusted via an outsourcing deal) over there lost a CD that contained similar information. That directly affected myself and many thousands here in Australia and considerably many more throughout the world. For a period of a year I and they had to date, sign and send a declaration in regards to privacy, every month. It is very clear privacy is breached due to inter body refusal to take repsonsibility. Quite frequently on FLWG you get the COA information being passed to SSAT and that then being passed to the other parent without information being protected as it should be and then each body blames the other and of course neither agency is proactive or active in any way to stop or reduce future re-occurrences.

Currently complaints are very unlikely to be dealt with in a satisfactory manner, however it only takes a few words to make a complaint and that complaint will be recorded and it will result in a statistic being generated. The more generated the more likely that someone will ask questions and then perhaps that complaint may result in some corrective action being taken. To not complain will serve to allow the proliferation of actions being taken that should not be taken.

LostDad said
or if I were to 'study' questions could be asked
LostDad said
One of the most distressing things is that all I really ahve left is my own personal integrity, but this and extreme honesty seems to get no one anywhere in this world.

Who would ask questions about study? I believe that study could be one of the paths to improving your situation. Male + rural = in demand as a teacher for example. You can get Fee-Help (if you're a citizen, if not then I think you could apply for citizenship at a discount) to cover the costs of the courses. I believe some states have scholarships that offer a secure job and provide further monetary assistance which would cover text books. As for the questions you would have legitimate answers, basically, I'm am studying in an attempt to improve my situation. I believe this is an example of the A-B-C thing that I posted, your current condition, has your mind saying "no-way" when there could well be a way. Saying that, you coming and posting on here is evidence that you are not entirely encompassed in the rejection of positives, can you see that as a positive? I think you saw the A-B-C thing as a potential positive and it looks as though you're going to take action. I see that as a double positive, can you see these positives? How about trying to create a daily list of 10 positives of the day?.
Mike T and others, again thanks…I have sent a whisper with more details to LP

On the ABC's and others, I ahve been working with these in recent months and they have been very helpful, in times of stress like this though, anxiety over takes them, and as such, disables me in the process…..I feel it is discrinatory for the CSA not to take this into account and that I couldn't possibly understand the laws.

Similar with the privacy stuff, with the CoA and what they have told me, anything given must be given to the other party, they almost sent the letter though it twice said not to show it, only because i rang was it realized. ANyway, seems to be plenty of "outs" there, 'if I don't give consent it will not be considered' for instance, and

    * where required or authorised by law
    * where reasonably necessary to enforce criminal law, a law imposing a pecuniary penalty, or for the protection of the public revenue
    * for a purpose directly related to the purpose for which it was collected.

all of which seems to be allowed by the CoA process, if I were cheating, it would be criminal, they are authorised to ask and hold this info and passing it to the ex is the purpose of the CoA. I don't even know how the ex knows that I am on a pension other than my estimate, I never told her, I ahve not had any communication with her, so who would other than one of these bureaucracies…anyway, that does not matter. That I am on such a pension, shows that I am incapacitated with plenty of centrelink tests and assessments including medical to qualify. In order to get the info from the CSA to get to the CoA I would need to go through a very lengthy FoI request, that I don't have time to do, and will be selected anyway.

Anyway, again, thank you for the support and concern form many members here. Any further help and support is truely appreciated including these more personable supports, that I know and even pay people to help me with the ABC's and such, does not mean that I am particularly good at it when under stress…so guidance is so important to keep me on track.
LostDad,

I think you should use the response provided on here.

I also think you should stay a write only client and only use the phone for general enquiries.

Don't worry about not following the rules with C$A as they don't even follow their own rules a lot of the time. However if the matter ends up in court then be completely truthful. This might be the best place to resolve the issue.

Some questions:

What does you ex do for a living?

Have you completed your property settlement with her?

How many children are you paying for?

What is wrong with your daughter?
Some questions:

What does you ex do for a living?
she is an info professional in a hospital 3 days a week, extensive salary  sacrifce, poosibly sup[er as well as this is not listed and there appears to be big discrepancy in pay listed. She claims and account says 24k but she had not put her tax return in as I was pressured to do, so…however the tax has been done and CSA had sent me a statement saying $45K…it's a bit of a mess. She claims no money at all in banks and a large credit card debt the 9k tax free goes into there. This was just prior to xmas, but she did stress that only $5 was left of property settlement (of course, as she has bought a 1/2M house and a new car!). Her 'family home sold in oct09 for 773K which she should substantially benefit. I only know these things because they are in the CoA or I looked into it.

Have you completed your property settlement with her?
Yes, in 07, she mentions it and wants to know where my money is and accuses me of 'hiding assets'…however, what money there is has always been in the bank, interest paid is taxed, and so CSA is paid….there is not that much and there is no deception.

How many children are you paying for?
2 (8 and 15 yo)

What is wrong with your daughter?
the older child, been type 1 diabetes since age of 7, claiming expenses of $700 plus lost wages. However, it is neglegent of her to spend all the money from settlement for property and cars and not leave anything at all.

One might also note that having money in property is increasing far more than money in the bank and not taxable or accessable, because I could never hope to do that, exactly where could I hide it. She also accuses me of deceptively running a business. In fact I do have an ABN and registered business name, it is my real name, so hardly hiding. However, it was in desperation that I did this and nothing came of it in any way, in fact, i didn't even claim the losses of registering it. Again, registering it in my own name with the tax office is hardly hiding!

She even claims payouts from my employer, I wish…in fact after 3 years still waiting for my long service leave and been with the human rights commission for some time. Of course, such payments will be offset by the loss of pension for a while and this really can't be guessed at or if it happens till tax time or long after I suspect. But you know, she also claims I am defrauding the tax office and centrelink as well as the CSA, so it is one big fishing expedition with no evidence given of anything…mainly because there is nothing.

I also think you should stay a write only client and only use the phone for general enquiries.

I had put this to them as it has only been lifted for this exercise without me knowing why in the first place. I suggested it was particularly cynical to lift it now for this and if write only, I could never participate in a conference…but I seem not to have a choice. I am sure as soon as they make a decision, communication will be cut off again to stop appeal processes and such!

I even quoted to my case officer what I had found here in the "collection handbook". At first he suggested that he knew nothing of it, then he admitted it when I gave the page number and said I was looking at the scan…then he said he didn't follow this handbook! He has just come back from a training course. Is it a know fact that there are incentives for compliance or other things, bonuses or something? This is perhaps why they seem to manufacture debt and then recover it. I of course pay in advance with the pension, but I wouldn't put it past them to do anything if there is a bonus in it…surely this is corrupt?

Thanks again, I will take all my ideas to my councelor and see if she has any ideas, but with all that's been happening, I really don't think there will be that much time. I will sign over an authority for her, she has had her own problems with the CSA and volunteered, but I ahve not had time to see her before next week. The CSA say they will ring me tuesday after seeing her, I assume to dictate a new time for the conference!/!/
Mike T, sort of agree with your words, though would add a counterclaim on reason 8 on the salary sacrifice.  I would also ask them to include the value of any of the stimulus payments the payee received in the last financial year.  I would also separate the complaint from the response, to ensure both were dealt with.  

Would also lodge a privacy complaint under IPP1 - requests for personal information cannot be lawful until grounds for departure are established.  

FYI, when I attended a COA conference, I had to explain to the SCO how salary sacrifice worked.  Hence the mediocre SCO remark.  Trust me, they aren't that good.  


LostDad,

Thanks for your answers.

People who work in the health industry have access to very generous salary sacrifice entitlements. Forget salary sacrifice to the super fund. They can sacrifice at least 8k of their salary each year into their credit card and/or to their home mortgage as well as the novated vehicle leases etc…

You could suggest that with such benefits it is unfair that you should have to pay more child support as not every person has access to such generous salary sacrifice benefits.

How did you sign off on your property settlement - orders by consent, final orders?

If the property settlement has not been completed properly then C$A will generally use this against the payer.

It sounds like she did well out of the property settlement anyway.

What your ex did with the settlement money will not make any difference to how the C$A make their decisions.

I don't think she will be succeed with claiming lost wages against you, however if your daughter has excessive medical costs, the C$A may decide to see your bank funds as a resource as well as the interest it earns and take some off you as this is what any parent would do in normal family circumstances to help their children. You should not have told them about your bank balance and perhaps you should tie it up by purchasing a house or something. That way they can't touch it or deem it a resource to draw from.

You do need to attend appeal hearings etc… it is advisable to only deal with the C$A in writing where possible.

The C$A pay bonus is only a 0.5% annual pay increase - hardly worth the extra effort required I think.

What is your medical condition?

Thanks again,

I suffer from extremely high blood pressure that does not seem to be mediated by medication to any significant degree. I am considering trying yet again down this road as complications seem to be setting in and this has been going on for some years and taking it's tole on my heart and such. I have no fat or cholesterol, so it is something of a mystery other than stress. I am suffering from PTSD and major depression and have was assaulted last year and in the work place some three years ago, in high stress situations such as dealing with the CSA I get some extreme anxiety. I regard it as discrimination to force someone with such disabilities to have to try and defend themselves properly in a 30 minute phone conversation with a lawyer who will write a new law effectively just for me and this case on that and what ever response I put to them.

The property settlement was done in the courts and really should not even be mentioned, it is not in dispute and yes, she did well out of it, but it was supposed to be for the children. While I see it as a good thing that my children have a nice stable home and good luck to her, I do think it excessive and spending all the money on these things was not the intent. After all, a home is a major assett, increases in value significantly over time, and in the end, it is the ex who benefits from it and this increasing value (that she could realize or borrow against in times of need) are not at all taken into account.

There is no way I could buy a house, they already know that there is money in the bank, but it is not excessive, and you should not be double dipping into the property settlement surely? I can't hide money that I can see, the ATO know of all bank accounts and interests that might come of it, etc

I don't know what I have to say, and what I don't have to with these people, I assumed they had access to everything. Can you refuse or not tell them things? I presumed that by that they would say you were lying by ommission later, or assume you were hiding something by refusing to answer a question or questioning them as to relevance.

The C$A pay bonus is only a 0.5% annual pay increase - hardly worth the extra effort required I think.

Well…is this a bonus or annual pay increase. Is there payments that reward certain behaviour. For instance, if they get a bonus for debt recovery, it would be in their interests to manufacture a debt and reclaim it by any means…just wondering as this is an important way in which organizations direct attitudes, the 'best boy' is the one who works these things and collection is the aim of the game, not fairness or legalities.

I wonder, if I am on write only, how does one even do a CoA assessment. They rang me after hours to notify me, I made a complaint about it as they were not supposed to ring me since I couldn't ring them, I got a 'sorry' letter, but now they have taken me off write only. I am sure they will put be straight back on. But again, no explanation. Also, the cost of doing all this is massive amounts greater than whatever my kids might get from me in this process, already several times what I pay in a year on a pension…so how is this in the best interests of the children or the process, may as well just give that money to the kids and have a happy life!

Thanks BR, IPP1…i agree, reasons for departure for privacy has not been established, unlesss they consider the CoA process enough reason? Frankly, there is no evidence and in fact I am not lying about this. The problem really is inherent in the system, it is all based on hypothetical estimates of the future so it is hard to be correct…so when things don't work out to the cent, they get all weird about it.

Also, there has been a huge misunderstanding by the applicant of the estimates process. I was earning a workcover 'wage' then it suddenly stopped, my new estimate from then was zero, eventually it increased to the minimum with the pension. However, my tax return came back as 28K and she asks in the app, why is it not zero? Of course it wouldn't be, the estimate was from the time of change, not by the financial year. Then I had to go through it all again in october when the tax return hit even though of course there was no change and I was still on the pension that I ahd been on for months before. In fact I was threatened with a huge made up income as the basis for payments if I was not to get the tax return done, and while for most it is equally important that the other parties income is true and correct, at the time this app was written, she claims not to have put in a tax return yet! Of course, the tax return came back completely different from the app's details.

I know how bright these people are, and their ability to play dumb, they give themselves away regularly ("i don't know of any collection handbook"…yeah, right!) and as a govt department, they may well be running a salary sacrifice thing themselves, it is not that uncommon in organizations such as this. Lawyers though, maybe not so bright, they probably have other ways to fiddle income for all I know.

This is the thing though, nothing raises my anger and frustration and anxiety and disables things when I have to explain such stuff. It's their job to know these things, after all, with all the hours and days I spend on this, they are being paid to speak or write to me! Nothing more galling.

Anyway, this is why I feel there is no way that such an application can be done in a 30 minute conversation, if they want the 'truth' then it should take as long as it takes with the capabilities and complexities of the matters and people involved. But, I don't think they want to know the truth, go through some motions and make a decision 'in the best interests of the children' which always means paying more, because the best interests is always that regardless of the effect on me and capacity to pay.

With my daughters health thing, there seems to have been no concern till now wile obviously a need. It is a pre-existing condition and the true cost is not really known, if I were there of course, there would be no lost wages, she claims $700 in costs, yet should I be asked to pay all of this, half, or proportional to the incomes? I mean really, in a proportional system as the CSA is supposed to be, my proportion would seem to be pretty insignificant. Of course, as a loving father, had I at any time been asked for urgent assistance or something, I would have made every effort. In fact, because she had turned 16, I sent her $100 in november from a credit card. Of course, the court orders are clear that I should be informed and involved in any health issues relating to the kids…obviously this and all other orders are being ignored. Had I been informed of anything extraordinary (i have a feeling costs have decreased) I of course would have been there. I suspect they won't take these kinds of 'reasons' into account.

Does anyone know…once there is a CoA in place, do I know longer able to change estimates, tax returns influence…or even, could I raise my own CoA app to have it considered again immediately…thereby getting the response in? And, why does 'motivation' not come into this, or the need for some kind of allegations to have evidence?

Anyway, again thanks for the interest, advice and support…it's all been invaluable, it has been an enormous help to have found this place just when these things are most needed.
LostDad,
            I don't really know where to start, so sorry if this disjointed and doesn't cover everything.

LostDad said
I suffer from extremely high blood pressure that does not seem to be mediated by medication to any significant degree. I am considering trying yet again down this road as complications seem to be setting in and this has been going on for some years and taking it's tole on my heart and such. I have no fat or cholesterol, so it is something of a mystery other than stress. I am suffering from PTSD and major depression and have was assaulted last year and in the work place some three years ago, in high stress situations such as dealing with the CSA I get some extreme anxiety. I regard it as discrimination to force someone with such disabilities to have to try and defend themselves properly in a 30 minute phone conversation with a lawyer who will write a new law effectively just for me and this case on that and what ever response I put to them.

Disability Discrimination Act 1992 said
5  Direct disability discrimination
   (1)   For the purposes of this Act, a person (the discriminator) discriminates against another person (the aggrieved person) on the ground of a disability of the aggrieved person if, because of the disability, the discriminator treats, or proposes to treat, the aggrieved person less favourably than the discriminator would treat a person without the disability in circumstances that are not materially different.
   (2)   For the purposes of this Act, a person (the discriminator) also discriminates against another person (the aggrieved person) on the ground of a disability of the aggrieved person if:
   (a)   the discriminator does not make, or proposes not to make, reasonable adjustments for the person; and
   (b)   the failure to make the reasonable adjustments has, or would have, the effect that the aggrieved person is, because of the disability, treated less favourably than a person without the disability would be treated in circumstances that are not materially different.
   (3)   For the purposes of this section, circumstances are not materially different because of the fact that, because of the disability, the aggrieved person requires adjustments.
6  Indirect disability discrimination
   (1)   For the purposes of this Act, a person (the discriminator) discriminates against another person (the aggrieved person) on the ground of a disability of the aggrieved person if:
   (a)   the discriminator requires, or proposes to require, the aggrieved person to comply with a requirement or condition; and
   (b)   because of the disability, the aggrieved person does not or would not comply, or is not able or would not be able to comply, with the requirement or condition; and
   ©   the requirement or condition has, or is likely to have, the effect of disadvantaging persons with the disability.
   (2)   For the purposes of this Act, a person (the discriminator) also discriminates against another person (the aggrieved person) on the ground of a disability of the aggrieved person if:
   (a)   the discriminator requires, or proposes to require, the aggrieved person to comply with a requirement or condition; and
   (b)   because of the disability, the aggrieved person would comply, or would be able to comply, with the requirement or condition only if the discriminator made reasonable adjustments for the person, but the discriminator does not do so or proposes not to do so; and
   ©   the failure to make reasonable adjustments has, or is likely to have, the effect of disadvantaging persons with the disability.
   (3)   Subsection (1) or (2) does not apply if the requirement or condition is reasonable, having regard to the circumstances of the case.
   (4)   For the purposes of subsection (3), the burden of proving that the requirement or condition is reasonable, having regard to the circumstances of the case, lies on the person who requires, or proposes to require, the person with the disability to comply with the requirement or condition.


The above is mandatory due to :-

APS Values and Codes said
APS Values

    * The APS delivers services fairly, effectively, impartially and courteously to the Australian public and is sensitive to the diversity of the Australian public.

APS Code of Conduct

    * An APS employee must behave honestly and with integrity in the course of APS employment.
    * An APS employee must act with care and diligence in the course of APS employment.
    * An APS employee, when acting in the course of APS employment, must treat everyone with respect and courtesy, and without harassment.
    * An APS employee, when acting in the course of APS employment, must comply with all applicable Australian laws.

APS employees must treat the public with respect and courtesy, and without harassment. They should provide reasonable assistance and help the public to understand their entitlements and obligations. But being responsive does not mean public servants can ignore the law or provide a benefit to which a person is not entitled. APS employees must administer the law fairly and equitably and provide responsive, efficient and effective services.
Fair decision making

Compliance with the law is a fundamental requirement of good decision making. The APS functions within an administrative law framework to ensure, among other things, that individuals and groups within the community receive fair and equitable treatment. One of the aims of this framework is to ensure that administrative decisions are correct, in the sense that they are made according to the law (and any guidelines and directions deriving from it), and preferable, in the sense that the best decision is made on the facts if there is a range of outcomes that are lawfully correct. Decision makers should also be able to demonstrate that their decisions are 'fair and reasonable' in the circumstances19, that the powers they exercise are properly authorised and used appropriately, that procedural fairness has been observed and they are able to provide reasons to explain and justify their decisions, ensuring fairness, transparency, consistency and accountability.

This administrative law framework, which applies across all sectors of employment, includes the:

    * Racial Discrimination Act 1975
    * Sex Discrimination Act 1984
    * Disability Discrimination Act 1992
    * Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission Act 1986
    * Age Discrimination Act 2004

In addition, APS Agencies generally are subject to the:

    * Freedom of Information Act 1982
    * Privacy Act 1988
    * Administrative Appeals Tribunal Act 1975
    * Administrative Decisions (Judicial Review) Act 1977
    * Ombudsman Act 1976

Matters dealt with can be subject to the scrutiny of the Ombudsman and the Australian Human Rights Commission, the Privacy Commissioner, the Federal Court and the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. Decision makers should also have regard to case law and may need, in certain circumstances, to have regard to a number of international conventions.

Acting according to the law

The law can be complex. The work of some public servants may be subject to many different acts, regulations, statutory directions, and so on. Nevertheless, employees should ensure they know about and understand the laws that apply to them. When exercising statutory authority, they should take care that legislation authorises the decision, they have authority to make the decision and they understand any procedures that are required by law in making the decision. If the action taken or decision made does not meet these tests, it may be invalid. This will be particularly important if a person is aggrieved by the decision and seeks to have the decision reviewed. This could occur before the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, the Federal Court, the Ombudsman or a specialist review body in the portfolio concerned.

uhhhm, I wonder how many CSA employees have not ensured that they know about and understand the laws that apply to them. (oops a bit off topic).

Perhaps you should say something like this :-

I understand that as an Australian Public Servant you are bound to the APS code of conduct and that this binds you to all Australian laws and in particular to the Disability Discrimination Act 1992, which in sections 5 & 6 requires that a person with a disability, such as myself, is to be treated with regard to the disability, by the way of reasonable adjustment. I believe, that due to my condition of suffering both Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and that I consistently have what is classed by the Heart Foundation as a very high blood pressure, that you are bound by law to regard these disabilities and make reasonable adjustments to the manner in which the conference is held.

I suggest that the only reasonable adjustment, to take regard of my disability, would be for myself to not be required to participate in a conference, as that would not only cause a great amount of distress, but that it could result in a serious and life threatening situation for myself. However I believe that I would then be discriminated against, again due to my disability to not have the rights of procedural fairness by not being asked questions and having a chance to reply to those questions. Therefore I submit that such a pseudo conference be conducted, that is that questions are raised in writing and forwarded to myself. I can then reply and should further questions arise they can then be forwarded and so on, until the exercise is complete.


With regard to bonuses I've posted previously about this and about how wrong I feel that it is. Same goes for the lack of knowledge of many CSA Staff. Saying that there are some who go way beyond others to get the knowledge and understanding they should have.
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