On a jour­ney to find jus­tice

The Cobram Courier - - NEWS - By Pa­trick Tansey

As the Royal Com­mis­sion into Mis­con­duct in Bank­ing, Su­per­an­nu­a­tion and Fi­nan­cial Ser­vices dragged on, Michael San­der­son has been there vir­tu­ally ev­ery step of the way.

Why? Be­cause Mr San­der­son is of the view he has been short­changed close to $5 mil­lion worth of as­sets af­ter los­ing his farm.

Mr San­der­son is a for­mer Queens­land farmer, who moved to Kata­matite with his wife a year ago af­ter be­ing sub­jected to a non­mon­e­tary de­fault by the Bank of Queens­land.

Ac­cord­ing to Mr San­der­son, Bank of Queens­land’s agent Pro­pell gave his Childers prop­erty a strong val­u­a­tion when the loan was is­sued.

The land value then col­lapsed at a rollover meet­ing, mean­ing the loan-to-value ra­tio was breached, mak­ing it im­pos­si­ble for the farmer to re­fi­nance via an­other lender.

He re­flected on the chain of events which turned his life on its head and forced him to rep­re­sent him­self in the courts in the search for an­swers.

‘‘The bank even­tu­ally came af­ter us and we were hit with a claim. I didn’t know much about the law or the courts and we couldn’t af­ford a lawyer, so I was forced into the sit­u­a­tion of be­ing a self­lit­i­gate,” Mr San­der­son said.

‘‘I man­aged to bum­ble my way along but I thought this is not on, the courts are sup­posed to be fair. My main is­sue is that we need eq­uity in the courts.’’

Since he lost his prop­erty, he has been on a jour­ney to seek what he be­lieved would be jus­tice and has at­tended many Royal Com­mis­sion hear­ings.

He is also in­volved with an ac­tivists group called Bank Re­form Now and at­tended a rally in Can­berra in 2016.

A small fish in a gi­gan­tic pond, Mr San­der­son felt peo­ple such as him were re­signed to fight a los­ing bat­tle when com­pet­ing against ma­jor bank­ing cor­po­ra­tions.

‘‘The is­sue I have with the banks is the fact they take ev­ery­thing and then they take you to court; they’ve got big pock­ets and you’ve got noth­ing and the court doesn’t as­sist. You can’t get le­gal aid if it’s a civil mat­ter, it’s a nasty busi­ness,’’ he said.

He also sees flaws in the core of the Royal Com­mis­sion and the way it has been con­structed.

‘‘The prob­lem I have with the Royal Com­mis­sion is that it is run by the le­gal pro­fes­sion,’’ Mr San­der­son said.

‘‘The as­pect of re­dress hasn’t been ad­dressed. If they ad­dress that is­sue, they would have to con­demn their own pro­fes­sion.

‘‘What the com­mis­sion should be do­ing rather than do­ing this stage-man­aged case-man­aged thing is to cast the net wide and see what it catches,’’ he said.

The strain on Mr San­der­son fi­nan­cially and on his fam­ily has been enor­mous fol­low­ing the loss of his prop­erty.

‘‘I’ve prob­a­bly lost in the vicin­ity of $5 mil­lion for noth­ing. I had a vi­able busi­ness, I had an un­der­tak­ing from the bank,’’ he said.

‘‘There are a lot of fam­ily busi­nesses in the as­so­ci­ated towns that get hurt be­cause of this.

‘‘Peo­ple are mak­ing big dol­lars and tak­ing big dol­lars and they’re get­ting away with it.’’

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.