On a journey to find justice
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.’’