After many requests for comment, Cameron Scott of Maurice Blackburn yesterday contacted Kinglake Ranges News with a brief statement regarding a dispute between Maurice Blackburn and the Australian Tax Office regarding the Black Saturday Class Actions:
“This was an issue we had to test, because it meant either accepting that there was nothing more for bushfire survivors or fighting to extract every last bit of financial support for them we could.
“We are obviously disappointed with the outcome and we will be discussing the possibility of appealing the decision of the Federal Court with our legal advisers,” Scott said.
Vicki Ruhr, Black Saturday survivor and class action participant from Kinglake commented:
“Obviously what they espouse doesn’t match with their actions, or more specifically, their inactions which created the tax dispute fiasco in the first place.
“It’s the [Black Saturday Class Action] group members that are truly disappointed.
“Using ‘our compensation funds to fix up their mess’ – that was no fault of ours [class action participants] – and nil mention of the law firm returning ‘our compensation funds’ out of ‘their coffers’.
“And nil representation of our best interests by either lead plaintiff.
“Not a peep out of them?
“What a total disgrace,” Ruhr said.
Some class action partcipants such as Deb Barton are not happy with Ruhr’s – or other’s – advocacy on behalf of class action members stating “I also wish people would stop speaking on behalf of [class action] group members.
“I [Barton] speak for myself thanks and am grateful for lead plaintiffs who did a fantastic job in difficult circumstances.
“I wish people would stop being so goddamn greedy at the end of the day. Please don’t speak on behalf of group members.
“We haven’t fucking asked you to,” Barton said.
This is an unedited response to questions asked by Kinglake Ranges News. The class action includes the Kilmore East-Kinglake & Murrindindi Bushfire Class Actions.