Soho Carter Chardonnay

Soho Carter ChardonnayIt’s not often that one travels to a winemaking region by boat but then, it’s not often that I find myself in Auckland. So when an opportunity recently arose to take a ferry from the North Island’s largest city,  to Waiheke Island, I jumped at the chance.

Waiheke Island is less than an hour from Auckland by boat and is home to some great wineries like Mudbrick, Obsidian Vineyard, Cable Bay and Man O’ War Vineyards, but one I didn’t visit but whose wares caught my attention, was the Soho Wine Co.

Soho was established only a few years ago by Rachel Carter whose family own three vineyards in different regions in New Zealand and who have been involved in the New Zealand wine industry for some decades.  Their Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir were as good as you’d expect given their Marlborough heritage, but it was the Carter Chardonnay 2012 made from Waiheke Island which fruit for me, which was the star of the show.

The lively colour in the glass telegraphs the richness of the stone fruit flavours which lay in wait of that first sip.  On the nose, there are ripe figs and a whiff of nuttiness, but once on the palate, the nectarines and peaches take prominence and erupt in a veritable tropical fruit salad explosion before a spicy edge and the fingerprints of French oak make their presence known.

There’s a stack of natural acidity which not only corrals the flavours into a tight and lasting finish, but which should also see the Carter Chardonnay benefit from a few more years in the bottle.

At around NZ$38 a bottle, it’s worth the hunt!

Our wine reviewer, Travis Schultz, is managing partner of Schultz Toomey O’Brien Lawyers and lover of fine food and wine.

Meet Hayley Suthers-Crowhurst

Hayley Suthers-CrowhurstPosition: Litigation Paralegal in North Lakes

How long you have been working here for? Since January 2010

How do you spend your time outside of work?  I love spending time with my family, having dinner dates with friends, and watching a good movie. I am owned by two miniature dachshunds which I adore, and you will occasionally find me at dachshund meet up events to share the love of the breed and raise money for Dachshund Rescue Australia. I love going to live sporting games and being amongst the great atmosphere. I love to travel with my partner, and we try to put a stamp in our passports every year.

What is your favourite type of music?  My taste in music is incredibly varied. On my iPod you will find anything from Frank Sinatra and John Lennon to Metallica, Serj Tankian, Faithless and everything in between. If I were to have a favourite band, it would be Matchbox 20, but mostly their earlier released albums. I love listening to the Max TV music channel countdowns from the 80s and 90s.

Are office supplies a legal entitlement?

Office SuppliesOkay, so it may be a rather trivial issue, but I was bemused to receive an enquiry from a client recently as to whether it was “legal” for their employer to remove the chocolate biscuits, coffee and tea bags from the kitchen in a cost cutting drive designed to respond to challenging economic conditions.  While I had to hide my mirth at the scenario, the obvious answer was that, no, Tim Tams and Moccona are not something that an employer is legally obliged to supply in the staff room, even though it has become somewhat of an Australian tradition.

But such is the state of the economy and the parlous state of finance for many employers, that what were once sacrosanct “perks” provided to employees, have become casualties of the budget balancing exercise in tough economic conditions.  It was bemusing to read an online article recently, where some workers reported that their employers were even requiring employees to bring their own pens to work and to recycle paperclips that arrived with incoming mail, rather than buying their own.  Similarly, the practice of “hot desking” (where employees don’t have a designated desk and have to take whatever is available when they turn up for work, even if it is the kitchen), is becoming part of the drive to achieve cost efficiencies that will restore profitability to many businesses. One wonders whether the growing practice of allowing “work from home” arrangements is not as much about transferring infrastructure costs to employees as it is about providing work/life balance.

While all of these cost saving measures will undoubtedly save a few dollars and make a small difference to the bottom line numbers, there must surely be a more significant cost to employee morale that, whilst difficult to measure, is as intrinsically valuable as the Tim Tams in the staff room fridge. But the answer to the question is no; the provision of these staff amenities is not a legal requirement however, the Health Department might have something to say if an employer removes the toilet paper and paper towel from the office bathrooms!

Travis Schultz
Managing Partner
Schultz Toomey O’Brien Lawyers
Ph: (07) 5413 8900
Fax: (07) 5413 8958

Position Vacant – Paralegal – Litigation

Schultz Toomey O’Brien Lawyers are seeking an energetic and experienced Paralegal for their Litigation Department.  This position is for the Sunshine Coast office (located in Kawana Waters).

This is a 12 month maternity leave contract position with the possibility of ongoing employment at the end of the 12 months. 

Schultz Toomey O’Brien Lawyers is the Sunshine Coast’s largest legal firm. For more information on the firm, please visit

The successful applicant would be providing additional paralegal support to the Managing Partner of the firm who also heads up the Litigation Department.

Specific duties in this role will include:

  • Drafting Notices of Claim, Lists of Documents, Statements of Loss & Damage, Applications, Affidavits and the like;
  • Taking and preparing Statements of witnesses and care providers;
  • Organising compulsory conferences;
  • Drafting and preparing Briefs to Counsel;
  • Drafting correspondence;
  • Dealing with mail/emails/faxes from other parties and clients;
  • Dictaphone work;
  • Instructing Counsel at Court;
  • Travelling (for example to Court) including to Brisbane;
  • Attending meetings, conferences etc;
  • Significant client contact; and
  • Potentially managing own files.

 The role will involve significant training being provided in relation to different pieces of legislation within the personal injuries field (WCRA, PIPA, MAIA & CLA) as well as the pre-Court procedures and Court process – knowledge of which will be essential.

There will also be a reasonable amount of commercial litigation work which will require a good understanding of the Court rules and protocols.

The position is one which will require overtime to be worked as and when required and the role requires someone with time management skills and the ability to prioritise tasks when there are competing deadlines.

In addition, the successful applicant will:

  • have strong organisational and communication skills;
  •  have good computer and typing skills (with high degree of accuracy)  – knowledge of Open Practice an advantage;
  • have excellent spelling, grammar and punctuation;
  • possess a flexible and proactive approach;
  • have a calm demeanour;
  • have the ability to work as part of a team as well as work autonomously;
  • be open to learning new tasks to increase their knowledge; and
  • have strong people skills.

Working hours :are 8am to 5pm with a 1 hour lunch break.

Start date: asap.

Salary will be determined according to the experience of the successful applicant.

If this position is of interest to you, please ensure you apply prior to the cut-off date of Thursday 30 January 2014.

To apply, please forward an up to date resume to our Practice Manager, Wendy Faithfull, at

Isabella Nichols in Profile Magazine

isabella-nicholsThe Sunshine Coast ‘Profile Magazine’ has a wonderful write up about Isabella Nichols this month. Isabella Nichols was the Schultz Toomey O’Brien Lawyers Student Athlete Award winner for 2013 and won a $5000 prize. This prize money has assisted Isabella with competing in Under 18 women’s surfing competitions around the world.

In this article by Profile Magazine, Isabella talks about her love for surfing and how winning the Aussie Titles in 2013 was a dream come true. Although she admits that the training can be hard and exhausting, she wouldn’t want to do anything else.

You can read about Isabella and her achievements in the Profile Magazine Online on page no. 18.

Make sure to keep your eye out for Isabella in the next round of Surfing competitions. She is definitely on her way to be surfing star!

A Victim of Domestic Violence

A lady by the name of Jaquie Lait was a victim of domestic violence. She was in and out of hospital for months and months, sometimes returning only hours after being discharged with further injuries. When Jaquie was pregnant she was told by doctors that she had a 50% chance of surviving the birth of her child due to the prolonged physical abuse that has been sustained to her body. She didn’t want her child to be bought up without a mother. This is when Jaquie made the most important decision to remove herself from the abusive relationship.

Jaquie started a new life by moving to Toowoomba and after nine years of being out of the terrible situation, she found a love for fighting and now helps many others at the domestic violence wing of Fighters Against Child Abuse Australia.

Remember domestic abuse doesn’t always come in the form of physical abuse, it can also include:

  • Verbal – constant put-downs, name calling etc.
  • Sexual – any forced or unwanted sexual contact/activity etc.
  • Social – controlling where you go, who you see, geographically isolating you.
  • Financial – being refused/denied access to money etc.
  • Damage to property – kicking a hole in the wall, scratching your car etc.
  • Psychological – behaviour and/or comments to undermine your sense of self etc.
  • Spiritual/Cultural – not allowing you to practice your chosen religion or cultural beliefs.
  • Stalking – worrying or frightening you by watching, phoning or following you. Stalking is a crime.

If you have been or are the victim of domestic abuse, contact us for assistance today. We have a professional team who are here to help you.

(Source: Sunshine Coast Daily 2014,

Bad drivers caught on camera

There appears to be an alarming increase in the number of motorists not abiding by road rules. These rules are in place to protect everyone on the road from motorists to pedestrians.

A Rockhampton man provides proof of these dangerous drivers. He installed cameras in the front and rear of his car, for his own protection. However, over the past year he has filmed a number of dangerous drivers and incidents. Click here to view the video.

(Source: Sunshine Coast Daily 2014,

Meet Peta Yujnovich

peta-yujnovichName: Peta Yujnovich
Position: Senior Associate – Litigation
How long you have been working here for? 10 years
How do you spend your time outside of work? I have a 9 month old son so time outside of work revolves around him and catching up with family and friends.  My husband also runs his own BMX racing team, Rival Racing, so most Saturdays we are all at a BMX track somewhere in South East Queensland attending a racing event and supporting the Rival Racing riders.
What is your favourite type of music? I was a teenager in the 90’s, so Nirvana, Soundgarden, Stone Temple Pilots and the Tea Party are favourites.  I also love David Bowie and the Doors.

Connect with Peta via LinkedIn click here

Davina Stokes

Davina StokesPosition: Litigation Secretary
How long you have been working here for? 13 Years. What do you enjoy most about working at STO? It is a nice environment to work in and I have made a lot of great friendships over the years.
What are your hobbies/interests/favourite music? I enjoy spending time with my family, my sons keep me very busy and baking.

Driving whilst distracted

Distracted Female DriverIt is important for drivers to stay alert at all times when they are driving. Whether it is:  surveying the road environment, taking in information or making decisions that determine their driving. All of this is much easier said than done.

Many drivers are distracted at some point while they are driving. It could be from skipping to the next song on the stereo, trying to calm a child down in the back seat, eating in the car, or calling someone on the mobile phone. These activities can all interfere with safe driving.

By a driver engaging in a secondary task while driving will interfere with their performance of their main priority of driving the car. Distractions can occur inside and outside of the vehicle and there are three main categories driver distractions fall into. They can include a combination of the following:

  1. Visual – not focusing on the road i.e.: reading a text message on a mobile phone;
  2. Physical – removing hands off the steering wheel i.e.: searching for something in a bag;
  3. Cognitive – taking your attention away from driving i.e.: talking to passengers

If a driver is distracted by any of the above categories this can lead to the drivers reaction times being delayed, highly likely to miss hazards and also compromises safety.

There has been some recent researched conducted by RACQ and it shows that approximately 88% of RACQ members between 2011-2012 believe there has been an increase/more of a problem with drivers being distracted then five years ago.

RACQ research shows that the most common distractions for their members include:

  • Driving while distracted by adjusting stereo settings.
  • Driving while distracted by eating/drinking.
  • Driving while distracted by a hands-free mobile phone.
  • Driving while distracted by a hand-held mobile phone.
  • Driving while distracted by viewing/entering GPS settings.
  • Driving while distracted by smoking.

(Source: RACQ 2014,

RACQ has also advised that research of drivers using a mobile phone whether it is hand-held or hands-free, whilst driving, increases the risk of having a crash by between four and six times, this is very similar to the risk of driving under the influence with a BAC of 0.08%. No matter what type of mobile phone set up you have, the impairment is primarily caused through the distraction of conversation.

As more technology becomes available to drivers and their vehicles, it is imperative that drivers take even more care and be alert on the roads at all times.