Run Sunshine Coast 2014

What a great morning we had at Run Australia Sunshine Coast yesterday. Held at Kawana, the event had over 2,000 registrations and raised over $136,570 for the Wishlist Foundation to support child development on the Sunshine Coast. Our team had over 30 entrants in all three categories: 12km Run, 6km Run and 6km Walk. Well done to all involved and we look forward to participating again next year.

20140629_07555320140629_082428We made it, 6km walkTeam STO

June Young Achiever – Emma Rumble

Emma RumbleThis morning we visited Sunshine Beach State High School to congratulate Emma Rumble on her musical achievements. Emma plays a number of instruments including the guitar, clarinet and also sings. She would like to attend QUT next year and study music. By being the STOLAW Young Achiever Winner, Emma was awarded $1000 which she is going to put towards a new computer to record her music.

Big Brother Is Not Who You Thought

Big Brother Is Not Who You ThoughtFor decades now, Australians have complained about the nefarious “Big Brother” whenever they feel that their privacy is being compromised or their daily activities scrutinised, but until now, the perceived privacy breaches have generally been blamed on government and semi-governmental agencies who are thought to have the capacity to receive and store data on each of us.  But changes to Google’s privacy policy in April this year make me wonder whether the real Big Brother masquerades as a multi-national technology and search engine company to lull us all into some false sense of security in bearing our souls with each stroke of the keyboard?

We have known for years that search engine companies like Google plant “cookies” to provide their paying advertisers with a target market for the sale of individual goods and services but it seems that the search engine behemoth remains unsatisfied with that invasion of personal space and has now openly admitted that it also scans your email. The practise is undoubtedly an extension of their commercially beneficial intelligence gathering activities and, I suspect, will inevitably be sold by Google to paying advertisers in their insatiable desire to increase revenues at consumers’ expense.

When Google formally amended their privacy policy, it was no doubt on good legal advice that to fail to disclose the email scanning capacity might expose it to more than just negative publicity.

Now, the Google policy includes the admission, “Our automated systems analyse your content (including emails) to provide you personally relevant product features, such as customised search results, tailored advertising, and spam and malware detection.  This analysis occurs as the content is sent, received, and when it is stored”.

I have no doubt that Google and their ilk are steadily building an electronic dossier on every one of us and I shudder to think about future amendments to their privacy policy which may one day announce a further change to their policies which allows the sale of the dossier on individual users or their intention to share their data on each of us with their “partner companies” and affiliates?

Maybe I’m being a touch alarmist but surely it’s time that we, as a worldwide group of consumers, had a discussion about whether this kind of cyber-spying is a practice that we are comfortable with?

Contact Travis Schultz, Managing Partner, Schultz Toomey O’Brien Lawyers

What is elder abuse?

Elder AbuseElder abuse can occur in many forms and it is usually when the relationship of trust between a person/s results in harm to an older person.

A few examples of elder abuse can include:

  • frightening, embarrassing or harassing an older person
  • threatening to evict someone or put them in a nursing home
  • preventing a person from seeing family or friends
  • taking control of their decisions
  • selling their belongings without their permission
  • misusing an Enduring Power of Attorney by taking money or property improperly
  • forcing changes to a person’s will
  • refusing access to or control of their own funds
  • neglecting a person’s physical, medical or emotional needs
  • slapping, hitting, pushing or restraining an older person

A recent case of elder abuse was seen on the Gold Coast, when a vision-impaired 77yr old male passenger was attacked by two females, 17 and 21. Footage showed the two women allegedly punching, kicking and spitting at the older man and hurling insults. You can read more about this via

Meerea Park Terracotta Syrah 2011

Meerea Park Terracotta SyrahThere are a lot of tricks and traps in this wine buying caper and it’s true that a lot of new players often overlook the fact that seasonal variations can have a dramatic impact on the quality of the same wine year by year.  So when a region experiences a season with perfect climatic conditions for a particular grape; buy up!

And if Shiraz is your go, look no further than the Hunter Valley’s 2011 vintage.  The growing conditions were ideal with dry and warm growing conditions prior to harvest and the low yielding vines responded well to the harsh conditions, delivering an intensity of fruit flavours that are seldom seen.

One of my favourites is the Meerea Park Terracotta Syrah 2011 which has been expertly crafted by the Eather brothers who have released the 2011 vintage as a Syrah with just a dash of Viognier fruit.

I fell in love with the 2010 vintage and it’s hard to believe that the 2011 release is even better!  The nose is slightly perfumed and shows none of the sweaty saddlebag nuances that are often evident in Hunter Valley reds.  The palate is blessed with a smorgasbord of red fruit and cocoa flavours that dance their twinkle toed way through the French oak matinee to a long gracious encore at the back.

I’d definitely decant this one for half an hour before drinking, but it’s not a wine that you need to keep for 20 years before seeing it at its best.  An absolute cracker!

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

How does family and domestic violence affect children?

Family and Domestic Violence and ChildrenChildren can be affected by family and domestic violence in different ways. Some may show or tell you about their concerns where as others may keep all their feelings inside. Make sure to listen and watch your children for any signs of physical or emotional health problems.

Signs that may present themselves among children that are being affected by family and domestic violence include:

  • copying the violence or abusive behaviour
  • difficulty sleeping including having nightmares
  • trying to stop the abuse
  • blaming themselves
  • being bullied by others or bullying others
  • cruelty to animals
  • nervousness or being withdrawn
  • changes in behaviour/performance at school
  • attempting self-harm
  • alcohol and substance abuse (in older children)
  • running away from home

Abusive Behaviours

Abusive BehavioursContinuing on from “What is Family Violence” post, the ‘Communities, Child Safety and Disabilities Services’ have provided the below list of abusive behavious that can occur in a domestic and family violence situations.

  • physical abuse (including slapping, hitting, punching, pushing, kicking)
  • threatening to hurt you, your children, pets, relatives, friends or work colleagues
  • threatening to disclose your sexual orientation to other people against your wishes
  • threatening to, or depriving you of your liberty (including locking you in the house so you can not go out)
  • stalking (including constantly following you by foot or car, constantly calling you by phone, text message and email, or staying outside your house or workplace). Stalking is a criminal offence in Queensland.
  • damaging property to frighten and intimidate you (including punching holes in walls, breaking furniture, harming pets)
  • emotional abuse (including criticising your personality, looks, the way you dress, saying you are a bad parent or threatening to hurt you, your children or your pets, or threatening to damage personal items you value)
  • verbal abuse (including yelling, shouting, name-calling and swearing at you)
  • sexual abuse (including forcing or pressuring you to have sex or participate in sexual acts)
  • financial abuse (including taking control of your money, not giving you enough money to survive on, forcing you to hand over your funds, not letting you decide how it is spent)
  • threatening to stop providing care for you if you don’t do what you are told (this sometimes happens to an elderly person or a person with an illness, disability or impairment who relies on another person to care for them)
  • social abuse (including controlling where you go, not letting you see or have contact with your friends or family)
  • depriving you of the necessities of life such as food, shelter and medical care
  • spiritual abuse (including forcing you to attend religious activities against your wishes or stopping you from participating in the religious or cultural practices of your choice)
  • threatening to commit suicide or self-harm to torment, intimidate or frighten you

(Source: Communities, Child Safety and Disabilities Services,

If you need assistance regarding a family issue please contact our Family Law team today.

What is family violence?

Family violence is when any one person in a relationship uses abuse or violence to gain and maintain control over another. It can occur in current or past family, domestic or intimate relationships. When people think of violence they think of physical injury however, violence can include direct and indirect threats, sexual assault, emotional and psychological torment, economic control, damage to property, social isolation and behaviour in which causes the other person to live in fear.

The below “Power and Control Wheel” provides an example family violence.

power and control wheel


Image source:–family-violence.html

If you need assistance regarding a family issue please contact our Family Law team today.

Nanny Goat Vineyard Pinot Noir 2012

Nanny Goat I’ve often said that good Pinot isn’t cheap and that cheap Pinot isn’t good, but having recently tried the Nanny Goat Vineyard Pinot Noir 2012, I might have to modify my mantra!

At only $25 a bottle I wasn’t expecting anything above average, but the Nanny Goat certainly delivers well above its very reasonable price point.  In the glass, it’s bright and lively and there’s a surprising depth to the deep red rose colour that telegraphs an intensity of fruit beyond what would normally be expected.  Like most Central Otago Pinot, there’s an abundance of dark cherry flavours right across the palate, but also a richness and body that you’d normally find in a far more expensive wine.  I really enjoy the bramble and herbaceous edge that is evident across the mid palate and it’s impossible to fault the delicate burnt oak crescendo that arrives at the back shortly before seamlessly progressing to a silky lingering finale.

It’s made in a rather dry style, but with such body to the fruit, it’s equally suited to putting with gamey meat or vegetarian dishes, or just drinking it on its own!

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