Strange bedfellows

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On 3 August 2016 Adele Ferguson wrote an article in The Age titled “Retirement villagers rebel against Aveo Group”. Stewart Levitt was featured, a partner at Sydney law firm Levitt Robinson who was cited as giving free advice to residents. But Stewart Levitt had a reason for his advice: Levitt Robinson had been advertising for residents to join a class action against village operators in general and he was recruiting.

In last night’s Four Corners program Stewart Levitt was again presented as a concerned lawyer – he now represents one of the Melbourne residents.

Also last night the Consumer Action Law Centre, a campaign-focused consumer advocacy organisation based in Melbourne, supported the notion that village contracts are a vehicle to separate residents from their money.

The Centre is primarily funded by the Victorian Government, through Victoria Legal Aid and Consumer Affairs Victoria, and the Commonwealth of Australia, through the Department of Social Services and the Attorney-General’s Department.

They have produced a video for their website titled “Retirement should be…” and features village residents presenting concerns about village decisions being made “by executives in towers in Sydney”.

On their Facebook page the Centre says “In Australia, retirement should be the best times of our lives. Instead, for many residents of retirement villages and parks, it’s become marred by intense legal battles, stress and uncertainty”.

“We are working with organisations like Housing for the Aged Action Group, COTA Victoria and more to make sure retirement in a village or park is a retirement you or your loved ones deserve”.

There is no evidence of balance in these posts or video.

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