The promise to parents of future students at Brisbane Grammar School made in the school prospectus by Dr Konrad Hirschfeld, father of Roisin and father-in-law to her husband, former Queensland Premier Wayne Goss
Unlike the Anglican Diocese of Brisbane, which has made a policy decision to refund the school fees paid by parents of child-sex abuse victims in schools that it owns and operates, the School Council of Brisbane Boys Grammar School has steadfastly refused to acknowledge that by the school’s negligence in failing to prevent Kevin Lynch from abusing their student sons it had not only breached the contract struck between the school and the parents, but smashed it into a million pieces.
There are three basic elements to any contract – offer, acceptance and consideration.
Reducing these oft-complex legal matters to very simple layman’s language, in the case of the contracts formed between Lynch victims parents and BGGS the offer was that the parents child could attend Brisbane Grammar and receive an education at the school if the parents agreed to stump up the requisite fees and other associated charges payable as the price of their kid’s attendance.
The acceptance was the parents saying ‘you beauty, we’ve got the kid into Brisbane’s poshest toff nob school!’ and agreeing to fork out the cash on or before the day it was due, and the consideration was that their little tacker would spend 5 years or more at Grammar being edumacated in the fine arts of networking, kicking around at the top end of town, and wearing the old school tie to job interviews to ensure that they beat the kid from Durack State High to appointment as the articled clerkship or trainee stock broker’s runner’s role based at the riverside office of a firm run by a rugby-loving cabal of BGS old boys.
This offer by the school and acceptance by the parents was reduced to writing in the contract containing the fees agreement. These were the express terms of the contract; but contracts also feature what are known as implied terms, maters that do not need to be stated in writing or by oral representations because they are assumed to be obvious all parties to the contract.
Terms such as you are not paying 30 grand a year so that your son come to school and have a needle inserted into his penis by the school counselor, or that you are not required to kit your boy out in a white short, flash striped blazer, grey tweeds and old school tie so that he can be taken into a locked room by a school master and stripped of them, then laid on a bed, covered in oil which will be later be wiped off with school-laundered towels, and f*cked in the arse.
Obvious isn’t it? Any reasonable person would expect it to be the case. That’s an implied term, just as it is an implied term is that if any member of the BGS community or employee did such a thing, or even if they only asked your twelve year to get his dick out and wank in front of them, the school would not sack them on the spot but instead wait until after the headmaster had dialed triple O and the police had arrived with a set of handcuffs and an arrest warrant before doing so.
These implied terms formed a fundamental element of the contract between BGS boys parents and the school, and given that the Child Abuse Royal Commission found that Grammar Headmaster Max Howell had been told by the father of a student – who had driven 4 hours each way from his country medical practice for the purpose – that his son had been abused by Lynch, and that Howell failed to act upon the information and allowed Lynch to abuse hundreds of other boys over the course of the following decade, then by any fair assessment you’d have to say Brisbane Grammar breached the contract wouldn’t you?
The common law allows numerous remedies for non-performance or breaches of a contract, and I won’t bore or confuse you by going into all of them, but a basic form of remedy would be for the school to say ‘oh sh*t we really screwed up, we’re so, so sorry’ and hand the parents or the heirs of their estates back the inflation-adjusted tuition fees they had paid in the reliance on the implied fact that their boys wouldn’t be raped at school by the BGS counselor.
That’s what the Anglican Church has done, and all power to them for it the decent and proper thing to do, even if their senior employees permitting and then, with the active connivance of the leaders of the church, covering up the abuses committed by Lynch, Gregory Robert Knight and a myriad of teachers and other members of the Anglican Grammar School (‘Churchie’) wasn’t.
Brisbane Boys Grammar School on the other hand, despite the crocodile tears of the Chair of it’s governing board of trustees Howard Stack during his evidence given to the Child Abuse Royal Commission, are steadfastly refusing to do the right thing by refunding abuse victim’s fees, and in the process they are not only making a mockery of the much-vaunted words of Wayne Goss’s father-in-law about kindness and compassion to others, but also shining a light on the rank hypocrisy and hollow moral core of the current Queensland ALP Government.
‘Why are you picking on poor Premier Pannacotta Whatevayousay Archie?’ I hear you cry. ‘What does Labor have to with Grammar’s disgraceful stance?’
Everything, that’s what.
Brisbane Grammar only exists because an Act of Parliament known as the Grammar Schools Act 1860 allowed for its creation and another called the Grammar Schools Act 2016 provides for its subsequent operation.
The school sits on a huge and highly expensive tract of prime inner-city land owned by the people of Queensland and leased to Grammar absolutely free of charge.
Four of the seven School Trustees – an absolute majority in any vote conducted on any issue – are appointed by the Queensland Government, who has the power under law to intervene in the school’s affairs at the stroke of a pen.
The Premier and her band of merry padded leather seat bum warmers could force Grammar to refund the fees on any day of the week that they wanted, and that they have stayed silent and pretended to the people of the Pineapple State that the issue is at a far-removed very long arm’s length is a terribly sad and utterly tragic indictment on the House of Broken Dreamer’s true commitment to keeping the children of Queensland free from harm and safe from sexual abuse.
Some people however do care however, even if they are not elected to do so, and one brave man who has battled the bureaucracy and been battered refused to give up, and his determination to achieve justice for the families of victims of the demon known as Kevin Lynch and the cronies who protected, and continue to protect, the pedophile is only the stroke of a State Ombudsman’s pen away from bearing fruit.
Good on him I say. Queenslander! Queenslander!
As for our politicians, long may you wear your blue jerseys and crawl among the crumbs that have fallen to the floor from the BGS sex-abuse deniers and buggerer’s supporters slap-up banquet of rape victims burnt flesh and blood.
Cockroaches always do.