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Group Purporting to Represent HEA Now Suing HEA

HEA members might be interested in the latest meeting minutes (dated 22 Oct 2018) from the group purporting to represent their association. This is the group that is backing the legal action involving the HEA currently before the NSW Supreme Court.

It is good to see in these minutes the group finally recognise the continuing work of the much maligned administrative team (which they'd previously attempted to 'sack').

The minutes also show that the HEA was changed from the first plaintiff (that is, the one doing the suing) to the fifth defendant (the one being sued). There was no mention in the minutes and accompanying report of the other 4 defendants who were dismissed or discontinued from the case. This leaves the HEA as the only defendant being sued.

They claim moving HEA from plaintiff to defendant was necessary to "correct procedural deficiencies". What was the cause of these procedural deficiencies and who gave rise to them? And what were the "side issues that had to be dealt with first before actually being able to deal with the main issue at hand"?

Could this be referring to the several hearings it took to determine they had wrongly named four individuals as defendants in their original summons - an action which cost both sides thousands of dollars? (There is a gofundme campaign to help offset the costs borne by the wrongly named defendants here: https://www.gofundme.com/help-mums-defend-court?member=499282 .)

The minutes acknowledge that court is taking longer than anticipated. It was supposed to be a quick intervention, one that would get the association back on track and working again in no time - that was the message consistently conveyed to the followers of the group and members of the association. However, due to these so-called 'procedural deficiencies', the process has been dragged out accumulating unnecessary costs along the way.

How much more will this court action cost?

Months ago people cautioned that court would be expensive and lengthy but were accused of being “fear-mongering alarmists".

The Further Amended Statement of Claim filed by the individuals suing the association now seeks their costs plus interest to be paid out of the funds of the association.

Just to be absolutely clear, the “funds of the association” are the membership fees paid by families joining and renewing.

This flies in the face of the assurances given by the group a few months ago that court action would not cost the HEA or the membership anything at all.

What do HEA members think about this turnaround?

Until the court says otherwise this group is just a bunch of people who have decided it is in the best interests of the association to take it court.

Does anyone else find it confusing that a group that says it is acting on behalf of the association sues said association?

And how is it ever in the best interests of an association to take it to court?

Let's get real: the threat of, and ensuing, court action has damaged the reputation and standing of the association in the home educating community and wider public. It has frozen its ability to continue to offer the standard of service that members had come to expect. Trust in the association has been damaged.

The claim made by the group that there is a "solid growth in the HEA membership" is questionable: the 43 memberships mentioned in the 22 Oct minutes is only a third of what would be needed to renew each month to maintain membership numbers as of May this year, and that although 43 new and renewing members is heartening news, it actually represents a sharp decline. If this trend continues then by May 2019 there could be as few as 450 members (down from over 1300).

The court case has really only just begun - potentially the HEA can be caught up in this court action for months, well into 2019. For the HEA to survive there has to be another solution.

A member has created a Facebook group to discuss possible solutions - if the HEA can be saved it will need members to help pick up the pieces and rebuild it, as well as volunteers willing to democractically represent the membership on the new committee: https://www.facebook.com/groups/2038720099727620.

donate to help 3 homeschool mums who were wrongly taken to court cover their legal expenses

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Together with the support of my family, my aim is to help parents educate their children in stress-free, nurturing environments. In addition to building and maintaing this website, I continue to create and manage local and national home educating networks, help to organise conferences and camps, as well as write for, edit and produce newsletters, resource directories and magazines. I am an active supporter of national, state, regional and local home education groups.

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