Weekly Snapshot Issue No: 13 – 25 January 2019

Case we are discussing…

The case we are discussing this week is a game changer. In a recent decision in the case of Commissioner of Taxation v Taxation the High Court found that a tax debt of one spouse can be shifted to another during a divorce property settlement.  This unprecedented ruling could leave the richer spouse with the debts of their former partner. 

The Applicant and Respondent were married from 1992- 2009. During the marriage the Commissioner issued an assessment against Ms Tomaras with respect to income tax and Medicare levies and in November 2009 the Comissioner obtained a default judgement against Ms Tomaras. In November 2013 she claimed bankruptcy and in December 2013 the parties initiated court proceedings with the Family Court.

In February 2016, the Commissioner was granted leave to intervene in those proceedings. Ms Tomaras sought an order pursuant to s90AE(1)(b) of the Family Law Act 1975 to substitute Mr Tomaras for herself as the debtor, thus making Mr Tomaras solely liable to the Commissioner of Taxation for his ex- wife’s tax debt. 

The Full Court found that the Court has the power to make an Order binding on the Commissioner, but:

1.    any such Order needs to direct the Commissioner to substitute, so that the original debtor doesn’t lose rights of objection; and 

2.    the recovery prospects of the debts must be considered whenever it makes such an Order. 

Word of the week…  

Obdurate: meaning (a) stubbornly persistent in wrongdoing; hardened in feelings, (b)resistant to persuasion or softening influences. 

In a sentence: Some lawyers are too obdurate for their own good. 

Article we are reading …

In his article, Rulers of the Sky, published in National Geographic (10.2018), Peter Gwin writes about the unique bonds humans have formed with Falcons. Specifically, Gwin introduces the reader to Sheilk Butti Bin Matoum bin Juma al Maktoum who owns hundreds of birds. The Sheik and his friend, and Falcon Breeder, Howard Weller have single headedly saved the peregrine falcon from extinction. Howard successfully breeds and trains falcons in the U.A.E. Together they helped pioneer important changes on Arab falconry and the annual President’s Cup (essentially a falcon race) sees more than 2,000 falcons compete for nearly $7,000,000 in prize money. 

The impact of falcon breeding and racing is evident all over Dubai, Gwin writes, where falcon ownership has skyrocketed. Perches can be found in hotel lobbies and office buildings throughout the city. Falconers bring ailing birds to a falcon hospital and shop for their need at a mall dedicated to the birds. And in a country, that does not give citizenship to foreigners, it has implemented a law to counteract illegal trade of the birds, each falcon that comes into the U.A.E must have its own passport. Very interesting read … 

Gym gear we’re loving…

When training hard, you want your clothing to move with you rather than hinder you. For years, Zahraa has been a major fan of the Nike Power Legendary Training tights. These babies are squat proof, have a smooth matte texture, breathable and retain their shape after countless washes. New designs and shades are seasonally released, but the fit is always spot on… its little wonder she owns 5 pairs!

Bought ours from Nike stores.

Book we’re re-reading…

On rare occasions, you stumble upon a book so good that you find yourself pleading for it not to end. You know this is not possible, so you begin to ration the remaining pages, frugally limiting yourself to a few pages to prolong the enjoyment of the book. 

Susan Abulhawa’s book “The Blue between Sky and Water” is such a read. The novel tells the story of four generations of Palestinian women and provides an intimate close-up of the everyday heroism amid relentless loss. The novel is bracketed between the matriarch, Nazmiyeh; a fecund yet often hilarious character and her American-born niece, Nur Valdez who was somewhat lost in the US welfare system after the death of her Palestinian grandfather and grew up to become a therapist with an interest in locked-in syndrome – the reason she ultimately returns to her root in Gaza.   

Told as a folk tale infused with spirituality and ancient customs, the novels’ characters are flawed but profoundly courageous and honest.  The author explores timeless issues not limited to displacement and exile but also family relationships and societal pressures and mental health. 

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