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the person who appealed replied saying she listened to kids all day working at her daughters business and didn’t want to listen to it all night when she came home” This is interested in two fronts, one she is on Newstart, I know as she applied to VCAT for her fee to be waivered

Be very careful if you’re going to use this as an ace card. You can still work and be on Newstart and this includes entitlements to Health Care Cards and fee waivers.

In terms of letting them know you intend to apply for costs, I would. Puts the fear of God into a vexatious litigant, knowing that the person they picked on is going to go the nuck on them.

In terms of getting the assessment prior to mediation, I wouldn’t. Mediation, on the whole, is successful (people fighting face to face tends to dampen an argument whereas via paper or courts tends to fuel it) and in your position it would be a shame to spend all that money and not have anything to show for it. I’d wait and see, especially when you can ask the mediator to allow you time to get that assessment done should mediation not be successful.

Another question comes to mind. Is there a journalist sympathetic to your plight that would write about you? Or perhaps you could approach a publication with a view to writing about you?

Good luck.