It is no secret that Lord Malcolm is very seriously ill, though he has so far refused to succumb… He has in fact pulled off a number of near miracles, such as Saturday’s impossible trip to the Air Show in Victoria, from which he is now recovering, a process he says himself will take a while. He is at the moment in the Sacred Heart Hospice, and has been mostly in St Vincent’s Hospital or the hospice since April 2006. One by one many of his friends have dropped by the wayside when it comes to support and/or visiting, a phenomenon that is understandable if regrettable. Just a few of us are left. None of us knows how long the process will take. I for one was surprised Lord M made it into 2007, and some at the hospice, I am told, were surprised he was still alive when he returned to the hospice last week.
Two years later he is far frailer, except in will…
One thing Lord Malcolm is not is a freeloader. Even when that second picture was taken he was continuing to work in administration and IT-related areas for the local area health service in support of people with HIV-AIDS — ADAHPT (formerly the AIDS Dementia & HIV Psychiatry Team). In his earlier life he had made a substantial contribution to the country as a member of the RAN Fleet Air Arm and later as a pilot and flying instructor.
It is also no secret that Lord Malcolm lives in public housing, the famous Surry Hills estate The Northcott, in fact. And thereby comes this sorry tale.
Last week I took Malcolm his mail. In that mail was a letter threatening imminent eviction from the Department of Housing. This is not the first time such an event has happened. Sure, in his circumstances it has been hard for Lord Malcolm to always pay his rent on time, as this has involved physically going to a post office, and was further complicated by a constantly shifting set of conditions regarding the fact Lord Malcolm worked whenever he could and was on sickness benefits only when he really needed to be. This made it hard for him to know exactly how much was owing. He asked the relevant officers to fix this, but so far this has not really happened. One would think both Centrelink and the Department of Housing would have noted these circumstances on his file. The social worker at the Hospice is on the case as I write this, and has told Lord Malcolm the eviction notice is “just a form letter”, and I do hope it will be cleared up satisfactorily. Lord Malcolm, going on past experience, is less sanguine.
The point is though that the letter should not have been sent in the first place. Lord Malcolm (who has given me permission to write this entry) says he hopes they realise the distress they are causing to someone in his condition and placed where he is. He certainly hopes to return home when he can. He further hopes there will be a home to return to.
The letter says:
You are required by the landlord to give vacant possession by 8th April 2007…
I am referring, with some details of real names and addresses, this post to: Clover Moore, our state member of Parliament and also Lord Mayor of Sydney; the Minister for Housing NSW; The South Sydney Herald.