By Shane Scanlan
Meet the man with the big voice who has been sounding off in a major way in the CBD for the last 16 years.
At 75, you might expect Sime Juric to mellow. But, no. The human megaphone is determined to maintain his rage.
“I’ll keep this up until they pay my bill, or I die,” he said.
By “they”, Sime is talking about the “criminal” banks, politicians, police, lawyers and other assorted white-collar scoundrels who have crossed him over the decades (in fact, his claim goes back centuries).
He says he doesn’t enjoy fighting. But he likes it more than taking a backward step in the face of perceived injustice.
“I started fighting the communists and now I am fighting the criminal banks,” he said with a wide grin.
The Croatian came to Australia in 1961, having escaped communist Yugoslavia as a teenager (on his second attempt) via Slovenia and Italy. Not being able to speak the language, he started life as a new Australian doing unskilled work such as labouring and cleaning. It was when he became a real estate agent and built a personal property portfolio that his conflict with the finance industry began.
It’s hard to say exactly how many properties he has been “robbed” of. But Sime has been calling for a royal commission into the banking industry since Bill Shorten was in short pants. Does that make him a trend setter?
His cumulative claim against the banks, lawyers and others stands at $1 trillion.
So is he mad? He says not. “I’m not mad. I’m just passionate against criminals and white-collar crime,” he said.
He’s certainly persistent. Sime has been coming into the city to rant from the Mornington Peninsula since 2000, when an international economic forum first presented a platform for protest.
He was a daily visitor back then. These days it’s down to once or twice a week. And he’s found a loose coalition of disaffected citizens who also like to publicly air their grievances.
He, himself, has “dozens” of causes, which he is happy to demonstrate in a loud, booming voice without drawing breath.
And, with so many causes, and protest targets, the group moves around. So, if you spot him around town, and you have some (actually, a lot) of time and you like to listen, get him to take you through his claims.
He’d love to set the record straight.