Friday, January 18, 2008

'Act of Grace payments and waivers'

Dear friends,

Things are moving fast. If you're not quite up to speed on the Dawn Rowan Saga, please read the summary at

1. The Prime Minister, Hon. Kevin Rudd, has responded to an email, and forwarded the matter to the Attorney-General.

2. Dawn's case has now been bounced to The Hon Jenny Macklin MP who is the Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs.


See the letter from Lindsay Tanner below:

From The Hon Lindsay Tanner:

Thankyou for your email of January 9 2008.

I have raised Ms Rowan's case with the Attorney-General, who has advised me that the issue is being handled by the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs. He has indicated that he will brief me on the case in the near future.

As I am the Minister with responsibility for deciding on Act of Grace payments and waivers on behalf of the Commonwealth, it would be inappropriate for me to meet with Ms Rowan. It is conceivable that I may be faced with an application of this kind at some point. It would be difficult to fulfil my responsibility in this instance if I have previously engaged in lobbying or actively investigating with respect to the matter.

Yours sincerely
Lindsay Tanner MP
Minister for Finance and Deregulation
Federal Member for Melbourne

2. So it's now up to us to contact Jenny Macklin - Send a nice, polite letter, maybe something like the one below, (you can probably omit the reference to me, unless you think it's important), from a Baptist minister/colleague (and copy it to your local member, and maybe others):

Dear Mr Tanner,,

I have emailed you before on this matter--as have many others, full of hope that a new Government would bring a 'breath of fresh air' into a sordid case of legal vindictiveness by the previous Howard Government. So far there is no news of action, though there may well be action going on behind the scenes. But no action means disaster for an innocent woman, so we are daring to risk making a nuisance of ourselves for her sake!

May I again underline, that Rev. Dr. Rowland Croucher is a highly respected Baptist Minister, who, within the John Mark Ministries with its many overseas links, and the Victorian Baptist Ministers Network, has very wide and influential internet connections. There is widespread dismay about this case, and it is simply NOT going to go away.. On the other hand, action NOW to stop the bureaucratic wheels from crushing an innocent woman will win widespread acclaim. This is an appalling precedent in our Australian public life!

To a non-lawyer like myself, the crux of the matter is that, in 2002,
Justice Debelle found that the two main players in this matter--Dr John
Cornwall, a Minister of the Crown in South Australia,, and Ms Judith
Roberts, AO, guilty of malicious defamation, with misfeasance in Dr
Cornwall's case. They had submitted evidence that both knew to be false.

Dawn Rowan was completely exonerated, and damages awarded.

To my knowledge, that apportionment of blame/innocence has never been
legally overturned. Yet it is the innocent that is being pursued and
crushed. But by some judicial "sleight of hand" all costs have been awarded against the innocent party, and she is being pursued into bankruptcy.

While in my opinion, only a Judicial Inquiry can reverse that legal travesty of justice--a painful process to all concerned--the urgent need is to make the decision NOW to act against injustice, and to STOP the bureaucratic process..

I am sending a copy of this email to my local member, Nicola Roxon, and the the Attorney General, Robert McClelland--as I have done on previous occasions.. May I stress again how closely many of us are following this matter.

Yours sincerely,

Alan Wright (Rev.)
Westgate Baptist Copmmunity.

3. Let's go - now! Thanks!


Shalom/Salaam/Pax! Rowland Croucher

Friday, January 4, 2008


Note: all of this is on the public record, and can be viewed in the court transcripts etc.

1981: Dawn appointed manager of Christies Beach Women's Shelter, Adelaide

1983: A behind-the-scenes sabotage of Dawn and the Shelter begins

1987: Police and Corporate Affairs ordered by Dr. John Cornwall, Health and Welfare Minister to investigate (ie. find something illegal) in the shelter. These investigations cleared the shelter of any wrong-doing, and in fact praised the work of the shelter. But Corwnall five days after receiving the final reports, released under parliamentary privilege damaging 'unsubstantiated allegations' against Dawn and the shelter. Funding was ordered to be withdrawn three weeks later. The shelter had to cease operations, and all the workers lost their jobs.

1990: Dawn filed an action in the Supreme Court of South Australia against the SA Government, Federal Government (as the co-funding body they had to agree to the shelter's closing), Channel 10 TV and ABC TV.

2002: Justice Debelle handed down a 300-page judgment completely exonerating Dawn and her co-workers of any wrongdoing whatsoever. He severely condemned the use of unsubstantiated allegations in parliament - allegations which the two key players, Dr. John Cornwall and Mrs Judith Roberts AO knew to be false. Justice Debelle found Ms Roberts guilty of malicious defamation, and Dr. Cornwall guilty of misfeasance (abuse of public office). The court discovered that five - yes, five - Government departments had 'lost' a cohort of all the relevant documents pertinent to this enquiry (four SA and one Commonwealth department). The judge ordered compensation for personal damages of $225,000 (compounded to $500,000 with 14 years interest added) to Dawn - almost all of which was spent on legal expenses (not tomention loss of earnings and destruction of her personal and professional life.

August 2003: All the other parties appealed the judgment.

November 2004: Dawn won the appeal, but the full bench of the Supreme Court of SA found the Commmonwealth and the two TV networks not liable for the damages done to Dawn as a result of the defamation. The Commonwealth immediately commenced action against Dawn to bankrupt her.

An application to be heard by the High Court of Australia was denied.

2006: Dawn took out an action alleging undisclosed bias by the Full Bench judges - Justices Bleaby, Sulan, and Besanko - as a result of discovering their connections with Ms Judith Roberts. (Adelaide is not a large city). Their judgment - handed down six weeks later - denied any bias. They ordered Dawn to pay a lump sum to the Commonwealth of $380,000 (which coincidentally was the value of her home and a few other assets). Note that the Commonwealth and the State of SA have consistently refused to disclose the millions of taxpayers' dollars spent destroying this innocent woman.

2007: The Commonwealth Government took action in the Australian Federal Court to enforce bankruptcy. This is now in the final stages of being enforced.

In several communications with the Federal ministers responsible, it has been pointed out that the Government is completely free to exercise discretion in pursuing the bankruptcy or not.

Summary: As Julian Burnside QC, a highly respected Australian human rights lawyer put it: 'I have carefully considered your situation... You have exhausted all possibilities of legal recourse... It is now important that your story be known by the public rather than buried... Be more assertive in pushing this issue in the media. Exposure of the Commonwealth's shabby behaviour might cause a change of heart.'

Comment: 'Shabby' is a mild word for it. 'Deliberate torture' is closer to the truth. Why is Dawn paying any damages to anyone, when all the court-hearings found the SA government guilty? Why did the guilty individuals get off scot-free? The SA Government is also pursuing Dawn for costs - to the tune of $60,000 would you believe!!! If true justice were to prevail, Dawn should be compensated for lost earnings, legal expenses, pain and suffering - and a couple of million dollars would not suffice to cover for all that.

Please pray for Dawn: she is very low, emotionally. And continue to make representations on her behalf to any Federal Labor ministers you know.

See and for links to the legal transcripts etc.

Channel 7 This Day Tonight video - and excellent summary:

(Rev. Dr.) Rowland Croucher

January 4th 2008.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008


Dear friends of Dawn Rowan,

Feel free to adapt any of this for your submissions to a newspaper/ Federal parliamentarian.

Dawn has in the past week received two letters towards finalizing bankruptcy proceedings: one exempting her from paying out any cash (she hasn't got it anyway); the other from the court-appointed administrator who has executed a caveat over Dawn's St. Andrews property.

Dawn is feeling very depressed and fragile. Please pray for her.


Letter sent to The Age Newspaper:

I turned 70 last month. I have graduated from one overseas and five Australian tertiary institutions. And I still don't get it.

John Howard's government wouldn't (couldn't?) say sorry to Aborigines for what Michael Mansell suggests was a 'well-intentioned benevolent policy [which] saw the removal of thousands of Aboriginal children from their families' - the so-called 'stolen generation' (Age letters January 1, 2008).

Howard was also not inclined to apologize to anyone for the Iraqi debacle where hundreds of thousands were killed/displaced due to a failed policy.

But Alexander Downer and S. A. Premier Mike Rann want an unconditional apology from David Hicks: even though he was imprisoned for five years without trial, and pleaded guilty to get the hell out of Gitmo (who wouldn't?).

Back to the SA Premier: when I google 'Dawn Rowan' I discover that an innocent woman (no one denies that) was 'grossly defamed' by a previous SA government, and Rann wants $60,000 from her because she took legal proceedings alleging undisclosed bias by the judges of the SA Full Court (which they denied).

Worse: the Federal (Howard) Government, having been released from liability by this Full Court judgment, has now finalized legal action bankrupting her, and is currently proceeding to acquire her property and possessions.

The Federal and SA Governments have spent millions of taxpayers' dollars pursuing this innocent woman, inflicting psychological torture and destroying her professional reputation. Julian Burnside QC describes their actions against Ms Rowan as 'shabby'.

The Rudd Government has ordered a full judicial inquiry into the bungled Dr Haneef case - 'including the possibility of an apology'. Might I also suggest that a similar inquiry be held into the Dawn Rowan fiasco? She has suffered a worse fate than Hicks or Haneef - for 21 years!

(Rev. Dr.) Rowland Croucher

(7 Bangor Court,
Heathmont 3135)

1st January, 2008

Note: Visit for an excellent letter sent on 19 December 2007 by Senator Natasha Stott-Despoja to the Federal Attorney-General, with a copy to Lindsay Tanner, Minister for Finance and Deregulation.