Tuesday, May 20, 2008


Some good news about her bankruptcy battle has brightened Dawn Rowan's day. Picture: MARK FRECKER

Hope on the horizon for St Andrews counsellor

Will Jackson

Some good news about her bankruptcy battle has brightened Dawn Rowan's day.

Some good news about her bankruptcy battle has brightened Dawn Rowan's day.

ST ANDREWS counsellor Dawn Rowan has been given a glimmer of hope in her fight to stop the Federal Government seizing her home.

Jagajaga federal Labor MP Jenny Macklin has revealed she is seeking to have Ms Rowan's bankruptcy debt to the Commonwealth waived.

The Government has been pursuing Ms Rowan for $397,000 in legal fees incurred in a long-running defamation battle.

It won a bankruptcy order last September, allowing it to seize her home and assets.

Ms Macklin, the Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs Minister, has been reviewing the case after lobbying from Ms Rowan's supporters.

In a letter to Ms Rowan last week, Ms Macklin said while she had no power to halt the debt recovery, Minister for Finance and Deregulation Lindsay Tanner could waive such debts." "

"Accordingly, I am writing to (Mr Tanner) asking him to consider the waiver of your debt," Ms Macklin wrote.

Ms Rowan, whose only remaining assets are her house and car, told the DV Leader it was an enormous relief to "finally" be treated with kindness.

"I've never had anyone treat me as anything but a criminal for the past 22 years," she said.

Ms Rowan, 62, was named in a damning 1987 government report into a South Australian crisis shelter she helped run.

Shelters in the Storm contained anonymous claims of physical, sexual and verbal harassment of Christies Beach clients, as well as intimidation, inappropriate counselling practices, professional negligence and misappropriation of funds.

The allegations were proved false and Ms Rowan successfully sued two television stations and the federal and South Australian governments in 2002.

All but the State Government appealed successfully, but the Federal Government was the only party to pursue her for costs.

Ms Rowan said she believed Mr Tanner would agree to Ms Macklin's request, but there was still potential for the television stations to pursue her for legal costs.

Visit the Diamond Valley Leader website

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


(at least for now).

Dawn received a fax from Hon. Jenny Macklin's office today which says, in part:

'Even though I have no power to halt the debt recovery, you will be aware that the Minister for Finance and Deregulation [Hon. Lindsay Tanner] has the power to waive debts in circumstances such as yours.

'Accordingly, I am writing to the Minister for Finance and Deregulation asking him to consider the waiver of your debt.

'Please let me, or my Electorate Office, know if I can further assist you in this difficult time.

'Yours sincerely,

Jenny Macklin'.


I hope to talk with Jenny Macklin's Canberra office tomorrow (Thursday, May 15) to check about what else we can disclose.

But this is very good news. Hon. Lindsay Tanner has the final call (and he's a bit preoccupied at the moment with the Federal Budget).

There are still quite a few questions to be faced/answered. You'll hear from me again in a few days.

Jan and I are meeting with Dawn again tomorrow. To those of you who pray, let us give thanks for this milestone event, and pray for an uncomplicated positive decision by Mr. Tanner!

Thanks again to all of you for lobbying for justice for Dawn.

===>>> Why not email Jenny Macklin and thank her? (JMacklin.MP@aph.gov.au )

Rowland Croucher

Sunday, May 11, 2008


The Diamond Valley Leader - the local newspaper in Dawn's region of Melbourne - has published four articles about Dawn. The earliest
(or http://tinyurl.com/5h3b4w)

Another... (or http://tinyurl.com/6m57yn)

Another... (or http://tinyurl.com/6zk6z4)

And the latest (or http://tinyurl.com/3l4vdx)

You can contact these good people to thank them here...


From Dawn Rowan:

Some of you might have read (on the frontpage of the Melbourne Herald Sun May 6 2008) that high profile lawyer-businessman-TV funnyman Steve Vizard has has this week handed back his ORDER OF AUSTRALIA award.

He said 'This is partially out of respect for the ORDER, to protect it,' and 'because it is the right thing to do.'

Steve Vizard collected his ORDER OF AUSTRALIA medal for services to the community, in 1997.

Vizard also said his decision to hand back the ORDER OF AUSTRALIA was brought on by his civil conviction concerning his financial dealings described by the judge as 'dishonest and a gross breach of trust'.

The Herald Sun article also says 'Previously an award could be revoked for a criminal conviction. Last September that was extended to include Civil penalties.'

Comment: Although this change to the Australian Awards rules is not retrospective, Steve Vizard, having received his award in 1997, in the light of these changes (ie. to include a ban on persons with CIVIL CONVICTIONS) has decided to 'do the right thing'.

Judith Roberts has a CIVIL CONVICTION in the Rowan Vs. Cornwall and Others case for 'gross defamation' in the judgment of June 2002. Justice Debelle was scathing in his condemnation of her behaviour as Chair of the 'Independent' Review into the management of Women's Shelters in South Australia, conducted in 1987.

See Justice Debelle's judgment (especially para. 79).

Just before the Full Bench Appeal in this case was about to start, Judith Roberts, at the time guilty of MALICIOUS Defamation, was curiously awarded an AO for 'services to the community'. How does the award process evaluate the decency and credibility of its recipients?

Given Steve Vizard's act of decency and respect for the Australian Awards system, I call upon Judith Roberts to also do the decent thing and hand back her AO, since she remains guilty of the civil charge of Defamation.

Or will she hang on with the shallow technical defense that these changes are not retrospective?


Here's the latest article in Dawn's local paper, the Diamond Valley Leader...

Sunday, May 4, 2008


A statement released a few days ago by Dawn's lawyer, in response to a Leader journalist's question. (More details will be posted here if anything unfolds):

'It may be that Minister Macklin has misunderstood what Dawn requested
of the Government. Dawn has not asked for the Secretary of the
Department to not pursue her for the legal costs that she owes - that
would have been pointless as the Department has already pursued her to
the limits of the law. Dawn was, after all, recently made bankrupt at
the request of the Commonwealth Government.

Rather, what Dawn asks is that the Minister intervenes and uses the
powers that the government has under S.34 of the Financial Management
and Accountability Act to now waive that debt. Dawn's supporters have
been advised by the Govt that the Finance Minister would only act on a
recommendation from the relevant Minister, i.e. Jenny Macklin.

This is a source of enormous frustration for Dawn, because both the
former and current governments have not even acknowledged that they do
in fact have the power in their hands to assist her.'