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.

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