Saturday, November 7, 2009


Hi friends

Here's a little piece I've written for the Victorian Baptist Witness - December edition. So it's mainly about Baptists, but thanks to all others who've stood with Dawn over the past several years...


In Harold Pinter's Play 'Party-time' people are drinking good wine and chatting with friends and smiling... but something is happening outside in the street, something terrible and oppressive and unjust. There's a moment of silence and discomfort but soon they forget it and go back to their wine and chatting and smiling...

In the Dawn Rowan Saga something terrible and unjust was happening, but fortunately some of us left the party, and were shocked at what we saw, and decided to do something. We were shocked at the corruption-in-high-places, and the desire of people with power to destroy someone who simply wanted to help battered women.

For example, how can five government departments lose the same cohort of documents and no one gets agitated and starts an investigation? How is it that a court can award some of the costs of a guilty party (the South Australian government) against the person declared at all points in the long legal process to be utterly innocent? Many lawyers have told us this sort of thing doesn't happen in Australia! Why would any politician - however malicious their motives - have the audacity to shut down a women's refuge on the basis of lies and 'unsubstantiated allegations'? (Check Wikipedia's article on Dr. John Cornwall - his only claim to fame according to whoever wrote that is what he did to Dawn Rowan!).

I've seen firsthand Dawn's expertise in the area of counselling victims of domestic violence - especially her brilliant therapy with adult survivors of childhood sexual and other abuse. If a government department or anyone wants all this stopped, you've got to ask legitimate questions about conspiracies. 'If you don't have a conspiracy theory about this you're being irresponsible' is a common Dawn Rowan quote.

Thanks to all of you - Alan Marr, and pastors and people and churches - and others - who've helped with your emails, attendance at the Vigils, financial support etc. Dawn has won the first battle: her bankruptcy has been annulled. Lindsay Tanner has verbally agreed to waive the 'debt' to the Commonwealth - though we have yet to see that in writing. The third battle which hopefully will 'win the war' has to do with the sensitive matter of compensation. Don't write to anyone about that, but you can email Lindsay Tanner and simply thank him for the positive attention he's giving to Dawn Rowan's situation (that's all, thanks).

On Sunday November 8th, Dawn's friends at East Doncaster Baptist Church rejoiced with her, and prayed for her. To Dawn, they said, we offer you our love and support and admiration for your courage in this long fight for justice.

(If anyone's been on another planet - or enjoying their party - and hasn't heard about all this, simply Google Dawn Rowan: it's all there).

Rowland Croucher

Saturday, October 3, 2009


From Dawn yesterday (2nd October 2009):

"I have in my hand a 'Certificate of Annulment', dated 12 Aug 09, (letter dated 25th Sept 09).

I understand this means that the bankruptcy is 'dead in the water'.

We've also had a verbal commitment from the Minister that the debt to the Commonwealth of Australia is waived although this is yet to be confirmed in writing."

We'll keep you up to date with developments.

After a quarter of a century we're hopefully coming to the end of this saga: thanks everyone for your support, emails, petition signatures, attendance at vigils etc.

===>>> If you'd like to help 'bless' Dawn (who's still broke and in debt) with a decent month-long holiday, please send gifts (tax-deductible for Australians) to Well-Being Australia (BSB: 063 191 Account 1012 2484): email me ( a copy of the transaction, and I'll send a receipt for your tax file. Or you can post a cheque to WBA: email me for the address.

Thanks again!

Rowland Croucher

Friday, September 18, 2009


1. Mr. Tanner, Australian Minister for Finance and Deregulation, has publicly indicated his desire to resolve the Dawn Rowan 'case'. We are hopefully very close to a settlement.

Click on the links here:

Thanks for all your letters, emails, helping at the Vigils, and collecting signatures for the two sets of petitions to the House of Representatives.

For the time being I'm holding the petitions to the Senate you've sent as they address the 'waiver' issue: thanks to all who collected those signatures.

2. Dawn desperately needs a month of Respite. How about we find $10,000 to give her a decent holiday (eg. a month's cruise which she'd love)? You can send gifts to our tax deductible entity, Well-Being Australia (BSB: 063 191 Account 1012 2484): email me ( a copy of the transaction, and I'll send a receipt for your tax file.

Thanks everyone! We'll keep you posted as developments occur.


Rowland Croucher (for Dawn Rowan).

Monday, August 31, 2009


Thanks everyone for your support for Dawn. The good news is that Oz Finance Minister Lindsay Tanner has initiated a process of 'discussing' a possible settlement. Dawn and her lawyer met with officers representing the Minister yesterday (August 31). You can still send me the signed Senate Petitions, but let's not bother Mr. Tanner at this sensitive time. Watch this Blog for updates

Sunday, July 19, 2009


Please, everyone, keep up the pressure on Lindsay Tanner

Hon. Lindsay Tanner
Minister for Finance

20th July 2009

Dear Mr Tanner

You will have noticed Jimmy Carter's recent article on equality/justice for women. In the light of his comments, I refer yet again to the plight of a true Australian, whose desire has only been to help people in need.

Dawn Rowan's compassion for victims of domestic abuse led to her being falsely accused.

Since the courts declared her innocent, the Federal Government has bankrupted her!


Dawn is an intelligent, once-energetic Australian who wanted to make a difference.

Jenny Macklin apparently understood that when she recommended to you a waiver of Dawn's 'alleged' debt to the Commonwealth.

Almost fifteen months later we are still awaiting your decision. Dawn is barely existing while trying to eke out an existence occasionally lecturing at a TAFE on domestic violence.

Please! Do I have to alert those World Elders of this case? Her story is attracting critical attention around the world. Comments from non- Australians about 'How can this happen in a modern democracy?' etc. are embarrassing.

I anxiously await your response.


(Rev.) Janice R Croucher
(a once-proud Australian).

PS 1. Are there any women on the panel you have appointed to advise you you on this matter?

2. Do they/you intend to act with integrity by personally interviewing Dawn and her legal advisor?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Dawn Rowan Update Q&A June 24, 2009

1. What's happening? We don't know. Lindsay Tanner's 'three wise men' are presumably poring over the same documents examined over and over by bureaucrats before them (your taxes at work!).

===>>> 2. What has to happen to smarten things up a bit? Lindsay Tanner has to hear from us again - *en masse*. That means each of us writing a strong, courteous email to Lindsay Tanner ( simply asking 'What's happening? This has gone on too long!' And encourage your friends/networks to do the same: also email your local Federal Member and ask her/him to intercede for Dawn.

3. What happened to the 1000+ signatures on the petitions? They were successfully submitted to the House of Representatives on May 25. We're now collecting more. Feel free to email me for an attachment you can get your friends to sign.

4. Is the Wikipedia article up? Yes, and is attracting some positive attention. Our thanks to the editors who have helped.

5. And the Vigils? More to come, when Dawn is up to it. It's been a hard time for her.

Thanks everyone for your support!

Shalom/Salaam/Pax! Rowland Croucher

Justice for Dawn Rowan -

Sunday, May 31, 2009


A friend has written up a precis of Dawn Rowan's story for Wikipedia. Check it out! It's a good summary of what happened...

Also - there's one there on Dr John Cornwall (interesting!)

We're waiting for the 'three wise men' ('advisors') to help Minister Lindsay Tanner make a decision about Dawn. Watch this space.

PS. Here's an interesting article on legal/judicial aspects of the awarding of costs against a litigant. (If the link doesn't work, Google The Age's article titled Money should be no barrier to pursuing a worthy cause.)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


Thanks to all who helped with last Saturday's mini-vigil at the Bourke Street Mall. The large banner was terrific - thanks Michelle and others who made it.

There were many signatures on the petitions: these will be submitted to the Federal Senate within the next few weeks. Anyone want another petition? Email me and I'll send one.

===>>> Dawn has decided to defer the next mini-vigil. There are now - hopefully fruitful - discussions between her lawyer and Lindsay Tanner's officers about resolving this injustice. We'll let you know if/when we resume.

Shalom/Salaam/Pax! Rowland Croucher

Justice for Dawn Rowan -

Monday, May 18, 2009


It's the middle of May - one year after Jenny Macklin's recommendation to waive the debt Dawn owes the Commonwealth of Australia - and Lindsay Tanner has finally done something.

What, you ask?

Wait for it (you'll be surprised...)

He's appointed three people to advise him re this matter.

Well, that's better than the continuing silence and inactivity.

We'd love to know who these three people are, and whether they'd be prepared to meet with Dawn and her lawyer personally, rather than engage in a protracted exchange of letters and emails.

===>>> Anyone who can be at the Bourke Street Melbourne GPO steps this Saturday (23rd May) anytime between 12 noon and 4 pm, would be most welcome. And it would be a good opportunity to meet Dawn personally.

===>>> And keep those signed petitions coming in (email me for a copy if you don't have one).

Thanks for your support everyone!


Rowland Croucher

Saturday, May 9, 2009


(For any who need to know the details of perhaps the greatest contemporary travesty of justice by the politico-legal system against an Australian citizen see the Channel 7 TDT video on the frontpage of - and chase the links near it).

1. Thanks again to all who supported the 26-hour Easter vigil. We gained over 1200 petition-signatures. Barney Zwartz wrote that excellent article in The Age. It got a mention on a couple of radio talk-back shows (we need to work harder in that arena) and a lot of people became aware of Dawn's plight. (The Diamond Valley Leader has also done a frontpage article on Dawn's story this week).

2. Keep hammering away at Lindsay Tanner's email inbox ( politely, and firmly asking why it's taken so long to make a decision about waiving Dawn's debt to the Commonwealth. Mr. Tanner is obviously preoccupied these weeks with The Budget and we respect his excellent work on our behalf in terms of his Finance portfolio. But 22 years of Dawn's suffering is too long, and a whole year since Jenny Macklin's recommendation that the claim be waived is long enough, surely. Who was that guy in WA who was imprisoned unjustly and last week received a $3.5 million payment in compensation? Dawn's also innocent, and has been imprisoned longer!!!

3. Dawn and I had a useful 45 minutes with my local Federal Labor member, Mike Symon and his PA Pauline a couple of days ago. Dawn did a brilliant job - as usual - in summarizing her case. Mike has agreed to process the petitions in the House of Representatives when it meets again next week.

4. A group of Dawn's key supporters met last Saturday to plan the next phase of our protest, and we agreed to hold regular rolling 'mini-vigils' in very public places - like the GPO steps in Bourke Street - most Saturdays (to start with) 12 noon to 4 pm. I'll be asking a leader to take charge of the process each time to organize things.

===>>> Who's available Saturday May 23rd to join Dawn there between 12 noon and 4 pm? Just turn up: look for the banner and placards. Email me to confirm you'll be there, so we have an idea of numbers...

5. Dawn is receiving invitations to talk to churches and groups about her story. Email her ( if you'd like her to do that. Philip Island Baptist Church, Sunday May 17th is the next: with my wife (Rev.) Jan Croucher preaching there as well. Thanks Craig Semple and your people for all your support!

6. Please keep the petitions coming: they can be lodged progressively as we accumulate them. Make sure there's a *name* and *signature* on each line. Addresses aren't required these days. Post them back to me when you've got all you can. I'll send a Word document for you to print off if you email me (

Finally a quote from our Australian Prime Minister's favourite theologian:

"Christianity stands or falls with its revolutionary protest against violence, arbitrariness, and pride of power, and with its plea for the weak. Christians are doing too little to make these points clear ... Christendom adjusts itself far too easily to the worship of power. Christians should give more offense, shock the world far more, than they are doing now." Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Shalom/Salaam/Pax! Rowland Croucher

Justice for Dawn Rowan -

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Hi supporters of Dawn Rowan

Thanks again for your help with signatures on petitions, (please return them by post to the address on the form, before the end of the month) and especially for those who turned up to the Vigil outside Lindsay Tanner's office - about 150 of you.

We're continuing with 'rolling vigils' and a group of us is meeting within the next ten days to plan them. Major Melbourne intersections? Shopping Centres? Banners? Feel free to send your ideas to me.

A supporter has pointed out this significant item: The Commonwealth Ombudsman's site states under the heading dealing with debt: "If a person applies for waiver or write off, they should be kept informed of progress on their application, of any decision that is made, and the agency or officer making that decision. Applications for special treatment should be prioritised by agencies to ensure they are dealt with in a timely manner that takes account of people's special circumstances."

On the face of it twelve months for Lindsay Tanner to make a decision favourable to Dawn seems a long time, especially when all the relevant material was worked over by Jenny Macklin's advisors beforehand.

===>>> How about writing to the Finance Minister, Lindsay Tanner - - and asking him if the Department of Finance has similar guidelines?

Thanks everyone!

Rowland Croucher

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


This is the first time - in 71 years of living, and about 40 years of stirring on social justice issues - that I've participated in a public protest.

I'm not 'that kind of person', but this gross injustice has got me wound up.

Being a clergyman, I'm generally treated with respect, sometimes with deference. So it's an interesting experience to be ignored by passers-by as if I were a lamp-pole. Our 'special advisor' Simon Moyle told us to expect anything - including being spat on, or even roughed up.

The West Melbourne police were terrific. They were there just after 6 am to greet us, and drove by - even waved - a couple of times during the Vigil. As someone said to radio station 3AW, these 'grey-haired protesters are unlikely to cause trouble'. The Federal Police also came by at least once (that we know of) and made sure we were not causing trouble to the 3rd or 4th highest-ranking politician in the country!

The media coverage, given that this was our first attempt at a public demonstration, was excellent. Special mention must be made of Barney Zwartz of The Age. How he did the research for his article on Dawn, plus write three or four other articles on Easter-themes over two days, beats me.

About 150 people turned up to help. We got about 1000 signatures on petitions, handed out about 5000 leaflets. Rev. Alan Marr (General Superintendent of the Baptist Union) and I made separate contacts with Lindsay Tanner's staff-members. ('He doesn't talk to those for whom he is considering a waiver of debts to the Commonwealth': I presume that also included the Governor-General who had a tax-debt waived).

The responses from people on the street were interesting. One young party-goer did a rap-dance for us. Another said 'That sucks!' when told what it was all about. Another 'sloshed' night-clubber offered to break a few windows for us! A couple of legal people said 'Issuing costs against the innocent party, and letting the guilty party off scot-free, is not supposed to happen in our legal system!'

When it was all over, a few of us adjourned to hot-cross buns and coffee at the West Melbourne ('Eighth Day') Baptist Church up the road. (The nearer evangelical Anglican Church wasn't interested in us). Gary Heard put together a very thoughtful service, inviting us to ask 'Where am I in the story of Good Friday?' Until now, I said to myself in the silent reflection-time, I'd be an anonymous person in the crowd, or at best I'd find out a few things for myself at night in secret as Nicodemas did. But in this situation I've moved towards engaging the Powers, as did Joseph of Arimathea.

I don't know a more worthy cause than this one. Why it would take nearly a year for Lindsay Tanner to issue a directive waiving Dawn's costs (as recommended by his colleague Jenny Macklin) is beyond my comprehension. It makes good political sense; it melds with the Labor Party's avowed 'social justice' stance; and it would save Lindsay Tanner from the negative news coverage he'll continue to receive on this story. We're now planning weekly 'rolling vigils' until this matter is settled. Feel free to join us!

Rowland Croucher

Easter 2009

Monday, April 13, 2009


This woman took on two governments and won, so why is she in debt and fearful of losing her house?

* Barney Zwartz

* April 10, 2009

[Dawn Rowan and the St Andrews home she may lose any day after 20 years of litigation. Photo: Jason South]

THIS woman may lose this house and be thrust penniless onto the street at any moment because she took on the South Australian and federal governments — and won.

Dawn Rowan's 22-year saga is an instructive case of how the law can seem to defy justice. Her last hope now is that the Commonwealth Government, which had her declared bankrupt, will forgive her debt. Her supporters held a 26-hour vigil outside Finance Minister Lindsay Tanner's office from 6.30am yesterday.

"For me, every day is torture since it began," Ms Rowan said yesterday. "I did not believe this could happen in Australia."

It began in 1987 with a farrago of lies in the South Australian Parliament, which eventually brought Ms Rowan a $500,000 payout — and may end with her eviction without notice. Along the route came a plethora of court cases and independent investigations that always vindicated her but gradually left her worse off. There was also the strange coincidence of five different government departments all losing the same papers relating to her case.

Ms Rowan, now 63, was a noted anti-domestic violence campaigner in the 1970s and '80s. She ran women's shelters and developed the concept of "the battered wife syndrome". A powerful and forceful personality, she offended important bureaucrats and politicians in South Australia, a Supreme Court judge said.

In 1987, when Ms Rowan was running the Christies Beach women's shelter, a report was released in State Parliament that claimed she sexually and physically harassed women in need, intimidated them, misappropriated funds, used unprofessional, inappropriate and exploitative client-counselling practices, was professionally negligent, used operating costs to augment salaries, failed to co-operate with community services department staff, and persistently overspent.

"They threw everything they could at me, except running a brothel and a stolen car racket. None of it was true, and they knew it," Ms Rowan says.

The case took a decade to come to court, with many procedural challenges on the way. But in 2001, Ms Rowan represented herself in a five-month trial against the SA and federal Governments (plus the ABC and Channel 10 for defamation).

Justice Bruce Debelle found that every accusation was false — and known to be so by then health minister Dr John Cornwall and the main compilers of the report when they published it in Parliament (except the charge of overspending, which was not due to mismanagement). Separate investigations into Ms Rowan by the South Australian police, the Corporate Affairs Department, a Senate select committee and the ombudsman all cleared her, she says.

Justice Debelle found that the accusations were a "shocking libel" motivated, in the case of some defendants, by malice (which removed the defence of parliamentary privilege) and found Dr Cornwall guilty of misfeasance (releasing the report under parliamentary privilege knowing it was false).

All the defendants appealed, and in 2004 three judges upheld the findings except for one key difference: they rejected malice. Then they awarded costs against her for the Commonwealth, ABC and Channel 10. Ms Rowan went back to the Supreme Court to allege bias against the judges but failed.

An application to appeal to the High Court also failed, and the Commonwealth had her declared bankrupt in 2007.

"The Commonwealth has been brutal. They froze my assets in Adelaide, which has been very humiliating, and allow me $500 a week to live on, which means my debt has grown," Ms Rowan says.

Ms Rowan's last hope was an appeal for clemency, which she says sticks in her throat because she is innocent. Community Services Minister Jenny Macklin supported her in a letter to Lindsay Tanner last May, but there has been no reply. Nor did Mr Tanner's office return calls to The Age.

Ms Rowan is now emotionally and physically exhausted. "I'm bloody good when I'm in performance mode, but apart from that I'm in bed with the pillow over my head," she says. But the fear remains that her bed and pillow can be taken at any moment, along with everything else.

And here's the YouTube summary of the vigil: the download is a bit patchy, but you'll get the feel of the event. Thanks Simon Moyle for putting this together.

Monday, April 6, 2009



Monday, April 6th, 2009, 5 pm.


Several hundred protesters will hold a 26-hour 'Rolling Vigil' outside Federal Finance Minister Lindsay Tanner's Melbourne office this Thursday and Friday.

They are protesting Mr Tanner's tardiness in making a decision to free Dawn Rowan from a debt to the Commonwealth, which leaves her at risk of losing her home.

Dawn Rowan has been fighting for justice for over two decades, since the Commonwealth and South Australian governments closed down her Women's Refuge in the 1980s. This action was taken following 'unsubstantiated allegations' disclosed under parliamentary privilege - all of which were subsequently found to be untrue, malicious, and grossly defamatory.

Despite being judged innocent in several trials, Dawn Rowan is being pursued by the Commonwealth for costs - amounting to the value of her home in the Melbourne suburb of St. Andrews.

Rev. Dr. Rowland Croucher, who is coordinating the Vigil, said this week: 'This saga has cost tax-payers a seven-figure sum. Not to mention the "conspiracy in high places" which apparently coordinated the loss of relevant documents from five government departments! At any moment the Sherriffs could come and take Dawn's home from her. And I emphasize again, the courts have declared her innocent! It is the most despicable and protracted miscarriage of justice by the Commonwealth against an individual I have come across!'

Well-known human rights lawyer Julian Burnside QC says of the Dawn Rowan case: '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.'

Mr Tanner's ministerial colleague Ms Jenny Macklin recommended in May 2008 that in these unusual circumstances Dawn Rowan's debt to the Commonwealth be waived. She noted that Dawn's suffering and hardship had lasted long enough. Rowland Croucher added: 'Mr Tanner was extraordinarily swift in revoking the requirement for the recently-retired Governor-General to pay taxes he owed to the Commonwealth. Why is the Dawn Rowan case taking so much longer?'

Asked this week how she has survived all this injustice, Dawn said, 'Day to day survival over the past 24 years has been an experience of unrelenting physical, emotional and psychological torture. The awful loss of friends and reputation has been life-threatening. My quality of life has been destroyed. It's very frightening that any innocent person who speaks out - in our land of freedom, Australia - can be the victim of vicious Government retribution. I have been declared innocent, and yet only I have to pay costs - and of course, my fellow-tax-payers!'

The Vigil will commence at 6.30 am Thursday April 9th, and conclude 8.30 am Good Friday morning. Venue: corner of King and Little Lonsdale Streets, Melbourne CBD.

More information: Contact Rev. Dr. Rowland Croucher [phone]
Information and photos of Dawn Rowan: contact her at [home phone]. Photos of protesters: anytime at the site.
Background: Channel 7 Today Tonight Video -
Dawn Rowan's Blog:
Summary Article:


Note to readers of this Blog: email for a copy of the Petition we're asking thousands of Australians to sign. The petitions may be copied, and not altered, and names and signatures on one side only. Thank you everyone!

A media release from 'Friends of Dawn Rowan'
Contact: Rev. Dr. Rowland Croucher
[home address]
Phone: [removed for privacy reasons]

Sunday, April 5, 2009


Just sent [Sunday April 5th] to people on Dawn Rowan's support-list. Email me at rccroucher[at] if you'd like your name added to that list.

Dear friends,

Thanks to the many here who have written to Federal ministers,
especially Lindsay Tanner, on behalf of Dawn Rowan, and included details
about Dawn's plight in your Blogs, Church Bulletins etc.

The time has come to accelerate the action, and I'm asking for your help. This morning almost all the East Doncaster Baptist people (where Dawn worships), signed a petition to the House of Representatives we're making available to churches and other groups. If you're able to encourage people - Australian citizens - to participate in this, please email me, and I'll send the petition as a Word attachment for you to print off copies. We have a couple of weeks to get names and signatures. A good and noble act of compassion for Easter! (See below for more).

You would all be most welcome at the Vigil... Details below...

Here's an 'email-out' just sent to Dawn's supporters:


Well, the week of our Vigil to urge the Commonwealth - especially Finance Minister Lindsay Tanner - to act, has come: from 6.30 am Thursday morning April 9th until about 8.30 Good Friday morning several hundred of us will participate in a respectful Vigil outside Mr. Tanner's office.

Address: Corner King and Little Lonsdale Streets, in downtown Melbourne.

===>>> In today's Sunday Age there's a little story which made me jealous. Nine women, four men, four children and a small white dog visited Peter Costello's office to protest about Climate Change. They had given 24-hours' notice they'd be doing that (we've given Mr Tanner several weeks' warning). These people wanted to go in and hand Mr. Costello some black balloons and a letter. And guess what! Three federal police and two Victorian police officers showed up and barred their way.
After 'protracted negotiations' the group was allowed to pass on the balloons and letter to Mr. Costello's staff!

Why was I jealous? Well, that story got into The Age: nothing about Dawn Rowan has scored a story in The Age in two decades! (But one Age reporter has promised to cover the Vigil).

So would someone like to invite various police-persons to our Vigil if we can get a major newspaper to take some notice of Dawn's 24-year fight for justice? We're not even planning to meet Mr. Tanner (well, not this time).


===>>> Simply turn up, with your friends, and ask someone with a
'Justice for Dawn Rowan' badge who the team captain is. You'll be
invited to register by taking a badge and putting your Christian name on
it (and your email address on the back, if we need to contact anyone/
everyone afterwards).

The Captains: Rob Perkins (6.30 am Thursday to 12 noon), Chris Page
(12 noon to 6 pm), Gary Heard (6 pm to midnight), Jim Reiher and for
part of the time, Craig Campbell (midnight to 8.30 am Good Friday). Dawn
Rowan will be coming and going the whole time - as will my wife Jan and
myself. The Vigil ends with hot cross buns and coffee/tea and a short
Good Friday service at the Eighth Day (Baptist) Community - a couple of
minutes up the road (thanks Gary Heard and friends).

How will you be invited to help? Giving out leaflets (10,000 are being
printed), asking people to sign a petition (to the House of Reps, and
possibly also the Senate), talking with people (please brush up on the
story at, and the Channel 7 videos on ).

(And, by the way, if anyone wants to make a tax deductible donation,
email me: the Vigil-specific expenses will be about $1000).

Are we breaking the law doing this? No: the Melbourne City Council
spokeswoman told me we're OK so long as we're civil and don't impede
pedestrian traffic. (Promising to be civil, we're encouraging crazy
radicals or evangelists to help us by staying away :-) !

What to bring? Maybe fold-up chair, warm clothes (forecasts: Thursday 10-23, Friday 12-26, both days fine), big umbrella, sense of
humour and/or adventure (!), candles in something to prevent them
blowing out in the wind, a biro that works, and a desire to help someone
who's been battling 'The Powers' for too long. Don't bring banners:
we're having some printed.


Email me for a copy (Word attachment) of the petition for Australians. You may copy it (but with no alterations, otherwise it's
void). Every page has to be the same (but of course with different names
and signatures). Addresses? Optional these days, apparently. Please
invite your friends/neighbours/enemies/church members etc. to add their
name and signature. Then post them to me (the postal address is on the
form) by *April 22nd*.

Thanks everyone! I'll be in touch after Easter...

Shalom/Salaam/Pax! Rowland Croucher

*Justice for Dawn Rowan* -

Friday, March 13, 2009


We're inviting all of Dawn Rowan's supporters and friends to join in a 24-hour Vigil outside Lindsay Tanner's office (corner King and Little Lonsdale streets, Melbourne CBD), from

===>>> early Thursday morning April 9 to Good Friday morning.

(Only adult males between midnight and dawn).

Please invite your friends! Visit this Blog for more details (including the possibility that the Vigil will be called off if Lindsay Tanner makes an appropriate judgment about the fate of Dawn Rowan before then).

Rowland Croucher

Monday, March 9, 2009


Here's a letter I've just sent online to the Prime Minister. You can adapt it and send one in just a few minutes, via this site -



Dear Mr Rudd

Let me introduce myself: I was Tim and Peter Costello's pastor during their teenage years. How they're so different having listened to my preaching (sometimes about social justice) beats me!

I'm writing about DAWN ROWAN. I understand you're aware of this travesty of justice which has been going on for nearly 24 years.

At every stage of the court processes her innocence has been affirmed.

===>>> But the Commonwealth is wanting to bankrupt her, and take her home. Her crime? Helping 'battered women' and their children in a Women's Refuge in Adelaide, which for some inscrutable reason attracted the ire of ministers of the crown in the SA and Federal parliaments!!!

Please, please, confirm Jenny Macklin's recommendation to waive her debt to the Commonwealth, and urge your colleague Lindsay Tanner to do it soon.

Thank you!


Yours faithfully

(Rev. Dr.) Rowland Croucher
Home phone: 03 9729 2517 .

Thursday, March 5, 2009

So we were wrong/optimistic about the ABC TV's Q&A program mentioning Dawn Rowan.

Yes, as my first option suggested, 66 online submissions about Dawn Rowan were not sufficient. See the 66 submissions here...

None of the major media outlets (except Channel 7 Adelaide) or newspapers will touch the story (or, last week, even a letter from Julian Burnside QC to the Age, then the Herald-Sun about the case). But this week Dawn's local paper, the Diamond Valley Leader had a letter and picture about Dawn...

As she often says: 'If you don't believe in conspiracies you're being irresponsible!'

===>>> Thanks to supporters of Dawn who submitted something. It was a significant exercise. Lindsay Tanner's people would have collated them all before the show. It all helps...

Remember the bit where The Opinion Editor for The Australian, Rebecca Weisser, began talking about a lady we're all persecuting, and Tony Jones quickly interjected 'which lady?' (it was the CEO of the clothing company)... Interesting, that reaction...

===>>> If Lindsay Tanner doesn't act before Holy Week, we'll be encouraging friends to attend the vigil outside his downtown Melbourne office.

And if you want a very interesting speaker for your church/friends' group Dawn's quite a brilliant communicator.

Watch this space!


Meanwhile, here's an interesting email from one of Dawn's supporters to his local Member of Parliament:

The issues surrounding the Dawn Rowan saga are at the very centre of what many claim as our democratic system. Those issues are government not acting outside of powers, courts truly acting independently of government, and political representatives acting in the best interests of the people
(the electors) rather than any political party, or any powerful self-interest entity, such as the media. With the Dawn Rowan saga all of the above are under question.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


Dear friends,

Thanks to all who have submitted questions to ABC TV's Q&A moderators about Dawn Rowan. Minister of Finance Lindsay Tanner, as you will know, is the person who has the 'last word' on Dawn's fate: a judgment he has intimated he will deliver 'soon'.

As of 11 pm Wednesday evening (March 4) there were 52 questions on the Q&A website about Dawn Rowan - more than on any other topic. It will be interesting to see if/how Q&A addresses this social justice issue tonight.

As those of us close to Dawn reviewed the possibilities, they seem to include:

1. The ABC will ignore the issue, possibly advised by their lawyers to follow this course of action as the ABC was one of the four parties which appealed the original judgment affirming Dawn's innocence. Or they will stick to safemacro-economic questions.


2. Tony Jones will say something like 'Mr. Tanner. We've had more email submissions about someone called Dawn Rowan for tonight's program than about any other topic. Dawn Rowan: what's that all about?'

Mr Tanner then has two options, it would seem:

2A: TYPICAL POLITICIAN'S EVASIVE RESPONSE: 'It's a very complex question, and there's a lot of misinformation out there about this case. I am about to make a judgment on it soon, so it is not appropriate for me to go into the matter any further here.'


2B: COURAGEOUS/COMPASSIONATE POLITICIAN'S RESPONSE: 'Yes, it's been going on too long. I am about to make a judgment on it, and I think Dawn Rowan will be satisfied with what I decide. Mind you, any judgment in favour of Dawn Rowan - whose innocence in all this I affirm, and for whom I feel deeply sorry for her having to fight the Commonwealth for so long - any judgment will be made against much of the advice I'm receiving from legal and bureaucratic sources...'

Anyone wanna bet on these - or any other - outcomes???

Watch at 9.25 pm tonight (Thursday) - see for more, including the questions submitted by many of you...

And thanks again everyone for your participation and prayers...

Rowland Croucher

Sunday, March 1, 2009


For those who would like to add their voice to the call for justice for Dawn Rowan, Lindsay Tanner is appearing on Q&A on the ABC this week (Thursday night 9.25 pm), and viewers are encouraged to submit their own questions. If there are enough asking the question, perhaps it might be put to the Minister on air. You can submit a question by going to

There is a space type in your question. Don't forget to add your name and town at the bottom of the question (best to keep it all short, even though you have 200 words) then fill in your name, email address, phone number and State. Use your own words.

It can be as simple as "Wouldn't you agree that 24 years is way too long for someone to wait for justice, in this wonderful country of Australia? The right thing to do is to waive Dawn Rowan's debt to the Commonwealth. This woman has suffered long enough because of FALSE allegations leveled against her."

Gary Heard wrote "Why is it that the minister has waived a taxation debt of a (well-resourced) former Governor-General, yet has not waived the debt of Dawn Rowan, a pioneer in the Women's Refuge movement, whose debt emerges from a successful fight to clear her name which was muddied by unfounded allegations in a government report? She has waited for justice for 24 years. Minister Jenny Macklin has recommended this action... why the wait?"

The timing is important. Lindsay Tanner has indicated that a decision is near. Weight of voices is Dawn's best asset at this point.

You can check out Dawn's story by visiting

Thanks Gary!

Thursday, February 19, 2009


Here's a good letter, sent today by one of Dawn's supporters. Note that it is brief and courteous.

Feel free to borrow some of these ideas, and re-hash them in your own words...

Send your email to


Dear Mr Tanner,

I am aware that you are close to making a decision in relation to the recommendation from Minister Jenny Macklin to waive the debt in relation to Dawn Rowan. I know that you are familiar with this case, and seek to remind you once again of the significant human cost which Dawn has borne for the 24 years since this fight to clear her name from baseless accusations began. In recent days she too has been joined in the fight against fires in the St Andrews area where her home is located. While we now recognise the great value of women's shelters in our community, it is ironic that one of the founders of the movement still fights against powers which she cannot hope to match. Where will she find shelter and hope from all that has assailed her for these 24 years.

I respectfully urge you to waive this debt, and to not prolong the time in doing so. Dawn's suffering has been immense, at immense personal cost, and as a result of her reduced capacity to work, so has our community's loss been added to it.

Your government has been active in seeking to address the suffering arising from the recent bushfires and in seeking to reduce the deleterious impact of the global economic situation on Australians. In the face of Dawn Rowan there is an opportunity to show that this compassion has a personal touch.

You continue to be held in our prayers in the face of the many and important responsibilities which are yours.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Dear supporters of Dawn Rowan


===>>> Does anybody know of any other living Australian who is still fighting for justice after 24 years?

But Dawn Rowan's battle may nearly be over. Whether it's *won* or not is up to us - and our lobbying of Federal Finance Minister Lindsay Tanner and/or our local parliamentary representative/s.

Mr. Tanner has intimated that he is close to making a decision about waiving Dawn Rowan's debt to the Commonwealth.

There are some excellent reasons why he should do so:

1. Dawn is innocent of any wrongdoing: she's the victim of untrue, trumped-up allegations. At every stage in the Court proceedings she has been vindicated.

2. It is strange - to use the mildest word - that the innocent party has to pay any costs. It ought to be highly unusual that the guilty parties - particularly the two key individuals involved (Dr. Cornwall and Ms Judith Roberts) - can put together a bevy of lies, and not be liable for one cent! Similarly with people responsible for the five SA and Federal Governments' departments 'mislaying' a whole cohort of documents relating to the case! And why do Australian taxpayers have to foot the bill - millions of dollars - this travesty of justice has cost in legal and bureaucratic costs?

3. Dawn has been fighting for justice for nearly a quarter of a century. Besides being bankrupted, she's forfeited a $7-figure sum in lost earnings and unpaid superannuation, and over half a million dollars in legal fees and costs. Her professional life as a counsellor of victims of abuse has been destroyed. Not to mention the horrendous emotional cost she has borne - including being hospitalized as a result of an emotional breakdown.

4. A fourth reason Lindsay Tanner should waive this debt, is that his colleague Ms Jenny Macklin, as head of the department seeking to recover costs from Dawn, has already put in a formal recommendation to Lindsay Tanner that he do so. (She made this recommendation against the advice of some legalistic bureaucrats in her department).

5. Finally, it's bushfire season. The Black Saturday fire was stopped 500 metres from Dawn's place at St. Andrews; many of her neighbours died and many more lost their homes. If it hadn't been for a favourable wind change her home would almost certainly have burned. It would be a nice gesture to exercise some compassion for her at this time - and an atrocious response if Mr. Tanner sent in the bailiffs.


A recent meeting of Dawn's 'Action Group' is recommending the following:

===>>> 1. An intensive publicity campaign, involving these supporters communicating with their networks:

1-1 Dawn's immediate core support-group: people who've actually asked that their names be added to a list to receive regular updates (currently 165 people). Most of these circulate news to other lists/networks.

1-2 Usenet Newsgroups familiar with the Dawn Rowan story: 10 secular and religious groups with posters numbering between 100 and 400 a day ('lurkers' who read these posts rather than posting themselves are usually reckoned as ten times this number). Google lists 16,500 entries on Usenet newsgroups about Dawn Rowan. (Of over 1 million Google web-entries for Dawn Rowan, 'our Dawn' has the top ten, and 19 of the top 20).

1-3 The DAWN ROWAN SAGA Facebook group - a recent and low-key venture currently numbering a core group of 170. Each of these is encouraged to multiply news-stories about Dawn to their networks. To join visit here.

Dawn Rowan is also personally on Facebook - invite her to be your FB friend (

1-4 The Victorian Baptist and NSW Uniting Church clergy-lists. Pastors subscribing to these lists are encouraged to put news about Dawn into their church bulletins and Blogs, and many have done so.

1-5 Articles and Letters to editors of national, State and suburban newspapers: currently we're contacting some 'high flyers' to sign a letter about Dawn Rowan. Dawn's local suburban paper, the Diamond Valley Leader has published some excellent articles about her story. The Adelaide Independent Weekly has also published a detailed article on this case.

1-6 The Dawn Rowan Saga Blog, the main article on the John Mark Ministries site about Dawn's story and the Channel 7 video on the frontpage of the JMM site (this video is seen by over 8000 unique viewers every month).

===>>> 2. A small task force to research lodging - and publicizing - a submission to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. There are two, possibly three categories relevant to Dawn Rowan's situation.

===>>> 3. Letters/emails to Lindsay Tanner - - and local parliamentary representatives - ongoing, are now especially important and urgent. Email and postal addresses can be found on the links at the side-bar of Dawn's Blog.

===>>> 4. Unless Mr Tanner makes a favourable decision before the week prior to Good Friday (April 10), we will be organizing a 24-hour Vigil outside Lindsay Tanner's Melbourne office - corner of King and Lonsdale Streets, during the week prior to Maundy Thursday (April 9). Already we have networks offering participants for about four days. If you - or your group/church - can encourage half a dozen people at any one time to occupy the footpath, without impeding pedestrian traffic, for up to a total 24-hour period in that week (or even part of a day/night), please contact me (Rowland Croucher with your preferred day/night.

A senior Age writer has agreed to cover the vigil-story - if that event happens (and we hope it won't come to that). We'll also be sending out press-releases to all media bodies.

Your participation, prayer, and support are most appreciated!


Shalom/Salaam/Pax! Rowland Croucher

Justice for Dawn Rowan -

Monday, February 9, 2009


Dear friends:

Dawn Rowan has (physically) survived the St Andrews fires, and her home is safe, so far, though, as many of you have heard, 12 (or more) residents of that small town lost their lives, and many others their properties... Of the 1000 or so homes destroyed so far throughout Victoria, 550 were from the Kinglake/St.Andrews/Yarra Valley area.

Dawn is suffering from 'after-shock' and will possibly stay with us for a few days.

Regarding the dreaded decision about Dawn's future to emanate - sometime - from the Minister for Finance, Lindsay Tanner, Rev. Gary Heard (a constituent of Tanner's) received this today:



The advice from the Canberra office is that there has been a lot of detail being finalised in regard to Dawn Rowan's situation and that a recommendation from the Department is very close indeed. This will then go to Mr Tanner for final approval. It is likely to be only a couple of weeks, at the most, before it is completed.

Marg Gott

Electorate Officer for Lindsay Tanner MP
280 King St Melbourne 3000
Ph: 9602 2911 Fax: 9602 1122


That is actually somewhat ominous. The message of the bureaucrats to Tanner is mostly 'You can't overturn the law'. But ministers of the Crown frequently exercise their discretion to act compassionately where 'the law is an ass'.

===>>> Dawn's support-group, guided by Rev. Simon Moyle, Baptist minister and peace activist, is recommending a series of escalating communications to Mr Tanner by all her supporters, and in letters to the press, culminating in a Lenten/Easter vigil outside his Melbourne offices if (a) there is no decision by then or (b) the decision is not compassionate. Churches and community groups will be asked to participate as they're able in this exercise.

Please browse this Blog and watch the video on the frontpage of our website for more... And please ask your friends/networks/congregations to write to Mr. Tanner. The email address and info is all on this Blog, and the emails are best written in one's own words...

Let me know how he replies (if you get one: he's been silent for the last month or so).

Thanks everyone: I'll keep you posted.


Rowland Croucher

Justice for Dawn Rowan -


Thanks to many of you for copying your letters to Mr Tanner to me. Here's a good one:

Mr Tanner,

Once more I have to ask -- what is happening regarding the Commonwealth's claim against Dawn Rowan? It is now more than a month since you last replied to my second email and I have to say that your comment that this claim 'may be a lengthy process' is difficult to understand considering how long the case has been dragging on already. How much money is the Commonwealth Government prepared to spend -- and go on spending -- in order to illegally recover payment from Ms Rowan who, after all, originally won her case for defamation decades ago? This is an appalling waste of public money.

If the Government can see good reason to drop cases like Dr Haneef's and reverse decisions in other matters, it must be possible for you to immediately arrange for your department to formally and forever waive the Commonwealth's claim against an innocent Australian citizen. Even the amount currently being claimed from Ms Rowan must be nothing but a drop in the Government's bucket of money, and the Government must have already spent much more than is being claimed in fighting this case. How much longer are you prepared to allow this travesty of justice to continue?