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?