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]

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