Thursday, May 24, 2007


This Blog has been set up as part of a group of Blogs produced by me, Rowland Croucher.

That's why you'll see my biodata here, not Dawn Rowan's.

Hopefully, when Dawn has been freed from this tyrannous situation, she'll have the mental space to manage this Blog herself. But Jan and I are committed to supporting her through this whole ordeal.

See the initial story we published, for info about how we met Dawn.

She's a very courageous person, and I would encourage all Australians who read this to communicate with their federal parliamentary representatives to advocate for Dawn.


Rowland Croucher

P.S. This Blog grew out of an older one, which was then replaced by the Dawn Rowan Saga Blog ( For the record, here's the material which appeared on the original Blog:

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Dear friends,

It's now Friday morning (whatever the date and time you read on this Blog) and we've just heard that the bankruptcy hearing set for Monday 28th may be postponed. Dawn and I - Rowland - have already purchased tickets to fly to Adelaide. This is the way Dawn has been, to use an expression well-known to Australians 'mucked around' for 20 years.

We'll keep you posted.

Meanwhile, we've set up a new blog with a new template, layout and title here:

Please add this to your favorites, and watch regularly for developments.

Rowland Croucher
Posted by Rowland Croucher at 6:23 PM 0 comments
Labels: New Blog
Sunday, May 20, 2007
UPDATE: MAY 20, 2007


The Commonwealth Government is enforcing bankruptcy - proceedings to be held in Adelaide Monday may 28th. the S.A. Government is joining the fray to destroy Dawn, and will at the same time petition to claim costs against her.

An offer has been made via Dawn's lawyer to forestall this drastic procedure, but so far no response...

Urgent: please contact the Prime Minister - the Hon John Howard MP

Tel: (02) 6277 7700 Fax: (02) 6273 4100

and/or the attorney-general, Hon. Philip Ruddock at




20th May 2007

Re: Dawn Rowan

I wish to draw to your attention a gross injustice perpetrated by the Governments of South Australia and the Commonwealth against a citizen declared at all times in the court process to be innocent.

The Commonwealth and SA governments are now pursuing her for costs, whilst the perpetrators of the injustice against Ms Rowan will not suffer personally in any way.

Please visit
Channel 7's TT program of May 14, 2007 (link on front page
for a summary of her case.

A bankruptcy hearing against Ms Rowan is set down for next Monday, May 28th May, 2007. If it succeeds she will be homeless and destitute.

I respectfully request that your government exercise compassion and clemency in this case of a gross miscarriage of justice against an innocent person.

Yours faithfully

(Rev. Dr.) Rowland Croucher

Posted by Rowland Croucher at 12:48 AM 0 comments
Labels: 2007, BANKRUPTCY, May 20
Tuesday, May 1, 2007

This Blog has been set up as part of a group of Blogs produced by me, Rowland Croucher.

That's why you'll see my biodata here, not Dawn Rowan's.

Hopefully, when Dawn has been freed from this tyrannous situation, she'll have the mental space to manage this Blog herself. But Jan and I are committed to supporting her through this whole ordeal.

See the initial story we published, for info about how we met Dawn.

She's a very courageous person, and I would encourage all Australians who read this to communicate with their federal parliamentary representatives to advocate for Dawn.


Rowland Croucher

Monday, April 30, 2007
UPDATE MAY 1, 2007

Dear friends

Thanks for all the wonderful support you have provided over these 'lean years' of litigation.

The Federal Government (Philip Ruddock) are now proceeding to bankrupt me... a completely innocent citizen, grossly abused under parliamentary privilege, grossly defamed, who fought for 21 years to get justice -- and has been at all times declared innocent by the judgments, (which are on the public record).

This political action will leave me homeless, penniless, at 61 years of age, having worked for 40 years and supported myself throughout my life.

My total 'legal' costs, as permitted by the legal system (an actual joke!) have amounted to approximately $800,000, paid upfront/already. My actual costs of running the legal action for the past 17 years is 1 1/2 million dollars (not including lost earnings).

In relation to the Commonwealth's pursing me to bankruptcy, a recent communication from Philip Ruddock stated 'The Commonwealth is entitled to act firmly and properly to protect ***ITS*** (my emphasis) interests.'
Question: Whose interests is the Australian Government elected to represent????

The emotional cost of the last 21 years of torture includes severe post-traumatic stress symptoms, as documented in medical records which I'll post here in the near future.

Dawn Rowan

PO Box 60,
St. Andrews,
Australia 3761

May 1. 2007

Posted by Rowland Croucher at 7:52 PM 0 comments
Labels: 2007, May 1

[Australian readers might like to read this through Australian eyes and 'tick the boxes'.

Federal election 2007: what are you willing to do about it? Dawn Rowan].


Towards a Dictatorship in 10 easy steps

Naomi Wolf " (Guardian)
Tuesday April 24, 2007 [Posted here 1 May 2007]

Last autumn, there was a military coup in Thailand. The leaders of the coup took a number of steps, rather systematically, as if they had a shopping list. In a sense, they did. Within a matter of days, democracy had been closed down: the coup leaders declared martial law, sent armed soldiers into residential areas, took over radio and TV stations, issued restrictions on the press, tightened some limits on travel, and took certain activists into custody.

They were not figuring these things out as they went along. If you look at history, you can see that there is essentially a blueprint for turning an open society into a dictatorship. That blueprint has been used again and again in more and less bloody, more and less terrifying ways. But it is always effective. It is very difficult and arduous to create and sustain a democracy - but history shows that closing one down is much simpler. You simply have to be willing to take the 10 steps.

As difficult as this is to contemplate, it is clear, if you are willing to look, that each of these 10 steps has already been initiated today in the United States by the Bush administration. More...


Naomi Wolf's The End of America: A Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot will be published by Chelsea Green in September.

Guardian Unlimited© Guardian News and Media Limited 2007
Posted by Rowland Croucher at 7:09 PM 1 comments
Labels: Dictatorship

On the 17th October 2006, the Commonwealth issued a bankruptcy notice demanding $380,000. I responded as follows, to ministers Brough and Ruddock, requesting a waiver of this punitive action on compassionate grounds.

Dawn Rowan
PO Box 60
St Andrews
VIC 3761

18 October 2006


The Honourable Mal Brough MP
Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs
Box 7788
Canberra Mail Centre ACT 2610

Dear Minister,

Re: Bankruptcy Proceedings Issued By The Australian Government Solicitor

I am writing to you in the hope that you will be able to assist me with
respect to bankruptcy proceedings that have been instituted against me
following sixteen years of litigation. Although I was successful in that
litigation the outcome has had a catastrophic effect on me, my health and my
career. It has now culminated with the Commonwealth serving me with a
Bankruptcy Notice no doubt with the ultimate intention of forcing me into

I am approaching you in the hope that you will intervene and bring an end to
what has been a disastrous last fifteen years of my life.

In the briefest terms can I explain.


I was born in 1946 and educated in Adelaide.

I chose to follow a career as a secondary school music teacher and did so
for ten years.

Thereafter I was interested in directing my activities to counselling women
and children who had been subject to domestic violence and cruelty. I
undertook and completed a degree of Bachelor of Social Administration and
applied for and was ultimately appointed the administrator of two women’s
shelters in Adelaide.

The shelters were jointly funded by the Commonwealth and State Governments
and from 1978 myself and a number of other workers devoted ourselves to
counselling and assisting a large number of people who attended the shelters
for assistance.

Joint Report – Defamation

On 11 August 1987 a report was published by a joint committee which had been
set up by the State and Federal Governments. The report was from an
independent review committee which had been commissioned to examine the
management and operation of the women’s shelters.

The report was ultimately published and received extensive media coverage
from television stations and the press. The report contained unwarranted
and untruthful allegations of sexual and financial impropriety on the part
of myself and others associated with the management of the shelters.

The impact of the report was devastating. I had devoted my career and life
to counselling women and children and given up everything to pursue this
career. I had considered it was a most worthwhile cause and I had intended
to devote my life to that career.

As a consequence of the report, funding was withdrawn and the Christies
Beach shelter closed.

The impact on my health was immediate and I remained on sickness benefits
for two years.

I fled the State and relocated in Victoria, but my professional reputation,
my ambitions and my health had been effectively destroyed.

I was left without means of income.

Although I obtained some employment in Victoria for approximately twelve
months I ultimately had to resign from that position because of my health
and political pressure.


Because the allegations in the report were completely false and misleading,
because my career had been ruined and I was without income I took legal
advice and commenced defamation proceedings out of the Supreme Court in
South Australia.

Whilst I had little in the way of funds, I obtained legal representation and
proceedings were instituted on 26 June 1990.

The Defendants to the proceedings were the authors of the report (these
being the State and Commonwealth employees, as well as the State and Federal
Governments). I also sued the two television stations who had published the
findings of the report.

The legal proceedings were extensive and protracted and the Defendants for
the next ten years took numerous steps to have the proceedings defeated.

The trial eventually commenced in June 2001 and proceeded for sixty-seven
days. For sixty of those days I was without legal representation and fought
the case on my own.

The State, the Commonwealth and the television stations were all represented
by Counsel, an army of solicitors and in some cases Queens Counsel.

In a judgment delivered on 21 June 2002 Justice Debelle, a senior and highly
regarded member of the bench published his reasons. He described the
allegations as a “shocking defamation”.

I was ultimately awarded the sum of approximately $585,000 in damages,
together with the costs of the action.

In subsequent contribution proceedings the amount to which the Commonwealth
was found liable to pay was $39,117.42.

Although the award of compensation was less than I had expected I felt that
my action in bringing the litigation had been vindicated. Needless to say
the years in preparing the case for trial, the trauma of fighting the case
in court without legal representation and the associated affect on my health
meant that I had been without income for virtually all of that period.


Because of apparent unlimited resources the State, the Commonwealth and the
two television stations all lodged appeals.

In order to defend the judgment I was forced to retain solicitors and

My health deteriorated, I was unable to work and spent a vast amount of time
instructing lawyers to defend the appeals.

I was required to sell a property which had been left to me by my mother in
order to pay legal costs associated with the appeal and the subsequent
appeal to the High Court.

Eventually the Full Court allowed the appeal.

For reasons for which I am unable to understand the two television stations
and the Commonwealth were exonerated. The damages awarded to me were
reduced, but I retained the judgment against the State of South Australia.

Whilst I was awarded 75% of my costs against the State, I was ordered to pay
the costs of the Commonwealth and the two television stations.

The total claims for costs of the Commonwealth and the two television
stations exceeded $1 million and the liability to pay these sums would have
meant that even though I had succeeded in the litigation overall, the result
would have been my bankruptcy.

Faced with this I had no further alternative than to instruct my lawyers to
appeal to the High Court.

Because the High Court considered that the matter was not of public interest
and only involved legal costs my application for special leave to appeal was

Subsequent Action by the Commonwealth

The end of the court processes left me in poor health and financially ruined
as I faced costs orders of the television stations and the Commonwealth of
over $1 million.

The two television stations have not pursued me for their legal costs. The
Commonwealth, however, has been relentless.

Since the dismissal of the High Court proceedings the Australian Government
Solicitor, on behalf of the Commonwealth, has:

· Made a demand for costs in excess of $600,000.

· Obtained an injunction against me, freezing my assets.

· Relentlessly pursued the claim for costs against me and
eventually obtained an order for lump sum payment of costs of $380,000.

· Issued a Bankruptcy Notice against me with a view to
obtaining a Bankruptcy Order.

As a consequence of this I have had funds from the sale of a house that I
owned frozen and have had access to my bank accounts limited.

In September 2005, in the course of the injunction proceedings, I requested
my solicitors to write to the AGS outlining my position. I requested that
my situation be referred to the Minister with a view that the Australian
Government Solicitor be instructed to refrain from pursuing its claim
against me.

I enclose herewith a copy of the letter that my solicitors sent to the AGS,
together with the medical report that was referred to in that letter.

I do not know what transpired as a result of that letter.

The Current Position

The Bankruptcy Notice issued by the Australian Government Solicitor demands
payment of $380,000 by 17 October 2006. I presume that if that sum is not
paid the Australian Government Solicitor will issue a petition against me
with a view to having me declared bankrupt.

I do not know if the two television stations will join in those proceedings,
but to date neither of them have made demands against me for costs. I
believe that if the Commonwealth were to withdraw its demand the two
television stations would not pursue me.

My current position is as follows:

· I have a house at St Andrews in Victoria. It is my home
and a place where I am trying to re-establish my practice as a counsellor.
The house is valued at about $500,000, but is subject to a mortgage of
nearly $130,000.

· I previously had a holiday home at Coronet Bay in
Victoria. This was sold in August 2005 for $190,000. Those funds were
frozen by the Commonwealth as part of its court proceedings and are
currently in a solicitor’s trust account in Melbourne.

· There is a balance of about $30,000 held by the State
Crown being the balance of court costs due to me. The State, however, is
claiming $17,000 of that sum.

· Overall I have spent over $380,000 in legal fees and have
no money in the bank. All of my personal financial resources have gone into
the litigation over the last fifteen years. I have less than $40,000 in a
superannuation fund.

The Future

As a result of the last fifteen years I remain shattered and confused. I
have ten years of my working life left, but with no realistic prospect of
obtaining fulltime work or employment.

If the bankruptcy proceedings continue I will certainly lose my house and
everything that I have worked for over the years.

With the limited finances that I have I would prefer to attempt to rebuild
my career as a counsellor and attempt to retain my health and my dignity. I
do not want to lose my home and become reliant on Centrelink payments.

Although the Commonwealth was excused from liability by the Full Court,
there is no doubt that its officers were involved in the preparation of the
report that ultimately was found to be grossly defamatory and which ruined
my career. Although the television stations were involved in the defamatory
conduct they have exercised clemency and have not to date pursued their
claims for costs against me. It is only the Commonwealth that has adopted a
relentless approach to have me ruined.

In the circumstances, therefore, I am again asking for clemency with the
request that you intervene and instruct your department to refrain from
pursuing its claim for legal costs.

I have forwarded a copy of this letter to the Australian Government
Solicitor with the request that it take no further bankruptcy proceedings
pending your consideration of my position.

I would be most appreciative of any assistance that you are able to afford.

I remain

Yours sincerely,


Copy to: The Hon Philip Ruddock MP

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