Thursday, October 2, 2008


The excellent article by graham Archer:

May 30th 2008

Sunday, April 13, 2008


[Note: Below are Dawn's responses to a letter from a former Minister of the Crown, who wrote while still in office. It is an excellent example of the warped material the bureaucrats have fed to politicians, and presumably will still do so with the current government. Rowland Croucher April 13, 2008]



Brough’s letter (below) typifies the strategies routinely used by politicians to lie, obfuscate and totally distract the reader from the truth.

Brough’s letter demonstrates the ENTIRE history of this despicable abuse of Government power. Justice Debelle states in his 2002 judgement, when referring to the so-called ‘Independent Review Report’, that this Roberts review (see following **) consisted of OMISSIONS, MISLEADING STATEMENTS, HALF-TRUTHS, AND FALSE ALLEGATIONS.

Brough’s letter uses identical strategies to present an entirely untrue ‘summary’ of the whole twenty-two years of Government and legal abuses.


Mrs Judith Roberts “AO” worked in close conjunction with Ms Wendy Heath, Acting Advisor on Women and Welfare (i.e. women’s advisor to the Minister, John Cornwall, who currently is employed training companion animals) who obsessively maintained a SECRET FILE on Dawn Rowan from 1981 to 1987(when Christie’s Beach Women’s Shelter was finally blown away).

This dossier contained repeated, baseless complaints from a half a dozen malcontents who each had a personal animosity to Dawn and who were ex-residents not eligible for some shelter services; ex-employees; and ex-management committee members. Heath repeated and repeated and repeated these baseless lies in various memos and reports held, in a Departmental file, without Dawn’s knowledge, from 1981 until 2001, when the trial was held, described by Justice Debelle as “… as shocking defamation…”

Justice Debelle’s judgement regarding Wendy Heath stated:

“She had assisted Ms Anderson in the preparation of a list of allegations against the Shelter. She had been present at a meeting with police and officers of the Corporate Affairs Commission on 2 June 1987 who had been appointed to investigate the staff of the Christies Beach Shelter and had then provided detailed information concerning the Christies Beach Shelter.”

The Crown Solicitor, Maria Panagiotidis, decided, during the trial, NOT to call Heath as a witness for the Government case. Justice Debelle states:

“Although Ms Heath was not a party, she was plainly an important witness. She had a particular knowledge of the allegations which had been made against the Christies Beach Shelter.”

And further states:

“I find that Ms Heath's evidence would not have assisted the case of the State (Government) defendants. In the absence of her evidence, I find that she and Ms Wighton were antagonistic towards the plaintiff.”





• BROUGH (Howard’s Minister responsible for women’s shelters),
• RUDDOCK (Howard’s Attorney General),
• MINCHIN (Howard’s Finance Minister) or
• Hunt (Howard’s Federal Member).

Brough, Ruddock and Minchin NEVER even had the decency to reply to the extensive, detailed letter sent by Dawn requesting justice and compassion. All Dawn ever received was a simplistic, party-line, one paragrapher from Ruddock handballing it to Brough, at precisely the same time as Brough handballed it to Ruddock who then, handballed it to Minchin.

Why such a deafening silence?!!!!

Because they were always fully aware that this entire wickedness was based on misleading half-truths and outright lies and they were therefore unable to reply directly to Dawn who could, in an instant, expose the COVER-UP.

Brough’s letter deliberately uses carefully chosen language to disguise the shocking abuses they had perpetrated on Dawn already, for twenty-one years to 2007. The strategy used below is to deny, minimise, trivialise and shift blame in regard to an horrific and continuing execution, by Government, of a person proven innocent.
The uninformed reader is enticed by deliberate, careful deceit into believing that the Government has acted reasonably and responsibly when, in fact, their actions – at all times – continue to defend the indefensible, and with taxpayers money.

Following Brough’s letter, Dawn has added comments and facts that were deliberately omitted in this letter.


02 Oct 2007

The Hon Greg Hunt MP
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Foreign Affairs
Member for Flinders
P O Box 274
Hastings Vic 3915

Dear Mr Hunt (Hunt is crossed out and a hand written Greg is inserted)

Thank you for your letter of 14 August 2007 on behalf of Dr Tim Ealey of Coronet Bay about Dawn Rowan.

Ms Rowan's debt [1] to the Commonwealth arose as a result of her [1] taking legal action against a number of defendants [5], including the Commonwealth, alleging [2] that she was owed damages because of negligence, defamation, misfeasance and conspiracy. The allegations [2] were made in the context of a joint Commonwealth/State report on women's shelters in South Australia, the details of which were broadcast on television in August 1987 [3].

The matter was dealt with in the first instance by a single judge of the Supreme Court of South Australia [4]. However, the Commonwealth (and other defendants) successfully appealed [5] this decision to the Full Court of the Supreme Court of South Australia, who found that there was no legal basis [6] to support Ms. Rowan's allegations. The court made an in principle decision that costs be awarded against Ms. Rowan to compensate the Commonwealth (and other defendants) for reasonable expenses [7] involved in defending the matter [8].

Ms Rowan then applied for special leave to appeal that decision to the High Court of Australia. The High Court decided that leave should not be granted on the basis that Ms Rowan's case did not have reasonable prospects of success. The High Court emphasised that its role is to judge on untested general legal principles rather than to reverse a costs judgement in a particular case [9].

Generally, in circumstances where the Commonwealth considers that an applicant does not have reasonable prospects of success the Commonwealth can, in accordance with the Legal Services Directions 2005, invite the applicant to discontinue the legal proceedings in return for the Commonwealth not seeking costs against the applicant. The Commonwealth does this in the interest of avoiding the inevitable cost to all parties that are associated with the continuance of unjustified litigation [10].

However, as you would understand, an applicant has a right to pursue legal avenues, notwithstanding any views the Commonwealth might offer and this is a decision for the applicant to take. Where an applicant refuses to discontinue legal proceedings [11], and rejects such an offer, the Commonwealth is left with no alternative but to pursue the recovery of costs [12].

The issue of costs was, in this case, determined by the Full Court [8] of the Supreme Court of South Australia, in a separate judgement, after Ms Rowan had exhausted her avenues of appeal. The court awarded the Commonwealth $380,00 [13] in costs. In coming to its decision, the court stated:

"We think that there is sufficient information upon which the Court can
conclude that a figure of $380,00 is logical, fair and reasonable".

Under the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997, the Commonwealth is required [12] to pursue payment of debts that are due to it, including debts that arise under costs orders of court. In such circumstances, the Commonwealth must take what ever steps [12] are appropriate to ensure that moneys due to it are paid to the greatest extent possible and returned to the Consolidated Revenue. While the Commonwealth may explore a range of options to obtain payment of a debt, in some situations this can only be done through legal action [12].

I am aware that Ms Rowan has made a number of public statements, including on her website, in relation to the Commonwealth's handling of this matter. For privacy reasons [14], I am not able to discuss the particular aspects of Ms Rowan's case which are not on the public record. However, I can say that in dealing with any matter involving the recovery of a debt, the Commonwealth is required to comply with [12] a comprehensive legislative and policy framework, which is designed to treat debtors in a fair and reasonable manner.

In particular, the Commonwealth is required to comply with [12] the principles set out in the Legal Services Directions 2005, including the requirement to behave as a model litigant [15]. In this particular case, the Commonwealth complied with those principles [15]. In accordance with the Legal Services Directions, the Commonwealth will, where-ever possible and appropriate, endeavour to settle matters without the need for court proceedings. However, where satisfactory resolution cannot be achieved, it is sometimes necessary to seek the determination of the courts [16].

Once again, thank you for writing on Dr Ealey's behalf. I trust my comments are of assistance. ????

Yours sincerely,


[1] This implies it was Dawn’s fault and she caused her own problems.

[2] This deliberately omits the word ‘unsubstantiated’ which these allegations were described as AT ALL TIMES, even in the Robert’s Report and in Hansard. The effect Brough intended was to convince the reader of there was substance in the allegations to be proved.

[3] This entire paragraph utterly omits the fourteen-year legal battle to get this case to trial, the enormity of the five-month trial, the complexity and extent of the legal charges.

[4] Thus, in one simplistic sentence, Brough:
• utterly disguises the five-month, landmark trial after fourteen years of constant legal action and court hearings;
• ignores Debelle’s strong judgement which was highly critical of Roberts, Cornwall, Wighton and Blake;
• ignores Debelle’s findings of liability against the Commonwealth;
• utterly trivialises a five-month, landmark legal action, with 5,000 pages of transcript, 1,500 documents admitted as evidence to the trial,
ignores the fact that Dawn represented herself against four powerful legal teams and WON on every substantive issue.

[5] The use of ‘a number of’ or ‘other defendants’ is vague and implies, to the casual reader, that all other defendants ‘successfully appealed’. This is utterly untrue as the State Government and ‘other defendants’ were found guilty.

[6] This is deliberately misleading because, at all times, a legal basis has been proved “to support Ms Rowan’s allegations”.

[7] This is a lie and completely omits the Court’s initial order for Dawn to pay $690,000.00 (see also [13] below)

[8] Brough omits the fact that Dawn Rowan took action against the three judges who heard this appeal for undisclosed bias, upon discovering the undisclosed association Judith Roberts had with:

(a) the Chief Judge of the South Australian Court (Doyle), who appointed these judges to hear the appeal, and

(b) two of these three judges.

The judgement of these three judges regarding their alleged undisclosed bias was that, their appeal judgement was not influenced by their personal knowledge of Roberts. They made the appeal judgement releasing the Commonwealth and the two television stations from liability.

Even more curiously, their judgement ordered Dawn Rowan, the INNOCENT PARTY, to pay the costs of the Commonwealth, the television stations and her own costs of her successful appeal. This decision is extraordinary given the normal legal process whereby the guilty party (namely the State of South Australia) pays the costs of the innocent party (Dawn Rowan) and all other parties legitimately joined in the action.

[9] Brough deliberately omits the extraordinary difficulty in getting the High Court to hear any application. The litigant is given twenty-minutes to present sufficient evidence to interest the High Court. Only one in eight cases ever succeeds in this David and Goliath task.

[10] This is deliberately misleading because Justice Debelle, the only judge to hear and see all witnesses and read all documents, found strongly that the Commonwealth were liable and thus that Dawn’s proceedings against the Commonwealth can, under no circumstances, be described as unjustified, i.e. Dawn’s decision to include the Commonwealth in this case was completely sanctioned by Justice Debelle’s findings of Commonwealth liability.

[11] This is misleading for reasons stated in point 10 (above), and implies that Dawn is a difficult or belligerent litigant.

[12] This is utterly untrue and totally misleading. The Commonwealth is NOT obliged, under ANY Legal Services Directions or Financial and Accountability Acts or requirements to behave as a “model litigant”, to pursue an innocent person to destruction. The Commonwealth has, at all times, the option and the power to settle decently with any litigant, under any circumstances SHOULD THEY CHOOSE TO DO SO.

[13] The Commonwealth has, at all times, refused to answer questions in Parliament and from the public regarding the actual spending by them on defending the indefensible. It can be confidently assumed their costs would be in the millions of dollars, defending this case in court since 1990.

Curiously, the figure of $380,000 is exactly Dawn’s equity in her home and not a cent more - A HUGE COINCIDENCE?

[14] This is a lie because there were no privacy restrictions and the Commonwealth were always fully aware that this entire wickedness was based on misleading half-truths and outright lies and Brough is therefore unable to reply directly to Dawn who could, in an instant, expose the COVER-UP.

[15] This can only be true if a ‘model litigant’ is required to threaten, bully, lie, obfuscate, cheat and do ‘whatever it takes’ to win at any cost.

[16] This statement contradicts the common knowledge of the fact that we have a ‘legal system’ which is irrelevant to justice and decency.


APRIL 12, 2008

Monday, April 7, 2008


THE Adelaide Chinese Whisper RUMOUR machine has been in full ugly swing. (What’s new?)

Dawn has NEVER been informed or had ANY knowledge of the UTTER LIES being deliberately circulated by the guilty, and then continued by the uninformed OR lazy OR gossip mongers.


*****'Dawn was offered a generous sum by the Commonwealth to cease all litigation on these matters, but she refused' *****


===>>> The Commonwealth Govt HAS NEVER OFFERED A CENT TO DAWN.

During formal Mediation, instigated by Dawn in 1998, with all parties over a period of 3 1/2 days, the Commonwealth REFUSED at all times to cooperate with the other 3 parties (SA Govt, ABC TV & Channel 10) who were trying to settle out of court at that time.

These parties were asking the Commonwealth to pay a paltry $20,000 as a small proportion of the whole offer – to get them on board. The QC representing the Commonwealth was on the phone to Canberra constantly, strongly advising them to agree. The Commonwealth belligerently refused.


During the five-month trial, the Commonwealth lawyers initiated an offer to Dawn that, if she released the Commonwealth from the action they would not pursue her for costs. IE. THEY HAVE NEVER OFFERED A CENT TO DAWN. Justice Debelle found the Commonwealth liable, so Dawn’s decision not to be blackmailed and threatened by the Commonwealth proved the correct thing to do at the time. Because of the strength of the judge’s findings, it was reasonable for Dawn to expect that any appeal would uphold this liability.

Three Supreme Court judges heard the appeal and overturned the liability of the Commonwealth and the 2 TV stations and, shockingly, ordered the INNOCENT PARTY, Dawn, to pay their costs. The legal precedent is that the GUILTY PARTY (Roberts, Cornwall, and the State of SA) pays the costs of the INJURED PARTY, AND THE COSTS OF ALL OTHER PARTIES LEGITIMATELY INVOLVED IN THE ACTION, ON EITHER SIDE.

Following this bewildering and unjust judgement, Dawn discovered that (a) two of the three judges had previous association with Judith Roberts (the Chair of the so-called “Independent Review”), who was found to be the “gross defamer”, and, (b) that the Chief Judge of the SA Supreme Court had sat on the Flinders University Council with Roberts since 1994 and so, in 2006, Dawn charged the judges with Undisclosed Bias but the judgement of these three judges was that they were not motivated by their previous contact with Roberts. Thus, their curious judgement on costs was upheld with the full knowledge that Dawn, an ordinary citizen, would be bankrupted and made homeless.

No other offer has ever been made by the Commonwealth.

Dawn Rowan

8th April, 2008.

Monday, March 10, 2008


Preamble: 'The Galbally (1978) and Fitzgerald (1988) reports on the immigration system struck a balance between a rules-based structure which had enough compassionate flexibility to accommodate discretion in exceptional circumstances... The full extent of human devastation cannot always be captured within the black letter of the law. Unlike bureaucracies' apparatuses, [Government] ministers have a mandate for empathy while weighing often unique circumstances that were not anticipated when sections of the act were drafted.' ('Yes Minister, the buck does stop with you' by Mary Aldred, the Age, March 3, 2008). Update: Cornelia Rau, the German-born woman wrongly held in detention for 10 months, has accepted a compensation offer from the Federal Government for a reported $2.4 million. Note: A Government Department made a mistake, and paid compensation.

Dawn, what are you asking the Federal Government to do?

My needs, which I would like the Government to address are:

* Bankruptcy REMOVED from ALL MY RECORDS in the public & private arenas

* Commonwealth Government to deal with SA government, ABC & Channel 10 to get rid of ANY further action they might take

* FULL payment of my ACTUAL legal costs from the beginning of this disgusting saga. NOT what the COURT allows, which is 60% of 75% of nothing etc, etc. i.e. NOT the court / legal formulas for "taxation of costs", but the truth of the financial cost to me.

* Full payment of all my personal losses: income over 20 years, interest on line of credit ($40,000), superannuation, potential investment losses which would have been made for responsible quality of retirement life. I'll add more to this later...

* DECENT & HUMANE compensation for personal injury & suffering, making an HONEST assessment of what they would expect if this had been PERPETRATED on them.

* RECALL OF ALL COPIES OF "SHELTERS IN THE STORM" REPORT, by state & Federal Government, any records of this report in Government departments to be annotated with Justice Debelle's findings on the malicious lies deliberately included in it by Cornwall, Roberts, Whighton & Blake. Also annotated with a full apology to me for the brutal treatment meted out to me by State & Federal Governments for 21 years. (extracts of Debelle's judgement to be identified by me)

* Appointment to varies Government committees responsible for development of
appropriate services / responses to Family & Community Violence, including Child Abuse & Exploitation.

I regard the above list of actions necessary for me to be restored to some quality if life. However, it can NEVER compensate me for the torture imposed by evil doers in Government & their whores & the LOST years of my life.

I want to meet Jenny Macklin personally to explain the whole saga. Why won't she meet me? Getting a bureaucratic line won't necessarily represent the truth.

Dawn Rowan

13th March 2008.

Friends: You can email/write to Jenny Macklin. See here.

Thursday, March 6, 2008


The Hon. Jennifer Macklin
Minister for Families, Housing,
Community services and Indigenous affairs
PO Box 316
Heidelberg 3084
27th February 2008

Re Dawn Rowan

I write to request your intervention on compassionate grounds in the case of Dawn Rowan of St Andrews. I consider Dawn's story to be one of the worst injustices I have heard of.

Dawn has been a kind and caring women’s advocate who while working unselfishly to support abused women and children was defamed in the course of her work. She heroically succeeded in clearing her good name only to find justice denied to her when costs were awarded against her including the costs of the guilty parties. I fail to understand in a democratic Australia how this can occur. Dawn always was and still is blameless.

Dawn is a counsellor and works from her home, a modest log cabin in St Andrews.
I have known Dawn for over 10 years during which time I participated in a support group she founded for a distressed family with a severely disabled child. My gratitude to Dawn for her help with my own family is immense and I would be happy to provide further information should you require, or attend your offices at any time to suit you.

There has been strong support for Dawn in our local community and I believe your Government has an opportunity to show common sense, compassion and right a terrible wrong.

I ask for your intervention to ensure her home which is also her livelihood will not be taken from her.

Yours Sincerely

Mary McDonald

Monday, February 25, 2008


By Dawn Rowan (February 25, 2008)

Understand this!
'How the legal/political system REALLY operates'.

Politicians (the government) APPOINT all judges. Party political ideology dictates WHO the appointed judges will be. That is, the Government appoints the individuals they want to perpetuate their political ideology. The higher the court, the more political the appointments.

[For example: John Howard's appointments to the Australian High Court and Federal Court; State Government appointments to the various State Courts; President Bush's highly controversial politically-motivated appointments to the U.S. Supreme Court).

Courts throughout the so-called 'Western democracies' are stacked with POLITICAL appointments for POLITICAL purposes.

The SEPARATION OF POWERS (the notion that judges are independent of politics) DOES NOT EXIST.

You are being kept in the dark about this, intentionally.

Question: What therefore happens when a Government commits a crime against an innocent citizen? The TAXPAYER FUNDED Government Attorney-Generals' Departments, State and Federal, pour our taxes into DEFENDING THEMSELVES for party political purposes. AND they represent THEMSELVES with tax-funded Government solicitors - spraying millions of dollars not only up the wall but over the roof, until the innocent victims of Government-controlled atrocities collapse or die from years/decades of State-funded brutality, torture and injustice.

For example:

* 34 years to begin to pay pathetic compensation to the Voyager disaster naval personnel. Most have conveniently died by now anyway

* Vietnam vets long-term health and welfare ignored

* Refugees from countries where the Australian army is helping to blast their homes away

* Etc. etc.

The obscenity of this CONFLICT OF INTEREST of Government-appointed judges judging the wickednesses of Government is COMPLETELY IGNORED by our 'robust democracy' - including most of the media most of the time.

WHY? Because when Government commits a crime, they are represented by CROWN SOLICITORS and JUDGED BY THEIR OWN EMPLOYEES/STAFF!

::::::::::: ROWAN VS. CORNWALL :::::::::::

The SA Government and Federal Government appointed a so-called 'Independent Review' to utterly destroy Dawn Rowan.

Gross offences were committed intentionally by Government Ministers and their sycophants (the 'Review Committee'). AN INNOCENT WOMAN'S LIFE IS DESTROYED.

The State and Federal Governments plunder our taxes to prevent ALL EFFORTS by Dawn Rowan to get justice.

FACT: JUSTICE IS IRRELEVANT TO THE EXECUTION/OPERATION OF THE LAW. Their mantra: 'It's a legal system, not a justice system.'




Dawn Rowan


Friday, January 4, 2008

Summary of the Dawn Rowan Saga:

1981: Dawn appointed manager of Christies Beach Women's Shelter, Adelaide

1983: A behind-the-scenes sabotage of Dawn and the Shelter begins

1987: Police and Corporate Affairs ordered by Dr. John Cornwall, Health and Welfare Minister to investigate (ie. find something illegal) in the shelter. These investigations cleared the shelter of any wrong-doing, and in fact praised the work of the shelter. But Corwnall five days after receiving the final reports, released under parliamentary privilege damaging 'unsubstantiated allegations' against Dawn and the shelter. Funding was ordered to be withdrawn three weeks later. The shelter had to cease operations, and all the workers lost their jobs.

1990: Dawn filed an action in the Supreme Court of SA against the SA Government, Federal Government (as the co-funding body they had to agree to the shelter's closing), Channel 10 TV and ABC TV.

2002: Justice Debelle handed down a 300-page judgment completely exonerating Dawn and her co-workers of any wrongdoing whatsoever. He severely condemned the use of unsubstantiated allegations in parliament - allegations which the two key players, Dr. John Cornwall and Mrs Judith Roberts AO knew to be false. Justice Debelle found Ms Roberts guilty of malicious defamation, and Dr. Cornwall guilty of misfeasance (abuse of public office). The judge ordered compensation for personal damages of $225,000 (compounded to $500,000 with 14 years interest added) to Dawn.

August 2003: All the other parties appealed the judgment.

November 2004: Dawn won the appeal, but the full bench of the Supreme Court of SA found the Commmonwealth and the two TV networks not liable for the damages done to Dawn as a result of the defamation. The Commonwealth immediately commenced action against Dawn to bankrupt her.

An application to be heard by the High Court of Australia was denied.

2006: Dawn took out an action alleging undisclosed bias by the Full Bench judges - Justices Bleaby, Sulan, and Besanko - as a result of discovering their connections with Ms Judith Roberts. Their judgment - handed down six weeks later - denied any bias. They ordered Dawn to pay a lump sum to the Commonwealth of $380,000 (which coincidentally was the value of her home and other assets). Note that the Commonwealth and the State of SA have consistently refused to disclose the millions of taxpayers' dollars spent destroying this innocent woman.

2007: The Commonwealth Government took action in the Australian Federal Court to enforce bankruptcy. This is now in the final stages of being enforced.

In several communications between members of Federal parliament and the ministers responsible, it has been pointed out that the Government is completely free to exercise discretion in pursuing the bankruptcy or not.

Summary: As Julian Burnside QC, a highly respected human rights lawyer put it: '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.'

Comment: shabby is a mild word for it. 'Deliberate torture' is closer to the truth. Please pray for Dawn, and continue to make representations on her behalf to any Federal Labor ministers you know.

See and for links to the legal transcripts etc.

Channel 7 This Day Tonight video:

(Rev. Dr.) Rowland Croucher

January 4th 2008.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008


The Hon Robert McClelland MP
PO Box 6022 House of Representatives
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

Dear Attorney-General

Enforcement of Commonwealth costs orders against Dawn Rowan

I refer to the case of South Australian constituent, Dawn Rowan, whose plight was highlighted by Today Tonight on 14 May 2007 (see

I understand that Ms Rowan is currently the subject of bankruptcy proceedings arising from a debt owed to the Commonwealth. That debt arose as a result legal action taken by Ms Rowan against a number of defendants, including the Commonwealth, alleging that she was owed damages because of negligence, defamation, misfeasance and conspiracy. The allegations were made in the context of a joint Commonwealth/State report on women's shelters in South Australia, the details of which were broadcast on television in August 1987. The matter was dealt with in the first instance by a single judge of the Supreme Court of South Australia. Ms Rowan succeeded against the State of South Australia, the Commonwealth and several media outlets. However, the Commonwealth (and other defendants) successfully appealed this decision to the Full Court of the Supreme Court of South Australia. Costs in favour of the Commonwealth and other defendants were awarded against Ms Rowan, who then applied for special leave to appeal that decision to the High Court of Australia. Leave to appeal was not granted by the High Court.

Ms Rowan has received strong support from many members of the community owing to a community perception that justice has not been done in this instance. She has endured many years of litigation at and suffered significant financial, personal and emotion toll. Although the Full Court’s judgement clearly allows the Commonwealth to recover its costs from M Rowan, as you will appreciate, the enforcement of a costs award involves a degree of discretion, taking into account any extenuating circumstances that would make such enforcement undesirable.

I also understand that the previous Government sought to justify the enforcement of the costs order on the basis of the Commonwealth’s obligation under the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997 to pursue payment of debts that are due to it, including debts that arise under costs orders of a court. However, I note that pursuant to section 34 of the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997, the Finance Minister may, on behalf of the Commonwealth, ‘waive the Commonwealth's right to payment of an amount owing to the Commonwealth’.

The ALP has expressed concerns of its own in relation to this matter in the past. On 14 June 2007 the then Shadow Attorney-General, Senator Joe Ludwig, wrote to the then Attorney-General, Philip Ruddock MP, noting his concern at reports indicating that Ms Rowan's home is to be seized in lieu of payment of the Commonwealth's costs. Senator Ludwig sought responses from Mr Ruddock as to the status of the matter, the Government’s attitude to the enforcement of costs, and queried whether or not a cost-benefit analysis has been performed on the costs recovery.

In light of these matters, can you please advise me of the following:

1. What is the status of any proceedings taken by the Commonwealth against Ms Rowan in relation to the enforcement of costs?

2. Given the concerns expressed by the Labor Party when in Opposition, does the Rudd Labor Government intend to pursue recovery of its costs? If so, will the Government consider seizure of Ms Rowan’s home?

3. Has a cost-benefit analysis been performed on the costs recovery? If so, what are the results of that analysis?

4. Will the Department seek the consent of the Minister for Finance and Deregulation to waive the Commonwealth’s entitlement to the debt pursuant to section 34 of the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997?

I look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience.

Yours sincerely,
Natasha Stott Despoja
Senator for South Australia
19 December 2007

Cc: The Hon Lindsay Tanner MP
Minister for Finance and Deregulation