EXCLUSIVE: The case of the missing Beach judgment: NAB vs Lawrence

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Corrected version of an NAB slogan



~ by contributing editor-at-large Tess Lawrence

[Read Part Two here.]

The National Australia Bank fights dirty.

So do its lawyers.

As does its bank managers and its chain of judicial and other flunkies, thugs, standover men and women, outlaw bikies, security  agents, bankruptcy trustees, other trustees, removalists, in-house lawyers, corporate communications, trolls, media supplicants, defamers, website erasers, public relations and mediation teams, real estate agents, auctioneers, security guards, document counterfeiters, police, process servers, sheriff staff, court staff and all the other bottom feeders that collude to cannibalise the NAB's victims, viciously tearing apart our lives and the mental flesh from us, our self worth, our hard-earned reputations and financial standing; fraudulently and corruptly stealing and plundering our property, personal and business possessions, maliciously damaging and trashing even familial memento mori.


All this unconscionable conduct is conducted with impunity and immunity from their collaborators in criminal activities, the supposed watchdogs and regulators, including the shonky Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) whose former chairman, the much respected Professor Allan Fels yesterday rightly called for the regulator to be stripped of its supervisory powers over the banks. Thank you, Professor Fels.

When we, the people, get our overdue national anti-corruption body, Fels should be considered for inaugural chief.

Fels told the ABC:

"I have been shocked. The royal commission has dug quite deep and found deep-seeded unethical and and possibly illegal behaviour and that has shocked the whole community."

As ABC business reporter Michael Janda reporting yesterday (9 August 2018) afternoon from the Royal Commission in real time:

NAB failed to report dozens of "significant breaches" to ASIC in time

ASIC told NAB that it believed financial services licensees within the bank had been late in lodging breach reports for 110 significant breaches between 2014 and 2017. Significant breaches must be reported to ASIC within 10 business days.

NAB disagreed. Its analysis, provided to ASIC, found that there were only 84 significant breaches that were late in being reported out of 297 significant breaches over the three-year period.

No amount of spin doctoring will overcome ASIC's disgraceful record and misconduct.

After years of oiling each other's butts, the NAB and ASIC are turning on one another under the heat of scrutiny.


NAB's extortion of monies by stealth, (fake) legal and physical brute force (real) and intent to defraud by corrupt, criminal and illegal means whilst purporting to run a legal business is nothing short of industrial strength racketeering.

The unhealthy symbiotic relationship of these various groupings in financial thrall of the parasitic NAB and other banks need to be investigated and at least examined by the Royal Commission into Misconduct of the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry.


Bankruptcy trustees and liquidators, as their names attest, are part of the banking and financial services industry.

This sector of the banking industry is equivalent to the Deep Web of the internet. They answer to no-one. Don't even ask.


The NAB fights to the death – and beyond – as they blithely admitted to the Royal Commission.

They are without shame.

It came as no surprise on Wednesday then, when the NAB's Nicole Smith, who until June was head of their trustee NULIS superannuation fund, admitted to Commissioner Kenneth Hayne that she didn't think of criminal law when the NAB charged fees for bogus financial advisers.


From ABC business reporter Stephanie Chalmers:

"Did you think yourself that taking money to which there was no entitlement raised a question of the criminal law?" Mr Hayne asked.

"I didn't," Ms Smith responded...'

Really? NAB didn't know that what NULIS was doing was stealing monies from customers? Doesn't know stealing is a crime? 

Watching NAB's Ms Smith's performance under astute questioning by counsel assisting, Michael Hodge QC and Commissioner Hayne is sickening. It says it all about the endemic corporate culture of a bank that for so long has considered itself, not only above the law, but time and again has prostituted the law, defiant of the damage it inflicts upon its customers and the wider community.

The ABC's Janda again, reporting yesterday, 1.19pm AEST:

Hodge accuses NAB's super trustees of breaching duties

This statement by Michael Hodge QC should have the NULIS board of trustees and any former members over the past few years very worried:

"I'm not going to close the NAB case study, I need to consider our position in relation to it."

This raises the prospect we may see other NULIS board members, or other NAB staff, hauled up onto the stand.

Prior to making this comment, Mr Hodge accused NULIS of breaching its duty as a trustee for super fund members by not acting in their best interests.

In short, he put to Ms Smith that NULIS had prioritised the interests of NAB and its profits ahead of the interests of the super fund members. NULIS is legally obliged to prioritise its members interests above all else.

He put to Ms Smith that NULIS did this by retaining grandfathered commissions, mismanaging the transition of default super accounts to MySuper, not paying enough attention to the MySuper funds and standing by while the NAB group sought to delay remediation of members who had paid fees for no service.

Ms Smith rejected all these propositions.

So much depends upon the questions put to the NAB and the other banks.  And the legal athleticism of they who ask the questions. The RC provides an open and national transparent forum.

The NAB as a collective is a skilled master of obfuscation. Hodge and Commissioner Hayne took several attempts before even they cut through the verbiage fog emitted by Ms Smith, no doubt well coached by her masters. The reality is that NAB and indeed the NULIS trustee knew for years they were jolly well fleecing their customers, charging superannuation fees for terra NULIS.


But that didn't stop NAB trying it on, treating Commissioner Hayne as if he were a fool. They have been treating their customers – and we victims – like this for years.

If NAB  has the audacity to feign such ignorance before Commissioner Hayne, I respectfully ask the Commissioner to contemplate the NAB's preposterous assertions and fabrications in the courtroom forum — where their lies are carelessly sworn on oath, as we trashed customers who are now victims and casualties of their rampant and rapacious criminal activities, can attest.


We victims know. For decades we have been floundering in the wilderness, crying out to be heard and pleading for equal justice. 

If you are forced to be a self-representing litigant, you are treated with contempt. If you are a female, you are subjected to blatant misogyny and ordered by the judges to do things they would never ask of their legally qualified compatriots. You are mocked by judge and NAB's lawyers alike.

If you have a disability that manifests under duress – such as stuttering, as I do – NAB's lawyers mock and belittle you before the judge. Even when you try to protest against such insult, that is designed to humiliate and belittle you, and throw you off your argument, the judge fails to censure NAB's legal team. This is not justice. This is justice enslaved to the NAB. It is a corrupt form of justice in that the NAB is held to be superior to the victim. There is no "first among equals" here.

Let me give you an example of the modus operandi of the NAB and its far-reaching tentacles. Proof positive of the strands of corruption that soils the writs it serves upon its hapless prey.


On May 13, academic and political economist  Dr Evan Jones wrote an article first published on Independent Australia, entitled 'Victims of bank corruption suffer emotional trauma on top of financial ruin', in which he documented several case studies of bank victims, including Suzi Burge (Commonwealth Bank) and myself (NAB).

Jones has spent decades forensically analysing and documenting misconduct by banks and financial institutions and his meticulously researched scholarly work renders him without peer in this field.

In part of the article, he wrote about my fight for justice against the NAB:

Melbournian Tess Lawrence has been brutalised by the NAB and its collaborators — lawyers, judges, the bankruptcy trustee, the Melbourne legal fraternity acting en bloc, real estate agents and auctioneers, police and select Victorian politicians. Parts of her story are told in her articles for IA of December 2011, March 2012 and May 2012.

Lawrence was induced into a loan arrangement in December 2006 by a loans officer who ignored procedures and which was predatory in essence. Promises were not kept and she was set up to fail. While fighting the NAB over possession of her properties, the NAB consistently played dirty with document discovery. Photocopies, fabricated documents – even blank pages – were standard fare.

...she has been abused and humiliated by NAB lawyers Turks Legal.

McKean Park Lawyers, in collaboration with the NAB, sought to undermine Lawrence’s appeal by suing her for bankruptcy over a fabricated debt. Bizarrely, Lawrence had previously had a collaborative relationship with McKean Park Lawyers, some of it pro bono, with the law firm owing her money.

When seeking a rehearing on the bankruptcy matter in the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on 9 May 2011, she received violent abuse and a death threat from a hysterical McKean Park Lawyer during an adjournment. Complaints to the presiding Magistrate Braun and superiors were ridiculed. Braun said that he was not interested in what went on outside the court. Braun also claimed that to accede to her request would be, in effect, “tantamount to opening the floodgates to self-representing litigants”. The Chief Magistrate’s office refused to preserve and provide a copy of CCTV footage of the tirade, claiming in writing that CCTV footage doesn’t prove anything.

This attack sent her into a spiral of depression, certified as suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the after-effects from which she has never recovered. In the first instance, she was unable to conduct her own defence (not being able to afford representation) and her absence was used to ignore her legal rights.


And then, this revelation from Jones [IA emphasis]:

'The courts have accorded Lawrence her rights on only one occasion, when Beach J, 24 March 2011, granted her leave to appeal against the NAB’s demand of summary judgment for possession. Curiously, that judgment is missing from the public record.'

Why was the judgment not posted on the Supreme Court's judgment list?

Read Part Two 'Righting a seven-year wrong: NAB vs. Lawrence', here.

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