Human rights

Dirty deeds done dirt cheap

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Though IA contributing editor-at-large Tess Lawrence’s court battle against the NAB continues, she was stunned to find out early this morning that her private possessions are listed to be sold tomorrow by the auctioneer who broke into her house and took them away. How is this possible? asks Tess.

by contributing editor-at-large Tess Lawrence


To quote my beloved Digger Veterans:

‘Si vis pacem, para bellum.’

I knew when I took on the National Australia Bank and McKean Park Lawyers that I had to be prepared for an onslaught of relentless legal harassment, subjugation and humiliation.

I knew too that, whatever I endured, brother and sister Australians also endured on a daily basis within the Courts and outside of them, in that non-person land where self-representing litigants and the great unwashed flounder and dwell. We of the Never Ever.

But I was unprepared for the depth of legal depravity to which they’d sink — or for the extent of underhand and manipulative conduct, flagrant disregard for the letter and spirit of the law, or the habitual abuse of process that extends all the way to the unsavoury bottom feeders and those who sup on the carrion of sequestration, bankruptcy and human misery, and who display utter contempt for their victims and are compliant in the thuggery of their masters.

Nor was I prepared for the fact that this entire multi-billion dollar industry is a covert and deliberately secretive business, where a wink is as good as a nod and which operates with scandalous impunity, seemingly without policing or scrutiny or regulation and where mateship translates into dirty deeds done dirt cheap. There appears to be no transparency and public accountability to speak of; to write of.

I have seen legal process and protocol ignored and violated. Goods sold off for a pittance of their value and mates allowed to help themselves. It is looting and plundering of another kind. Not only of possessions, but of our lives, our nesting, our language, our songlines, our deaths, our cultures, our libraries, our middens, our memories, our history.

The destruction and desecration of such things in the Big World are now designated war crimes.

If you do these things to a country, they are defined as international war crimes against humanity. If you do these things to an individual it should also be a crime of war against the individual.

The National Australia Bank has near to the biggest in-house legal unit in this country’s corporate world and possibly the largest legal outsourcing unit.

These guns for hire are the legal equivalent to Blackwater Xx, well rewarded mercenaries prepared to wear legal knuckledusters in and out of court, so that in its various and numerous corporate and sponsorship boxes, NAB executives and their aficionados are able to dispense champagne and favours as the rest of us might discard soiled tissue, without leaving their fingerprints on the crystal flute. They think.

It knows us. With good reason, it thinks it owns Australia and Australians.

The NAB brand sponsors a myriad of sports, community and implicatory organisations, including the National Press Club, Legal and Advocacy groups. Its Logo is a NoGo zone for dissenters and whistleblowers.

It beds angels in its effort to exact innocence by association. Think the Reverend Tim Costello.

It is instinctively vexatious and runs rampant through the Australian Courts, where it enjoys a place of indecent privilege before a mostly compliant judiciary. Overseas, it is a different matter, where it cannot always shop and barter for judges or intimidate Big Media and where the NAB’s prosecutors wear different school ties and do not squat on the same incestuous habitué of corporate Boards and where it has been found guilty of fraud and corruption.

I have found it to be vindictive and to act with malice.

It is a bank at war with its customers.

Little wonder that suicides and mental health issues of their victims are attributed by family members to such conduct.

One can understand the level of despair people feel and I have been forcibly taken to that Nowhere Land and held hostage by my opponents and it is indeed a bleak place.

It is not solely about the money. It rarely is. It is about the injustice and the lies and deceit and the cover-ups, and the ludicrous spectacle of a mocked individual standing up to a corporate behemoth, like the student who stood before the tanks in Tiananmen Square.

Some weeks ago, in our initial article The Victorian Injustice System,

Independent Australia decided to go public about my legal battles against NAB, McKean Park Lawyers and the contrived bankruptcy order against me, procured in my absence through illness and PTSD — triggered by death threats from my very bankruptor (go figure) a McKean Park lawyer, inside the Melbourne Magistrates’ Courts on May 9, 2011.

We decided to shine a light and expose what the NAB and McKean Park were doing and document the journey through the courts — and outside of them, and to report on as many facets as possible.

Since then, we have had dozens of responses from other victims recounting their own personal horrors with the NAB and other banks.

I have never set myself above our readers and spend a great deal of my professional life persuading others to entrust me with their personal stories and evidence. This trust remains a continuing privilege. It is now time for me to entrust to readers, my story and evidence. As our managing editor David Donovan says, what is happening to me, can happen to anyone of us. And does.

At the end of the week that acknowledges International Womens’ Day, it is appropriate to now expose yet another ugly and disgusting abuse of process that could not have taken place without the approval of Court and Police personnel.

It is an outrageous act that is designed to besmirch my character, subject me to public ridicule and infamy and to publicly shame and name me as a violent and dangerous woman.

Last Saturday evening, on March 3, 2012, I played back a gruff message that was left on my answering machine by a male saying the police were outside and to come out because they had an intervention order.

As I was listening to the voice, I was expecting the next sentence to say “put down your weapon and give yourself up and come out with your hands up.”

The caller did not identify himself in any way and nor did he address or cite any name in relation to the intervention order. My first reaction was that it was yet another of the constant harassment calls.

But it frightened me; especially given the death threats and another menacing incident on the previous Saturday night, on January 28, 2012, when I was walking home and I noticed a car had been following me, from a distance. When I got to my street, a man who would not identify himself got out of the car and came towards me and at one stage started chasing me.

Because of the death threats in the court and the ambivalence of the regulatory bodies, judiciary and police, I have been counselled by security personnel to not respond to anyone who did not clearly identify themselves and I have been instructed to avoid putting myself into a vulnerable position and to remove myself from any prospect of physical harm. It goes without saying my own priority at all times is the safety and well-being of those close to me.

The message ended with the male voice saying that the intervention order could be collected from the Northcote police station.

On previous occasions, people pretending to be police have made threats to me, and at various times even left fake police calling cards — with no ID, no names, bogus telephone numbers.

I was also concerned in case the voice belonged to the man who followed me and chased me that previous Saturday night.

Further I knew absolutely unequivocably, of course, that I had not been violent or threatening to anyone. So I thought the whole thing was suss.

However, I attended the police station, taking my camcorder with me because I am making a documentary.

Click on the image to read the full document.

It transpired that the police had misled me. It was not an Intervention Order at all, but an application and summons for an intervention order with a hearing to take place on April 30, 2012 in the Kyneton Magistrates’ Court at 9am, Case No: C10139551.

The documents contain a number of anomalies that call into question its pedigree and the motives of those who initiated it, compiled it, and served it. Here’s why.

I was distressed to read that the listed matter was “PERSONAL SAFETY” and the application and summons was in the name of a STEVEN GRAHAM and that the Kyneton Court had allowed a time of a mere “5 MINS” for the hearing.

The Notice of Hearing page was dated February 27, 2012. It appears that on this same date, the Kyneton Courts faxed the documents to the Northcote Police Station, or someone.

And yet, on another page that stipulates 10 conditions that this Steven Graham is seeking to impose, is another page date, January 17, 2012.

On the first page of the Application, Steven Graham, of Mount Macedon cites he ‘IS THE AFFECTED PERSON’ and in the section where one has to state briefly why an Intervention Order is needed and a brief outline given of each incident including the date and place where it happened is the following:


Please note the sly, deliberate and legal implications of the telling, defamatory and unsubstantiated hearsay words:


It is neatly positioned between the other lies; a snide gossipy remark of the type planted in Court about me, in my absence, by my legal opponents when there was no-one in Court to speak for me, or defend me.

For the record, Steven Graham, I did NOT originate any of the legal action. I am merely vigorously defending myself against them, as is my right.

Amongst the other conditions sought are the following: -

2. ‘………..Prohibited behaviour is assault, sexual assault, harassment, property damage or interference, or making a serious threat.’

4. ‘Publish on the internet, by email or other electronic communication any material about the protected person(s).

9.’……..any firearms authority held by the respondent is suspended. The respondent must hand any firearms in his/her possession to police immediately.’

Disturbingly, not one of the pages is signed by the applicant.

Disturbingly, the issuing Registrar of the Magistrates’ Court has not signed the document either.

In fact, nowhere in this despicable document is there a signature. From anyone.

The document state in capital letters:


Nor is there any Court stamp.

You don’t have to be Phryne Fisher to know that this is a mischievous and shonky document and I am concerned that the police would even serve it.

I have never owned a firearm. What is Steven Graham implying here? If Steven Graham believes I have a firearm and wants me to hand it to the police immediately, why didn’t he seek an emergency order?

Given the date of January 17, 2012 on the page of conditions, why did the Kyneton Police wait until February 27 to send the summons to the Northcote Police, given the threat I apparently pose to Steven Graham?

And why did the Northcote Police wait five days to serve the summons, given the threat I apparently pose to Steven Graham?

In fact, why did it take 46 days from the date on the document marked January 17 for the Police to contact me.

Well, I’ll tell you why. The application and summons by Steven Graham is a futile and facile attempt at a suppression order. It is nothing more than an attempt to suppress freedom of speech. He might as well order me to stop breathing.

Of all the conditions this man seeks to impose, the one that probably offends me most is Number:

‘4. Publish on the internet, by email or other electronic communication any material about the protected person(s).’

It is clearly directed at Independent Australia and myself, no doubt to suppress us from our continuing right to freedom of expression and my right to document and share my experiences with our readers and supporters.

Steven Graham is an auctioneer based in Woodend, Central Victoria.

He asks no questions. Gives no answers.

He is also the man responsible for the home invasion and plundering of my Daylesford home.

More than 2,340 people have already viewed filmmaker Matt Norman’s YouTube video of the residue of Steven Graham’s looting in all its vile indiscriminate cruelty.

It is a travesty that the likes of Steven Graham, who knowingly looted property that he knew was under legal contest, has the temerity to portray me in the way he has on the application and summons.

This man has the temerity to invade my Daylesford home with his workers and strip it of virtually everything, including from under the house, and sheds and garden. He removed renovation fittings, including load bearing verandah posts and ripped out internal load bearing fittings; my entire library; all my office equipment; all my clothes, linen, crockery, paintings, artworks, furniture, antique doors, mower, garden tools, huge Huon pine panel doors, double pine trough, curtains, rugs, food; all my files; all food and preserves; all my Christmas presents, office equipment, family possessions, sentimental mementos and gifts, wrought iron, rose arbores; even my lingerie hanging in the bathroom was taken; even the soaps, my Coco perfume, given to me as gifts by friends; my beautiful koala made from chainsaw art; my corrugated iron cow and Koala; even a metal snake nailed to the old apple tree has been taken, as has the rotunda wrought iron love seat around it. Moroccan clay light fittings were stolen; some brass light fittings were dangerously left half-hanging off the wall. There are holes in the wall where rococo mirrors, and whatever you call the ornate dressers that go under them, have been ripped off their fixtures.

Gone are the copper wood shuttles, tin and clawfoot baths, the pressed metal canopy I have to put back over a window, my old Chinese dinner set from a friend who died from cancer several years ago. Gone are the treasured hand crocheted curtains of angels to go over the church windows, the Darling Italian lady who made them, now dead. My beloved big brass bed, given to me by the now dead Darling Mamie Smith, the Deputy Women’s Editor of the Melbourne Herald. She wanted me to have her bed, she said, because she was moving into a unit and because she knew my family did not have heirlooms because we had twice been completely burnt out by fire. Once by bushfire. And earlier, by human hand in political riots in the Middle East.

Even the half-written Christmas cards are gone, my suitcases are gone and my personal treasured jewellery has been stolen. I use the word ‘stolen’ quite deliberately. And I accept full responsibility for doing so here.

There was nothing inside or outside that cottage that was not loved, or did not have significance in the lives of others I love and whose memories I cherish.

My property and my possessions were taken illegally.

I want everything returned. Everything.

Initially I knew nothing about my property and possessions being desecrated and stolen. I was ill at the time and in Melbourne and under medical treatment and medication. The NAB and McKean Park knew all of that, and so would the Bankruptcy Trustee appointed by McKean Park.

Unbeknown to me, there were preposterous notices on the door and windows saying that the goods were abandoned. As if.

How could the NAB and McKean Park and the Trustee say that? Why would they say that?

This was an operation carried out in stealth. Concerned friends and neighbours approached Steven Graham in my absence to enquire about what he was doing and they told me he was rude to them and refused to discuss matters with them and ordered them off my property.

Friends say my things were virtually chucked into a cattle truck; yes, a cattle truck, and thrown in unwrapped. They could hear crockery and glassware smashing. At one stage, a fork lift scooped up my things and shoved them into a truck.

Friends and neighbours have come to me in tears — feeling that they let me down because they were not able to persuade Steven Graham to stop plundering.

Federal Law stipulates my legal rights. I was accorded not a single one in these disgusting raids.

Tess Lawrence in front of her "love letter" to historic Islay House

Steven Graham cannot plead that he was ignorant of the facts. He was told by several police officers. Moreover, Woodend Real Estate Agent, John Keating confirmed to me that he had telephoned Steven Graham on my behalf and told him that I had applications and hearing dates both in the Federal Court and Court of Appeal and that all matters were in legal contest.

Moreover, a notice stipulating this had been placed on the gate at Daylesford.

Further, John Keating admitted he had engaged Steven Graham to strip Islay House at Woodend of my possessions. I instructed John Keating to inform Steven Graham that he was to immediately return all my possessions, given that the matter was still in legal contest, and given the hearing dates. I have yet to see inside Islay House to see what has been stolen. Once again, there is a preposterous notice on a window saying the goods have been deemed abandoned.

John Keating admitted to me that he had never been informed by the NAB, McKean Park, or the Bankruptcy Trustee that hearing dates were in place and he said that the first time he knew of it was when I told him.

But then, John Keating did not bother telling me that he had been engaged to sell Islay House, or that he had a board up. So I left a Love Letter on the facade of Islay House and made it an affidavit writ on stone to the Court of Public Opinion and the NAB and McKean Park.

I do not know if Steven Graham has yet returned my possessions to Islay House, but from the wording of his dodgy application and the reference to ‘OUR ON SITE AUCTION/CLEARING SITE’ on January 15, 2012, he is obviously unaware of certain admissions and undertakings made on his behalf in the presence of a police officer and myself, by his offsider, David.

I had a tipoff by someone who knows Steven Graham, but who was distressed at what he had done with my possessions, who said that some of my personal property was being sold at a Clearing Sale on a property on the aptly named Trickey’s Lane, Drummond, not far from Daylesford.

So I went there with a couple of girlfriends and we looked around and indeed there were a number of items we identified from Daylesford in the sale. In fact, a number of items actually had the name ‘Tess’ on them.



Vendor lot numbers being auctioned, many with the name 'Tess' next to them were denied by the auctioneer to be Tess Lawrence's property, even despite a signed undertaking by his employee "David" that can be seen here, which was also countersigned by the police." [Click on image to see full size.

I was sick in the stomach, and just could not believe such underhand conduct, given that Steven Graham was told of the hearing dates.


I felt I had no choice but to stand up before the crowd and introduce myself. I said words to the effect that my possessions had been illegally taken from my property at Daylesford and that I had identified some of them for sale by auction and that, as such, I deemed the goods to be stolen property and regarded anyone selling or buying such goods to be dealing in stolen property.

The auctioneer may or may not have been Steven Graham. I do not know what Steven Graham looks like and I was so nervous that I can’t even remember what the auctioneer looked like.

The auctioneer denied my claims that there were any of my goods in the sale, but I knew he was lying. Some of the curtains I had made myself and would have had my DNA all over the eyelets. Things like the Koran stand and a meat safe from Tassie were quite unique. There was no question they were mine.

A man called David, who said he had worked with Steven Graham for years, and who admitted he was one of the men responsible for stripping Dayleford of my possession, actually apologised and asked me to take him to those goods I identified as mine. He conceded to me that they were indeed mine.

The police had been called and the Graham people wanted me to leave the auction site and to go up and meet them. I said I would speak with the police, but in the company of the people, and not apart from them.

The owner of the property appeared by my side and she was understandably distressed because she had been misled by one of the women working for the auctioneer who told her I had said she’d stolen my property. Of course, this was quite wrong. I said nothing of the sort and I explained the situation and thankfully, David backed me up.

As it transpired, the owner of the property was very sympathetic and in fact insisted I stay as long as I liked.

I have consulted several auctioneers who have confirmed that it is quite wrong to knowingly insert goods into a private sale on a private property, when the ownership and provenance of those goods are in legal or other doubt. At all times, permission to place other goods in a sale should be sought from the owner/seller.

The owner told me she had no idea that those items were mine, or that there were any items in dispute. One wonders how often this happens in clearing sales, perhaps in an effort to pass off and scatter goods.

The property owner should never have been put in such a position by a licenced auctioneer. Or anyone for that matter. Given that Jenny, the property owner, is a former policewoman, she immediately grasped the ramifications of disposing of goods in this way.

I asked David for a list of my things. There were other things that he said were not mine, but which I believe were, including vases in ocelot print.

It took some time for the list to be brought to myself and Officer Sheridan. It is worth noting that from an initial standing position of denial, the printout we received actually has the words ‘ESTATE OF THE BANKRUPT TE’ on the top. And that differs entirely to the Clearing Sale catalogue.

Some of my goods had already been sold and David undertook to recover them.

David informed me that the rest of my possessions were in their warehouse and undertook that they would not be sold until all legal matters had concluded and said I could come down and inspect them.

David, Officer Sheridan and myself all signed the list of my possessions and I wrote a note on it as well attesting that I believed these to be my personal property, and that given I am under duress it is possible that other of my personal possessions are in the sale.

In his application, Steven Graham says I have been to his business premises and videotaped some contents.

This is a categorical lie.

As for any impact the Trickey’s Road ‘incident’, as he calls it, may have had on his business reputation, I think Steven Graham has been able to do that all by himself without any help from me.


Early this morning, Tess Lawrence went onto the Steve Graham Auctioneer website and clicked onto the photo catalogue for sale this Sunday and has now identified dozens of her personal items for auction.

This is a breach of undertakings made to her by David, of Steve Graham Auctioneers, who described himself as Steven Graham’s right hand man. These undertakings were also made in the presence of Police Officer R. Sheridan on January 15, 2012. These undertakings included not selling any of Tess Lawrence’s possessions until all litigation was completed.

Further, Tess Lawrence now serves public notice on Steve Graham, of Steve Graham Auctioneer, that on February 24, 2012, in the Court of Appeal, their Honours Justices Kyrou and Nettle

adjourned the case sine dei to give Tess Lawrence the opportunity to appeal particular matters in the Federal Court. Her oral submissions to the Court of Appeal included serious matters involving abuse of process pertaining to the nature and procurement of the bankruptcy and sequestration. Further, members of Victoria Police, as well as Woodend based Real Estate Agent John Keating have all conveyed to Steven Graham on her behalf that appellant processes are still afoot.

(The opinions expressed in Dirty Deeds Done Cheap are mine alone and I accept full and sole responsibility for them ~ Tess Lawrence.)

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Australia License

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