More than a Fraud – A Compelling Story

The fraud associated with one of Australia’s oldest superannuation funds is not just a legal matter, it is a compelling story that is very newsworthy for many reasons.

Some of these reasons are as follows:

Any compelling story involves clearly delineated “heroes” and “villains”. There should be no ambiguity as to could they be really villains.

The Villains

The “villains” in this saga were already the subject of three major investigations by the former National Crime Authority (NCA), and one of these is a discharged bankrupt, whilst another served a term of imprisonment for dishonesty. Another “villain” was one of the subjects of a Royal Commission.

A former Chairman of the “Regulator” ASIC and his acolytes are also “villains” in this saga.

The Heroes

The first hero is Sir John Downer who drafted the original Trust Deed that has been criminally concealed for so many years.

Sir John Downer was a former Attorney-General of South Australia who became a twice elected Premier and then co-drafted the Australian Constitution.

The next hero is Sir Robert Menzies who when he was the Attorney-General of Victoria appeared before the High Court of Australia in a pension fund case that confirmed a important principle of trust law, that being, if a purported Deed of Variation reduces the entitlements of members of the fund that purported Deed of Variation is void and ineffective under the equitable doctrine of a “Fraud on a Power”.

There have also been a number of Attorneys-General of South Australia who have acted to protect the welfare of the beneficiaries of one of Australia’s oldest occupational pension funds, namely the Hon Colin Rowe MLC, the the Hon Len King MP and the Hon John Rau MP, the incumbent Attorney_General.

The Crime

The crime should be sufficiently heinous but not too difficult to understand.

Robbing widows of their survivorship pensions fits the bill.

To prove the fraud all one has to do is count the number of Directors’ signatures that appear on a document signed by a convicted felon. Now that is not too difficult is it?”

A Media Connection

It is also helpful if there is a media connection that will add to the interest of journalists who might cover the story.

The Robert Maxwell Pensions Scandal in the United Kingdom involved the pension funds of the Mirror Newspaper Group. Robert Maxwell was an arch rival to Rupert Murdock


There is also a media connection in this saga since two Trustees of the Fund were also former Chairmen of the publisher of The Advertiser in Adelaide. The Advertiser is a News Corp publication. This was during a period when the Fund was administered honestly and lawfully and in the best interests of the Members and Beneficiaries.

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