FAMILY LAW: by Colin H. JoryNews Weekly
Australian man's eight-year battle against paternity fraud
, February 1, 2014
The basic story of Liam Magill and the paternity fraud of which he was, and is, a victim is already quite well-known, locally and internationally, as two minutes of Googling on the Internet will show.
It is the story of a member of the agreed loser-class, the class comprising perhaps 95 per cent of men and 80 per cent of women, who refused to accept his predestined role in life as a member of that class, which is simply to lie down and lose. Who agrees on the membership and role of the loser class? Why, the people who matter, of course — the sage nodders in the political parties and parliaments, in the legal community, in the media, and in the churches (especially the churches’ fatuous “social justice” committees).
Liam Magill and Cheryl King.
The sage nodders know and accept that government and all the power and influence which flow from it are in reality predation spoils for sharing out among franchised predation groups — franchised by one another, like Mafia families — with the prey being the loser class and their children.
When a member of the loser class like Liam Magill kicks and screams because of some monstrous injustice resulting from the impact of laws, or procedures, or “social welfare” bodies, instituted for the benefit of some powerful group with a predation franchise, such as the feminists, the sage nodders listen with grave demeanour and nod sagely. They do so to signal that they sympathise with the plight of all pathetic losers, but have an elevated Olympian perspective from which they can see that higher policies and higher considerations dictate that lose they must.
Paradoxically, what makes Days of Tempest: The Liam Magill Story impressive is what should make it by normal editorial criteria unimpressive, namely, its artlessness.
If it were a school essay it would be evaluated as a C+, but might be awarded a B- to encourage the student to keep trying. Structurally it is a shambles, with the key facts of Liam’s story popping up here and there more-or-less at random — and some not popping up at all, or being under-explained, so that resort must be had to the Internet and Google to fill the gaps.
Yet in the human heart and mind the things that matter most and give our individual lives their overall flavour — memories good and bad, feelings, hopes, dreams — swim around and interact in a random, disorganised kind of way, and for this reason Liam’s story rings humanly true. One feels as he feels, sees as he sees, and experiences what it is like being the victim of the injustices he has suffered. The writing style helps: it is simple, crystal clear, honest. Above all the book is honest — to a fault. What Liam and his helpers know, or have heard, or suspect, they tell with disarming and legally very risky candour.
The book is authored unobtrusively by an American professional writer, Lea Anna Cooper, who owns the copyright and I presume is connected with the printers, Outskirts Press, a reputable Colorado printing business which specialises in facilitating private publishing.
Liam’s story occupies only the first third of the book, and is told partly by straight narrative, partly by reported interviews. The remaining two-thirds is occupied by the transcript of the 2002 hearings before Judge John Hanlon of the Victorian County Court, which resulted in the initial legal judgment which has made the Magill vs Magill case famous.
Much space is given to the testimony of Liam’s partner, Cheryl King, who has given him unstinting support. Very generous assistance has also been given to Liam by Vivien Mavropoulos, a Melbourne suburban solicitor who had been a mother at 14 and was divorced by 18, and who took on his case when no major law firm and no other solicitors would touch it; and by Father Abbott, a Catholic priest with whom Liam, who is not a Catholic, had been friends since the 1970s. Others also gave him generous support.
Here are the basic facts. On April 9, 1988, his 38th birthday, Liam, a low-level federal public servant, married Meredith, 22, in an outdoor Uniting Church ceremony, after having had sex with her for a year. Liam had not previously been married nor had lived in sexual cohabitation, whereas Meredith had lived in sexual cohabitation.
Almost exactly a year after the wedding, on April 7, 1989, a son, Arlen, was born to them. By, at latest, five months later Meredith had begun an affair. On July 30, 1990, a second son, Heath, was born to Meredith, who allowed Liam to think he was the father. On November 27, 1991, a daughter, Bonnie, was born to Meredith, who again allowed Liam to think he was the father.
In November 1992 Meredith peremptorily announced to Liam that she was unhappy in the marriage and was leaving it, which she thereupon did, taking the children. She immediately applied to the federal government’s Child Support Agency to extract child support from Liam for all three children, claiming he was the father of them all; and the CSA obliged. In 1995, after chancing to find evidence that one or more of the children might not be his, Liam applied to the Family Court for DNA testing. The Court dragged the chain for five years, and it was only in 2000 that his request was granted. The tests showed that the two younger of the three children were not his.
Liam then petitioned the Victorian County Court that Meredith be ordered to compensate him monetarily for specified economic losses and more general damages which he contended he had suffered because of her deceit. He was successful, with Judge John Hanlon awarding him $70,000.
An important relevant factor is that Liam did not appeal for back-payment from Meredith or the CSA for the child support payments he had made since November 1992 on behalf of the two children who were not his. This was because he had fallen into arrears in his payments for the three children in 1996-97, and the amount he still owed was approximately the same as the amount he had been deceived into paying on behalf of the two.
Meredith, backed by the feminists, appealed against the decision to the Victorian Supreme Court acting as a Court of Appeal. She was successful, and in March 2005 Judge Hanlon’s decision was overturned. The Appeals Court accepted that Liam had been deceived regarding the paternity of the younger two children, either knowingly or with reckless disregard for the truth, but ruled that this of itself did not constitute legally actionable deceit, for which remedy or relief could be awarded by a court; and that he had not proved that the troubles for which he was seeking damages sprang from any actionable deceit by Meredith.
It opined that the troubles in question resulted not from her deception, but from his discovery of the facts which she had deceitfully concealed — her adultery, and the paternity of the two younger children. Although this judicial opinion could be interpreted as implying that he caused his own troubles by having the DNA testing done, in my view it was not an unreasonable interpretation of the law. Certainly Liam’s child support payments for the two children were a consequence of the deceit, and he should have been entitled to restitution of these from Meredith, but as I have said he did not seek restitution of these payments.
Liam appealed to the High Court of Australia, but on November 9, 2006, his appeal was rejected. Although the bench was divided three to three on one point of law, the rejection was unanimous. The bench endorsed the Victorian Appeals Court’s judgment. It ruled that there can be a tort — that is, a law-recognised wrong, for which a court can give remedy or relief — of deceit in relation to paternity; but that in Liam’s case no such tort had been established.
It noted that a failure to disclose truth does not necessarily constitute deceit, although in some circumstances it can; and that Liam had not proved that Meredith’s non-disclosure constituted deceit, or at least deceit of a legally actionable kind. It pointed out that a partner in a marriage is under no obligation in law to inform the other partner of an infidelity; and, noting the importance which the Family Law Act attaches to preserving marital stability (don’t laugh!), the bench suggested that such non-disclosure might sometimes be preferable to disclosure from a legal standpoint.
It pointed out that under the Family Law Act, a partner’s adultery is not an offence at law, and so the courts cannot provide remedy or relief for any harmful effects the other partner might suffer from discovering the adultery (although Liam’s counsel had not contended otherwise). Liam was ordered to pay the Child Support Agency’s legal costs. He was financially destroyed.
Liam has suffered searing misfortunes and injustices of multiple kinds, and many morals might be drawn from his story. One can start with the moral universe to which both he and Meredith belonged. Both felt unbound by much of “traditional sexual morality” — seemingly neither can see anything amiss in sex or sexual relationships before marriage, or contraception, or abortion (although there is no suggestion in the book that Meredith had an abortion).
Meredith, however, felt unbound by more of traditional sexual morality than Liam felt unbound by, most notably by the traditional anathema on adultery by the married — and Liam did not have a sufficiently sensitive moral radar to pick up the warning signs until it was too late. That is not to say the two are morally on a par: by all indications Liam is far the more decent human being. On the positive side, it is inspiring not merely that Liam persisted so long and valiantly in a Jack-versus-the-Giant contest over justice (although, as Cheryl notes, the Giant won!), but that people such as Cheryl, Vivien Mavropoulos, Father Abbott, and others, came selflessly to his aid and stuck by him, purely from devotion to justice and decency.
A point which must be made in Meredith’s favour is that there are routine atrocities perpetrated with total impunity by women against husbands and male partners which she did not inflict on Liam. In Victoria and the ACT, and I presume everywhere else in Australia, any woman has the automatic right to have a husband or male partner evicted from their home by the police without a court hearing, and banned from approaching the home or her or any of their children, merely by alleging “family violence”, defined as being physical, psychological or emotional. (“I feel threatened — he shouted back!”).
Meredith did not exercise this prerogative. Nor, apparently, did she exercise Australian women’s legal prerogative to have a husband or male partner banned from seeing their children by alleging that he would create an “abusive environment”, or to have him banned from seeing them except under supervision. These are “women’s rights” which are derived from the principle, which no politician dares question unless in whispers, that “a woman has a right to be believed”, one of the “rights” enshrined in the feminist rubber-stamp laws.
These laws are ones which the feminists draft and the LabLib (or LibLab) federal, state and territory parliamentarians automatically rubber-stamp into law without debate, for fear that otherwise they will be branded “soft” on domestic violence, or on women’s and children’s safety. In short, Liam could have suffered even greater injustices, except that Meredith did not inflict them on him. Could this have been because of some hidden sweetness of her nature? Or could it have been simply because, at the time of the marriage break-up, the Victorian and federal LibLabs had not yet passed without debate the relevant feminist rubber-stamp laws?
Liam did, however, suffer grievously from the power and influence of the feminists in other ways. Like numerous other fathers, he was treated atrociously by the Child Support Agency, a feminist preserve established in 1988 at the instigation of the federal Office of the Status of Women to impose and enforce maximum financial exactions on non-custodial fathers. Not only are their wages routinely garnisheed, but if they have no or little income, the CSA will deem them to owe their ex-wives or ex-partners a massive proportion of what it decides is the income they could have earned if they had been optimally employed.
The CSA did Liam over well and truly. After the break-up he had to cash in $40,000 of his superannuation to pay Meredith by way of a financial settlement, in lieu of selling his house, so the CSA cutely decided to add this sum to his wage for the year, then calculate his ongoing child-support payments as a proportion of this total sum. It took him years to have this outrage ended, and in the meantime he had to survive on $132 per week — less than the dole!
Now, the CSA could have billed Meredith, or her and her younger two children’s father, for the money Liam had paid in child support for the two; but the CSA informed Liam in writing that it had no intention of doing so. Why? Because, it alleged, of the financial hardship for the children which could result! Why, then, did it not merely defer the requirement to pay until the children reached 18, and, if the debt was still not paid, have it remain as a debt recoverable with interest from Meredith’s property or her estate? This, after all, is what it always does with men. Liam provides the answer: the CSA notoriously has an unofficial policy of never policing child-support debts owed by women.
Even worse, however, was victimisation of Liam by the Victorian Women’s Legal Aid Service, and through it by the federal and Victorian governments which together provide its entire funding. The service retained the top legal firm of Clayton-Utz to run Meredith’s case, and so the costs must have run into hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The service has a mandate, first, to give free legal assistance to women experiencing “relationships breakdown”; and, second, to “initiate and participate in law reform activities” — which is to say, to draft feminist-agenda laws for the Victorian LibLab/LabLib government (or that and the Commonwealth government) to rubber-stamp. Liam, for his part, was flatly denied any government legal aid whatsoever.
This means that both the federal government and the Victorian government, through the agency of the Victorian Women’s Legal Service, gave partisan, exclusive financial support to Meredith in the legal dispute between her and Liam, purely on the grounds that she is female and he is male. He was the victim, and she the beneficiary, of explicit, institutionalised, active, automatic discrimination by both governments against men in Victoria engaged in relationships disputes with wives or female partners.
Worst of all is the fact that both governments have grafted this grotesquely biased feminist quango into the very structure of government in Victoria, giving it a permanent franchise to advise the Victorian government, of whatever political hue, and the government bureaucracy, on issues pertaining to women. Given that the feminists loathe natural women even more than they despise men (witness their savage determination to persecute all mothers out of the home and into the paid workforce), this is institutionalised governmental discrimination against all wholesome men, women and children in Victoria, and against all institutions in society supportive of wholesomeness.
Thus, at the root of the injustices suffered by Liam Magill is a corporate state political order entirely accepted but never acknowledged by the major political parties. Under this prevailing political order, anything resembling democratic process is a charade to opiate the loser masses — the great majority of Australians — while the decisions affecting them most deeply are decided by predation deals between the franchised predation groups, of which the feminists are the most powerful, and the two major political parties contentedly less powerful ones.
The feminists have been accorded by the Liberals and Labor alike hieratic — that is, priest-like — status to guide social policy in this country, which they have been doing with colossal destructiveness for almost half-a-century. Liam’s story is further appalling evidence that we live not in a democracy but in a corporate-state predocracy.
Can anything be done about this situation? My assessment is that the whole mega-evil predation scam could be destroyed in months if the minor, Christian-inspired political parties made destroying it their major plank, and set out seriously to gain power, starting perhaps with power within a coalition. Above all, I would recommend to those parties that they pledge that every Australian who has suffered injustice because of anti-Westminster laws which strip citizens of the traditional protections of British law, and which fund and empower the feminists and other predation groups to enforce their hatreds and their malignant agendas, will be compensated — even if it necessitates (as it will) large bureaucracies to process the vast number of legitimate complaints which will be received, and even if it cripples the Commonwealth and the states financially for a decade.
After all, why should bishops have to pay compensation for evils done by their clergy, yet governments be immune from compensating the victims of statutes they have enacted which are manifestly laws against humanity, aimed against the most fundamental rights in natural justice of citizens?
For, especially, Liam Magill and the countless others who have suffered kindred evils as a result of feminist-agenda laws, feminist-controlled government agencies, and feminist non-government agencies subsidised or empowered by governments, the rallying cry should be, Compensation for Violation!
Colin H. Jory, PhD, is a Canberra schoolteacher, historian, Shakespeare scholar and social analyst.