By Leanne Mason

The Managing Director of Westpac, Stuart Fowler, had told lies, Independent MLA, Michael Moore told the ACT Legislative Assembly last night.

“Mr. Fowler is living up to his reputation in lying to the Courts, to Parliament”, he said.

His minions act entirely without ?: conscience, bullying witnesses, gagging, attempting to gag the Senate: and political interference.”

Mr. Moore told the Assembly....”about a Federal Court case, Australian Bank Employees’ Union v Westpac Banking Corporation.  It was about the “dismissal of the manager of Westpac’s Kingaroy branch in Queensland following an incident involving the Premier of Queensland, Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen”.

“The incident was related to a payment of $400,000 from the Bond Corporation to Sir Joh that subsequently leaked to the press.

“The manager of the branch, Mr. Nuttall was sacked by the Chief General Manager, Mr. Stuart Fowler – Mr. Fowler has since been promoted to Managing Director of Westpac.”

Mr. Moore quoted from the case.  “Justice Keely said that “I have come to the firm conclusion that Mr. Fowler gave a number of untruthful answers, which were intended to mislead the court; I say reluctantly because it is a conclusion rarely expressed by me as to any witness.

“Further, in a significant number of instances, he did not give frank answers to the questions asked.  “Specifically, I reject as untrue each of his statements of evidence.”

Mr. Moore went on, “Mr. Fowler was in charge of the foreign loans at Westpac during the period in which, shall we say, the bank was negligent and incompetent, but we now know includes the theft of clients’ money and tax evasion”.

“Mr. Fowler, now as managing director, is seeking to cover up the past, issuing a media release which states that tax reasons were not relevant to the bank’s Singapore operations.

“Mr. Speaker, this is a blatent lie – Westpac’s own internal documents prove that the press release was untrue – I further note that the press release specifically omitted reference about Westpac’s legal advisers, Allen Allen and Hemsley; being raided by the Australian Taxation Office for the involvement in tax evasion”.

Mr. Fowler had been living up to his reputation of lying but despite this, the ACT Legislative Assembly had chosen to protect the bank under the “rubric of sub-judice......despite the bank having had a key witness be tailed by private detectives at high speeds ad illegal phone taps and turned the legal systems into a mockery”.

“Westpac’s legal advisers selectively claim pious sentiments,” Mr. Moore said.  “Westpac’s only goal is to cover up the truth – sub judice is simply a convenient tool.

“Had these papers not been released, then he would have commenced further action to make it sub judice again, using both the Assembly and the courts in the most cynical way in furthering their conspiracy with their lawyers to pervert the course of justice.”

Mr. Moore referred to a number of advertisements Westpac had placed in various magazines in the mid-1980’s.  He said they had an unfortunate irony given the subsequent disclosure of the Westpac loans affair.

He said advertisements and statements by Westpac seemed inconsistent with documents from Westpac’s lawyers (Allen Allen and Hemsley) which he had been seeking to table in the Assembly.