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25 November, 2003  

Madge Marsden’s 13 malignant nodes, all with names … Victoria’s silk vacuum … Freehills in massive brawl over peat

Health notes

imageThe latest health bulletin issued by the cancerous John Marsden reveals for the startled readers on his e-mail distribution list that he has 13 “malignant nodes” in his body.

“The treatment I am having will kill them, dead, and get rid of them out of my system and they will die a painful death, being poisoned by whatever treatment I have.”

Madge thought his readers would be interested to know that he has given names to the cancerous nodes, “because when they are destroyed it means that I can have fun destroying the names”. They are called:

1. Kerry Stokes.
2. Jim Wood
3. Paddy Bergen (sic)
4. Bruce Barbour (Ombudsman)
5. John Howard
6. George Bush
7. Robert Magabi (sic)
8. Tony Blair
9. George Pell
10. McCormack
11. Olive
12. Stitt
13. Nicholas

If a couple more nodes develop their likely names will be Malleson and Reynolds.

“It is fun being able to do that, to kill those things with their special names,” said the distressed Campbelltown solicitor.

Life with Madge

imageThose anxiously holding out for copies of the forthcoming Madge Marsden biography, which has the rather terrifying title of, I Am What I Am, will be grateful for this update (an unfortunate word, you’ll agree).

There was considerable disappointment that the tome didn’t show six or eight months ago and now I’m told that there’s no chance it will be available for Christmas stockings. It’ll be April or May 2004 at the earliest before Penguin gets around to putting the rollicking romp on bookshelves around the country.

And the reason for the hitch? According to a worm within Penguin the ghost-writer Martin “Chuckles” Chulov didn’t always see eye to eye with the subject of the biography on the interpretation of various events and the extent to which the rest of the universe revolved round the hero of Campbelltown.

Chuckles has withdrawn from any writing and his name won’t be on the cover, although he’s still retained by the publisher to “restructure” some of the remaining author’s words, notes and rants. The enterprise has changed from biography to autobiography.

Since Madge has trouble expressing himself in anything approaching succinct or coherent English, the person with the “restructuring” job is in for a devil of a time.

Ginger’s stats

imageI’m over the moon to see that among the persons of the female persuasion anointed SC in Victoria is none other that Michelle M. Gordon (right), otherwise known as Mrs Kenneth Hayne.

Also, can I run past you some statistical information prepared by Ms Ginger Snatch, my research assistant?

The 15 new “male” nylons in Yarraside have between them an average of 23 years post admission experience and 19 years in the saddle as counsel.

Of the six new “female” polyesters there is an average of 15 years post admission experience and 13 years as a member of counsel.

It is still very much unresolved what is to happen on the silk front now that the Vicar of Bracken’s government has deserted the arena.

At the moment there is no system in place that can guide the eager on how to clamber aboard the bandwagon for next year’s elevation. This has created a serious vacuum in the machinery of justice.

The Victorian Bar and Lounge is in such a state it doesn’t know what to do. Most of the inner sanctum think the Chief Justice should continue to have a big say in who should be swathed in nylon vestments, while a few of the bolder types think the Lounge Council should run the whole thing.

What with so much uncertainty abroad it is a wonder people can concentrate on their work.

For peat’s sake

Only three or four weeks left in the numbingly long-winded trial of Roach v Freehills before Hal Sperling J.

Already there’s been 12 weeks of hearings in the NSW Supreme Court with the meter running at between $40,000 to $50,000 a day.

Ted Roach, an engineer and technology incubator, is suing because when he asked Freehills in 1988 whether peat was a mineral, he was advised that it was not. The law firm thought peat was related to stone.

Consequently, Roach and his companies didn’t bother to apply for a mining licence under the Mines Act. However, peat had been gazetted as a mineral in 1982 and so Roach’s investment of $2.5 million in the Swan Marsh peat deposit and future earnings of anticipated hundreds of millions of dollars went down the drain because someone else was granted the mining licence.

Apparently, the “research” on this question was done by an articled clerk in the Melbourne office of Freehills.

Closing submissions are on the way after the parties have finalised documentation, including material from Melbourne Mushrooms (now Chiquita Mushrooms) on its use of the quality black sedge peat.

Allens is acting for Freehills and has Tony Meagher leading its pack of briefs. Steven Rares and Andrew Bell are doing the mouth-work and written submissions for Roach. The plaintiff’s hefty funding is coming from Justice Corp, nowadays known as Commercial Litigation Funding Pty Ltd, an enterprise in which Rene Rivkin, he of the blotted copybook, has a large stake.

CLF is believed to have joint ventured the case with Sydney spiv Rodney Adler.

The last time the Rivkin backed litigation funder ploughed money into a professional negligence action was against Clutz. Funnily, it was funding another miner, but the whole thing went pear shaped when the Full Federal Court allowed the plaintiff damages of $20, which was a bit less than Rene had in mind.

Worse still, the court said Justice Corp had to cough up the costs.

Let’s hope after four months in the Supreme Court wrangling over the meaning and value of peat the funder is not stranded in another pitiful bog.