Chapter 20 – Tim Mullaly and Gervase Green mislead the media

Introduction

Louise Macaulay was not the only ASIC executive to deceive people about Dover’s closure. It started with Tim Mullaly and was spread far and wide by Gervase Green.

Tim started it with his e-mail of 9 June 2018 to Angela Friend in ASIC’s Media Unit. Tim says  tell journalists “…something along the lines of … Dover and Mr McMaster had advised ASIC that Dover will cease providing financial services…”.

Tim left out the bit about this not being Dover’s choice. If Dover did not close ASIC would close Dover, as his FSE staff threatened in the 1 June 2018 meeting and their letter dated 5 June 2018.

Tim did not mention:

  1. ASIC wanted to shut Dover in 2016.
  2. the threatening notices ASIC served on Dover advising in effect ASIC would cancel its licence on 14 June 2018 without notice to advisers.
  3. Dover instead asked for a voluntary closure with 4 months for advisers to find a new AFSL.
  4. the 1 June 2018 meeting, and ASIC’s ultimatem to Dover to close
  5. the 5 June 2018 letter from ASIC’s in-house lawyers stating it was not Dover’s decision to close and asserting it was ASIC’s decision that Dover close.

Tim said it was all Dover’s doing. Tim blamed Dover 100%. Everyone else at ASIC followed Tim’s instructions. This broadcast and amplified Tim’s deceptive conduct. It was what Daniel Crennan would call dirty pool. They all repeated it. Tim Mullaly, Peter Kell, Louise Macaulay, Joanna Bird, Glenn Childs, James McAllister-Harris, Matthew Abbott, Gervase Greene, Angela Friend and many others. It was ASIC’s policy, if asked, to say “…something along the lines that …Dover and McMaster have advised (ASIC) …  that Dover will case providing financial services”[1].

An FOI request made on 12 February 2018 confirms at on Saturday 9 June 2018 Tim Mullaly, head of ASIC’s Financial Enforcement Service, gave Gervase Greene and other ASIC executives false information about the circumstances of Dover’s closure. Tim approved the 5 June 2018 letter just four days earlier. This letter confirms it was not Dover’s decision to close. It was ASIC’s decision for Dover to close. So Tim knew what he was doing.

This is Tim Mullaly’s 9 June 2018 e-mail, informatively juxtoposed to the 5 June 2018 letter Tim approved just a few days earlier. ASIC’s 5 June 2018 letter confirms the agreement reached between ASIC and Dover on 1 June 2018. It says its ASIC’s decision to close Dover.

Why is Tim Mullaly’s email misleading and deceptive?

Tim is the ASIC executive in charge of ASIC’s Financial Enforcement unit. Tim is qualified in law and accounting. Tim has been employed by ASIC for more than 20 years. Tim is very experienced: just one many achievements is his on-going quest to get the big banks to stop charging fees for no service[2].

Tim was fully informed of the consequences of his actions and statements. Tim knew the unprecedented closure of one of Australia’s largest AFSLs would make all the newspapers. Front page. Indeed his staff warned him of this just a few days earlier.

Tim is writing to other senior ASIC executives, his peers. They too are fully inforned of the consequences of their statements. They knew the media would turn on Terry, as would the 410 Dover advisers. They knew their false and misleading statements would have severe adverse consequences and create bad publicity for Terry and Dover. Conversely, they knew if ASIC did not blame Terry ASIC would suffer that bad publicity.

Tim deliberately made misleading and deceptive public statements about the circumstances of Dover’s closure. He did this to divert bad publicity from ASIC to Dover. To help hide the fact ASIC had been covertly conspiring to close Dover for years. Tim’s colleagues, senior ASIC executives knew he was being deceptive but nevertheless went along with him.

The ASIC media team, supported by senior executives, went on a misleading media bender, telling all tall tales to the journalists of Australia and other key influencers.

These tall tales went so far as Joanna Bird reassuring Phillip Kewin, the CEO of the Association of Financial Advisers, the closure of Dover was: “… completely Terry McMaster’s orchestration and not merely a reaction to directions from ASIC[3]”.

In other words, Joanna misled the AFA. She did this to block an AFA intervention seeking extra time for the Dover advisers to find a new AFSL. That’s dirty pool. That’s a clear breach of the standard of behaviour expected of a senior ASIC executive.

What is the evidence to support these assertions?

This evidence is the ASIC e-mails received by Dover in April 2019 pursuant to an FOI request in February 2019[4]. A picture, or an FOI document, can be worth a thousand words. Many of these e-mails are redacted: one wonders what the redated sections say?

 

Joanna Bird[5] misled and deceived the Philip Kewin the closure of Dover was “completely Terry McMaster’s orchestration and not merely a reaction to directions from ASIC” when she knew it was not, and that ASIC had been trying to close Dover since 2016.

This was done to head off an attempt by the AFA to get extra time for Dover advisers to find a new AFSL, after Louie Macaulay cut it to just 4 weeks (see Gervaise Green e-mail dated 11 June 2018, as reproduced below. This means Joanna’s conduct was particularly damaging for Dover advisers and their clients. About 100 advisers did not find a new AFSL by 8 July 2018.

Obviously Gervase Green ASIC’s National Media Manager, knew the truth. But this did not bother him.

“Propaganda is making puppets of us. We are moved by hidden strings which the propagandist manipulates.”[6]

When ASIC’s lies were exposed in August 2018 Gervase had nothing further to add

 

[1] As per Tim Mullaly’s email dated 9 June 2018 to Angela Friend in ASIC’s media unit, reproduced above

[2] Tim has been trying to do this for more than five years now. One day he will succed. So its fair to say Tim is an experienced and persistent senior ASIC executive.

 

[3] See Phillip Kewin’s email to Joanna Bird, which also involved Leah Sciacca (the joint author of the three misleading and deceptive ASIC papers discussed in the preceding chapters) Louse Macauley,

[4] ASIC’s response to the 12 February 2019 request is incomplete and Dover has requested a review

[5] Joanna Bird shares top responsibility for ASIC’s Financial Services Unit with Louise Macaulay and was previously an Associate Professor at Sydney Law School, where she was presumably well trained in ethics and corporate morality and was an officer of the court.

[6] Martin, Everett Dean, Are We Victims of Propaganda, Our Invisible Masters: A Debate with Edward Bernays, The Forum, pp. 142–150, March 1929 (1929)

The Dover Group