Channel 7’s Ryan Stokes thrown under a bus for corruption as Chair of the National Library

After a long battle I now have documents that show Seven Group CEO Ryan Stokes lying, deceiving and acting corruptly as Chairman of the National Library of Australia (NLA) for the benefit of his father Kerry Stokes. The documents also show the Library’s CEO, Director-General Anne-Marie Schwirtlich, throwing Ryan Stokes under a bus. Although she has since acted in a corrupt and criminal manner trying to protect him.

The documents also show Kerry Stokes threatening defamation proceedings against the National Library and getting special treatment because of the “importance” of his “relationship” with the Library. That is clear admission by the Library that money talks and that alone says there needs to be a senate inquiry at least, if not a criminal investigation.

What is probably more damaging than the FOI documents is a dodgy letter that Director-General Anne-Marie Schwirtlich wrote trying to justify her and the library’s actions. Schwirtlich says the Library took the action it did because of court proceedings and a court ordered suppression order. The problem is there never was court proceedings let alone a suppression order in 2013 when they took the action they did.

If you are new to this story it is a follow-up post to the one I wrote in March titled Kerry Stokes & the NLA lose Freedom of Information legal battle against KCA Blogger which is worth reading for more detailed background information. (Click here to read)


The National Library started archiving this site and making it available to the public in November 2011. Unknown to me they stopped it in September 2013 after a complaint from Kerry Stokes. I found out in February 2014 that they had stopped it but the Library would not give me any details other than to say they stopped it after receiving a threatening lawyer’s letter.

I made a Freedom of Information (FOI) application in March 2014 and finally won access as per the last post. (Click here to read) I received the documents 10 days ago

The Australian Information Commissioner’s judgment in my favour

The NLA, Director-General Anne-Marie Schwirtlich and Kerry Stokes fought hard to conceal the documents which shows corrupt and criminal conduct. I have ultimately gained access because of a judgment by the Information Commissioner. The judgment is now published on the AustLII legal judgment website: Shane Dowling and National Library of Australia [2015] AICmr 24 (27 March 2015) (Click here to read)

The 2 articles Kerry Stokes complained about

In September 2013 Kerry Stokes had Channel 7’s lawyer Justine Munsie send a threatening letter complaining about 2 articles on my site published in 2011. The first was titled Kerry Stokes, Seven Group Chairman and Australia’s number one perjurer, has been charged with contempt of court published on the 23rd May 2011. (Click here to read) And the second article was in relation to a threatening letter Stokes had Munsie send me a few days later titled Kerry Stokes threatens legal action against blogger published on the 26th of May 2011. (Click here to read) I never heard from Stokes again about the posts.

Both posts have been on my site since they were published and always will be. Kerry Stokes had no justification to threaten the Library and he knew it. A person has 12 months from publication to institute defamation proceedings. In September 2013 the articles had been on my site over 2 years. Stokes had no case anyhow otherwise he would have followed through with his threat in 2011.

The library spent tax payer’s money trying to conceal Kerry Stokes identity when they would have known they had no legal basis to do so. That’s plain corruption.

Ryan Stokes and Anne-Marie Schwirtlich

The lies in the letter

The NLA was forced to give me most of the documents that I had requested. Under law the NLA also has to publish the documents on their website. They knew the public reading the documents would ask many questions such as: If the articles are on the Kangaroo Court of Australia website then why is the NLA hiding them?

So what the NLA have done is put a letter full of lies at the beginning justifying what they did. An example is the letter says:

“when it was brought to the attention of the library that court proceedings were underway, a decision was taken to remove access to the archived copies. When a court ordered the suppression of material on the website, the library consequently decided not to make the archived copies accessible again”

In 2013 when the Library decided to stop archiving my site and making it accessible to the public there were no legal proceedings against me nor was there any suppression order.

The letter’s main purpose is clearly to deceive the public and anyone else reading the letter into why the library has acted in the dodgy way it has.

In April 2014 Stokes did institute frivolous and vexatious proceedings against me but that clearly has nothing to do with the decision-making of the library in September 2013. I sent a “cease and desist” email (Click here to read) on Monday 4/5/15 to the Director-General Anne-Marie Schwirtlich and others and have not had a reply nor have they stopped publishing the lies at this point.

The documents (Click here to read the letter and documents)

Below are three excerpts from the documents.

The email below shows Ryan Stokes was the ultimate decision maker. Ryan Stokes has a lot of talking to do. I emailed Ryan Stokes (and his father) last year via his lawyers asking if he was involved at all in the NLA’s decision regarding this website and he in effect said he had nothing to do with it. (Click here to read the email) The below email by Ms Schwirtlich makes a liar of Ryan Stokes.

Where it refers to the Chairman below that is Ryan Stokes.

NLA - Schwirtlich email

So why did Anne-Marie Schwirtlich ultimately take the action she said was “a bit draconian“? Looks like the Chairman Ryan Stokes decided his father’s request was not draconian at all and convinced her to change her mind.

Below shows perjurers get special treatment by the NLA (26th September 2013) I wonder who else gets special treatment?

NLA - Stokes special relationship

Even though the NLA knew that there was no legal action afoot and nothing on my site had been found to be defamatory they decided to block access to the archived copy of my site because of what they say is “the importance of the library’s relationship with Mr Stokes”. Why is Kerry Stokes more important than you or me? The Library is blatantly admitting money does buy favourable treatment at the NLA. Is the NLA admitting to taking bribes? They need to explain why they are giving Kerry Stokes special treatment and on what basis it is justified. From what I can see there is no justification whatsoever which means the NLA has acted corruptly.

Below are the recommendations ignored by the library (26/9/13).

NLA - KCA Recommendations

Why where the recommendations ignored? Obviously it had something to do with the conversation between Schwirtlich and the Chairman (Ryan Stokes) on the 11th September 2013 as per above. Or does it go higher? Did the Library Council intervene? Or did Kerry Stokes ring the Attorney-General George Brandis who is also Minister for Arts and has responsibility for the NLA?

Ryan Stokes thrown under a bus by the documents

Unless other evidence comes forward than everything points to Ryan Stokes and he knows it. He should have resigned a long time ago. The email from Schwirtlich above saying she will speak to the “Chairman” (Ryan Stokes) says it all.

Once she spoke to Ryan he had full responsibility as Chairman and given there is nothing in the documents showing he stood aside from any decision-making then it has to be assumed he did have input. That is pure corruption given his clear conflict of interest and given the decision was against the recommendations and had no legal justification. Even worse is that the Chairman (Ryan Stokes) could reverse the decision right now if he wanted to but has not.

Ryan Stokes has to resign now to protect the reputation of the Library, not wait until his 3 year term expires which it does next month on the 30th June 2015.

Recent events

It is interesting that only a few weeks ago on the 10th April 2015 that it was reported that Kerry Stokes lent his $15.5 million Rothschild Prayerbook to the Library for display. Looks like he was returning a favour doesn’t it? Given that Kerry Stokes is one of the biggest tax cheats in the country we paid for the book anyhow.

Also a few weeks ago on the 13th of April Ryan became CEO of his father’s company Seven Group Holdings. In was a surprise to most business journalists but maybe that happened quickly in case a certain scandal hit the fan.

Many questions still to be answered

Is Stokes a fit and proper person to be a CEO? Is Stokes conduct a breach of the Trade Practices Act? Given they used Channel 7’s external lawyer (Justine Munsie) it suggests it was paid for by Channel 7. Deliberately and corruptly undermining a competitor, even if it is only an extremely small competitor, would be against the law I suspect.

There is nothing stopping the National Library of Australia from making the archived copy of Kangaroo Court of Australia accessible to the public. The last time the NLA updated it was November 2012 and there is nothing on that copy that is or has been challenged in court. So why won’t they make it available? Looks like the reason is “the importance of the Library’s relationship with Mr Stokes”.

Kerry Stokes’ Channel 7 defames people all the time and Channel 7 has lost many defamation court cases. Has the Library deleted all references to them in their collection? I doubt it.

What also needs to be explored by the government is if Ryan Stokes and Director-General Anne-Marie Schwirtlich have been involved in further corruption at the NLA.

I’ll keep digging and working my way through the proper channels until we get somewhere close to the truth and make sure something like this never happens again. The National Library of Australia in owned by everyone and it documents our history. When people abuse it like the above then they are stealing from every Australian.

The above post is by Shane Dowling who publishes the website: Kangaroo Court of Australia:

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