Commonwealth Bank of Australia v Haughton [2020] SASC 135

The following picture started circulating social media in mid June 2020, with the posters concluding that Livesey J. had conceded that “the Australia Acts were finished” meaning it was invalid or in some way unconstitutional. Many rejoiced at this proposition, and it was shared widely.

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Nothing could be further from the truth, the comments and responses are cherry-picked and taken out of context. After reading the transcript apparently supplied by Peter Haughton, it is clear that the discussion was regarding the particular matter being addressed. In any case, a number of different submissions are raised in the statement of claim, and addressed separately. The submission regarding the Australia Act was finished, not the Act itself. So in reality, Livesey J. merely admitted they had finished talking about it.

“If a man is offered a fact which goes against his instincts, he will scrutinize it closely, and unless the evidence is overwhelming, he will refuse to believe it. If, on the other hand, he is offered something which affords a reason for acting in accordance to his instincts, he will accept it even on the slightest evidence. Myths are explained this way.” – Bertrand Russell

Such is the nature of confirmation bias induced moralistic fallacies found on these social media platforms. It produced comments such as:

“The Australia Act has been recognised in court by a judge that it’s finished, void, unlawful, a treasonous document drafted by Bob Hawke to override our constitution. Taking power away from the Australian people and giving the corporate government the power to rule over us.”

I made the following meme, and people shared it without even reading the fine print. 🙂

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Commonwealth Bank v Haughton (No.SCCIV-18-1361) was mainly concerned with Peter Scott Haughton’s submissions, and the case was adjourned to the 17 July 2020 for the decision, when Justice Livesey delivered the final judgment. The following is an extract from Commonwealth Bank of Australia v Haughton [2020] SASC 135 (17 July 2020)

(From 24):


“In support of his preliminary matters Mr Haughton filed an affidavit on 29 April 2020.  The affidavit includes two volumes of exhibits which include the “Memorandum and Articles of Association of Commonwealth Bank of Australia”. The affidavit is not set out in any conventional matter and contains a series of assertions and suggested legal propositions. Exhibited to it are two volumes of exhibits exceeding 200 pages. Many of them are poorly copied and their relevance is difficult to understand. For example, at page 2 of volume 2 of the exhibit books appears a photograph entitled “Yalta in Russia (1945 – 1948)” depicting Winston Churchill, Franklin Roosevelt and Joseph Stalin.

In an attempt to understand the ambit of Mr Haughton’s preliminary matters I articulated seven matters at the outset and during the course of the hearing which, I explained, represented my understanding of the matters Mr Haughton wished to argue. Mr Haughton appeared to agree that these were the matters he was raising and he addressed them at the hearing as well as subsequently in writing. The bank also addressed these matters at the hearing and subsequently in writing. Those matters were:

  • 1            The Marquet point;

  • 2            Manner and form;

  • 3            The Australia Acts and fraud;

  • 4            The courts are outside Chapter III and s 49 of the Constitution;

  • 5            Sundry criminal matters;

  • 6            The fraudulent sale of the Commonwealth Bank; and

  • 7           The promissory note.

As will be seen, these points were addressed by Mr Haughton in a manner that was very difficult to understand.  They were not addressed sequentially and they often overlapped.  Many of the points raised pseudo-legal issues which ranged indiscriminately across state and federal laws without regard to the particular laws engaged in these proceedings.

Speaking generally, Mr Haughton and his “group of friends” believe that there have, since 1945, been a series of legally significant events.  These include that Australia remains under the trusteeship of the United Nations, that the Honourable R J Hawke AC and others were ineligible to sit in the Commonwealth Parliament when significant decisions were taken during the 1980s and 1990s (including the “sale” of the bank), that the bank’s Memorandum and Articles of Association were not validly signed, that the Australia Acts of 1986 were passed without the necessary referenda and that all laws since passed (whether state or federal) are invalid, and that the Commonwealth of Australia is in fact a privately owned corporation based in the United States of America with the result that I and other judges are paid by a foreign power.

When I asked Mr Haughton whether his group of friends, who he said help each other out with information, included the nine people that sat in the public gallery during the hearing on 4 May 2020 he responded:

“No, there’s hundreds of thousands of them in Australia – hundred thousand, hundred thousand, we can go through all their names now. And we’ll get to the 20,000 letters I’ve had signed at the back here, the 20,000 of them. 20,000 people asking for the arrest of the government and a grand jury, 20,000. That might be 100,000 in the next two months. What’s going to happen if I’ve got 100,000 wet blue ink signatures with two witnesses on it, power of attorney requesting for an investigation into a grand jury of the government. What about if it gets to 500,000 because that’s how many people you’ve got whingeing about it. People are in trouble in this country and we need to fix it up because your kids – we’re going down a river that is not going to end good for everyone.

And I can’t believe that the people like Grant Stevens, the chief of police [sic], can’t see that what he’s enacting is going to hurt all his family. That’s how it is, we’re going down – they’re worshipping the shriners, that’s what they’re doing instead of Jesus Christ. We want to convert everybody back to Jesus Christ in this country because it’s a Christian country. Not have an Islamic constitution already put on the floor in parliament trying to take this nation over in concealment from the people. All these laws that are being passed without referendum and there’s literally hundreds of them. And it’s from a foreign government of political subdivision.

… if someone can provide me with [an] original copy of Bob Hawke’s signature signed at Balmoral, that’ll be the only time anybody, anywhere I know, including police prosecutors, retired – I’m not going to mention their names – retired police prosecutors are saying the exactly the same thing as I am because they’re annoyed that they’ve put people in gaol and they didn’t have the authority to do it. And some of those people are in gaol doing life sentences however, they may have deserved it, but as an honorary police officer he’s very worried now that he didn’t have the authority to do it because he knows he didn’t.

So all those people – all those people, the judiciary seem to be like saying, I wouldn’t be surprised if I get a letter saying this is a vexatious and scandalous argument, because that’s what we get from the courts. I’ve got dozens of them. I’ve got over 30 or 40 letters from the Attorney-Generals all with identical, the same writing on them.

One of the fundamental difficulties with Mr Haughton’s point about whether I am sitting as a member of a valid Chapter III Court is that, as presently advised, I am not being asked to exercise federal jurisdiction under s 79 of the Judiciary Act 1903 (Cth).

 

The Notice to Admit

A further matter arose during the hearing of the preliminary points and that was Mr Haughton’s desire to administer a Notice to Admit which was filed by him on 29 April 2020. I shall address that issue at the outset. Under r 156 of the Supreme Court Civil Rules 2006 (SA) a Notice to Admit cannot be given without the Court’s permission more than 28 calendar days after the last party in the action has filed a list of documents. In addition, by r 131(5) an interlocutory application may only be made with the Court’s permission after the parties have signed a certificate of readiness for trial or the Court has dispensed with the need for a certificate. In circumstances where this Notice to Admit was filed long after discovery had been made and the matter set down for trial it was not open to Mr Haughton to deliver it and expect the bank to respond. I refuse permission to file the Notice to Admit. To the extent necessary I direct that the Notice be struck from the file pursuant to r 53(4) on the ground that it is an abuse of the process of this Court. Two examples suffice to explain my approach. The first example is paragraph [1] of the Notice which provides:

You are required to admit and/or not to conceal the following fraudulent facts.1.   In regard to MEMORANDUM AND ARTICLES OF ASSOCIATION of the purported sale of the COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA revealed herein below. …

There then appears another version of the Memorandum and Articles of Association of Commonwealth Bank of Australia and, on the final page, the absence of a signature by the Treasurer as well as the absence of any name or signature by a witness are both highlighted. It is then asserted that this has the effect of “[r]endering the MEMORANDUM AND ARTICLES OF ASSOCIATION null and void”. This is followed by the statement that there are signatures by board members “only, evidencing 29 years of CBA bank fraud as at 16th April 2020”. The following is then provided:

  • a.   If you do not admit or agree, then clearly explain why do you not admit or agree?
  • b.   If you say the facts are not so, then clearly explain why do you say the facts are not so?
  • c.   If you say the facts are not so, then how are they not so?
  • d.   If you say the facts are not so, who told you this, what is their position and experience?e.   Do you admit or agree that it is the case, is it not, that as claimed, the above fact/s, is or are so?

Not only is it difficult to discern any clear proposition of fact, but the relevance of these assertions to the proceedings is very far from clear. The second example relates to question 27. It is simply that Fraud Vitiates Everything. This is followed by the same questions set out above. Again the relevance of this reference to a well-known maxim is obscure, to say the least. (Denning LJ’s famous generalisation that “[f]raud unravels everything” in Lazarus Estates Ltd v Beasley [1956] 1 QB 702, 712 has been explained and qualified many times, see Nadinic v Drinkwater (2017) 94 NSWLR 518, [41]ff (Leeming JA, with whom Beazley P and Sackville AJA agreed). I need not go on.

 

The preliminary matters

The Marquet point

Mr Haughton relied upon the following passage from the reasons of Kirby J in Attorney-General (WA) v Marquet (2003) 217 CLR 545:

“The joint reasons complain that the parties, interveners and amici did not challenge the validity of the Australia Acts. But that has been the problem — that governmental and political parties have not contested the validity of that legislation. They represent the very class who devised and enacted it. The constitutional arrangements of this country do not belong to them but to the people as electors for whom this Court stands guardian. It is not for parties, interveners or amici, by their agreements or silence, to oblige this Court to misapply the law — least of all constitutional law, concerned as it is with the fundamentals of government. The question of validity was repeatedly raised by me during argument in these applications, as it has been in other cases. Justices of this Court owe a higher duty to the Constitution and the law. They are not hostages to the arguments of the parties. Nor are they mere arbitrators of the disputes that parties choose to define and propound.”

The argument, as I understood it, is that this passage shows that the Australia Act 1986 (Cth) is invalid because it was passed without a referendum. As a result, Mr Haughton contended, this Court was not validly constituted.

The first difficulty with the argument is that it rests upon a passage in a dissenting judgment. The majority disagreed with Kirby J. (Attorney-General (WA) v Marquet (2003) 217 CLR 545, [66]-[70] (Gleeson CJ, Gammow, Hayne and Haydon JJ), [294] (Callinan J). The majority found that it was sufficient that the Australia Act was passed in reliance upon s 51(xxxviii) of the Constitution which confers on the Commonwealth power to legislate at the request of the states. Secondly, and in any event, the High Court, including Kirby J, subsequently determined that the Australia Acts, whether the Australian legislation or its UK counterpart, together with the state requests and consent legislation, were valid and amounted to the establishment of Australian independence at the date when the Australia Act 1986 (Cth) came into operation, being 3 March 1986. (See, for example, Shaw v Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs (2003) 218 CLR 28, [108] (Kirby J): “However, in Marquet, my view was not adopted by the majority of this Court. Pending a greater enlightenment, I must accept this Court’s holding that the Australia Acts are valid laws. Unlike others, I will in this case abide by the recent majority holding of the Court”)

One may add that in Sue v Hill the question was carefully considered and, though the validity of the Australia Act 1986 (Cth) was not in issue, it was regarded as valid.  (Sue v Hill (1999) 199 CLR 462, [66], [71], [73] (Gleeson CJ, Gummow and Hayne JJ), [164], [172]-[173] (Gaudron J).

Undeterred, Mr Haughton also emphasised the argument put by Mr S J Gageler SC (as he was) as amici curiae. Mr Haughton went to the transcript of the argument, suggesting that in some fashion this disclosed the result. At one stage I understood Mr Haughton to put that this was so because Mr Gageler was later appointed to the High Court.

There is nothing in the argument to which Mr Haughton took me that affects the outcome in Marquet, nor the ruling later made in Shaw v Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs. Ultimately, this point goes nowhere. It is founded on a minority view and a passage in the submissions made to the Court in Marquet. The High Court has made it plain, then and subsequently, that the Australia Acts were valid and the continuance of the Constitution of this State pursuant to s 106 was subject to any Commonwealth law enacted pursuant to a grant of legislative power under s 51(xxxviii) of the Constitution. Section 6 of the Australia Act 1986 (Cth) was not an attempt to alter ss 106 or 107 other than in accordance with the procedures required by s 128. (See Attorney-General (WA) v Marquet (2003) 217 CLR 545, [70] (Gleeson CJ, Gummow, Hayne and Heydon JJ).

Even if this is merely regarded as seriously considered dicta of the High Court, it remains binding on me, Farah Constructions Pty Ltd v Say-Dee Pty Ltd (2010) 230 CLR 89, [134] (Gleeson CJ, Gummow, Callinan, Heydon and Crennan JJ).

Insofar as Mr Haughton seeks to challenge “all” legislation passed after the Australia Acts of 1986 it is far from clear what legislation is relevant to his defence of the bank’s claim. Having said that, Mr Haughton did not suggest any challenge to the common law of contract, nor the Real Property Act 1886 (SA) and the Law of Property Act 1936 (SA).

In any event, it is a longstanding rule that legislation is presumed to have been regularly passed. (Edinburgh Railway Co v Wauchope (1842) 8 Cl & Fin 710, 725; 8 ER 279, 285 (Lord Campbell). No federal legislation appears to be relevant but, even here, the proceedings of the House of Representatives and the Senate are not invalidated by the fact that a member sat when incapable of being a member. (Vadar v O’Loghlin (1907) 5 CLR 201, 208214 (Griffith CJ, Barton and Higgins JJ) and Re Wood (1988) 167 CLR 145, 162-163 (the Court).

Most importantly, the relevance of this point to the bank’s case is very far from clear.

Manner and form, and other points

Mr Haughton referred to an article published in the Queensland University of Technology Law Journal in which Mr Gerard Carney gave “An Overview of Manner and Form in Australia”. As the introduction to that article shows, it was intended to:

… outline the legal basis for the ability of the Parliaments of the Australian States to bind their successor Parliaments to comply with special procedures prescribed by “manner and form” provisions for the enactment of legislation. Consideration will also be given as to whether the Commonwealth Parliament has the capacity to bind its successor Parliaments in this way.

(Gerard Carney, ‘An Overview of Manner and Form in Australia’ (1989) 5 Queensland University of Technology Law Journal 69.)

This article is relied upon by Mr Haughton as an adjunct to his Marquet point, namely, that there had been a failure to comply with the manner and form requirements of the Australian State Parliaments at the time of the passage of the Australia Acts. Mr Haughton put the point in a dramatic way:

… so the electorate don’t know that ‘cos most of the electorate don’t even know what the Australia Act is, was or did, and that was to basically kidnap or hijack the whole of the sovereign power and put it into parliamentary supremacy of a private business; that’s a big move, that’s what they did, a big move into a private business held by private political party members with private shareholders only – we can’t vote. How do we vote for a corporation registered in Washington DC that we don’t have shares in? It’s a private administrative firm, it’s a private business – Australia is run by a private business.

Essentially, Mr Haughton contends that because there were no referenda at the time of the passage of the Australia Acts they are invalid. He says that, in consequence, every law made after those Acts is invalid: “every single one of them”.

So far as South Australia is concerned, Mr Haughton contended that the Constitution of South Australia requires referenda and that there have been none. He then went on to contend that this was supported by s 6 of the Australia Act 1986 (Cth) which provides:

… a law made after the commencement of this Act by the Parliament of a State respecting the constitution, powers or procedure of the Parliament of the State shall be of no force or effect unless it is made in such manner and form as may from time to time be required by a law made by that Parliament, whether made before or after the commencement of this Act.

Just why Mr Haughton was relying upon a provision in an Act which he contends is invalid was not made clear to me. Be that as it may, his argument was that s 6 had been breached because there had been no referendum “to bring it into force”.

Whilst Mr Haughton initially suggested that every South Australian law passed after 1986 came within s 6, he backed away from that proposition without identifying precisely which law of any relevance to these proceedings did so. Significantly, he did not suggest that either the common law of contract, the Real Property Act 1886 (SA) or the Law of Property Act 1936 (SA) were affected.

Mr Haughton contended that the Australia Act 1986 (Cth) altered the Constitution because it introduced a Queen of Australia when in fact there was no Queen of Australia. This is a little different to an argument previously made by him. Previously, Mr Haughton has contended against the validity of the Royal Style and Titles Act 1973 (Cth) because it is this Act which purportedly creates a “Queen of Australia” and all legislation passed since then is invalid because any assent is made in the name of an office that does not exist. Likewise, all appointments (including of Judges of the Supreme Court of South Australia) are invalid because they involve the taking of an oath to an office that does not exist.

It seems to me that the reasons that required earlier courts to reject this argument apply here. (See Haughton v Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd [2019] SASC 198, [25]-[33] (Kelly J), permission to appeal refused and Haughton v Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd [2020] SASCFC 14.)

In Joose v Australian Securities & Investment Commission (1998) 159 ALR 260. Hayne J rejected this argument as seriously misconceived because ss 5859 and 60 of the Constitution deal with the ways by which royal assent may be given, and s 58, in particular, provides that the Governor-General “shall declare, according to his discretion, but subject to this Constitution, that he assents in the Queen’s name”. 

Likewise, in Sill v City of Wodonga Beach JA held that Australian citizens owe allegiance to the Queen of Australia. (See [2018] VSCA 195, [22] (Beach JA): “One might also observe that the applicant’s arguments premised upon the non-existence of the Queen of Australia are totally without merit, flying as they do in the face of the High Court’s decisions in Pochi v Macphee and Nolan v Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs

When this was pointed out to Mr Haughton he told the Court that Beach JA had been “criminally charged for that case, under a private prosecution”. Ultimately, Mr Haughton contended that the consequence is that this Court fell outside the definition of a Chapter III court within the meaning of the Constitution because “it’s not of the people, we haven’t voted for this stuff. No one has voted for this stuff”.

Mr Haughton then referred to Sue v Hill and submitted:

It’s a private argument of private people that failed to bring in the Bill of Rights and the Act of Settlement, and that’s held to the parliamentary members, and we will travel forward through and you can see the Deakin Law Review on the next page, which outlines that fact …

Mr Haughton also contended that the failure to bring in the Bill of Rights of 1688:

… was because the Bill of Rights and the Act of Settlement 1700 bans Catholics. Bans them outright, get rid of them, get lost, get out of here. Now that didn’t get put into the case and that’s why the case went through but … really it’s a joke.

I was provided with copies of the ACT iterations of the Bill of Rights and the Act of Settlement in Mr Haughton’s exhibit book. Mr Haughton contended that because the ruling in Sue v Hill was that the UK may be regarded as a foreign power for the purposes of s 44 of the Australian Constitution:

… you can’t have it both ways. So if you want to invoke the United Kingdom as a foreign power then that invalidates the warrant to build Masonic Lodges in Australia and the warrant to have anything to do with Masonic Lodges here in Australia because Masonic Lodges are a foreign power of the United Kingdom joined by the Scottish right and the York right I think, don’t quote me, but I think about 1825 or something.

The Freemasonry is a foreign power and if you’re going to say that Sue v Hill is valid then all Freemasons and Freemasonry Lodges have to go. They’ve got to pack up and go because you can’t have both.

The relevance of these matters to the bank’s case or his defence was never explained by Mr Haughton. As may be obvious from the foregoing, these arguments from Mr Haughton encompassed not merely the “manner and form” point but also the Australia Acts and the Chapter III points that he wished to raise as part of his preliminary matters. In bringing his submissions on these matters to a conclusion, Mr Haughton emphasised that the relevant foreign power was Catholicism and that this included:

… the very large fraud out the front of the Catholic Church building just across the road there … you know the statue of Mary Mackillop … that’s actually Ethel Shaw. That’s a picture of somebody else. So they’re gaining a financial advantage by deception by putting a picture of somebody else in black and people are going donating [sic] money to it. It’s a huge fraud. But anyway that’s not for this case. It’s everywhere here.

Sundry criminal matters

Mr Haughton exhibited an affidavit by Mr Brian Shaw, farmer, making serious allegations against the Honourable Julia Gillard, the Honourable Rob Hulls, Damian Bugg AM QC and James McGinty, including allegations of criminal conduct and of treason.  Mr Haughton said these allegations have been concealed since 2007 by the “President of the Full Court of the Supreme Court Chris Maxwell in Victoria” [sic]. Mr Haughton focused on what amounted to a private prosecution brought by Mr Shaw against the Honourable Rob Hulls. He said that his point was that:

If I am charged with a criminal charge, I can’t come into the court and direct the court to throw it out and not hear it, breaching [Byrne v Armstrong] …

The relevance of these prosecutions was never explained. Nonetheless, I was told that these ultimately led to Mr Shaw being declared a vexatious litigant in Victoria, [Attorney-General (Vic) v Shaw [2007] VSC 148.] and in Western Australia. [Shaw v Attorney-General (WA) [2005] WASC 149.]

Although it is difficult to be confident, it may be that Mr Haughton believes that the bringing of criminal prosecutions are of some assistance to him. This might possibly explain why he recently brought criminal charges against the South Australian Attorney-General, the Honourable Vickie Chapman, as well as against Judge Roder. These were dismissed by a Magistrate and subsequent appeals to the Supreme Court were dismissed with the criminal proceedings being described as “incoherent” and the appeals “frivolous, vexatious and oppressive”. [Haughton v Roder [2019] SASC 199, [20] (Kelly J) and Haughton v Chapman [2019] SASC 200 (Kelly J).]

Apparently an attempt was made by Mr Haughton to file criminal proceedings against the Honourable Justice Kelly for treason and criminal defamation.  This was rebuffed by the Registrar at the Christies Beach Magistrates Court.

Although it was very difficult to understand, the allegations of treason appear to be bound up in legislative changes which delete references to the Crown and replace them with references to the State.  Mr Haughton said that his research had been assisted by others. When I asked Mr Haughton about his reference to the law researchers who have assisted him in his case, he said:

The whole of Australia that knows that you [are] unconstitutional. The whole of Australia knows, right, that these courts are unconstitutional. We can go on the internet and flick around and you will see 100,000 things on there, also including Rob [Hulls] … application to the High Court of London, which I have brought three copies here, where it actually brings into question the same question that I am bringing in here, is the Australia Act is invalid.

Mr Haughton then relied upon provisions of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth), asserting that he needed to bring these matters to my attention:

I didn’t explain to you about what my actual purpose was … my purpose is I have to do this or I am going to gaol, right, because under s.51 – s.80.1 of the Criminal Code it says here 1995 Criminal Code Chapter 5 Treason … ‘Knowing that another person intends to commit … commission of the offence.’ I get life imprisonment. That’s what’s happening that’s why I’m here today because the government’s committing it if I don’t say anything …”

Mr Haughton’s argument then leapt to what he described as an “Edgar search result”, being a search of the US Securities and Exchange Commission, which apparently showed that there was a “Commonwealth of Australia” which was a private corporation with shareholders and that this, therefore, proved that the “Commonwealth of Australia” referred to in Commonwealth legislation is “owned by the private political parties called Commonwealth of Australia”. He then told me:

The Constitution Act of 1900 which encompasses our human rights document, the Magna Carta and all those other things and our constitutional monarchy which forces us to vote for any changes in that constitution at s.106, 107 and 129. But this one here has no constitution the Commonwealth of Australia.

Mr Haughton contended that there had been no election to “turn us from a company of living people into a corporation with shareholders of the political parties”.

The registration of the “Commonwealth of Australia” as a privately owned American company was explained some time ago by the Australian Treasury in response to a freedom of information request. Registration occurred in 2009 in connection with a guarantee issued under the Australian Government Guarantee Scheme for large deposits and wholesale funding.

There was obviously no evidence identified by Mr Haughton to support his next assertion that, in some way, Judges sitting on State Supreme Courts are funded by the privately owned American company to which he referred. [Rather, under s 12(1) of the Supreme Court Act 1935 (SA) each Judge is entitled to a salary and allowances as determined by the Remuneration Tribunal established under the Remuneration Act 1990 (SA) and, as s 12(4) clarifies, that is payable from general revenue.]

How any of this could possibly be relevant to Mr Haughton’s case involving the Commonwealth Bank was never explained.

Fraudulent sale of the Commonwealth Bank

It was in the course of this part of his speech that Mr Haughton introduced the proposition that the Honourable R J Hawke AC will yet be disqualified by the High Court under s 44(1) of the Constitution because he was granted honorary citizenship of Israel and was therefore a dual citizen, ineligible to sit in the Australian Parliament.

How this step might be undertaken following Mr Hawke’s death in a manner consistent with the High Court’s decision in Re Canavan, still less addressed by this Court in these proceedings, was never explained by Mr Haughton. (Re Canavan (2017) 263 CLR 284, where the High Court sat as the Court of Disputed Returns under the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 (Cth).

Mr Haughton next complained that the Commonwealth Memorandum and Articles of Association to which I have referred were signed by Mr Anthony Cole AO, the then Secretary of the Treasury, on behalf of the Commonwealth of Australia in its capacity as a member. His proposition was that this rendered them invalid.

It may be, although Mr Haughton was not clear, that this issue is coupled with his complaint about the status of the Honourable R J Hawke AC in connection with the decision taken to privatise the Commonwealth Bank some decades ago.

How this could possibly be determined in these proceedings, or be relevant to Mr Haughton’s defence, was never explained by Mr Haughton.

Promissory note

Eventually, Mr Haughton took me to a promissory note in the amount of $310,000 that he says was given to the bank on, it seems, 25 November 2016.  On that date it was apparently stamped by the bank.  This, Mr Haughton says, means that the note was “executed … and accepted and granted by the Commonwealth Bank by an agent qualified to accept a bill of exchange, that means a teller”.

The consequence is that the bank has been paid a sum which has not been credited to his account, presumably his line of credit. When I asked Mr Haughton whether the bank had failed to give him $310,000 he said:

No, they don’t have to give it to me.  They give it back to themselves.  The same place they got the original … 310,000 from thin air.  They gave me thin air, I give them thin air back.

In the course of his argument Mr Haughton made it clear that he drew this note on his own account at a time when he did not have $310,000. Mr Haughton explained that he delivered the note together with a letter and that the bank then “sent a letter saying they refused to respond”.

With all due respect to Mr Haughton, even assuming the validity of his promissory note (which I doubt), the stamping does not come close to representing acceptance, for example as regulated by s 22 of the Bills of Exchange Act 1909 (Cth). [Smith v Commercial Banking Co of Sydney Ltd (1910) 11 CLR 667, 679-681 (Isaacs J).

Nonetheless, the parties appeared to agree at the hearing that this was a matter that Mr Haughton was free to agitate at the trial in September and so I refrain from ruling on it.

Conclusion

Mr Haughton concluded his address by telling me that he had planned to read out criminal charges because “there’s been a number of criminal offences … committed in this hearing” but “I think that you’ve been very kind to me … anybody who’s been trying to help or understand the situation doesn’t need that”.

Mr Haughton’s preliminary matters are seriously legally flawed.  They are incapable of giving rise to any defence to the bank’s claims. There is no merit in any of the preliminary matters raised by Mr Haughton and I dismiss them. The question of costs is reserved.”

Check out Peter Scott Haughton’s other cases HERE: Peter Scott Haughton’s cases