Lawyers acting for Australians in trouble abroad tend to have an
adversarial relationship with the Howard Government, as can be seen in
the comments made by Vivian Solon’s lawyer George Newhouse on Saturday AMhere.

But
the same doesn’t apply to Schapelle Corby’s high-powered legal team,
led by Perth QC Mark Trowell, who met with our damsel in distress in
Bali yesterday and promised justice minister Chris Ellison a full
briefing. This little exchange from Crikey in early 2002 demonstrates
the close relationship between Ellison and Trowell, a former deputy
president of the WA Liberal Party from the 1980s:

Ellison paid my Young Lib membership

Anon writes:

As
a Uni WA undergraduate in the early 1980s, I well remember Chris
Ellison and his mate Mark Trowell QC trawling the tavern for recruits
for the UWA young libs. Given that Ellison paid the subs for all of us,
at least a dozen of my acquaintances signed up with the sole aim of
attending the chicken and champagne breakfasts favoured by the YL
fundraisers. It was worth the effort – otherwise how would we have seen
premier Sir Charles Court storm out of one bash with his dripping wife
Lady Rita after she had been, accidently surely, edged into the
swimming pool in her Sunday fines.

Mark Trowell’s response:

Dear Crikey,

Your
correspondent reporting the alleged activities of Chris Ellison and
myself in the politically turbulent years of the 1980s is either being
deliberately untruthful or has just smoked too much weed over the
years. Might I reply.

First, there was never any organisation
known as the “UWA young libs.” There was the UWA Liberal Club for
university students. There was also a local branch of the Young Liberal
Movement.

Secondly, I have no recall of conducting membership
drives in the University Tavern. However, it must be admitted that
Chris Ellison and myself did spend some time there enjoying the
conviviality. It is possible that we would have taken every opportunity
to promote our cause, which was a just one. To allege that either of us
paid membership fees on behalf of others is scandalous because it is
simply untrue.

Finally, the incident allegedly concerning Lady
Rita Court taking a pool plunge (either accidentally or deliberately)
at a Young Liberal function is just pure fiction.

There is a
moral to this tale. If you are going to tell lies, make them as close
to the truth as possible. Perhaps that’s why your correspondent wanted
to retain his anonymity. He knew the allegations were fictional and
didn’t want to put his name to them.