Tasmanian Times

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche


Senator Abetz, Shields Heritage and Gunns

Senator Eric Abetz is a Barrister.

Abetz & Co is a law firm in Tasmania which shares an office with another law firm, Shields Heritage, at Shop 2, 29 Channel Highway, Kingston, the same street given by Senator Abetz on his nomination form when elected to Parliament in 1998 and 2004.

There have been several name changes associated with Abetz and Co. ABN: 26 477 023 371 as detailed below:

‘Abetz and Co’ became a Registered Entity after the introduction of the GST on 1st July 2000. On 19 September 2007 the firm was retitled ‘Abetz & Co’ this company name is still current.

‘Shields Heritage’ was a Registered Entity from 3 December 2003 to 29 August 2007. On 29 August 2007 the firm became ‘Shields Heritage’ the current Registered Entity. In summary, Abetz and Co has morphed into Shields Heritage Inc. Abetz & Co a company that has existed since at least July 2000 albeit with different names.

The Entity Type shown for the firm of Shields Heritage is “Other Partnership.” An “Other Partnership” is defined as that “which consists of two or more entities carrying on a business or in receipt of income jointly.” From 9 June 2000 the entity names, as given under the ABN 26 477 023 371 were: ‘Messers Dalgleish, Sansom, Chalmers and Others’ this partnership closed on the 3 December 2003 when the ‘Others’ was dropped from the list of entity names.


I suggest that Abetz remained a partner in the business Shields Heritage, at least until December 2003, and I would like to know whether he made this known on his Parliamentary Statement of Interests.

The reason for this request is that Shields Heritage are lawyers for Gunns Ltd and the link between Abetz, the former Minister for Forests and the legal firm representing Gunns Ltd must be of interest to any discerning investigator.

Should Abetz have drawn income or fees from this firm since becoming The Special Minister for State or Minister for Forests he has broken the law for it would appear that such an interest was not declared under the Ministerial Code of Conduct.

His current declaration of interests does not disclose any connection with the firm Shields Heritage. Perhaps the Senator would like to comment.

John Hawkins
Gunns Prospectus.pdf

Author Credits: [show_post_categories parent="no" parentcategory="writers" show = "category" hyperlink="yes"]


  1. John Hawkins

    July 21, 2019 at 10:09 pm

    The solicitors for the late Michelle Ann Abetz are Shields Heritage, PO Box 474, Kingston, Tasmania.

    The contact email is abetz@shieldsheritage.com

    The executors named in the will are Erich Abetz and Peter Sypkes.

    The Sypkes family owns Highbury House at 136 Davey Street, Hobart .. a building in which Senator Abetz has his Electoral Office, and for which the Commonwealth pays rent.

    I ask .. how close are the Sypkes family and Erich Abetz?

  2. Sam Clark

    November 10, 2009 at 10:29 am

    Having read the follow-up comments, I am still not convinced of anything here. If you took this sort of thing to the courts, you would be laughed out of town.

    I have searched for progress, as requested, and it reveals nothing more than speculation – nothing more than a set of facts which really amount to zip.



  3. John Hawkins

    November 8, 2009 at 11:31 pm

    Scott #19 Abetz was elected in 1994; not many had registered an email address at this date. I am sure he would not be happy for some other person to use it for 15yrs. The ABN only came into being with GST in 2000 six years after he was elected.

  4. Scott

    November 8, 2009 at 10:29 pm

    The fact that a former partner or employee’s email address is still functioning doesn’t automatically mean that the person still works for the organisation.

    It’s common to leave email addresses active and/or forward the mail to someone else in the organisation for some time after an influential person leaves to ensure that important messages are not lost.

  5. John Hawkins

    November 8, 2009 at 8:40 pm

    Sam I do not give up that easily have faith. Abetz @Co has the same ABN No as Shields Heritage. Further the email address abetz@shieldsheritage.com has yet to be explained. Search this site:

    john hawkins abetz

    for progress so far.

  6. William Boeder

    November 8, 2009 at 8:20 pm

    Sam Sam # 16.
    Your comment is that nobody yet has been able to establish a link between Eric Abetz and the law firm of Shields Heritage, that includes this surname of Abetz in their business name.
    That Sam, is to say that nobody has elected to confirm or deny if Eric Abetz indeed had dealings with or through in some form or manner, with the Shields Heritage Legal Firm.
    Given the truth, in today’s times and recent era’s that politicians and lawyers have been known for their reluctance to be non-specific and non-principled in their professed integrities.

    Certainly Senator Eric Abetz could give some sort response to the matter, but that is where it could then come to a complete halt.
    For that he might offer such words as ‘in-house or private reasons’, or, he may even say that it comes under some non-compulsory disclosure to the man on the street nonsense.
    Unfortunately we may never get to the truth by conducting our research via these 2 supposed fidelity mediums, of lawyers and or politicians!

  7. Sam Clark

    November 8, 2009 at 6:03 pm

    All missing the point…

    No one has been able to establish a link between Eric and the firm from the date he was appointed to the Senate (the date on which any conflict of interest would have begun).

    Not even ‘venerable John Hawkins’ can manage to pull this silly crusade off…

    Find a new hobby, John.


  8. William Boeder

    November 3, 2009 at 1:41 am

    Having sifted through the internet on the number of Abetz-named persons in Tasmania has shown that there is indeed not many of such appellation.

    From what I am able to understand their appears to be only one such individual of the name Abetz. The surname is so scant upon the land of Tasmania, thus there is little to guess who is exactly referenced when the name of Abetz is sneered into any particular Tasmanian conversation.
    Having read much of the doings of this singular Abetz individual, this leaves me without any doubt whatsoever, whom is the title-holder to the surname Abetz, and that is Eric Abetz.

    This same Abetz person had gained considerable notoriety when as an appointed minister of DAFF,
    He spent much of his time championing the cause of forestry, generally his enthusiastic raptures were that forestry must be viewed as a rip roaring busines in which to engage.

    Accordingly, it would not take any person much above the dullard level of intelligence, to conclude that all the Tasmania Abetz references, refer to Eric Abetz Senator and all around cunning, (though no-smiling,) jester in the the Federal Parliament of Australia.
    Therefore it is highly likely that there has been some past connective activity between Gunns Ltd and this Jester of the Parliament.

  9. Horse Badorties

    November 2, 2009 at 9:30 pm

    Geez…….Barty’s spin department is working overtime.
    Rita Skeeter, Billy Greene?

  10. Pete Godfrey

    November 2, 2009 at 8:00 pm

    Are Shields Heritage representing Gunns in the Gunns 20 case?
    If so who is inflating the costs of the case between Gunns and the Wildo’s apparently the estimates were around $300k now they have jumped to $500k. Are Gunns trying to get a bit more desperatley needed cash or are their lawyers just greedy?
    It will be very interesting to see the end result of this investigation John, and also how the legal system in Tasmania will fix the problem.

  11. Red Bob

    November 2, 2009 at 6:51 pm

    Re: 10. I think Karl Stevens is being sarcastic and probably agrees with your point Steve – i.e. nothing has been established by this article.

    While I may the end of the senator’s political career, I think the author here is stretching due to perhaps holding a similar wish to myself.

    All feelings aside, if we are to attack the man, let us at least be sure of our facts. None were established here. Just mud throwing, in my view.

  12. Steve

    November 2, 2009 at 3:58 pm

    7,9; Not sure your OMG is justified Karl. Has anyone established a current link from our Erica to Abetz and Co, or have I missed something?

  13. eagle eye

    November 2, 2009 at 10:09 am

    And the lovely Rita knows all this info, why? Sorry love, but most of us can spot a distractionary tactic a mile off. Now run along and continue trying to make a pigs ear into a ball gown or whatever you do.

  14. Mark

    November 1, 2009 at 7:37 pm

    #2 Lovely Rita, I take it you are telling us Eric Abetz’s name is retained by the legal firm as the value of goodwill is considerable and also an asset.

    Is the legal firm presenting itself to the public under false pretences and the good Eric Abetz has no input to their professionalism or decision making? Dearie me! Perhaps they should correspond with all their clients in case they are also being misled.

  15. John Hawkins

    November 1, 2009 at 7:23 pm

    I am fully aware of Abetz’ other legal entity. The one that is of interest is Abetz & Co the one that is allied to Shields Heritage.

    Love John Hawkins

  16. Concerned Resident

    November 1, 2009 at 6:35 pm

    In spite of what Rita Skeeter says…I would not be surprised to hear that he is pulling a swifty…seems to be the norm with the labor gov’t, just one scandal after another and undoubtably more to come. ROLL ON ELECTION TIME!!!

  17. Steve

    November 1, 2009 at 6:22 pm

    2; Didn’t John make a point about the nomination form addresses for ’98 and ’04? He says the “same street” which isn’t very specific, but if the Senator was using the address of the firm, surely it’s a bit strange if he’d “publicly divested of all such interest when he was appointed to the Senate in February, 1994.”?

  18. Rita Skeeter

    November 1, 2009 at 3:35 pm

    Budding award winning investigative journos should always double check their sources if they are to avoid suits of defamation when making outrageous claims attacking the reputation and integrity of people in public office.
    Open Australia ( http://www.openaustralia.org/senators/ ) provides the latest scanned copy of the Register of Interests for all our Parliamentary representatives.
    On the latest copy for Senator Abetz there is no reference to the legal firm Shields Heritage, Abetz & Co or other businesses. Most informed budding award winning journos should be able to find that that Senator Abetz publicly divested of all such interest when he was appointed to the Senate in February, 1994.
    In fact his firm was Abetz, Curtis & Dutton which had 2 offices; one in Hobart and one in Kingston. The fact that his name remains associated with these offices 15 year later shows the value placed on the ‘good will’ of the Senator’s name.
    Perhaps this impressive E zine should uphold the principles of the MEAA reporting standards of budding award winning investigative journos.

  19. john hayward

    November 1, 2009 at 1:05 pm

    I’m sure it’s the purest of coincidences that the former Forestry Minister’s law firm melted into the law firm representing Gunns Ltd.

    Uncanny stuff happens often to pollies. Another former Forestry Minister, Ironbar Tuckey, had a marvellous device for making sums of money appear and disappear unexpectedly. It was a race horse called “Forest Practices”. Nobody, as far as I know, suggested the horse had any connection with the subject of his portfolio.

    The worst one can infer is that Eric, like so many other Tassie pollies, is just unusually lucky.

    John Hayward

Leave a Reply

To Top