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Prologue Evidence File 1-A to 1-C

Absent Justice - The Firm

"COT Case Strategy" 

This is the story of a group of ordinary small-business people fighting one of the country's largest, most dishonourable and untrustworthy companies who retained the legal services of 37 of Australia's most prominent legal firms at the time of those arbitrations.

The story shows that to fix the ongoing telephone problems that sent the group into arbitration, they first had to register their phone faults in writing with one of these 37 legal firms before Telstra could investigate and hopefully fix them. The arbitration claimants were unaware they would need these registered fault complaints as evidence to prove their case.

Unbeknown to the CoT claimants, once a registered phone fault had been handled by one of these legal firms (refer to), the legal firm would not return their fault data to that claimant because it was now classified as Legal Professional Privilege (LPP). Imagine the frustration of knowing you had provided the evidence supporting your case. Still, it was now being withheld from you under LPP, which prevented you from fully supporting your claim before the arbitrator.

As shown on page 5169 in Australia's Government SENATE official Hansard – Parliament of AustraliaTelstra's lawyers Freehill Hollingdale & Page devised a legal paper titled "COT Case Strategy" (Prologue Evidence File 1-A to 1-Cinstructing their client Telstra (naming me and three other businesses) on how Telstra could conceal technical information from us under the guise of Legal Professional Privilege even though the information was not privileged.

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As a senior advisor to the Australian government, independent politician Andrew Wilkie stood up against the misinformation being spread by the John Howard Australian government about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. He strongly believed Australia should not go to war based on mere hearsay. Despite this, Australia went ahead with the invasion of Iraq without any concrete evidence of the alleged weapons of mass destruction.

Andrew Wilkie took a bold step and left his position in government to prove that the claims were false. Since then, he has served the people of Australia with great dedication as an independent politician in Hobart, Tasmania, far surpassing his potential as a government bureaucrat. Andrew Wilkie's unwavering commitment to truth and justice is a remarkable example of how one person can make a difference and inspire others to do the same.

It is crucial to highlight that the Australian Liberal National Party government was willing to go to war in Iraq based on a lie, regardless of the consequences. The government ignored the fact that there was no evidence of weapons of mass destruction and initiated a war that led to the loss of many lives. If you continue reading my story, you will see that back in the 1960s, the same Liberal-Country Party government was willing to sell wheat to communist China, knowing that China was redeploying some of this wheat to North Vietnam; at the same time, Australia, New Zealand, and the USA soldiers were being killed and maimed by the North Vietnamese in the jungles of Vietnam. The government's priority was not the welfare of its citizens but rather its own interests.

The actions of the Liberal-National Party government have demonstrated their dishonesty towards its citizens in the two examples I have shown regarding China and Iraq. I have used this appalling, unimaginable conduct in my story to show how unethical some of the Liberal National Party government public servants are when it comes to dealing with ordinary Australian citizens. This type of conduct has left sixteen casualties of Telstra in limbo for more than two decades, as the stories of the casualties of Telstra show COT cases that have suffered much injustice to the remaining 16 Australian citizens.  

Our tireless efforts to expose their actions have revealed that the government has broken its commitment to us. We were promised a resolution for our unresolved non-supply of FOI documents, similar to the five litmus test cases once validated by the Senate — which did happen. This validates our statements and makes the government accountable for their negligence.

During a visit to my business, Telstra officials left an open briefcase on my premises. Was this done intentionally? Were Telstra technicians hoping for me to uncover the true extent of the appalling Telstra telecommunications network? The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), known as AUSTEL, saw the briefcase's contents and confirmed that my claims were validThey praised my persistence in achieving a reliable telephone service for the whole region of my holiday camp in Portland, South West Victoria.

I have irrefutable evidence that points 2 to 212 in AUSTEL’s Adverse Findings were deliberately withheld from the arbitration process, confirming that the government validated my claims. It baffles me why the government allowed me to spend over $300,000 in arbitration fees for thirteen months to prove something they had already validated in March 1994, just six weeks before my arbitration commenced.  

The government and media lauded me and the other three COT Cases (two of whom have since passed away, and one of whom has dementia) for our dedication and hard work. We agreed to cease our campaign for the Senate to investigate the matter in exchange for the government's promise to ensure that Telstra would address ongoing telephone problems as part of a government-endorsed arbitration process. The government must uphold its end of the bargain and address the issues the remaining sixteen COT cases face.

The Australian government's endorsement of an arbitration process should have solved the ongoing telephone problems experienced by the COT Cases. Sadly, the government's written assurance that the specialized service verification testing during the arbitration would solve the problem was not fulfilled. Despite their best efforts, the COT cases were left with no resolution, and it is a tragedy that the government-endorsed process failed to address their ongoing telephone issues.

The COT Cases' struggle is not just a story; it's a reality that resulted in the bankruptcy of many businesses, including mine. It's an injustice that the new owners, Jenny and Daren Lewis, had to face after investing all their life savings in the company I sold them for land value. The federal court ordered them off the property, and their bankruptcy was the final blow.

My story is not unique. It's one of twenty-one stories on absentjustice.com that show how government officials failed to help the COT Cases. The Senate reviewed five cases to determine if the government's actions were justified, with the remaining sixteen COT Cases left without a resolution. It's not too late for the government to make things right for all twenty-one COT Cases and show that they care about justice for all Australians.

 

Absent Justice - The Hon Richard Alston 2

 

This self-interest by the Liberal National Party Government became more of the same in September 1995, when I and the Hon David Hawker MP gave evidence to Senator Richard Alston in his office at Canberra Parliament House. Senator Alston requested that I provide further evidence confirming that the Cape Bridgewater Bell Canada International Testing process conducted at the Portland and Cape Bridgewater telephone exchange was significantly deficient (Refer to Telstra's Falsified BCI Report confirmed.

The Cape Bridgewater and Portland region, situated in the electorate of The Hon. David Hawker MP and the State of Victoria, was subject to our thorough investigation. We provided detailed information to Senator Richard Alston, who then passed it on to Paul Fletcher, then a senior Liberal bureaucrat, to evaluate, now submitted here as Open Letter File No/41/Part-One and File No/41 Part-Two and Telstra's Falsified BCI Report. Anyone reading Telstra's Falsified BCI Report and Open Letter File No/41/Part-One and File No/41 Part-Two will conclude Paul Fletcher should have acted upon those two reports. The fact that Senator Richard Alston advised The Hon. David Hawker MP (also a Liberal Government Minister) that my reports were being investigated, nothing eventuated.

Despite our persistent efforts, that investigation was abandoned after several public officials, including government ministers, accepted a free, paid-expense trip to the Atlantic Olympic Games in 1996 courtesy of Telstra, one of the games' sponsors. Refer also to Senate Evidence File No 21 Senate Hansard dated 27 Feb 1998 re kick-backs and bribes.

 

Absent Justice - 12 Remedies Persued - 5

 

In 2021/22, I approached the Federal Member of Parliament, Dan Tehan MP, who preceded The Hon David Hawker, regarding the validation of my claims. At that time, Hon. Paul Fletcher was the Minister for Communications, Urban Infrastructure, Cities, and the Arts in the Morrison government. Despite the evidence he had already received, The Hon. Paul Fletcher declined to investigate this website. It's disheartening to see that even today, Paul Fletcher is still a serving minister in government in opposition.

Letter 18th September 1967 - The Hon Malcolm Fraser. Minister for the Army  
 
The text below is essential as it connects the telephone surveillance of two separate phone conversations I had with the former Prime Minister of Australia, The Hon. Mr Malcolm Fraser, in April 1993 and 1994 to my previous letter addressed to Mr Fraser on 18 September 1967. This text, which includes page 12 of the Australian Federal Police Investigation File No/1 transcript of their interview with me on 26 September 1994, shows that I highlighted Mr Fraser's conversation with me as being recorded on a Telstra file note, which establishes my connection to the AFP I was still under electronic surveillance during my arbitration.
 
MS Hopepeak - Absent JusticeIn my 18 September 1967 correspondence, I said that I had serious concerns about the mental distress experienced by a significant number of crew members of the vessel Hopepeak after we refused to return to Communist China, where we had just delivered 13,600 tons of Australian wheat (refer to British Seaman’s Record R744269 -  Open Letter to PM File No 1 Alan Smiths Seaman. The prospect of being forced to sail to a communist country with another cargo of wheat destined for China and North Vietnam was deeply troubling for all of us. 
 
Following the crew's dismissal and return to England, as an Australian citizen, I had no option but to remain in Australia and join an Australian ship. After all, which British ship owner would employ a merchant seaman who blatantly refused to sail with his ship using politics as an excuse? I was unemployable. Chapter 7- Vietnam - Vietcong
 

FOOD AND TRADE IN LATE MAOIST CHINA, 1960-1978

 

Pages 54 and 55 refer to footnotes 82 - 85 in a paper submitted by Tianxiao  Zhu to - The Faculty of the University of Minnesota titled Secret Trails: Food and Trade In Late Maoist China, 1960-1978, etc → Requirements For The Degree Of Doctor Of Philosophy - Christopher M Isett June 2021  

 In September 1967, a group of British merchant seamen quit their ship, the Hope Peak, in Sydney and flew back to London. They told the press in London that they quit the job because of the humiliating experiences to which they were subjected while in Chinese ports. They also claimed that grain shipped from Australia to China was being sent straight on to North Vietnam. One of them said, “I have watched grain going off our ship on conveyor belts and straight into bags stamped North Vietnam. Our ship was being used to take grain from Australia to feed the North Vietnamese. It’s disgusting.” 83 (my emphasis). The Minister of Trade and Industry received an inquiry about the truth of the story in Parliament, to which the Minister pointed out that when they left Australia, the seamen only told the Australian press that they suffered such intolerable maltreatment in various Chinese ports that they were fearful about going back. But after they arrived in London, Vietnam was added to their story. Thus the Minister claimed that he did not know the facts and did not want to challenge this story, but it seemed to him that their claims about Vietnam seemed to be an “afterthought.”84

--The reason why China became a big market for Australia partially resulted from the competition with the Americans in the world market because of the P. L. 480 plans. Since the U.S. was still on a full embargo with China in the 1960s, Australia had to grab the opportunity. What upset many ordinary Australians in the wheat deals was that the price of wheat sold to China was low, at least lower than the price paid to Australian growers. In April 1965, a resident in Western Australia wrote to the Parliament, saying that “I was surprised to learn recently that a large sale of wheat had been made to communist China at a price of 13/7 per bushel. I understand that the guaranteed price to the farmer is 1/- per bushel above this price and that the Commonwealth Government (ourselves) needed to find an amount of £4,000,000 to make up the difference...We have apparently reached the stage where we are prepared to supply cheap wheat to strengthen an enemy who has sworn to destroy us.” 89  

 
It is crucial to highlight that a significant shipment to communist China was brokered at 13/7 per bushel, whereas the guaranteed price to the farmer was 1/—per bushel. Therefore, it could be said that the Australian government subsidized the killing and maiming of Australian, New Zealand, and USA troops in North Vietnam, even though China and North Vietnam had sworn to destroy us. North Vietnam was undoubtebly trying to do this in the jungles of North Vietnam after possibly having eaten a bowl of Australian-subsidized wheat.

The following three statements taken from a report prepared by Australia's Kim Beasly MP on 4 September 1965 (father of Australia's former Minister of Defence Kim Beasly) only tell part of this tragic episode concerning what I wanted to convey to Malcolm Fraser, former Prime Minister of Australia when I telephoned him in April 1993 and again in April 1994 concerning Australia's wheat deals which I originally wrote to him about on 18 September 1967 as Minister for the Army.

Vol. 87 No. 4462 (4 Sep 1965) - National Library of Australia https://nla.gov.au › nla.obj-702601569 

"The Department of External Affairs has recently published an "Information Handbook entitled "Studies on Vietnam".  It established the fact that the Vietcong are equipped with Chinese arms and ammunition"

If it is right to ask Australian youth to risk everything in Vietnam it is wrong to supply their enemies. The Communists in Asia will kill anyone who stands in their path, but at least they have a path."

Australian trade commssioners do not so readily see that our Chinese trade in war materials finances our own distruction. NDr do they see so clearly that the wheat trade does the same thing."     

It is clear from the statement made by Australia's Kim Beasly MP on 4 September 1965: "If it is right to ask Australian youth to risk everything in Vietnam, it is wrong to supply their enemies," Australia knew it should not continue to provide aid to its enemies.

It is a well-known fact that during the Vietnam War, the Australian government ordered its soldiers to risk everything and fight for their country. Unfortunately, this also meant many would not return home alive. Unfortunately, 521 were killed, and 2398 were wounded. Moreover, the country they were fighting against was being supplied with food from their homeland. This raises the question - how many of the soldiers who were wounded or killed in the war might have been saved if Australia had not continued to provide aid to the enemy?

Living with this guilt destroyed my usual happy-go-lucky persona. I became withdrawn and could not sit anywhere, in a cafe, library, or even a ship, unless my back was to the wall or bulkhead. I did not know this until November 1989, when Brother Greg from Monivae College (Hamilton) sat with me face-to-face during a college excursion at my residence at the Cape Bridgewater holiday camp, where he talked out the red devil hidden inside me since August 1967.  

 

Image of vietcong guerilla
 

 

Image of vietcong guerilla
 

 

Image of vietcong guerilla
 

 

Image of vietcong guerilla
 

 More images

Vietcong guerilla
 
Viet Cong (VC), in full Viet Nam Cong San, English Vietnamese Communists, the guerrilla force that, with the support of the North Vietnamese Army, fought against South Vietnam (late 1950s–1975) and the United States (early 1960s–1973). The name is said to have first been used by South Vietnamese Press.
In my letter dated 18th September 1967, addressed to The Hon. Malcolm Fraser, I reported a story similar to that of Tianxiao Zhu; I advised Mr Fraser, who was the then-Minister of the Army, that the previous wheat dispatched to China was sent under the guise of humanitarian aid. However, it is perplexing to know that the wheat was being resold to North Vietnam, especially when Australia, New Zealand, and the USA were at war with North Vietnam. Therefore, I would like to know how Australia could continue to send wheat to Communist China on humanitarian grounds while the same was being sold to North Vietnam. Unfortunately, I never received a response to my letter of 18th September 1967, which is quite disappointing.
 
Absent Justice - Hon Malcolm Fraser

 

Page 12 of the transcripts from my interview with the AFP's Australian Federal Police Investigation File No/1 reveal that the AFP was interested in the confidential discussions I had with Mr Fraser concerning my correspondence on September 18, 1967, after my return from China. Mr Fraser's conduct during our conversations was highly professional. He showed great integrity when he decided to report only what was necessary to the media regarding our discussion about phone bugging. This was after I had informed him about a Telstra file note that had redacted significant portions of the information we had discussed. His actions demonstrated his unwavering commitment to preserving confidential information, a testament to his character.

“FORMER prime minister Malcolm Fraser yesterday demanded Telecom explain why his name appears in a restricted internal memo.

“Mr Fraser’s request follows the release of a damning government report this week which criticised Telecom for recording conversations without customer permission.

“Mr Fraser said Mr Alan Smith, of the Cape Bridgewater Holiday Camp near Portland, phoned him early last year seeking advice on a long-running dispute with Telecom which Mr Fraser could not help. (See Senate Evidence File No/53)

China and North Vietnam

Absent Justice - The Peoples Republic of China

Trading with the enemy 

My story elucidates a significant concern regarding the government's unethical conduct and lack of compassion during the Vietnam War. The decision to vend wheat to China, despite being cognizant of the fact that some of it was serving to nourish North Vietnam, whose troops were perpetrating heinous acts, not only against the Australian military but also against the troops of our allies, such as New Zealand and the USA, is a flagrant example of immoral trading practices. This trade deal indicates that the bureaucracy of Australia, which is responsible for advising the politicians, may engage in corrupt practices that do not align with the best interests of the people they serve.

It appears that my faxes to and from various COT Cases interested in my China story, especially Ann Garms and Graham Schorer's telephone lines, were intercepted during the period I discussed this terrible trade that had returned to haunt me. We were fighting against the same government bureaucrats - the same public servants who cared little about the lives lost in North Vietnam as long as their government policy could sell as much of Australia's stockpile of grain at any cost. The phrase "at all costs" became a reality once again when it was revealed in the Senate on June 24th and 25th, 1997, that the first five COT cases Ann Garms, Graham Schorer, and me had to be stopped "at all costs" from proving our arbitration claims.

 

Stop the COT Cases at all costs.

Absent Justice - Australian Senate

On 24 June 1997, see pages 36 to 39 Senate - Parliament of Australiaan ex-Telstra employee turned Whistle-blower, Lindsay White, told a Senate Committee that, while he was assessing the relevance of the technical information which the COT claimants had requested under the 'Freedom of Information' (FOI Act); he advised the Committee that:

Mr White -- "In the first induction - and I was one of the early ones, and probably the earliest in the Freehill's (Telstra’s Lawyers) area - there were five complaints. They were Garms, Gill and Smith, and Dawson and Schorer. My induction briefing was that we - we being Telecom - had to stop these people to stop the floodgates being opened."

Senator O’Chee then asked Mr White -- "What, stop them reasonably or stop them at all costs - or what?"

Mr White responded by saying -- "The words used to me in the early days were we had to stop these people at all costs".

Senator Schacht also asked Mr White --"Can you tell me who, at the induction briefing, said 'stopped at all costs" .

Mr White—"Mr Peter Gamble, Peter Riddle".

Senator SCHACHT—"Who"?

Mr White—"Mr Peter Gamble and a subordinate of his, Peter Riddle. That was the induction process—"

 

Absent Justice - Forensic Psychologist Meeting

It bore no signature of the psychologist

As shown in government records, the government assured the COT Cases (see point 40 Prologue Evidence File No/2), Freehill Holingdale & Page would have no further involvement in the COT issues the same legal firm which when they provided Ian Joblin, clinical psychologist's witness statement to the arbitrator, it was only signed by Maurice Wayne Condon, of Freehill's. It bore no signature of the psychologist.

During my original meeting with Ian Joblin in September 1994, I raised with him that my stress levels were high, that I had discussed this with Mr Barnard, a fellow psychologist in Melbourne, and my local Portland psychologist who was treating me for my China flashbacks which again had surfaced after being placed under Telstra that all my registered phone complaints had to be in writing with Denise McBurnie of Freehill Hollingdale & Page who was treating me as if I was the enemy instead of a person trying to run a telephone dependent business which did not have a reliable phone service. 

My Joblin was adamant he would mention in his findings to Freehill Hollingdale & Page that it was not a proper and fit way for Telstra to treat me and that Telstra's methods of assisting me needed to be reviewed. 

I am wondering if Maurice Wayne Condon removed or changed any reference to Ian Joblin's original writing, where he stated that I was of sound mind but with differing PSD due to the pain and suffering I saw the Chinese people enduring every day. When I informed Mr. Joplin that Telstra had redacted the wording of my conversation with Mr. Fraser, which contained a detailed account of the terrible things I witnessed in China, he was troubled. Mr. Joblin was now somewhat concerned about how Telstra and Freehill Hollingdale & Page, who employed him, had treated me.

On 21 March 1997, twenty-two months after the conclusion of my arbitration, John Pinnock (the second appointed administrator to my arbitration), wrote to Telstra's Ted Benjamin File 596 AS-CAV Exhibits 589 to 647 asking: 

1...any explanation for the apparent discrepancy in the attestation of the witness statement of Ian Joblin [clinical psychologist’s].

2...were there any changes made to the Joblin statement originally sent to Dr Hughes [the arbitrator] compared to the signed statement?" 

However, one thing must never be forgotten: The Hon. Malcolm Fraser, Prime Minister of Australia, bridged a gap that the South Vietnamese have never forgotten as the following government documents show The Fraser legacy - refugees, asylum seekers and ... - ParlInfo show.

On 3 February 1994, before the arbitration process began, I wrote to the Hon. Michael Lee, Minister for Communications (Hacking-Julian Assange File No/27-A). A subsequent letter from Fay Holthuyzen, assistant to the minister (Hacking-Julian Assange File No/27-B), to Telstra’s corporate secretary, shows that I was concerned that my faxes were being illegally intercepted.

AUSTEL writes to Telstra on 10 February 1994 stating:

“Yesterday we were called upon by officers of the Australian Federal Police in relation to the taping of the telephone services of COT Cases.

“Given the investigation now being conducted by that agency and the responsibilities imposed on AUSTEL by section 47 of the Telecommunications Act 1991, the nine tapes previously supplied by Telecom to AUSTEL were made available for the attention of the Commissioner of Police.” (See Illegal Interception File No/3)

QUESTIONS ON NOTICE

On 15 February 1994, during my settlement /arbitration process, Senator Richard Alston (Shadow Minister for Communications) put several questions to the Senate Estimates Committee, On Notice, to be answered by Telstra. These are the questions most pertinent to the COT claimant's arbitration claims Main Evidence File No/29 QUESTIONS ON NOTICE):

  1. Could you guarantee that no Parliamentarians who have had dealings with ‘COT’ members have had their phone conversations bugged or taped by Telstra?
  2. Who authorised this taping of ‘COT’ members’ phone conversations and how many and which Telstra employees were involved in either making the voice recordings, transcribing the recordings or analysing the tapes?
  3. On what basis is Telstra denying copies of tapes to those customers which it has admitted to taping?

 

Absent Justice - 12 Remedies Persued - 2

 

On 29 October 1993, only a month before Graham Schorer (COT spokesperson) and I signed our Fast Track Settlement Proposal on 23 November 1993, which eventually became our arbitration agreement, both Graham Schorer's Melbourne Golden Messenger Courier Service and my business, Cape Bridgewater holiday camp, were still experiencing issues while sending and receiving faxes between our respective offices and our technical consultant. However, the Telstra internal FOI document, folio K01489, See AFP Evidence File No 9confirms that Telstra was testing my Mitsubishi fax machine with Golden Messenger as the testing base. This document indicates that the issue was not with my machine but with Telstra's network, which indicates the company's lack of responsibility and accountability.

‘During testing the Mitsubishi fax machine some alarming patterns of behaviour was noted”. This document further goes on to state: “…Even on calls that were tampered with the fax machine displayed signs of locking up and behaving in a manner not in accordance with the relevant CCITT Group fax rules. Even if the page was sent upside down the time and date and company name should have still appeared on the top of the page, it wasn’t’

During a received call the machine failed to respond at the end of the page even though it had received the entire page (sample #3) The Mitsubishi fax machine remained in the locked up state for a further 2 minutes after the call had terminated, eventually advancing the page out of the machine. (See See AFP Evidence File No 9)

A letter dated 2 March 1994 from Telstra’s Corporate Solicitor, Ian Row, to Detective Superintendent Jeff Penrose (AFP) clarifies that Mr Penrose Home Page Part-One File No/9-A to 9-Cwas misled and deceived about the faxing issues the author had to deal with, as discussed in the letter. Upon comparing the four exhibits numbered (File No/9-C) with the interception evidence revealed in Open Letter File No/12 and  File No/13, it became apparent that if Ian Row had not misled the AFP about the author's faxing issues, the AFP would have been able to prevent Telstra from intercepting the relevant faxed arbitration documents in March 1994. This would have prevented any damage to the author's overall claim.

 

Absent Justice - Lost Faxes

 

The fax hacking by Telstra continued throughout the COT arbitrations. 

In 2024, I am still denied copies of the tape recordings that Telstra has admitted to taping the first four COT Cases' telephone conversations. In April 1994, I telephoned the Hon Malcolm Fraser, former prime minister of Australia, alerting him to the fact these tapes were being denied me even though Telstra files notes received under FOI dated around the period of these telephone taped conversations were taken at the time I had discussed with Mr Fraser my time in China when he was Minister for the Army in September 1967. Mr Fraser could not help with these phone and fax hacking issues. 

An internal government memo, dated 25 February 1994, confirms that the minister advised me that the Australian Federal Police (AFP) would investigate my illegal phone/fax interception allegations. (Hacking-Julian Assange File No/28)

This internal, dated 25 February 1994, is a Government Memo confirming that the then-Minister for Communications and the Arts had written to advise that the Australian Federal Police (AFP) would investigate my allegations of illegal phone/fax interception. (AFP Evidence File No 4)

On 3 March 1994, this article appeared in the Portland Observer newspaper File AS 773-b → AS-CAV Exhibit 765-A to 789) noting:

“Federal Police officers are investigating allegations of possible illegal activity on the part of Telecom Australia.

Officers from the Federal Police visited Portland last week and interviewed Cape Bridgewater Holiday Camp proprietor, Alan Smith, who is one of the four original members of COT (Casualties of Telecom).”

 

Faxes were intercepted en route to the Federal treasurer's office - File 10-C Open Letter File No/12

I acknowledge that Senator Kim Carr was given evidence that the COT arbitration-related documents were regularly hacked into between January 1994 and November 1998. Senator Carr was also provided with the first draft of the manuscript, Absent Justice. The senator participated in three Senate debates about the COT arbitrations on September 20, 1995, June 24, 1997, and June 25, 1997. Thus, including the image above as the spearhead to the following text was crucial.

 

Absent Justice - Senator Kim Carr

 

Only the Treasurer's office received the first page of my letter to Mr Peter Costello, Federal Government Treasurer Canberra, dated 1/11/98, more than three years after the conclusion of my arbitration.  What happened to the other pages? 

It is clear from Files 646 and 647 (Exhibits 589 to 647) that Telstra admitted in writing to the Australian Federal Police on 14 April 1994 that my private and business telephone conversations were listened to and recorded over several months, but only when a particular officer was on duty. 

Does Telstra expect the AFP to accept that every time this officer left the Portland telephone exchange, the alarm bell set up to broadcast my telephone conversations throughout the Portland telephone exchange was turned off every time this officer left the exchange? What was the point of setting up equipment connected to my telephone lines that only operated when this person was on duty? When I asked Telstra under the FOI Act during my arbitration to supply me all the detailed data obtained from this special equipment set up for this specially assigned Portland technician, that data was not made available during my 1994.95 arbitration and has still not been made available in 2024.

 

Absent Justice - Order of Australia

 

It was unethical and unconscionable that the arbitrator assigned to my case, in consultation with the arbitration administrator, assisted the government-owned Telstra Corporation, the defendant in the arbitration proceedings, in defeating my claim. The arbitrator used unethical tactics, such as allowing Telstra and their lawyers to use their drafted arbitration agreement despite its numerous discrepancies while fully aware of these deficiencies. This agreement was used in my arbitration process, whereas a modified arbitration agreement was utilized in all the remaining fifteen arbitration processes that followed mine.

The following letter, written by the arbitrator to the administrator on May 12, 1995, a day after the conclusion of my arbitration (Open Letter File No 55-A), revealed discrepancies in the arbitration agreement, which the arbitrator had located and pointed out in the letter. Furthermore, the arbitrator mentioned other ambiguities that affected the arbitration and intended to discuss them with the Australian Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) later. However, I was not informed of the other failures in my arbitration that the arbitrator refused to document on paper. It was highly unethical for an arbitrator to question my arbitration agreement's credibility and use it, especially when the arbitrator and the administrator were already aware that the defendants and their lawyers had drafted a non-credible arbitration agreement.

I strongly suspect that Telstra and its lawyers intentionally drafted the agreement with its shortcomings to favour their defence at the expense of my claim. Had I received this letter within my allotted appeal period, I would have appealed my arbitration accordingly with complete confidence in my case.

If the appeal in question had been granted, which was bound to happen once the letter (Open Letter File No 55-A) was presented to the government, it would have exposed the wrongdoings of the arbitrator and TIO. Both of them permitted Telstra and their lawyers to draft an agreement instead of using an independently drafted agreement as promised to the government for the arbitration process. If this had come to light, both the arbitrator and the TIO, unjustly awarded the 'Order of Australia', would have been stripped of their medals of honour.

 

Absent Justice - Prior to Arbitration

 

The document labelled as TIO Evidence File No 3-A is a confidential internal email of Telstra, dated 10 November 1993. It was authored by Chris Vonwiller and addressed to Telstra's corporate secretary Jim Holmes, CEO Frank Blount, group general manager of commercial Ian Campbell, and other key members of the then-government-owned corporation. The subject of the email is Warwick Smith - COT cases.is an internal Telstra email (FOI folio A05993) dated 10 November 1993 from Chris Vonwiller to Telstra’s corporate secretary Jim Holmes, CEO Frank Blount, group general manager of commercial Ian Campbell and other vital members of the then-government-owned corporation. The subject is Warwick Smith – COT cases, and it is marked as CONFIDENTIAL:

“Warwick Smith contacted me in confidence to brief me on discussions he has had in the last two days with a senior member of the parliamentary National Party in relation to Senator Boswell’s call for a Senate Inquiry into COT Cases.

“Advice from Warwick is:

Boswell has not yet taken the trouble to raise the COT Cases issue in the Party Room.
Any proposal to call for a Senate inquiry would require, firstly, endorsement in the Party Room and, secondly, approval by the Shadow Cabinet. …
The intermediary will raise the matter with Boswell, and suggest that Boswell discuss the issue with Warwick. The TIO sees no merit in a Senate Inquiry.

“He has undertaken to keep me informed, and confirmed his view that Senator Alston will not be pressing a Senate Inquiry, at least until after the AUSTEL report is tabled.

“Could you please protect this information as confidential.”

Exhibit TIO Evidence File No 3-A proves that the TIO provided privileged information about the COT cases to Telstra, who were soon-to-be defendants in the Fast-Track Arbitration Procedure (FTAP). By doing so, the TIO breached his duty of care to the COT claimants and compromised his future position as an independent process administrator. This vital information gave Telstra an unfair advantage, which they used to draft a legalistic arbitration procedure favouring them. The administrator of the arbitration, Warwick Smith, and the Arbitrator, Dr Gordon Hughes, allowed Telstra to use their drafted arbitration agreement instead of the independent arbitration agreement that AUSTEL had created. Dr Hughes acknowledged in his letter dated 12 May 1995 that this same Arbitration Agreement was not credible enough to be used in the arbitrations. Despite this, it was still used in the arbitration anyway. This is unacceptable and calls for a thorough investigation into the TIO and Telstra's conduct during this process. The COT claimants deserve justice, and it's time for their voices to be heard.

 

Absent Justice - Hon David Hawker MP

 

It is an unacceptable failure of the justice system to disregard crucial reports that could have prevented countless casualties of Telstra's lives and spared their loved ones from the devastating effects of a flawed arbitration process. The official public servants appointed by Senator Richard Alston in September 1995 to investigate the report failed miserably in fulfilling their duties. Notably, Paul Fletcher, one of the public servants, disregarded the report even after The Hon. David Hawker, MP, and The Hon. Senator Ron Boswell had unequivocally described its content as grossly disturbing, thereby confirming that the COT Cases were denied a fair arbitration process. Senator Ron Boswell even made a public speech in the Senate on 20 September 1995, denouncing how the first four COT Cases were denied justice in their arbitration.

My report, prepared at the request of The Hon. David Hawker MP and Senator Richard Alston, also condemned the arbitration process for its deficiencies. It is attached here as Open Letter File No/41/Part-One and File No/41 Part-Two. Despite its weighty content, Paul Fletcher ignored it twice, even after he became the Minister for Communications in the Morrison government. This indicates that the justice system failed, and it's time to hold those accountable for their actions.

 

Absent Justice - Senator Ron Boswell

 

I want to share an excerpt from the official Senate Hansard records of 20th September 1995. During the discussion, Senator Ron Boswell passionately spoke about the injustices I and three other COT claimants - Ann Garms, Maureen Gillan, and Graham Schorer - faced during our government-endorsed arbitrations. I vividly recall how Senator Ron Boswell's staff reacted towards me and my fellow COT case claimant, Ann Garms after we presented our report excerpts Open Letter File No/41/Part-One and File No/41 Part-Two for review. Senator Ron Boswell's statement highlights the need to resolve all COT case claims.

“...Eleven years after their first complaints to Telstra, where are they now? They are acknowledged as the motivators of Telecom’s customer complaint reforms. … But, as individuals, they have been beaten both emotionally and financially through an 11-year battle with Telstra" 

“Then followed the Federal Police investigation into Telecom’s monitoring of COT case services. The Federal Police also found there was a prima facie case to institute proceedings against Telecom but the DPP (Director of Public Prosecutions), in a terse advice, recommended against proceeding".

“Once again, the only relief COT members received was to become the catalyst for Telecom to introduce a revised privacy and protection policy. Despite the strong evidence against Telecom, they still received no justice at all". 

“These COT members have been forced to go to the Commonwealth Ombudsman to force Telecom to comply with the law. Not only were they being denied all necessary documents to mount their case against Telecom, causing much delay, but they were denied access to documents that could have influenced them when negotiating the arbitration rules, and even whether to enter arbitration at all. …

"This is an arbitration process not only far exceeding the four-month period, but one which has become so legalistic that it has forced members to borrow hundreds of thousands just to take part in it. It has become a process far beyond the one represented when they agreed to enter into it, and one which professionals involved in the arbitration agree can never deliver as intended and never give them justice." 

"I regard it as a grave matter that a government instrumentality like Telstra can give assurances to Senate leaders that it will fast track a process and then turn it into an expensive legalistic process making a farce of the promise given to COT members and the unducement to go into arbitration. “Telecom has treated the Parliament with contempt. No government monopoly should be allowed to trample over the rights of individual Australians, such as has happened here.” (See Senate Hansard Evidence File No-1)

Absent Justice - My StoryThe unqualified, non-graded arbitrator, who exhibited arrogance and lacked proper control over the arbitrations he conducted, has been rightfully condemned by John Pinnock, Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (the second-appointed official responsible for administering the process). His statement to the Australian Senate on 26 September 1997, after the conclusion of most of the arbitrations, including mine, noted"Firstly, and perhaps most significantly, the arbitrator had no control over that process because it was a process conducted entirely outside of the ambit of the arbitration procedures”.   Prologue Evidence File No 22-D

By simply clicking on Chapter 5 - The Eighth Damning Letter, you will have enough evidence to form your own opinion about whether or not you should read the previous four chapters, from Chapter 1 - The collusion continues to Chapter 4 - The Seventh Damning Letter. Even if you only skim through those four chapters and read a few selected paragraphs here and there, it will become evident that going through an arbitration process to settle a dispute in Australia is not a wise decision.

Viewing my Absent Justice Book 2 → Chapter 1 to Chapter 12 will give the reader some understanding of the difficulty I experienced when operating a telephone-dependent business in the 1990s with a grossly ineffective telephone service.

My experience with Telstra is one of injustice, deceit, and persecution. It goes beyond my personal struggles and encompasses the many unlawful happenings against me and other COT cases in different ways. As you read my COT Telstra story, I urge you to understand the gravity of the threats that Telstra carried out against me, the lies told about me by the arbitrator and Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO), and the appalling treatment I received from TIO arbitration consultants.

The fact that Telstra's lawyer, Maurice Wayne Condon of Freehill's, signed the witness statement without the psychologist's signature shows how much power Telstra lawyers have over the legal system of arbitration in Australia.

 

Why did it take AUSTEL/ACMA until 23 November 2007 (thirteen years) after the conclusion of my arbitration to validate my claims?

ACMA Australian Government

The government had already validated my claims against Telstra six weeks prior to my arbitration, as confirmed in Points 2 to 212 AUSTEL’s Adverse Findings, dated March 1994. It is concerning that despite this knowledge, AUSTEL/ACMA still allowed me to spend over $300,000 in the arbitration process trying to prove something that had already been established.

 

Between October 1997 and May 2011, I presented evidence to the government communications regulator AUSTEL (now ACMA) and the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman. The evidence showed that the arbitrator did not view 41 official arbitration documents during my arbitration process. I arrived at this conclusion by comparing the arbitrator's official schedule of arbitration-related faxes his office received from my office to Telstra's billing accounts for faxes that left my office en route to the arbitrator's fax machine.

 

Two Alan Smiths (not related) living in Cape Bridgewater.

Absent Justice

No one apparently investigated whether the other Alan Smith, living in the Discovery Bay area of Cape Bridgewater, had received some of my arbitration mail. I submitted some of Alan Smith's billing information, which I had received under FOI, to explain to the arbitrator that Alan Smith was also receiving threats from Telstra and their lawyers because he, like me, refuted the billing accounts for calls he did not make. The Cape Bridgewater Telephone Exchange was a mess before, during and after my arbitration.   

The billing summons above both bear the same fax imprint of Freehill Hollingdale & Page, who represented Telstra in arbitration. They denied any billing issues in my area or across Australia. These lawyers devised the COT Case Strategy and handled my phone complaints before Telstra investigated them.

The following "COT Case Strategy" (discussed below Prologue Evidence File 1-A to 1-Cconfirms Telstra made threats that if I did not register my phone complaints in writing with their lawyers Freehill Hollingdale & Page, then Telstra would not investigate my phone complaints, which in most cases, then became a billing complaint. Telstra's billing software could not determine if the line had jammed in this case. This meant the phone would lock up the phone service. The billing software could not determine whether this was a fault or whether someone on the line was talking for a long time. 

As shown on page 5169 in Australia's Government SENATE official Hansard – Parliament of AustraliaTelstra's lawyers Freehill Hollingdale & Page devised a legal paper titled “COT Case Strategy” Prologue Evidence File 1-A to 1-C instructing their client Telstra (naming me and three other businesses) on how Telstra could conceal technical information from us under the guise of Legal Professional Privilege even though the information was not privileged. 

The Australian communications regulator, AUSTEL, has admitted that there was a locking fault in the telecommunications network from 1992 until at least 1997. During this time, Telstra, the telecommunications corporation, made significant profits despite these faults. AUSTEL, now known as ACMA, has been presented with evidence of this issue. Following the presentation, AUSTEL's John MacMahon, the General Manager for Consumer Affairs, requested that the presenter work with AUSTEL to resolve these ongoing billing issues in the public interest, and this was done.

However, it was later discovered that Telstra had addressed these same billing matters with AUSTEL on 16 October 1995, five months after the completion of the arbitration, without the presenter’s knowledge. This secret arrangement with the government AUSTEL (ACMA) disallowed the presenter’s legal right to challenge Telstra when, as part of their 16 October 1995 clandestine submission, they used a known false statement prepared by a local technician. As a result, the original arbitrator of the case, Dr Gordon Hughes, was also unable to make a finding on this late secret arbitration defence document → Absent Justice Part 2 - Chapter 14 - Was it Legal or Illegal?

However, some of the evidence I provided, including the billing evidence of another person named Alan Smith, who also lives in Cape Bridgewater (no relation), was not investigated by the arbitrator's technical consultants, DMR Inc (Canada) and Lane (Australia), even though it supported my claim these billing faults were known to be systemic across Australia providing revenue to Telstra and the government who owned Telstra millions upon millions of dollars in illicit profit.

As mentioned in Chapter 1 - The collusion continues, DMR and Lane informed the arbitrator, Dr. Gordon Hughes, that they had not attempted to diagnose the fault causes of these ongoing billing issues. Unfortunately, they left these billing issues unaddressed and unresolved.

 

Administrative Appeals Tribunal - Melbourne - case number V2008/1836

I provided the same unaddressed arbitration systemic billing evidence during an official government Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) between February and October 2008 (case No V2008/1836). The judge (Senior AAT Member Mr G. D. Friedman) and the two government lawyers from ACMA seemed concerned about what this extra billing revenue meant regarding a government-appointed arbitrator not having addressed these matters during my arbitration.

I presented my 158-page Statement of Facts and Contentions, supported by 1,850 exhibits on this website. During the AAT hearing on 3 October 2008, Mr G.D. Friedman, in his closing speech, acknowledged the validity of my claims in the presence of two ACMA lawyers and several witnesses. He explicitly noted my arguments in Chapter 9 - The ninth remedy pursued 

“Let me just say, I don’t consider you, personally, to be frivolous or vexatious – far from it.

“I suppose all that remains for me to say, Mr Smith, is that you obviously are very tenacious and persistent in pursuing the – not this matter before me, but the whole – the whole question of what you see as a grave injustice, and I can only applaud people who have persistence and the determination to see things through when they believe it’s important enough.”

Absent Justice Ebook

Read Alan's book

 

Absent Justice - My Story - Senator Ron Boswell

Threats made and carried out.

Page 180 ERC&A, from the official Australian Senate Hansard, dated November 29 1994, reports Senator Ron Boswell asking Telstra's legal directorate why were my FOI documents being withheld from me during my arbitration:

“Why did Telecom advise the Commonwealth Ombudsman that Telecom withheld FOI documents from Alan Smith because Alan Smith provided Telecom FOI documents to the Australian Federal Police during their investigation?”

After receiving a hollow response from Telstra, which the senator, the AFP and I all knew was utterly false, the senator states:

“…Why would Telecom withhold vital documents from the AFP? Also, why would Telecom penalise COT members for providing documents to the AFP which substantiate that Telecom had conducted unauthorised interceptions of COT members’ communications and subsequently dealt in the intercepted information by providing that information to Telecom’s external legal advisers and others?” (Senate Evidence File No 31)

As I have reiterated throughout this website, the threats against me during the arbitration proceedings came to fruition, and the withholding of pertinent documents is deeply concerning. Regrettably, neither the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman nor the government has investigated the detrimental impact of this malpractice on my overall submission to the arbitrator. Despite assisting the Australian Federal Police (AFP) in their investigation into the illicit interception of phone conversations and arbitration-related faxes, they never came to my aid.

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“Only I know from personal experience that your story is true, otherwise I would find it difficult to believe. I was amazed and impressed with the thorough, detailed work you have done in your efforts to find justice”

Sister Burke

“I am writing in reference to your article in last Friday’s Herald-Sun (2nd April 1993) about phone difficulties experienced by businesses.

I wish to confirm that I have had problems trying to contact Cape Bridgewater Holiday Camp over the past 2 years.

I also experienced problems while trying to organise our family camp for September this year. On numerous occasions I have rung from both this business number 053 424 675 and also my home number and received no response – a dead line.

I rang around the end of February (1993) and twice was subjected to a piercing noise similar to a fax. I reported this incident to Telstra who got the same noise when testing.”

Cathy Lindsey

“…your persistence to bring about improvements to Telecom’s country services. I regret that it was at such a high personal cost.”

Hon David Hawker

“A number of people seem to be experiencing some or all of the problems which you have outlined to me. …

“I trust that your meeting tomorrow with Senators Alston and Boswell is a profitable one.”

Hon David Hawker MP

“Only I know from personal experience that your story is true, otherwise I would find it difficult to believe. I was amazed and impressed with the thorough, detailed work you have done in your efforts to find justice”

Sister Burke

“…your persistence to bring about improvements to Telecom’s country services. I regret that it was at such a high personal cost.”

The Hon David Hawker MP

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