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Chapter Thirteen - Believe it or not

Government Corruption. Corruption in the public service, where misleading and deceptive conduct has spuriously over more than two decades perverted the course of justice. 


It gets worse: On 23 May 1995, after my arbitration was declared officially over, one of the TIO council members, who was also Telstra’s main arbitration defence liaison officer, provided me with conclusive proof, while wearing his Telstra hat, that Telstra admitted to BCI Canada that its Cape Bridgewater BCI tests were impracticable. This TIO council member waited until after Dr Hughes brought down his award before supplying that information, 12 months after I had officially requested it.

As shown in Chapter Thirteen/Arbitrator Part Three, the TIO, Dr Hughes and the TIO special counsel were alarmed at what I had uncovered, and that Telstra had waited 12 months before supplying the BCI evidence. However, instead of demanding answers from Telstra, they (including Telstra) all agreed not to address this very serious matter, so as not to “open the can of worms” (the TIO’s wording, not mine).

A Can Of Worms

My letter to the arbitrator on 20 June 1995 regarding the impracticable Bell Canada International tests and the Cape Bridgewater tests, and the arbitrators’ subsequent response of 21 June 1995, were discussed in a 22 June 1995 fax from the TIO’s office to the TIO special counsel (who was later exempted from all liability for his part in my arbitration).

Absent Justice - A Can of Worms

“Could you please have a look at Hughes [the arbitrator’s] letter to John [the TIO] dated 21 June 95 re Alan Smith.

“John wants to discuss it on Monday, and what the approach should be re parties seeking to revisit issues post Arb’n [arbitration]. His position is not to open the can of worms, but would like to discuss strategy with you.”

This ‘can of worms’ relates to the Cape Bridgewater/BCI information (see Telstra’s Falsified BCI Report ‘masked identities‘) that I finally received on 23 May 1995 (two weeks after the arbitrator had deliberated on my claim) which confirmed had Telstra not withheld the 24,000 FOI documents and Dr Hughes had allowed me to submit them as an amendment to my reply to Telstra’s defence I would have been able to prove beyond all doubt my telephone problems were still ongoing on the even Dr Hughes brought down his award. The fact that Dr Hughes, eight months later knowingly lied about this can of worms to Laurie James, President of the Institute of Arbitrators Australia stating he and the arbitration resource unit had assessed all of the 24,ooo documents when it was he who had refused to accept them as an amendment to my claim shows what one wicked lie can do. No wonder the TIO did not want to ‘open the can of worms’ which would then have exposed it was Telstra’s threats which they eventually carried out because I had assisted the Australian Federal Police with their investigations into Telstra’s interception of both my telephone conversations and faxes.

On the 28 June 1995 letter the newly appointed TIO states, “Our file does not indicate that you took the matter any further…” (see Open Letter File No/52-C). However, when my letter of 24 January 1995 ( Open Letter File No/52-B) was returned to me, the fax footprint on page 2 – 24-01-1995 15:12 FROM CAPE BRIDGE HDAY CAMP TO 036148730 – indicates that it was received at the arbitrator’s fax machine (number 036148730). So why did the TIO advise me that records in his office show no receipt of this 24 January 1995 letter? This has been discussed in more depth in Arbitrator Part One, Chapter Eight. Whoever concealed this 24 January 1995 letter and sabotaged me from proving my case, not only perverted the course of justice, but also ruined 22 years of a family’s life and destroyed a family unit with all that is inherent in it. This is something that cannot be regained, no matter how much compensation is paid.

Telecommunications technical expert and ex-29 year Telstra veteran, Brian Hodge B. Tech (Electronics), MBA, prepared a report dated 27 July 2007:

“Common Channel Signalling No 7 DOES NOT appear or function at Cape Bridgewater RSM. As no switching, analysis, or billing take place CCS7 is not required. …

“As the CCS network transists the call through the network no CCS7 link existed from Warrnambool to Portland at this time (e.g. 1993/94).” (See Main Evidence File No 3, point 5.2)

Absent Justice - Sabotage

On 8 and 12 December 1994, two senior Telstra technicians signed witness statements attesting to the fact that the nearest telephone exchange, which could have possibly facilitated the Tekelec CCS7 monitoring system, was 116 kilometres away in Warrnambool Victoria.

These witness statements are included as exhibits 11 and 12 on a CD, Telstra’s Falsified BCI Report ‘masked identities’ Exhibits 1 to 46, provided in 2014 to the offices of the Hon Tony Abbott, then-Prime Minister of Australia; the Hon Malcolm Turnbull, then-Minister for Communications; the Hon Barnaby Joyce, Minister for Agriculture; the Hon Dan Tehan, (my local federal MP); Senators Scott Ryan and Barry O’Sullivan and the AFP.

Documents in  Telstra’s Falsified BCI Report ‘masked identities’ Exhibits 1 to 46, show Telstra misled and deceived a Senate Estimates committee hearing in September 1997, in relation to tests allegedly carried out in Cape Bridgewater by Bell Canada International Inc. (BCI). When the Senate Estimates committee asked Telstra, on notice, to provide relevant information to support their claims, Telstra knowingly submitted false information; an act legally classified as contempt and punishable by a prison term. No one responsible for this falsified information has ever been publicly held accountable, let alone sentenced, despite Telstra’s stating that BCI used a Tekelec CCS7 Monitoring System to generate an alleged 15,590 test calls through Cape Bridgewater.

My 24 January 1995 letter asked Dr Hughes to acquire copies of all the Bell Canada International Inc. (BCI) test information because Telstra had not provided any of that information to the arbitration process, under FOI.  That would have allowed me to prove that Telstra had knowingly provided at least one of their arbitration witnesses with false information, before that witness provided his so-called ‘findings’ to the arbitrator (see Telstra’s Falsified BCI Report).

Dr Hughes and the arbitration resource unit were all fully aware that Telstra had stopped supplying me with any relevant FOI documents as ‘punishment’, because I had continued to supply the Australian Federal Police with the documents they had asked me for, to assist in their own investigation into Telstra’s unauthorised interception of my telephone conversations and fax transmissions. Even with this knowledge, someone from Dr Hughes’ office still hid my 24 January 1995 letter in order to minimise Telstra’s liability.

Absent Justice - Australian Senate

This Hansard is also relevant to my story because it shows quite clearly that, when Mr Pinnock addressed the Senate Committee, he was selective about the information he provided. He also implied wherever possible that the COT claimants were as much at fault as Telstra, for the delays in the process when he knew this was not the case.

It was during this Committee hearing, in the presence of Mr Pinnock that Senator Schacht questioned Telstra’s John Armstrong concerning my claims that the BCI Cape Bridgewater tests were fabricated stating: “…As a result of those complaints, did you find that Telstra had to take any action in respect of the BCI report to rectify any inaccuracies or shortcomings in the system”

Mr Armstrong:

“Yes. The basis upon which it was put that the report was fabricated was an apparent clash of dates, as I recall, with two sets of testing. This goes back a couple of years. I believe that claimant raised the matter with the TIO. Telstra went to Bell Canada and raised the clash of dates with it. As I recall, Bell Canada provided a letter saying there was an error in the report”.

Senator Schacht –

“Can you please provide us a copy of that letter from Bell Canada…and…I will put that question on notice”.  

Long before Mr Armstrong spoke to Senator Schacht however, Telstra and John Pinnock had already been provided with clear proof that Bell Canada International Inc. could not possibly have used the TEKLELEC CCS7 monitoring system they claimed to have used at Cape Bridgewater, which means, of course, that they could not possibly have carried out any testing at all, on any of the five days they claimed to have carried out that testing, because neither the Cape Bridgewater exchange nor the main Portland exchange could handle the CCS7 system, and the Warrnambool exchange, which was 116 kilometres away, was the closest exchange that could use this system.

If this relevant information had been provided to the Senate as part of Telstra’s response to Senator Schacht questions On Notice, then the Senator would have demanded, on notice, that Telstra explain as to why they had allowed such a fundamentally flawed report to be submitted to the COT arbitration process.

Bell Canada International Inc

Absent Justice - Cape Bridgewater Bay

We repeat statements at different times through our various pages so you can fully appreciate Telstra’s offences against the COT cases. In some cases, Telstra appointed a clinical psychologist to swear, under oath, in witness statements attesting to something they knew might not be the case. During my own arbitration process, Telstra supplied a renowned Melbourne clinical psychologist with a technical report they knew was fundamentally flawed, before he interviewed me as part of the arbitration process. After my arbitration was concluded, a witness and I visited this psychologist, in his Queen Street, Melbourne, office and provided him with the truth surrounding this falsified report originally prepared by Bell Canada International Inc. (See Telstra’s Falsified BCI Report ‘masked’) Even though this report proved he was misled and deceived by Telstra before he assessed my mental state, he declined to assist me.

The BCI report alleged that, for a number of hours each day from 5 to 9 November 1993, they generated 13,590 incoming calls to a TEKELEC CCS7 monitoring system installed at the Cape Bridgewater RCM exchange, with a success rate of 99.9 per cent. When Dr Gordon Hughes (the arbitrator) prepared his 11 May 1995 award in my case, he states he placed the BCI report into evidence. The fact that Dr Hughes and the clinical psychologist read this report (see below), before they prepared their individual findings is testament my claims concerning the conduct of my arbitration must be transparently investigated by the appropriate authorities. Providing false information to a clinical psychologist, during litigation and before interviewing me prior to reporting back on my mental state, is unconscionable conduct of the worst possible kind. Of course, after reading the report, the psychologist includes remarks like, “In my professional opinion his preoccupation has become a clinical obsession.” Who wouldn’t think I was mentally unstable, after reading that an international, world standard, communications company from Canada tested the Cape Bridgewater RCM exchange and officially reported they found it to be up to “world standard”.

Two formal, witness statements, dated the 8 and 12 of December 1994, prepared by Telstra technicians, Chris Doody and John Stockdale, confirm the nearest exchange that could accommodate the TEKELEC CCS7 monitoring system was 116 kilometres from Cape Bridgewater in Warrnambool (south-west Victoria).

Furthermore, on 24 October 1997, Telstra provided false information to the Senate estimates committee secretary attesting the BCI Cape Bridgewater Report as factual and that my information provided to the Senate was incorrect. Knowingly providing false information to a Senate estimates committee hearing On Notice is an act of contempt of the Senate.

The fact that Telstra’s lawyer, signed the arbitration witness statement on behalf of the clinical psychologist (see below), and submitted the document into the arbitration, without the clinical psychologist signing it; proves this matter should have been investigated during my arbitration, along with why my faxes were not reaching their intended destination.

Clinical Psychologist

To add further insult to these injustices, on 12 September 1994, as part of the arbitration process, I was obliged to meet with Telstra’s consulting forensic psychologist in Portland’s Richmond Hotel so he could analyse my mental health as part of Telstra’s defence of the arbitration process. I found the process of being interviewed by a psychologist, in the saloon bar of the local hotel, shockingly uncomfortable and embarrassing, especially when he kept spreading out different cards on the table as part of this clinical, forensic testing process.

I found the process of being interviewed by a psychologist, in the saloon bar of the local hotel, shockingly uncomfortable and embarrassing, especially when he kept spreading out different cards on the table as part of this clinical, forensic testing process.  It was such an appalling experience that, afterwards, I wrote to Frank Blount (who was Telstra’s CEO then), Dr Hughes (the arbitrator) and Warwick Smith, describing what I had been forced to endure.  Still, however, no-one even attempted to look for answers on my behalf.  In fact, no-one even tried to explain why the psychologist and I hadn’t been allocated a private room.  To make matters worse, this is just one of many examples of how the Australian Government minders, and those administering the COT arbitrations, completely ignored Telstra’s gross misconduct.

It was such an appalling experience that, afterwards, I wrote to Frank Blount (who was the then Telstra’s CEO), describing what I had been forced to endure at the hand of this psychologist (see Introduction File No/12). As it turned out, my letter was written on the same day that Senator Ron Boswell began to demand answers from Telstra’s legal directorate: the Senator wanted to know why Telstra had threatened to withhold FOI documents from me after I had assisted the Australian Federal Police with their investigations into Telstra’s unauthorised interception of my telephone and faxes (see Senate Evidence File No 31).

Still, however, there was no attempt made to find out why this psychologist conducted my interview the way he had and nor did anyone confront Telstra about the threats that had, by then, become a reality. In fact, no-one even tried to explain why the psychologist hadn’t been allocated a private room at the hotel, where he could have conducted the interview.  To make matters worse, this is just one of many examples of how the Australian Government minders, and those administering the COT arbitrations, completely ignored the basic rights of the COT Cases, who had all already suffered so much, for so many years, before their arbitrations even began.

One of the most important issues I raised with this psychologist was the trauma I suffered at the hands of the legal firm that hired him. He appeared to listen carefully to what I described and he said being directed to register phone complaints, in writing, with Telstra’s lawyer, before they would be investigated, was most disturbing. I provided confirmation that losing six incoming calls in a single day was common. Writing to a lawyer, explaining lost calls, was more than just soul-destroying, it just about broke my will power to carry on. He said he was shocked Telstra and its legal firm forced this on me and agreed this would certainly affect my mental state over the many months I had to do this.

However, when Telstra’s lawyers, which the government assured us would not be used in our arbitrations (see Prologue Evidence File No/2), provided this clinical psychologist’s witness statement to the arbitrator, it was only signed by a lawyer from this legal firm. It bore no signature of the psychologist and didn’t contain his concerns regarding me having to first contact this legal firm, in writing, before Telstra would address my telephone problems. The witness statement includes comments such as, “In my professional opinion his preoccupation has become a clinical obsession.”

The most alarming points about this unsigned witness statement are:

  1. Before the psychologist met with me, Telstra’s lawyers provided him with a copy of the Cape Bridgewater Bell Canada International (BCI) addendum report stating 13,590 test calls were carried out, over a five-day period, into the Cape Bridgewater RCM exchange, using the TEKELEC CCS7 monitoring equipment. This report stated the test calls had a 99 per cent success rate.
  2. Neither the psychologist nor the arbitrator was told tests through the Cape Bridgewater exchange was impracticable: the nearest exchange that could accommodate the TELELEC CCS7 equipment was the Warrnambool exchange, 120 kilometres from Cape Bridgewater (see Telstra’s Falsified BCI Report ‘masked identities’)

Had the psychologist known the 13,590 tests calls, allegedly carried out by BCI, could not terminate through the TEKELEC CCS7 monitoring system at Cape Bridgewater, his assessment of my mental state would have been somewhat different. He, too, might have been distressed if he had been aware Telstra misled and deceived him prior to him assessing my mental state.

Worse, however, the day before the Senate committee uncovered this COT Strategy, they also told under oath, on 24 June 1997 see:- pages 36 and 38 Senate – Parliament of Australia / from an ex-Telstra employee and then-Whistle-blower, Lindsay White, that, while he was assessing the relevance of the technical information which had been requested by the COT claimants, he advised the Committee that:

“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 [me], 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 – “What, stop them reasonably or stop them at all costs – or what?”

Mr White – “The words used to me in the early days were we had to stop these people at all costs”.

Senator Schacht – “Can you tell me who, at the induction briefing, said ‘stopped at all costs” .(See Front Page Part One File No/6)

The It is clear from Mr White’s statement he identified me as one of the five COT claimants that Telstra had singled out to be ‘stopped at all costs’ from proving their my against Telstra’. One of the named Peter’s in this Senate Hansard is the same Peter who swore under oath, in his witness statement to the arbitrator that the testing at my business premises had met all of AUSTEL’s specifications, when it is clear from Arbitrator File No/110 that Telstra’s own Customer Call Analysis System (CCAS) data for 29 September 1994 show NONE of the mandatorily required 20-tests calls to each of my service lines 055 267 267, 055 267230 and 055 267260 were generated into my business and held open for the required period of 120-seconds for each completed call. In simple words, the SVT process at my business was not carried out according to the government communications regulatory mandatory specifications. Telstra is fully aware Peter (on page 38 of this Hansard) received advice from AUSTEL, on 11 October and 16 November 1994, regarding the Service Verification Tests (SVT) being grossly deficient. AUSTEL demanded Telstra advise what it intended doing about this deficiency see Front Page Part One File/No 24-A to 24-B. No second SVT tests ever took place at my business during my arbitration. However, in November 2002 (eight months after I sold the business) Telstra tested the business for the new owners, concluded the wiring, cabling and the Telstra-installed infrastructure was corroded and the whole holiday camp was rewired.

This is the same Peter who somehow had the power to direct a Government Regulator regarding who they could release this known faulty SVT information to and who they could not release it to see Arbitrator File No/98 even though the Government Regulator (AUSTEL) knew that the inaccurate SVT results were being used to support Telstra’s arbitration defence of at least four COT Cases claims (which included me)

This same Peter refused to conduct any sort of testing at my premises. Both Peter and David Reid (an ex-Telstra technician, and now with Lane Telecommunications) were present to investigate on-site telecommunication arbitration information. Lindsay White, whistleblower, admitted, under oath to senators, that Peter said I was to be stopped – at all cost – from proving my claim. Peter was able to pressure David Reid, part of the allegedly independent arbitration resource unit, not to test my three service lines that were experiencing ONGOING problems when they visited my business on 6 April 1995. From what happened on this day, it is apparent the government-endorsed arbitration process was designed – NOT to assist the COT cases in proving their claims – but to destroy the credibility of the COT cases’ claims in order to sell off the Telstra network, no matter how degraded the arbitration process found it was.

After viewing the Cape Bridgewater Holiday Camp (SVT) CCAS data dated 29 September 1994 (see Arbitrator File No/110) Brian Hodge, B Tech, MBA (B.C. Telecommunications), on 27 July 2007, prepared a report and on page 23, (see Main Evidence File No 3) concludes:

“It is my opinion that the reports submitted to Austel on this testing programme was flawed, erroneous, fictitious, fraudulent & fabricated, as it is clear that no such testing has taken place as Telstra’s own call charge system DOES NOT record any such activities. Therefore the results are flawed or did not occur”   

Didn’t the statements made under oath by Lindsay White to the Senate Estimates Committee on 24 June 1997, mean anything at all regarding the advice he received from this Peter that we FIVE COT cases had to be stopped at all cost from proving issues such as the falsified arbitration SVT witness statements to the arbitrator (see Telstra’s Falsified SVT Report)?

On 26 September 1997, the new TIO advised a Senate Estimates Committee, that:

“Firstly, and perhaps most significantly, the arbitrator had no control over that process, because it was a process conducted entirely outside the ambit of the arbitration procedures.”

There is no amendment attached to any agreement, signed by the above-mentioned COT members, allowing the arbitrator to conduct those particular arbitrations entirely outside the ambit of the arbitration procedure – and neither was it stated that he would have no control over the process once we had signed those individual agreements. How can the arbitrator and TIO continue to hide under a confidentiality clause contained in our arbitration agreement when that agreement did not mention the arbitrator would have no control because the arbitration would be conducted entirely outside of the agreed ambit of the procedures?

A Breath of Fresh Air

15 July 1995: AUSTEL’s previous general manager of consumer affairs provided me with an open letter noting:

Absent Justice - A Breath of Fresh Air

“I am writing this in support of Mr Alan Smith, who I believe has a meeting with you during the week beginning 17 July. I first met the COT Cases in 1992 in my capacity as General Manager, Consumer Affairs at Austel. The “founding” group were Mr Smith, Mrs Ann Garms of the Tivoli Restaurant, Brisbane, Mrs Shelia Hawkins of the Society Restaurant, Melbourne, Mrs Maureen Gillian of Japanese Spare Parts, Brisbane, and Mr Graham Schorer of Golden Messenger Couriers, Melbourne. Mrs Hawkins withdrew very early on, and I have had no contact with her since. During my time at Austel I pressed as hard as I could for an investigation into the complaints.

The resistance to that course of action came from the then Chairman. He was eventually galvanised into action by ministerial pressure. The Austel report looks good to the casual observer, but it has now become clear that much of the information accepted by Austel was at best inaccurate, and at worst fabricated, and that Austel knew or ought to have known this at the time”

7 August 1995: The TIO wrote to me regarding the impracticable BCI tests. It is not surprising to learn that the person who sent these late FOI documents was the very same person who, 29 months later, admitted he attended TIO council meetings when COT case matters were discussed.

Arbitrator File No/54 shows I requested the information in my original May 1994 FOI application. Here it was, provided on 23 May 1995 (12 months after I requested it) by the very man who wore two hats. Are we to ignore that his presence on the TIO council allowed him to gain inside knowledge of when best to supply the COT cases with requested documents, at a time when it would cause Telstra the least amount of damage?

The stress of dealing with these ongoing issues took its toll and I became drained of energy. The daily business of running the campsite was overwhelming. My partner, Cathy, was handling the workload almost entirely on her own. My self-esteem continued to sink lower and I was unable to put my marketing and promotional expertise, gained through productive, successful work life, into practice. I was unable to think clearly any more, let alone compose advertisements or talk coherently to people about the camp.

Again and again, I found myself dwelling on the events that led to my situation. How could this happen in Australia in the 1990s? Wasn’t this supposed to be a democracy? How could the Liberal Coalition Government continue to ignore me? How could the lawyers get away with hiding the truth in order to prop Telstra up? I couldn’t work out which way to turn next.

Finally, I decided to ask for all my claim documents to be returned to me (this was covered in the rules of the arbitration). I waited patiently for weeks, before deciding to drive to Melbourne and collect them personally. I thought I had been as angry as it was possible to be, but no, by the time Cathy and I arrived in Melbourne, I was ready to explode. I controlled my anger though as I walked into the arbitrator’s reception area and spoke to the arbitrator’s secretary, Caroline. Looking back now, I wonder why I expected to have my request met this time; certainly, none of my previous requests was met, but I suppose we can always hope. It was not to be, however. Caroline informed me that my documents were not ready and the arbitrator was unavailable.

My emotions finally boiled over and I shouted at Caroline, demanding that she get my documents at once and reminded her that I had put in my request three months before and had now driven five hours to collect them. “I am not leaving this office without those documents.” I told her, “Call the police if you want to, I don’t care. You have my property and I want it back now.” Finally, a young lad appeared from the lifts wheeling a trolley loaded with boxes of documents. He asked me to sort out which were my claim documents. I simply took the lot.

It took Cathy some time to find a parking spot near this busy city office. I finally loaded the documents into the car and we left, unaware that among my own documents there were some that I had never seen before. These proved to be documents and reports that should have been forwarded to me under the rules of arbitration. And they were very, very interesting, to say the least.

Absent Justice - Documents Uncovered

Of course, in a dispute that is settled by an umpire (like arbitration), it is usually mandatory that any information supplied by one party, must be automatically circulated to the other party. This was certainly so, according to the rules of my arbitration. More to the point in my case, information also had to be supplied to the TIO’s legal counsel. Among the documents I obtained from the arbitrator’s office that day, I found a brown envelope full of documents and loose papers, none of which had ever been forwarded to me. This envelope contained copies of a number of letters from Telstra to the arbitrator, including one letter dated 16 December 1994, which indicated there were three attachments:

  1. Letter dated 4 October 1994 from Austel to Telstra
  2. Letter dated 11 November 1994 from Telstra to Austel
  3. Letter dated 1 December 1994 from Austel to Telstra

In the first paragraph of this 16 December letter, Telstra stated:

“You will note from the correspondence that Austel has requested Telstra to provide information relating to charging discrepancies reported by Mr Smith for short duration calls on his 008 service. These issues form part of the subject matter of Mr Smith’s claim under the Fast Track Arbitration Procedure.” 

Clearly, at that time anyway, AUSTEL were most concerned regarding this incorrect charging and, on page two, Telstra state:

“The simplest way forward may be for Mr Smith and Telstra and yourself to all confirm in writing that this information can be provided to Austel if this meets with your approval.”

Why didn’t I receive some indication of this from the arbitrator? I did not receive any correspondence from him in reference to this arrangement, but AUSTEL later wrote to the arbitrator acknowledging receipt of Telstra’s letter of 11 November 1994 and noting that Telstra had agreed to answer, in their defence of my claims, each of the questions put by AUSTEL on 4 October 1994.

In their earlier letter of 1 December, AUSTEL was aware that a number of other Telstra customers in the Portland area had also complained about incorrect charging on their 008 services and so it is not surprising to find them raising their concern about this in their letter of 8 December.

“A major consideration in Austel’s pursuit of the issue raised by Mr Smith was the likelihood that these problems, if proved to exist, would almost certainly affect a number of other Telstra customers.”

In direct breach of the rules of the arbitration, the arbitrator did not forward these letters on to me during the arbitration.

Even more surprising, the arbitrator made no written finding in his award in regard to the massive incorrect charges as shown in my claim documents.  In fact, even though Telstra had notified both the arbitrator and Austel (in their letter of 11 November 1994) that they would address these incorrect charges’ issue in their defence. They failed to do so. Even though the arbitrator obviously knew of this promise, he still allowed Telstra to ignore the issue completely.  This constitutes a conspiracy between the arbitrator and Telstra in my arbitration. I was to uncover even more when I turned to the loose documents I had come by inadvertently.  These documents related back to the day the COT four signed up for arbitration, on 21 April 1994.

In direct breach of the arbitration rules, the arbitrator did not forward these letters on to me during the arbitration.

Even more surprising, the arbitrator made no written finding in his award regarding the massive incorrect charges shown in my claim documents. In fact, even though Telstra had notified both the arbitrator and AUSTEL (in their letter of 11 November 1994) that they would address the issue of incorrect charges in their defence, they failed to do so. Even though the arbitrator knew of this promise, he still allowed Telstra to ignore the issue completely. This constitutes a conspiracy between the arbitrator and Telstra in my arbitration. I was to uncover even more, when I turned to the loose documents I had come by inadvertently. These documents related back to the day the COT four signed up for arbitration, on 21 April 1994.

IMPORTANT: The three aforementioned letters are part of the 16 October 1995 covert addressing of my arbitration claim documents, fully five months (see below) after my arbitration was deemed complete, and therefore, they were outside the arena of the arbitration process.

Regardless of my arbitration costing me more than $200,000 in preparation fees, AUSTEL still allowed Telstra’s original arbitration defence liaison officer to address the same letters discussing my ongoing billing faults. The arbitration resource unit later admitted (on 2 August 1996) these documents were never passed to the arbitrator for evaluation (see Open letter File No/45-H). However, if we combined Open letter File No/45-A to 45-I with Open letter File No/46-A to 46) it will be obvious to most reading this combination that some sort of conspiracy in order not to address my arbitration billing claims was orchestrated by so far unnamed ‘forces at work’. 

Quite simply, when the resource unit withheld these letters from the arbitrator and I, they allowed Telstra off of the hook from having to address a nationwide network billing problem affecting thousands of their customers. This also left the door open for the government regulator AUSTEL to address these major problems covertly, and in doing so also disallowed me my right to challenge Telstra. I could have replied to Telstra if the letters had been shown in my arbitration.

Did Telstra and the resource unit covertly agree to this arrangement during my arbitration so that Telstra did not have to tell the truth about how bad the 008/1800 RVA problems were? Their letter of 16 October 1995 (Five Months After) my arbitration when attempting to address these issues consists of lies upon lies.

The fact that the 2 August 1996 letter Memorandum of Advice to the arbitrator acknowledging those five letters were NOT provided to him and subsequently I, during the arbitration, should have made the arbitrator demand why these billing issues were NOT submitted as arbitration documents.

However, the arbitrator did nothing with this 2 August 1996 memo; neither did the TIO who was the administrator.

This act was a collusion of the worst possible kind.

These faults continued to affect the viability of my business for years after my arbitration was supposed to have addressed these issues.

Again, one of the main reasons we signed up for arbitration, as opposed to the existing commercial agreement, was to have Telstra’s billing system scrutinised. The members of COT wanted this major issue brought to the attention of all Telstra’s customers; in the public’s interest.

This letter from the TIO, dated 7 August 1995, notes:

“You have also complained that on 26 May 1995 you received further FOI documents from Telstra which, you state, would have assisted your claim significantly.

“In particular, you claim:

the further FOI documents released confirmed that Telstra internally acknowledged to Bell Canada International Inc. (‘BCI’) that your complaints were correct in suggesting that the BCI testing of your telephone service was “fabricated” as the testing could not and did not take place as reported in the BCI Addendum Report; …
Telstra has knowingly presented to the Arbitrator a “fabricated” testing and evaluation report that “…. was allegedly independently and impartially performed and created” by BCI.
The Resource Unit took into account the flawed BCI report. …

“In order to deal with your complaints expeditiously, I would be pleased if you could provide this material to me within 14 days.” 

As I began the task of assembling this recently supplied information into a claim of some sort, faults were still occurring on my telephone service lines. This was the ‘hang-up’ fault, which I later learnt was the fault the arbitrator would not allow his technical consultants the extra weeks they requested in order to investigate. By combining Open letter File No/45-C and Open Letter File No/47-A to 47-D) it will once again be seen that the arbitration consultants did not address my 008/1800 billing claims (see Prologue/Chapter One.

This 3 October 1995 letter from AUSTEL to Telstra’s arbitration defence liaison officer and copied to the TIO, states:

“I write concerning charging discrepancies raised in 1994 by Mr Alan Smith of Cape Bridgewater Holiday Camp regarding his 008 service, and the wider issue these discrepancies raise for Telstra’s 008/1800 customers. These matters have been the subject of previous letters from AUSTEL to you and to [Telstra], dated 4 October 1994 and 1 December 1994, respectively. The charging discrepancies have again been raised with AUSTEL by Mr Smith following the conclusion of his Fast Track Arbitration Procedure.”

On 14 October 1995, AUSTEL’s Darren Kearney wrote to me under the subject heading Charging Discrepancies Related to Telstra’s 008/1800 Service:

“As noted in my letter to you of 4 October 1995, AUSTEL has written to Telstra regarding the issues originally raised by you in 1994. The letter refers specifically to charging discrepancies raised in 1994 by Mr Alan Smith of Cape Bridgewater Holiday camp regarding his 008 service. …

“As previously advised, you will be informed of the outcome of this matter.”

Did the arbitration resource unit understand that when they failed to investigate the ongoing billing problems, they did not address the cause of the billing issues? The billing issues included calls registering into the holiday camp lines through Telstra’s Call Analyses Charges System (CCAS) that I was charged for, although the connection actually failed, and a fault where successful calls were terminated but the line remained engaged, thus prohibiting incoming or outgoing calls. The failure of the engaged line to correct itself, leaving the line effectively frozen, was significant.

This fault was only obvious when dialling out from the business office. From 1993 onwards, Telstra often advised us to disconnect the phone at the wall socket and then plug it back in to free up the line. This indicates the fault was in either the phone or the actual phone line. In order to dial out of the office when this particular fault was present (it was intermittent), we had to disconnect the line at the wall after every call.

Faults continued to occur. In January 2003 – seven years after the arbitration process – the new owners of my business wrote to David Hawker MP, seeking help (see Arbitrator File No/118). Ex-Telstra technical guru Brian Hodge, after viewing Telstra’s own fault material, confirms the problems were still affecting the business in November 2006. When the project manager admitted that NONE of the billing issues was addressed during my arbitration (see below), he also admitted to not investigating the faults that caused these billing issues. In fact, in both the draft and final 30 April 1995 technical arbitration evaluation Cape Bridgewater Holiday Camp reports, the consultants state:

“2.23  Continued reports of 008 faults up to the present. As the level of disruption to overall CBHA (Cape Bridgewater Holiday Camp) service is not clear, and fault causes have not been diagnosed, a reasonable expectation is that these faults would remain “open” (SeeIntroduction File No/1-B)

The TIO-appointed arbitration project manager wrote to the TIO on 15 November 1995 advising them that NONE of my billing faults was investigated because the material was not submitted until April 1995.

“A second matter involved 008 calls. Again, this matter was current at a late stage (April 1995) of the Arbitration process. …

“As no further progress was likely to be made on these matters, the formal version of the Technical Evaluation Report did not leave the billing issue open.” (See Introduction File No/1-A)

Although the billing issues were certainly still “current” in April 1995, this letter implies that they were not referred to before: this is inaccurate as my billing issues were included in my letter of claim, which Garry Ellicott and Barry O’Sullivan lodged on 15 June 1994. The project manager, once again, misled and deceived the TIO. This same project manager was present at the oral arbitration hearing with the arbitrator and Telstra on 11 October 1994. I informed both the arbitrator and Telstra, in detail, as to the true extent of Telstra’s billing problems within their network. The transcript of this hearing shows that both the arbitration project manager and the arbitrator were given massive (and we repeat – massive) amounts of evidence in relation to wrongly calculated accounts charged to my phone services over many years recorded these facts. (See Open letter File No/45-B)

If my claim advisors, Garry and Barry, had provided me with the costs of the freight charges between Queensland and Victoria and the dates they sent the material on, I could have proved conclusively to the TIO that my billing claim documents were sent in June 1994, as the freight invoice would have shown when it left their Queensland office. No one has attempted to investigate why these documents were kept from the arbitration, not even my claim advisers. Senator Barry O’Sullivan has not replied to my questions as to why he won’t supply the freight costs.

If Mr Kearney is honest, then I am sure he remembers what he told me after I showed him point 2.23 (above). I remember, vividly, that he asked how the technical consultants could sign off their report as complete when they had not even attempted to diagnose the causes of the faults that Telstra’s CCAS data showed were a major problem for my business. I told Mr Kearney the Canadian technical consultant had spoken to me on the telephone and informed me the report was not signed off because it had not been completed. We address this issue in more detail on another page.

While Mr Kearney was clearly shocked at the evidence contained in my comprehensive log of fault complaints and appeared to empathise with me regarding the arbitrator’s duplicity, he made it clear AUSTEL could not intervene. He requested, almost apologetically, that he be allowed to take the comprehensive log and its attachments – five spiral-bound evidence files compiled by Garry Ellicott and Barry O’Sullivan. I allowed Mr Kearney the privilege of taking this information to Melbourne. However, similar to when I ignored Telstra’s threats (see Senate Evidence File No 31) and continued assisting the AFP with their investigations, I was again deceived. AUSTEL (now ACMA) like the AFP, have refused to assist me when I needed the same assistance they had received from me.


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Absent Justice Ebook

Read Alan’s book

My name is Alan Smith. This is the story of my battle with a telecommunications giant and the Australian Government, a battle that has twisted and turned, since 1992, through elected governments, government departments, regulatory bodies, the judiciary, and the Australian telecommunications giant, Telstra, or Telecom, as it was known when this story started. The quest for justice continues to this day.

Other independent business people similarly affected by poor telecommunications have joined me on my journey. We are known as the Casualties of Telstra, or the COT cases. All we wanted was for the government owned telecommunications carrier Telstra to admit there was problems, and fix them.

Worse, we had been tricked into signing a confidentiality clause that has hampered all of our efforts since to have our claims transparently investigated.

What do you think? Are we imagining it or has there really been massive corruption and collusion on the part of public servants, politicians, regulatory bodies and Telstra themselves, to protect Telstra to the detriment of it's customers?

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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

“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

“…the very large number of persons that had been forced into an arbitration process and have been obliged to settle as a result of the sheer weight that Telstra has brought to bear on them as a consequence where they have faced financial ruin if they did not settle…”

Senator Carr

“All that is required for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing”

– Edmund Burke