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Chapter Fourteen - Was it Legal or Illegal?


Kangaroo - Court

Chapter 14 - Was it Legal or Illegal? shows on 16 October 1995, Five months after my arbitration was deemed complete (and hence outside the arena of the arbitration process) AUSTEL allowed Telstra’s original arbitration defence liaison officer Steve Black to address the worst of my 1800 Ericsson AXE billing claim documents in secret (see also  Open letter File No/46-A to 46-l) without the arbitrator or me being present. In simple terms, I was denied my legal right to challenge Telstra's submission. These were were the same billing Ericsson AXE faults that the John Rundell's second in command Sue Hodkinson later admitted on (2 August 1996) to the arbitrator and TIO that they had withheld from the arbitration process (see Open letter File No/45-H).

I only found out years after the conclusion of my arbitration that AUSTEL (for the government) allowed Telstra to address my arbitration Ericsson AXE ongoing billing faults on 16 October 1995, five months after the conclusion of my arbitration using an arbitration witness statement that had already been declared false on January 1995 by Mr Garry Ellicot, ex - Senior Detective Sergeant of the Queensland police and again in 1999, by Mr Neil Jepson Barrister for the Major Fruad Group Victoria Police. 

Here is John Rundell in 2022 on his website praising what a great arbitration process the COT v Telecom/Telstra process was for him and here Sue Hodgkinson is admitting 15 months after the conclusion of my arbitration that the 1800 faults were not investigated in my arbitration.

How many other arbitration processes has John Rundell conducted where the rules of the arbitration agreement was not adeared to.   

I and COT Spokesperson Graham Schorer provided Grant Campbell of the TIO office for my Fast Track Settlement Proposal claim material on 008/1800 billing issues. We were not told that Grant Campbell had been seconded from Telstra. That FTSP 008/1800 billing claim material was not investigated. Did Grant Campbell supply it to the TIO and Telstra for discussion or provide it to Telstra? (see Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman - Chapter 3 - Julian Assange - Hacking -1).

In early 2000, Telstra's own CEO on pages 132 and 133 in his publication Managing in Australia (See File 122-i - CAV Exhibit 92 to 127) discussed the problems Telstra had with their 008/1800 billing problems 

The following link Evidence - C A V Part 1, 2 and 3 -Chapter 4 - Fast Track Arbitration Procedure confirms Frank Blount, Telstra’s CEO, after leaving Telstra in he co-published a manuscript in 1999. entitled, Managing in Australia. On pages 132 and 133, the author exposes the problems Telstra were hiding from their 1800 customers:

Frank Blount's Managing Australia › managing-in-australia › fran can still be purchased online. 

Trying to produce a readable claim when the story was so complex, multi-layered and obscured by long-delayed access to necessary information was extremely challenging. My phone and fax lines became lifelines to Garry Ellicott in Queensland. Ex-senior Queensland police officer Garry Ellicott was heavily involved in my arbitration. Between May 1994 and May 1995, while working on my claim, Garry frequently experienced major problems when he tried to contact me by phone or fax (this was pre-email). Sometimes he attempted to phone me, but received an incorrectly recorded voice announcement (termed an RVA fault) telling him that my phone line was ‘no longer connected’; sometimes the line was simply dead. Sometimes he was unable to send faxes to me or I could not receive them; on other occasions when faxes did get through, if they weren’t completely blank pages, they were so distorted they were unreadable.

When Garry attempted to ring me on 27 May 1994 on my 1800 service, he twice reached a recorded announcement telling him my number was not connected, before he finally got through. When Garry rang the Telstra fault centre to complain about these voice messages the operator told him she could not register the fault because the complaint had to come from the customer. Garry’s response was understandably blunt. He asked, ‘How can the customer complain if he doesn’t know I’m trying to reach him?! How can he complain if he is not aware that his incoming callers believe he’s no longer trading?’ When my telephone account arrived I had, of course, been charged for both failed calls.

It is clear Frank Blount's Managing Australia › managing-in-australia  proves Telstra knew they were fasly provideing AUSTEL with incorrect information concerning the ongoing 008/1800 billing faults.

AUSTEL, allowing Telstra to address arbitration issues outside of my arbitration, prohibited me from legally challenging (as part of the original arbitration process) Telstra’s response to the ongoing billing problems that still affected the viability of my business. AUSTEL did not alert me to this, which meant that I was unable to use my legal right to challenge Telstra on this matter.

When AUSTEL allowed Telstra to address these ongoing Ericsson AXE RVA billing issues covertly (see Open letter File No/46-L to 46-l) and without the involvement of the original ‘umpire’ (in my case, the arbitrator) AUSTEL could not have known that my claim advisors had already proved to the arbitrator that Telstra’s witness statement was full of inaccuracies. Telstra was able to submit this same witness statement to AUSTEL, fully aware that AUSTEL did not know what Gary Ellicott (my claim advisors) had proven.

Anyone who uses a telephone has at some time reached a recorded voice announcement (known within the industry as RVA):

‘The number you have called is not connected or has been changed. Please check the number before calling again. You have not been charged for this call.’

This incorrect message was the RVA people most frequently reached when trying to ring the Camp. While Telstra never acknowledged this, I discovered much later, among a multitude of FOI documents I received in 1994, a copy of a Telstra internal memo which explained, this message tends to give the caller the impression that the business they are calling has ceased trading, and they should try another trader’.

Another Telstra document referred to the need for:

‘a very basic review of all our RVA messages and how they are applied … I am sure when we start to scratch around we will find a host of network circumstances where inappropriate RVAs are going to line’.

It seems the ‘not connected’ RVA came on whenever the lines in or out of Cape Bridgewater were congested, which, given how few lines there were, was often.

For a newly established business like ours, this was a major disaster, but despite the memo’s acknowledgement that such serious faults existed, Telstra never admitted the existence of a fault in those first years. And with my continued complaints I was treated increasingly as a nuisance caller. This was rural Australia, and I was supposed to put up with a poor phone service — not that anyone in Telstra was admitting that it was poor service. In every case, ‘No fault found’ was the finding by technicians and linesmen.

Absent Justice - False Documents

Absent Justice Part 2 - Chapter 14 - Was it Legal or Illegal?

NOTE: The arbitration confidentiality agreement, which both Telstra and I signed, prohibited us from exposing these types of documents outside of the arbitration process. Yet Telstra, on 16 October 1995, supplied AUSTEL some of their original arbitration defence documents. Telstra not only breached the confidentiality agreement but also used documents already proven false. If AUSTEL had gathered the main players together and insisted the arbitration issues be addressed because the systemic billing issues affected thousands of Telstra customers, the arbitrator would have been duty-bound to reopen the arbitration.

How can AUSTEL (now the ACMA) continue to state that they are independent of Telstra and did not compromise my position? Mr Kearney’s report, from the information I provided him on 19 December 1995 (see below), confirms Telstra incorrectly charged me for telephone calls for more than two years, both before and during my arbitration. Between June 1993 and December 1995, I provided AUSTEL with copies of Telstra System CCAS data, showing that Telstra had a systemic billing problem in their network. Over this period, AUSTEL wrote to Telstra on numerous occasions regarding my claims. One letter, dated 4 October 1994, demanded answers (see Open letter File No/46-F to 46-l) and another letter, dated 2 August 1996, show AUSTEL was very concerned as it appeared this systemic billing problem still existed within Telstra’s network (see Arbitrator File No/115). Will the Australian public ever know how much extra revenue Telstra made during the period in which this systemic billing problem existed in their network?

Mr Kearney’s statements in his February 1996 report (see Arbitrator File No/109) support my original arbitration billing submission (which accompanied our arbitration chronology of faults submission and hence was hidden from arbitration) and show that the billing information that Telstra provided to AUSTEL on 16 October 1995 was fundamentally flawed. The information AUSTEL allowed Telstra to submit in secret did not match Mr Kearney’s findings. In essence, AUSTEL allowing Telstra to address some of my arbitration billing claims in secret, without an arbitrator present and disallowing me my legal rights to challenge Telstra’s submission, severely compromised my future complaints of ongoing telephone problems.

When Mr Kearney saw my further evidence which confirmed some 80 or more incoming telephone calls into my business could not have possibly generated into either my fax line 267230 or 267267 serice and yet they registered as having connected it was he who said a call diverter had intercepted those calls. His words not mine. 

I advised Mr Kearney of a hairdresser in South Australia who experienced similar diversions where his calls were diverted to another Hairdresser business in Adelaide, South Australia. A lady of the night who had a massage parlour in Melbourne known to the COT Cases (not as a client) but a person who had warned us about a Telstra employee Tony Watson who in my arbitration mislead the arbitrator concerning six faxes that never arrived at the arbitrator's office even though my Telstra fax account shows they were faxed to Dr Hughes office on 23 May 1994. 

And here I was informing Darren Kearney (a government public servant) that here was proof in front of him that some confirmed 80 or more incoming telephone calls over two months had been diverted to a yet unknown location. 

When I discussed with Me Kearney that the Australian Federal Police in September 1994 had shown alarm that Telstra had been documenting on internal correspondence which had been telephoning me and from what location, and stating in one written memo that this particular caller who telephoned my holiday camp had phoned from a different location in South Australia than his usual location also showed my telephone conversations were being monitored for more than just for fault purposes.

Even worse in other written Telstra file notes are the names and phone numbers of lady clients who visited my holiday camp for weekend activities in the environment such as canoeing and horse riding classes as well as caving and weekend bushwalking activities. This alarmed the AFP as it did Mr Kearney. On two occasions, strangers had been at my holiday camp when school children were on camp. 

This was relayed to the arbitration resource unit, which also visited my business. I advised them that strange happenings seemed to be linked after Telstra had inadvertently left a briefcase at my business on 3 June 1993. But delving into explaining those types of situations does not look favourable.

No one in the government or the arbitration process would investigate even though they were in my written submission. So not a lot was said other than were did those 80 diverted calls go to. No one in the government or the arbitration process would investigate even though they were in my written submission 

When I say even worse here, I mean EVEN WORSE because I later learned after the arbitrations that the government who endorsed my arbitration had been aware before I signed the agreement that a link to paedophile activity by the very person in charge of investigating my holiday camp problems. One would hope the phone and faxing particulars of my once owned holiday camp were passed onto other paedophiles by the Senator who was in charge of investigating my complaints.

The literature I have read these past years suggests that paedophiles have a policy of sharing contacts. This means that when the government learned of this pedophile activity by this Senator, the COT Case should have had our arbitration documents viewed by a different process than the one that was in place. 

He took this material back to Melbourne for analysis, and as of 2021, I still have not received a response to where those 80 calls went

The TIO and Telstra both refused to properly investigate the ongoing problems until 16 January 1998, and then it was agreed (see Main Evidence File No 35 and File No 36) that these problems continued to haunt my business long after the end of my ‘completed’ arbitration. So, in 2021, how can the government say that the government communications regulator did not breach their statutory obligation to me as a citizen of Australia? Particularly, when they allowed Telstra to covertly address issues, which had cost me $300,000-PLUS merely to submit them to arbitration where ultimately only a part of my claim was assessed.

Three months after my arbitration was declared final, the elusive comprehensive log of my fault complaints that had been concealed from the technical unit (refer Arbitrator File Nos/29 and 30) by either the arbitrator or the resource unit, re-emerged. The concealment of this important fault log – possibly the most important document in the whole arbitration process – means that there had to be a sinister motive behind it. If this was not gross misconduct on top of criminal conduct, then what is?

Behind all this deception is a smoking gun that links together all the crimes that were committed against the claimants; crimes that began even before the signing of the arbitration agreements; crimes that continued throughout the arbitrations and crimes that were even committed after those arbitrations had been labelled as ‘complete’.

For years I could not bring myself to believe the rumours that were floating around Melbourne while the TIO was administering the COT arbitrations. I heard that the Institute of Arbitrators Australia, the Commercial Arbitration Act 1984 and the confidentiality clauses in the COT’s arbitration agreement were being used as a shield to hide behind during the COT arbitrations. This would mean that the only way to challenge the arbitrations would be through a formal, legal appeal process, which, according to the Act, is almost unachievable.

Absent Justice - The Injustice Continues

Various interested parties looking at my story have suggested that the concealment of a document like my comprehensive log of fault complaints, during a litigation process like my arbitration, is considered a jailable offence in many Western democracies. Here in Australia however, this crime was concealed under the confidentiality clauses in my arbitration agreement even though it is now clear that the arbitration was not administered according to the agreed ambit of the Australian Arbitration Act 1984. If the Arbitration resource unit had provided this log for assessment, as they should have, it would have instantly been obvious that the telephone Ericsson AXE phone and fax problems were STILL occurring, even as my arbitration proceeded

In connection with these problems, in August 1994, George Close, my technical advisor, produced an arbitration report using Telstra’s own data showing that, between December 1993 and February 1994, two of my main service lines suffered blockage periods of up to 47%. George could not report occurrences between February 1994 and April 1995 because Telstra refused to supply any data for that period, even under the official arbitration discovery process. Even if we had received that extra data, however, the deletion of the arbitrator’s technical consultants’ request for an extension of time to investigate the ongoing billing issues meant it is unlikely this period have been inspected anyway.

Garry Ellicott reported the two RVA faults to Telstra on 27 May 1994 and I reported these faults to both AUSTEL and the TIO. My main complaint to the TIO was that I should not even have been in arbitration while these faults continued to destroy my business AND also interfered with the preparation of my claim. The TIO however would not listen to these valid points, but informed me that the arbitration technical unit would investigate these matters when they visited Cape Bridgewater as part of the arbitration process. As Open letter File No/46-F to 46-l) shows, and we discuss elsewhere, the arbitrator stopped the technical unit from carrying out that investigation at all. In a 16 February 1996 letter to the then-president of the Institute of Arbitrators Australia, the arbitrator states:

 “Mr Smith’s assertion on page 4 that a technical expert refused to discuss technical information at his premises on 6 April 1995 is correct – in this regard, the technical consultant was acting in accordance with his interpretation of my direction which prohibited him from speaking to one party in the absence of the other party at any site visit”. (See Open letter File No/45-A to 45-I and more importantly Open letter File No/45-G page 2, bullet 2)

Absent Justice - TIO Investigation

I am sure, if Garry Ellicott and Senator Barry O’Sullivan had known the arbitrator would stop the technical consultants from investigating most of the $51,000-worth of work they had prepared on my behalf, they would have demanded an investigation into the arbitrator’s refusal of the extra weeks his own technical resource unit requested to investigate my claims properly. Barry and I both signed each of the 16 pages of my official arbitration agreement. I believe, if Barry had known that none of the ongoing problems with my service lines would be addressed during my arbitration, despite those issues causing billing problems and interfering with my arbitration claims, and if he had known the arbitrator would have ‘no control over the process’ because it was going to be ‘conducted entirely outside of the agreed ambit of the arbitration procedures’ then he would have refused to sign the agreement at all, and probably would have advised me not to sign it either.

So why did the arbitration project manager stop the TIO from investigating my valid claim that the billing faults had been included in my elusive comprehensive list of fault complaints? What was the project manager so worried about that led him to write something he knew was an outright lie (see Open letter File No/45-A)? Why did he infer that I only submitted my billing claim documents in April 1995 (late in the arbitration) when arbitration documents show AUSTEL and Telstra was discussing these same billing faults as early as October and December 1994 (see Open letter File No/46-A to 46-l?  M Rundell (Arbitration Project Manager) his character, like Charles Dickens’ notorious character, Fagin, is more than just questionable. This one deliberate lie cost me a proper transparent investigation. Sadly, the COT story is not a stage play, it is real. The villains appointed to run the process were hand-picked from among Australia’s business and government executives, which is probably why my claims have never been properly investigated. It seems also, sadly, that the scale of the power held by this small, but the elite circle of influential people is growing, year by year.

Absent Justice Ebook

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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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“…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

“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

“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

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