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Chapter Two - Illicit screening

Bribery, corruption, misleading and deceptive conduct plagued the COT cases government-endorsed arbitrations. 

Absent Justice - Lost Faxes

My 3 February 1994 letter to Michael Lee, Minister for Communications (see Hacking-Julian Assange File No/27-A) and a subsequent letter from Fay Holthuyzen, assistant to the minister (see Hacking-Julian Assange File No/27-B), to Telstra’s corporate secretary, show that I was concerned that my faxes were being illegally intercepted.

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. (See 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)

This letter of 18 March 1994 from Steve Black, Telstra’s appointed arbitration liaison officer to my arbitration process, wrote to Robin Davey, Chairman of AUSTEL AFP Evidence File No 6 under the heading Tape Recorders – Use In Locating Fax Faults noting: 25 February 1994: When this letter to Telstra’s Corporate Secretary from Fay Holthuyzen, Assistant to the Minister for Communications, Michael Lee, is compared to the letter dated 3 February 1994 Exhibit that I sent to the Minister’s office it is clear that I had every reason to be concerned that my faxes were being illegally intercepted (AFP Evidence File No 5)

“In a small number of cases, where the customer indicates that the problem is specific to transmission between two particular facsimile machines then, with the consent of the customers controlling those facsimile machines, the test transmission between these facsimiles machines will be taped and analysed.

In these cases, recording would be carried out in circumstances where:

the customer’s consent has been confirmed in writing by facsimiles or otherwise;
the recording would be of signals generated by a test message;
there is no B party involved.” 
(see AFP Evidence File No 6)

I was never warned, either prior, during arbitrations or during the seven years after his arbitration, that Telstra was intercepting my faxes as part of their testing process – or for any other reason for that matter – and neither did I ever provide Telstra with written permission for this interception to occur, even though this letter to Mr Davey (AFP File 6) is quite clear that it was mandatory for Telstra to apply for written permission to use tape recorders when intercepting phone calls and/or faxes.

Absent Justice - 12 Remedies Persued - 2

It is now 2024, and the Australian Federal Police AFP has still not disclosed to me why Telstra senior management has not been brought to account for authorising this intrusion into my business and private life regardless of Article 12 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights stating:

"No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks." 

It is most important we raise the statement made in a Telstra internal email that is discussed on this website absentjustice.com noting:

"The sensitive papers referred to above, dated 23 August 1993, of which Telstra’s corporate secretary claimed, “Nothing in these documents to cause Telecom any concern in respect of your case,” actually provided clear evidence that Telstra’s management had recorded a telephone conference I had with the former prime minister of Australia Malcolm Fraser in April 1993, although what I had discussed with Mr Fraser had been redacted (blanked) out). When I telephoned Mr Fraser in April 1993, I discussed my previous letter to him dated 18 September 1967 when he was Minister for the Army, during the Vietnam War and the selling of wheat to China during the period of that war.

Other documents in that 3 June 1993 briefcase showed how Telstra, including their corporate secretary Jim Holmes, had misled and deceived me on 11 December 1992, during my settlement process, where Telstra had concealed from me and the government how bad the Ericsson AXE telephone exchange equipment was.

Why this statement is so important is because during a meeting with AUSTEL (the then Australian government communications regulator now called ACMA) AUSTEL's General Manager of Consumer Affairs discussed some very sensitive documents in which he stated words to the effect "...they, meaning AUSTEL, had to force Telstra under threat of cancelling their telecommunications licence if they did not corporate with the  Australian Federal Police Investigations into my evidence received by both the government and me that Telstra had been intercepting my telephone conversations between me and several patrons of my "Over 40s Single Club" which was another branch of my holiday camp and convention centre. Telstra had written private telephone numbers of several single women members of my singles club on Telstra documentation and the dates I would be away from my business visiting those single clubs. (see Australian Federal Police Investigations).

It was during one of these meetings with AUSTEl's John McMahon in and around February or March 1994 that John McMahon informed me by mistake that AUSTEL had uncovered documents that showed my business had been live monitored from at least from the middle of June 1993 and that AUSTEL's investigations had uncovered very unsavoury conduct by one of the Government Ministers involved in my phone and fax hacking claims. This conversation took place on 3 June 1993, when Telstra technicians had left their elusive briefcase, exposing the severe telephone problems within Telstra's network. As AUSTEL had received documents in confidence, Mr McMahon apologized that AUSTEL could not provide them to me while the AFP was investigating my claims. 

During the second Australian Federal Police interview with me at my business on 26 September 1994, while they were investigating these bugging issues, they asked me 93 questions see Australian Federal Police Investigation File No/1 transcripts from their interview surrounding the interception of my telecommunication services conversations. I told the AFP that John McMahon had told me of the documents AUSTEL had uncovered and confirmed that my phone conversations had been bugged over a long period. It is confirmed from question 81 that the AFP disclosed to me they had evidence before them confirming AUSTEL's John MacMahon, had supplied the AFP evidence my phones had been bugged. 

Question 81 in the following AFP transcripts Australian Federal Police Investigation File No/1 confirm the AFP told me that AUSTEL's John MacMahon had supplied the AFP evidence my phones had been bugged over an extended period. Why then did the arbitrator not award me in his official findings concerning this evidence after he was supplied these AFP transcripts?

"... does identify the fact that, that you were live monitored for a period of time. See we're quite satisfied that, there are other references to it".

When a very young Julian Assange [the hackers] told COT Cases spokesperson Graham Schorer there were forces at work that were acting illegally against during our arbitration, did the hackers mean they had uncovered what the four arbitrations professionals had been doing, or were they referring to only Telstra or both? This electronic surveillance (invasion into the COT Cases' private and business lives) continued for three years after the AFP made no ruling on the evidence we COT Cases had been subjected to. In simple terms, Telstra also had power over the AFP during a government-endorsed arbitration set up to investigate this type of conduct.

Fax Screening / Hacking Example Only 

Interception of this 12 May 1995 letter by a secondary fax machine:

Whoever had access to Telstra’s network, and therefore the TIO’s office service lines, knew – during the designated appeal time of my arbitration – that my arbitration was conducted using a set of rules (arbitration agreement) that the arbitrator declared not credible. There are three fax identification lines across the top of the second page of this 12 May 1995 letter:

  1. The third line down from the top of the page (i.e. the bottom line) shows that the document was first faxed from the arbitrator’s office, on 12-5-95, at 2:41 pm to the Melbourne office of the TIO – 61 3 277 8797;
  2. The middle line indicates that it was faxed on the same day, one hour later, at 15:40, from the TIO’s fax number, followed by the words “TIO LTD”.
  3. The top line, however, begins with the words “Fax from” followed by the correct fax number for the TIO’s office (visible

Consider the order of the time stamps. The top line is the second sending of the document at 14:50, nine minutes after the fax from the arbitrator’s office; therefore, between the TIO’s office receiving the first fax, which was sent at 2.41 pm (14:41), and sending it on at 15:40, to his home, the fax was also re-sent at 14:50. In other words, the document sent nine minutes after the letter reached the TIO office was intercepted.

The fax imprint across the top of this letter is the same as the fax imprint described in the Scandrett & Associates report (see Open Letter File No/12 and File No/13), which states:

We canvassed examples, which we are advised are a representative group, of this phenomena [sic].

“They show that

  • the header strip of various faxes is being altered
  • the header strip of various faxes was changed or semi overwritten.
  • In all cases the replacement header type is the same.
  • The sending parties all have a common interest and that is COT.
  • Some faxes have originated from organisations such as the Commonwealth Ombudsman office.
  • The modified type face of the header could not have been generated by the large number of machines canvassed, making it foreign to any of the sending services.”

The fax imprint across the top of this letter dated 12 May 1995 (Open Letter File No 55-A) is the same as the fax imprint described in the January 1999 Scandrett & Associates report provided to Senator Ron Boswell (see Open Letter File No/12 and File No/13), confirming faxes were intercepted during the COT arbitrations. One of the two technical consultants attesting to the validity of this January 1999 fax interception report emailed me on 17 December 2014, stating:

“I still stand by my statutory declaration that I was able to identify that the incoming faxes provided to me for review had at some stage been received by a secondary fax machine and then retransmitted, this was done by identifying the dual time stamps on the faxes provided.” (Front Page Part One File No/14)

It is clear from exhibits 646 and 647 (see AS-CAV 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 2022.

On my second request for this detailed data Paul Rumble Telstra's arbitration officer, threatened me that if I continued to provide this type of information to the AFP, Telstra would refrain from supplying that information. It was up to me. Stop supplying the AFP with FOI documents and Telstra will assist me by supplying the arbitrator with this type of evidence. I refused to be threatened in this manner.  

Exhibit AS 492-A file AS-CAV 488-A to 494-E is a letter dated 26 August 1998 from George Close to the new Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman. The fax header records: Fax from: — 61 74 453198 — 17:54, which was Mr Close's residential fax number. Our Main Evidence File (see Open Letter File No/12, and File No/13) is the technical findings of both Scandrett & Associates and Peter Hancock, showing that they both agree that if the wording Fax from: followed by the numbers of the various COT faxes does not also include the correct business identification of the respective COT business then that indicates that those faxes were intercepted by a secondary fax machine and then redirected on to the intended destination.

This intercepted letter from Mr Close was copied to the offices of twelve different Government Ministers in Parliament House Canberra, raising several important questions. Since we constantly hear politicians questioning how information has been leaked from the party room, could this be because even Government offices in Parliament House are also routed through Telstra's Fax Streaming centre? Even if those Government offices have officially organised the Fax Streaming arrangement, what could be happening to the documents that go through that system without the Government's knowledge? Could it be that privileged, in-confidence material 'leaks' out of Parliament House through Telstra similarly? Is it that Telstra's Fax Streaming process means that, around the country, private is not so private?

Just to let you know, although the George Close exhibits are of poor quality (having been copied several times), the poor quality does not take away the truth that these exhibits, when viewed together, still prove our claims.

Exhibit AS 492-B file AS-CAV 488-A to 494-E, which is a report faxed by Mr Close on 16 April 1998, has the correct identification across the top of the page see 61-74-453198 — GEORGE CLOSE & ASSOC — 17:34. In simple terms, those with access to Telstra's network were able to use 'keywords' so only specific faxes leaving Mr Close's residence were intercepted. I have used these two examples because they were sent at approximately the same time in the afternoon, although months apart.

How many other arbitration and legal processes is this interception of the legal documentation being hacked by the opposing side, screened, and copied before sending it to its intended destination? The advantage of knowing the other side's weaknesses and strengths is endless. And this all happened in Australia. I firmly believe up to the day George Close passed away; he never got over the fact that Telstra had used his residence and office to the detriment of his clients.

A secondary fax machine

As a further example of how serious this fax interception issue was during the COT arbitrations I need discuss the 12 May 1995 letter, written by the arbitrator the day after he brought down my award, the arbitrator Dr Hughes condemned the Telstra-drafted arbitration agreement as not a credible document to use in the process; however, he still used it to my detriment. I.e.; 

“the time frames set in the original Arbitration Agreement were, with the benefit of hindsight, optimistic;

“in particular; we did not allow sufficient time in the Arbitration Agreement for inevitable delays associated with the production of documents, obtaining further particulars and the preparation of technical reports; …

“In summary, it is my view that if the process is to remain credible, it is necessary to contemplate a time frame for completion which is longer than presently contained in the Arbitration Agreement.” see Open Letter File No 55-A).

The fax imprint across the top of this letter (Open Letter File No 55-A) is the same as the fax imprint described in the Scandrett & Associates report (see Open Letter File No/12 and File No/13.

Whoever had access to Telstra’s network, and therefore the TIO’s office service lines, knew – during the designated appeal time of my arbitration – that my arbitration was conducted using a set of rules (arbitration agreement) that the arbitrator declared not credible. There are three fax identification lines across the top of the second page of this 12 May 1995 letter:

The third line down from the top of the page (i.e. the bottom line) shows that the document was first faxed from the arbitrator’s office, on 12-5-95, at 2:41 pm to the Melbourne office of the TIO – 61 3 277 8797;
The middle line indicates that it was faxed on the same day, one hour later, at 15:40, from the TIO’s fax number, followed by the words “TIO LTD”.
The top line, however, begins with the words “Fax from” followed by the correct fax number for the TIO’s office (visible

Consider the order of the time stamps. The top line is the second sending of the document at 14:50, nine minutes after the fax from the arbitrator’s office; therefore, between the TIO’s office receiving the first fax, which was sent at 2.41 pm (14:41), and sending it on at 15:40, to his home, the fax was also re-sent at 14:50. In other words, the document sent nine minutes after the letter reached the TIO office was intercepted.

The fax imprint across the top of this letter is the same as the fax imprint described in the Scandrett & Associates report (see Open Letter File No/12 and File No/13),

Please click on Australian Federal Police Investigations - Chapter 1 - Hacked documents and Chapter 1 - WikiLeak exposing the truth

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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

“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

“…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

“…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

“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

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