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Introduction to An Injustice to the remaining 16 Australian citizens

 

The story of the COT Cases is tragic, revealing the true face of corporate greed and misconduct. While Ziggy Switowski was CEO of Telstra, discussions took place with two barristers, a professional loss assessor, COT Cases Graham Schorer, and a Senator. In 2023, Switowski conducted an investigation into corruption regarding PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC). The investigation uncovered that Coopers and Lybrand, on the eve of the COT arbitration, altered and removed sections from their original findings in their audit on Telstra and their conduct towards its customers. Despite this, the arbitrator hearing the first four COT Cases claims submitted the Coopers & Lybrand report into arbitration, not knowing that Coopers & Lybrand's most crucial finding against Telstra of deliberately misleading and deceptive conduct towards the COT Cases and their customers had been removed.

It is a travesty that no one in Coopers & Lybrand and Telstra was made to withdraw those false findings from the COT arbitrations, as documented in File 942 to 946. This inaction robbed the COT Cases of any chance to appeal their arbitrations, leaving them to suffer the consequences of Telstra's misconduct. It is concerning that government bureaucrats neglected to check for any potential conflict of interest when Ziggy Switowski investigated the conduct of PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC). This issue is a stark reminder that corporations will go to great lengths to protect their interests, even if it means disregarding the rights and well-being of their customers. It is time to hold Telstra and all other corporations accountable for their actions and ensure such injustices never happen again.

I Highlight the following statement shown on a Telstra internal memo of  9th November from the Group Managing Director of Telstra, Mr Doug Campbell, to Telstra's General Manager of Commercial, Mr Ian Campbell (AS 942), which notes: 

"I believe that it should be pointed out to Coopers and Lybrand that unless this report is withdrawn and revised, their future in relation to Telecom may be irreparably damaged."  (File 942 to 946 - AS-CAV 923 to 946)

 

Absent Justice - My Story - Edmund Burke

Broken promises 

In 1994, the Australian Government promised that our ongoing phone and faxing problems would be fixed as part of our government-endorsed arbitration and mediation processes – a promise they never delivered.  Even when the government were informed of these injustices against the 21-type COT Cases, they only assisted five of those cases (as this injustice page shows) The other 16 cases, as we have shown below, were left without the documents they were promised they would receive if they signed their TIO administered arbitration/mediation processes. As shown in Absent Justice Part, John Pinnock (the administrator to our arbitrations) advised a Senate Committee on page 99 COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA – Parliament of Australia) that:

“In the process leading up to the development of the arbitration procedures—and I was not a party to that, but I know enough about it to be able to say this—the claimants were told clearly that documents were to be made available to them under the FOI Act.”

“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.”

The fact that Mr Pinnock’s statements covered the promises given to all of the COT Cases concerning their promised arbitration document and not just the five ‘litmus test cases’ being investigated by the Senate Committee concerned many people aware of the plight of the COT Cases. In late 1998, Mr Neil Jepson, Barrister for the then Major Fraud Group, seconded me as a witness to give evidence on behalf of the five litmus tests cases referred to here on this An injustice to the remaining 16 Australian citizens Mr Jepson discussed when he and I were seconded to give evidence in the Supreme Court of Victoria by Sue Owens in 2002.

This letter Open Letter File Nos/36 was copied to Senior Sergeant Sommerville of the Victorian Police Major Fraud Group, Melbourne. Before this letter was sent, I discussed with Mr Neil Jepson, Barrister of the Victoria Police Major Fraud Group, before sending it that I was not impeding upon their current investigations into fraud claims against Telstra lodged by Barrister Sue Owens on behalf of four of the COT Cases, Ann Garms, Ralph Bova, Ross Plowman and Graham Schorer. Mr Neil Jepson had previously seconded me because of a report I had provided Sue Owens confirming Telstra had also acted fraudulently when relying upon two arbitration reports in defence of my 1994 arbitration claims. The report prepared by me at the request of Senator Richard Alston, Shadow Minister for Communications (refer to  Open Letter File No/41/Part-One and File No/41 Part-Twowas read by several police officers of the Major Fraud group who, after reading this report and the attachments with it concluded Telstra and others had indeed perverted the course of justice during my arbitration.

It is essential to link the Major Fraud Group Transcript (1) and Major Fraud Group Transcript (2) because Fraud Group Transcript (1) shows Senator Ron Boswell, Graham Schorer (COT spokesperson), Bruce Akehurst of Telstra), Mr Anthony Honner (another COT case) and Barry O'Sullivan (negotiator and later Senator) discussed why the government did not allow my arbitration matters to be viewed by the Senate along with the five 'litmus' COT test cases. To have investigated my matters would have impeded the privatisation of Telstra. Telstra  

Major Fraud Group Transcript (2) shows Barrister Sue Owens explaining why the Major Fraud Group Barrister Neil Jepson seconded me into assisting the fraud group's investigations into the four claims registered by Barrister Owen concerning alleged fraud by Telstra. Page 11 of transcript (2) shows Sue Owen stating I am "extremely intelligent" and that police also thought the same concerning my reporting. The reason why I was asked to assist with their fraud investigations.  

All these discussions with Telstra, two barristers, a professional loss assessor, COT Cases Graham Schorer, and a Senator happened while Ziggy Switowski was still Telstra's CEO. In 2023, he is to conduct an in-house investigation into corruption concerning PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC) when it is apparent that he ignored the fraud his company committed against the COT Cases during a government-endorsed arbitration.

The Major Fraud Group asked if I could assist them in those four COT Cases because I could prepare two reports showing this unlawful conduct. I helped the Major Fraud Group by visiting their St Kilda Road complex, spending two days at a time (on two occasions) assisting with their investigations.

That is the only reason I copied this letter to Mr Sommerville after being advised it did not trouble the Major Fraud Group, only that they would appreciate receiving a copy of any response I received from those to whom the letter was addressed.

For reasons unknown to me, the Major Fraud Group Victoria Police investigations into those four alleged fraud cases were aborted. However, grapevine news was that Federal government pressure saw this investigation aborted. 

Was this fraud committed to prevent the arbitrator from investigating my claims of ongoing telephone problems? The arbitrator’s award (his findings) does not mention my complaints of ongoing phone problems.

As noted throughout this webpage, promises were made to the original four COT cases before we signed our arbitration agreements: the government communications regulatory report, titled AUSTEL COT Cases April 1994, states that a set of Service Verification Tests (SVTs) had to be conducted, in accordance with the government’s regulatory mandatory specifications, at each COT case’s premises before the arbitrator/ assessor could hand down findings. Numerous exhibits available on Absentjustice.com (see also

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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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“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.”

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

“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

“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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