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Chapter One

Before reading our Casualties of Telstra (COT) story, we suggest you look at this legal research paper, showing there are others – not just the COT cases – who see loopholes in the justice dealt by some Telecommunication Industry Ombudsman-appointed arbitration officials. In many cases, these officials were not registered lawyers, yet the Australian Establishment gave them the power to decide legal issues on behalf of the arbitration process, when it should have been the arbitrator making those decisions.

These were Australia’s most renowned legal firms practising law at that time – the same legal firms where some of Australia’s most influential politicians had themselves been lawyers. The small-business operators who were pitted against these highly paid legal firms were never meant to prove their claims against the then government-owned Telstra Corporation (see Senators Speak Out) below.

Absent Justice - Australia

PLEASE NOTE:  In Tampering With Evidence File No 13, at point 5.8 (a) in the arbitrators findings the words “or damaging the equipment by spilling a liquid into it”, which was in the arbitrators draft findings which was also the mirrored statement used by Telstra in their falsified TF200 report have been removed.

This indicates that, when Dr Hughes (arbitrator to my case) used those words (“or damaging the equipment by spilling a liquid into it”) in the draft of my award, he had clearly not read my submission regarding my TF200 EXICOM telephone because that submission recorded the many flaws in Telstra’s original, fraudulently-manufactured TF200 report, which falsely stated that a ‘sticky substance, possibly beer’ had been spilt into the phone and it was that ‘substance’ that had caused my phone to lock up (see below).

Tampering With Evidence File No 14, on page 28, at point 5.8 (a) suggests however that Dr Hughes had read my TF200 EXICOM report on this issue, even though he then refused my request to employ Mr Paul Westwood, a document researcher from Canberra, even though I had offered to pay for Mr Westwood’s services and even though he had already provided his qualifications and signed the arbitration confidentiality agreement.

By 5 May 1995, I had made a number of unsuccessful attempts to submit two small submissions to the arbitrator, Dr Hughes, via the Golden Messenger courier service, but Dr Hughes refused to accept them.  Those two submissions were based on 24,000 FOI documents I had received, from Telstra, too late to be able to use them in the arbitration process.  My submissions included my explanation of why Telstra’s TF200 EXICOM report had been deliberately and falsely concocted in order to stop the arbitration resource unit from investigating the 055 267230 service line that my previous TF200 EXICOM phone had been connected to, and which the second TF200 EXICOM was also connected to, because the second phone was now causing the same lock-up problems that Telstra claimed had been caused, in the first phone, by the allegedly ‘wet and sticky’ substance that Telstra technicians had allegedly discovered, when they had ‘examined’ it, eleven months earlier.

On 12 May 1995, Warwick Smith’s official media release declared that my arbitration had been a ‘major success’ and then, on 28 November 1995, six months later, I received new EXICOM TF200 telephone evidence that proved what I had hoped Paul Westwood would prove, which was that the fault that was causing all the problems with my telephone was a manufacturer’s technical fault within the actual phone, and had therefore definitely not been caused by any ‘wet and sticky’ substance spilt inside the phone itself, after all.

Perhaps, if I had not telephoned Dr Hughes to tell him the good news – which I believed finally proved my innocence; if Dr Hughes and John Pinnock had admitted to Laurie James, the President of the Institute of Arbitrators Australia, that I was correct (see Prologue Chapter Three and Four, and that my phone problems had not been caused by my allegedly ‘drunken behaviour’ that Telstra’s TF200 report alleges caused the phone problems, but was that those problems were caused by faults within Telstra’s own equipment then, once Mr James had heard what I had gone through over the previous years, he may well have suggested that the TIO should demand that this part of my arbitration claim be reassessed.

Furthermore, Dr Hughes revealed a serious flaw in his character when he allowed Mr Pinnock to use his (Dr Hughes’) wife in the way he did.

As shown above, tampering with legal evidence after it has been provided to an arbitration process for assessment is a serious crime: in my case, that illegal tampering included the introduction of a foreign substance into my telephone after it had been collected by Telstra from my premises and then the production of a deliberately falsified report about that phone, which was then submitted to the arbitrator during my official arbitration process, supposedly conducted under the ambit of the Victoria (Australia) Arbitration Act 1984.  If this is not a crime, then what is?

Absent Justice - Cape Bridgewater Bay

When I phoned AUSTEL’s Cliff Mathieson, a public servant at the government communications regulatory department, to talk about this hang-up fault on 26 April 1994, Mr Mathieson suggested he and I carry out a series of tests on the phone line. His plan was for me to would hang up and count aloud, from one to 10, while he listened. This first test proved he could hear me count right up to 10. He suggested we try it again and count even further this time. Still the same situation: he could hear me right through the range as I counted. Then he suggested I switch the phone on that line with a phone connected to another line. I did this and we repeated the counting test, with exactly the same results. It was apparent to both of us: the fault was not in the phone itself, but somewhere in the Telstra network. Mr Mathieson suggested that, as I was in arbitration at the time, I should bring this fault to the attention of Peter Gamble, Telstra’s chief engineer. Lindsay White, a Telstra whistleblower, named Peter Gamble, in a Senate, estimates committee hearing, as the man who said he and Telstra had to stop the first COT five claimants (including me), at all cost, from proving our claims (see Senate Hansard ERC&A 36, Front Page Part One File No/23 dated 24 June 1997).

Unaware of these orders to stop us five COT cases (at all cost), I switched the phones back to their original lines and phoned Mr Gamble, but did not tell him Mr Mathieson and I had already tested two phones on the 055 267230 line. Mr Gamble and I then carried out similar tests on the 055 267230 line. Mr Gamble said he would arrange for someone to collect the phone for testing purposes on the following day. FOI K00941, dated 26 March 1994, show someone (name redacted) believed this lock-up fault was being caused by a problem in the RCM exchange at Cape Bridgewater see Tampering With Evidence File No 1-A to 1-C. Document K00940, dated the day the tests were performed with Mr Mathieson and Mr Gamble, suggests that Mr Gamble believed the problem was caused by heat in the exchange see (File No-B) where document folio R37911, states:

“This T200 is an EXICOM and the other T200 [which was connected to my 267267 line] is an ALCATEL, we thought that this may be a design ‘fault???’ with the EXICOM so Ross tried a new EXICOM from his car and it worked perfectly, that is, released the line immediately on hanging up. We decided to leave the new EXICOM and the old phone was marked and tagged…” (see File No 1-C).

On 27 April 1994, Telstra collected my so-called faulty TF200 EXICOM telephone. Documents I later acquired, under FOI, show Telstra was aware this telephone fault often occurred in moisture-prone areas like Cape Bridgewater and they also knew that the local exchange suffered from heat problems. When I received my copy of Telstra’s 12 December 1994 defence of my government-endorsed arbitration process, I found it included a 29-page report titled TF200. This document reported Telstra’s laboratory testing showed the lock-up problem with my service lines was due to my actual TF200 phone.

Six years after my arbitration was supposed to have fixed this problem, I discovered this lock-up issue was not fixed at all, even though Telstra claimed to investigate it on 27 April 1994. At this time, they disconnected the EXICOM TF200 phone from the fax machine and replaced it with another EXICOM TF200, which remained connected to the fax machine until August 2001, when Telstra and I tested the 55 267230 lines, again, and proved that it was still locking up.

Photographs included in Telstra’s report show the outside of the phone was very dirty. According to the laboratory technicians, when they opened the phone up, the inside was wet and sticky. Analysis of the substance showed that it was beer and the conclusion was that beer caused the hookswitch to lock up. The obvious implication here was that my drinking habits were the cause of all my phone problems. The laboratory technicians appeared not to know that the government communications regulatory department and I had already tested two different phones on that line and still found the same fault.

Telstra FOI folio D01026/27 (Tampering With Evidence File No 2) confirms Telstra knew there were lock-up problems in moisture-prone areas affecting the EXICOM T200s manufactured after week seven of 1993. This document confirms one of the known lock-up side effects to this problem was that, while the line was that in locked-up mode, the line remained open so one party could hear the room noise of the locked-up party, after the call was, supposedly, terminated. Document D01026 confirms that instead of destroying these faulty EXICOM phones, Telstra allowed their technical staff to re-deploy some 45,000 phones back into service in areas where local technicians believed moisture was not a problem.

During my government-endorsed arbitration, I received Telstra document FOI folio number R37911, under FOI. This document shows that on the day after retrieving the TF200, Ross Anderson, a Telstra technician from Portland, tested the TF200 EXICOM fax phone at least 18 times without it once displaying this lock-up fault. Telstra FOI document folio K00942/3 Tampering With Evidence File No/1-C
suggests the lock-up problem could have been related to heat or moisture or a combination of both. There is no mention in this document suggesting that alcohol spillage might have caused this problem.

Absent Justice - TF200 EXICOM telephone

After Mr Anderson completed his testing on 27 April, the phone took a further nine days to reach Telstra’s laboratory. It arrived on 6 May and laboratory testing did not commence for another four days. Ray Bell, the author of the TF 200 report, was adamant at point 1.3, under the heading Initial Inspection, that:

“The suspect TF200 telephone when received was found to be very dirty around the keypad with what appeared to be a sticky substance, possibly coffee.” (See Tampering With Evidence File No 3)

A second photo received by me, under FOI, is a photo taken from the front of the same TF200 phone, confirming a note I placed on the phone was quite clean when it was received at Telstra see Open Letter File No/37  exhibits 3, 4, 5 and 6.

This report raises a number of questions. When the phone left my office, it was quite clean. Why did it arrive at the laboratory in such a filthy state? How did the beer get inside the phone? Who would have a reason to pour beer into the phone and why? If the addition of beer was not deliberate, how did it get inside the phone? The main aim of Telstra’s submitted report, used as evidence, was to prove Telstra’s service was not the fault.

As soon as I read this beer-in-the-phone report, I put in a request to the arbitrator, asking to see a copy of all the laboratory technician’s handwritten notes so he could see how Telstra had actually arrived at their conclusion. I had appointed my own forensic document researcher to look over the documents when I received them and he provided me with his CV credentials, as well as signing a confidentiality agreement, stating he would not disclose his findings to anyone outside of the arbitration procedure. Although I passed all this information on to the arbitrator, the only response I received from the arbitrator and Telstra was a duplicate copy of the report I had already received as part of Telstra’s defence.

On 28 November 1995, six months after my arbitration ended, I received Telstra’s arbitration TF200 EXICOM report. This report confirms Telstra carried out two separate investigations of my EXICOM TF200 telephone, two weeks apart and the second test report, dated between 24 and 26 May 1994, proved that the first one, the report provided to the arbitrator, was not a true account of the testing process at all, but a total fabrication. Photos and graphs by Telstra laboratory staff proved wet beer introduced into the TF200 phone dried out completely in 48 hours. As mentioned above, Telstra collected my phone from my business on 27 April 1994, but it was not tested until 10 May – a gap of 14 days. Various pages (see Tampering With Evidence File No/5) confirm that, even though Telstra knew its second investigation proved the first arbitration report, dated between 10 and 12 May 1994, was more than fundamentally flawed, it still submitted the first flawed report to the arbitrator as Telstra’s true findings.

The marked Telstra FOI documents folio A64535 to A64562 (see Tampering With Evidence File No/5), are clear evidence that Telstra did do two separate TF200 tests on my collected phone two weeks apart. FOI folio A64535 confirms with this handwritten Telstra laboratory file note, dated 26 May 1994, that when wet beer was poured into a TF200 phone the wet substance dried up within 48 hours. The air vents within the phone itself allowed for the beer to escape. In other words, how could my TF200, collected on 27 April 1994, have been wet inside the phone on 10 May 1994 when it was tested at Telstra’s laboratories?

Absent Justice - A disturbing twist

Another disturbing side to this tapering with arbitration evidence by Telstra is that for many years before this tampering took place, I was a volunteer for the Cape Bridgewater Country Fire Authority (CFA). The following chapters show that during my arbitration Telstra twisted the reason I could not be present for the testing of my TF200 telephone at my premises on a scheduled meeting on the morning of 27 April 1994. Telstra only reported in their file notes (later submitted to the arbitrator) that I refused to allow Telstra to test the phones because I was tired. There was no mention in these file notes that I advised the fault response unit that I had been fighting an out-of-control fire for 14 hours or that my sore eyes made it impossible to observe such testing by Telstra. I fought the fire the previous evening from 6 pm to 9 am the following morning.

It is clear from our Tampering With Evidence page that not only did Telstra set out to discredit me by implying I was just too tired to have my TF200 phone tested, but after Telstra removed the phone, it was tampered with before it arrived at Telstra’s Melbourne laboratories: someone from Telstra poured beer into the phone. Telstra then alleged, in its arbitration defence report, that sticky beer was the cause of the phone’s ongoing lock-up problems, not the Cape Bridgewater network. This one wicked deed, along with the threats I received from Telstra during my arbitration, is a testament that my claims should have been investigated years ago. So, even though I carried out my civic duties as an Australian citizen, over and beyond by supplying vital evidence to the AFP, as well as fighting out-of-control fires, I was still penalised on both those occasions during my arbitration.

And then, as if all this un-addressed skulduggery and secret plotting has not been difficult enough to live with for these past twenty-four years, let us take a look at the senior Telstra engineer who organised the removal of my tampered-with TF200 phone and then arranged things so that it would be held in his office from that day, 27 April 1994, until 6 May 1994 when, finally, it actually reached Telstra’s laboratories. It is important to look at this engineer because it turns out, this was the same Telstra Chief Arbitration Engineer who swore under oath, in his Witness Statement of 12 December 1994, that the Service Verification Testing process that he conducted during my arbitration had met all of the mandatory Government requirements but, somehow, the CCAS data for the day in question does not show that any SVT processes as being conducted at all, neither in connection to my phone lines nor according to Government specifications nor, for that matter, according to ANY specifications at all. Then the plot thickens, because it turns out that this is also the same Telstra engineer who, during a Senate Committee hearing on 24 June 1997, (see:- pages 36 and 38 Senate – Parliament of Australia was named by an ex-Telstra employee (Lindsey White) as the person who told Mr White that I was one of the Five COT Cases, who had to be stopped at all cost from proving our arbitration claims and, astonishingly, this is, again, the same Telstra engineer who visited my business on 6 April 1995 with the TIO-appointed arbitration resource unit, but then refused to conduct any of the suggested tests on the service line, at my business, that this tampered-with TF200 had been connected to.

Pages 5163 to 5169 SENATE official Hansard – Parliament of Australia. proves beyond all doubt that systemic criminal conduct did exist within the Telstra Corporation prior to and during our arbitrations.

After we four COT cases had signed our arbitration agreement, neither AUSTEL, as the government communications regulator nor the Telecommunication Industry Ombudsman (the administrator of our arbitrations) warned us that our arbitration fax and phone interception issues would be broadcast to the media as well as discussed in parliament, as our Australian Federal Police Investigations link show was the case.

Now let me make the following point quite clear, AUSTEL (now the Australian Communication and Media Authority – ACMA) was back then, and still is, promoted as Australia’s independent communications regulator, so I believed that they would reveal the truth, not just for me but also on behalf of all of Telstra’s customers. That, however, did not happen because not even one of the bureaucrats from AUSTEL/ACMA spoke up back then and, since then? Still, none of them have ever commented on the situation the COTs found themselves in.

Imagine, however, if even just one of the many bureaucrats from AUSTELL/ACMA had come forward and actually told the truth about the cause of my ongoing telephone problems, as they should have, of course, I would still own and be operating my beloved Cape Bridgewater Holiday Camp. All I needed was just that one brave and honest bureaucrat, and I would have been able to appeal the arbitrator’s appalling findings that claimed that there was then, and had never been, anything wrong with the phone system that my business was connected to.

Concealing A Crime

Absent Justice - Concealing A Crime

This sort of tampering with evidence, after a claimant has provided it to an arbitration process, including (again, in my case) changing that evidence into a different format, must really be one of the worst crimes a defendant (in this case, the Telstra corporation) could have committed against an Australian citizen.  So why, when evidence of this tampering was provided – twenty years ago to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (John Pinnock), the Chair of the TIO’s Counsel (The Hon Tony Staley), the Chair of the Telstra Board (David Hoare), and Telstra’s then-CEO (Ziggy Switkowski AO), was that evidence not investigated immediately?

After all, it was Telstra’s own internal investigations that uncovered this unlawful conduct during my arbitration, but that didn’t stop Ziggy Switkowski from accepting an Order of Australia award three years ago (i.e., 16 years later, in 2014) even though he has sat on this crime for more than 18 years now. The following nonfeasance link >  

suggests Zingy Switkowski and the new Telstra CEO Andrew Penn and chair John Mullins have a moral and legal obligation to investigate the criminal misconduct committed by previous employees during my litigation with Telstra

At point 3, in the conclusion of this bogus report prepared and signed off by Telstra’s Manager Technical Liaison Customer Equipment Division he noted:

“The cause of the fault condition has been confirmed by Telecom Research to be due to the presence of a foreign substance possibly beer inside the telephone case which directly caused the incorrect operation of the telephone membrane hookswitch . When the hookswitch was removed from the foreign substance, the telephone operated correctly. 

“The state of the telephone when received suggested that the telephone was not well cared for by the customer”

“If the customer had reported the liquid spillage when it occurred the telephone would have been replaced under standard maintenance procedures with no resultant loss of business”.

Why didn’t the Telstra board do anything about that evidence as soon as they discovered that it had been tampered with?  Why didn’t they immediately remove that evidence from their arbitration defence of my claims as soon as their internal investigation unit had clarified that Telstra had indeed acted outside of the law as exhibits Open Letter File Nos/3637 and File No/38 show? This clearly raised a most important question:  why has the Telstra Board not advised the current Australian government that Telstra has both a legal and a moral obligation to rectify these wrongs as soon as possible? 

Perhaps the most important aspect of the exposure of this fraud is that the findings from Telstra’s internal investigation into this matter also show that, although the phone was collected from my premises on 27 April 1994, it was not tested until 10 May 1994, a sixteen-day time-lapse that appears to have been the reason for this internal review of their arbitration defence on this matter. The findings of that arbitration review describe how the second series of tests were actually carried out between 24 and 26 May 1994, and those tests proved that wet beer (and wet coca-cola) that had been deliberately poured into my telephone, had all dried out within forty-eight hours, a fact that totally contradicts the so-called ‘evidence’ first provided by Telstra)?

Just as importantly, why is it that the current Telstra board has also done nothing about these proven claims, since they know that it was Telstra’s own findings that confirmed that my claims were correct, including my claim that the telephone that Telstra collected from my premises was perfectly clean when they took it away and so the ‘dirty, greasy substance’ later found to be ‘all over the phone’, and the ‘sticky substance’ found inside the phone, could only have been put there by Telstra employees, after it left my premises but before it arrived at Telstra’s laboratories?

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All of the main events as quoted in this unbelievable true crime story are supported by copies of the original freedom of Information documents linked in the text.

Clicking on these links with your cursor will automatically open a PDF of the exhibit/evidence that a crime was committed. Using this method and following the various file numbers discussed in our various pages, you will verify our story. Without those documents, most people would really struggle to believe that public officials and their lawyers committed the illegal offences they did.

Using the acquired evidence the way we have is possibly a world first.


Quote Icon

“…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

“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

“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

“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.”

Hon David Hawker

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

– Edmund Burke