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Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman

 

Last edited May 2022

Absent Justice - TIO

The findings of the Justice Fitzgerald the Justice Woods Royal Commission investigations into police corruption in Queensland and New South Wales, and the findings of various other investigations into government agencies over the years, have all stated that no organisation that has had claims made against it can legally investigate itself.

More than half of the complaints Alan Smith raised with the TIO are either against one of the TIO officials involved in the COT arbitrations or the TIO-appointed Resource Unit and, although I have since taken those complaints on to the State Ombudsman, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) and various Government Ministers, they all have the same ‘advice’ – they all tell me I should take my matters back to the TIO, even though those government-funded organisations must all know that the TIO’s office cannot investigate itself. 

It seems therefore that ‘justice the Australian way’ involves running ordinary Australian claimants around and around in circles in the hope that they will become so exhausted and probably financial ruined that they will give up their fight, and this is exactly what has been done to the COT Cases for these past twenty or more years, while those who have acted inappropriately towards the various COTs, those that have instigated the roundabout, those who have caused the Australian justice system to fail, have their inappropriate conduct buried, safely out of sight, even though it is perfectly clear from the most recent findings in the Queensland Heiner Affair (the concealment of documents needed in litigation ‘…the law does not permit a party to an allegation to investigate itself’.      

So who in Australia can investigate the TIO?

Senator Richard Alston was the Shadow Minister for Communications and the Arts (in the Opposition) and, back then, he had also provided a lot of assistance for the COT Cases when they were battling against Telstra.  Eventually though, Senator Alston became the actual Minister for Communications and Warwick Smith, who had so badly administered the COT arbitrations, became the new Sports Minister.  It then became clear that Senator Alston had completely ‘forgotten’ the struggles the COT Cases were still having and had become, instead, very busy defending Telstra and supporting the Sports Minister, the same Warwick Smith.  There were, however, still many other Senators who were completely aware of Senator Alston’s earlier support for the COT Cases and so, now that Smith and Alston both held powerful positions in the new John Howard Government, the political knives had been drawn, and many in Parliament were asking Senator Alston why his support for the COT Cases had vanished so completely.

Raising the issue of high profile people accepting free tripts to the Olympic Games in Atlantic City bu courtest of Telstra which was accepted by both Warwick Smith and Senator Alston was just another kick in the guts for the COT Cases, meaning the survial of our businesses meant nothing to Alston and Smith. 

Senate Evidence File No 21 Senate Hansard dated 27 Feb 1998 re kick-backs and bribes to Atlantic City shows the power Telstra had over right and wrong. 

Questions raised during a Senate committee hearing

Senator ALLISON – Telstra was very reluctant to reveal the names of its other commercial customers that were sent to Atlanta. Why is this?

Senator – ALLISON – These customers are not, presumably, private individuals?

Senator – ALLISON – So they are in the position of being able to make decisions which could favour Telstra, that is what you are suggesting?

Senator – ALLISON – Are you familiar with Telstra’s employee code of conduct?

Senator – ALLISSON – So this is still a current code of practice? It would be familiar to those people who needed to know

Senator – ALLISON – It says, under ‘guidelines for expected behaviour — bribes, pay-offs or kick-backs': No bribes, pay-offs, kick-backs or other considerations will be paid or received directly or indirectly. In addition, such payments to domestic or foreign government officials to influence a decision or gain a benefit either directly or through a third party, are prohibited.

Senator – ALLISON – Would you like to give us a view about these trips to Atlanta and how they relate to expected behaviour in this sense?

Senator – ALLISON – With respect, a seat at the ballet is quite different from a $12,000.00 trip to the Atlanta Games surely?

Senator – ALLISON – Are you suggesting that there is another code for corporate conduct?

Senator SCHACHT – So the invitations to people to go to Atlanta, whether they were politicians or corporate, were approved by the CEO.

Senator ALISSON – I just come back to this question of the sensitivity of your business customers. Since they represent corporations, and since Telstra is a corporation, why is the need for such secrecy? Why is it a sensitive matter?

In the circumstance of what has been said in the above statements made by various Senators concerning the kickbacks that a number of Senators stated was a disgrace, is relevant to my arbitration issues, By accepting Senator Richard Alston and Warwick Smith accepting a free for all $12,000.00 trip paid by Telstra, during the period Telstra and Warwick Smith was under investigation by Senator Alston and Paul Fletcher is a situation that, maybe part of the reason, why Senator Richard Alston and Paul Fletcher would not continue their investigations into my claims against Telstra and Warwick Smith because it would have also implicated Senator Richard Alston. In other words, the second lie is often told so as the first lie is not disclosed, 

 

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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

“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

“…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

“…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