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Spurious and Unscrupulous Conduct

 

Transparency International

WHAT IS CORRUPTION?

We define corruption as the abuse of entrusted power for private gain.

Corruption erodes trust, weakens democracy, hampers economic development and further exacerbates inequality, poverty, social division and the environmental crisis.

Exposing corruption and holding the corrupt to account can only happen if we understand the way corruption works and the systems that enable it.

This webpage is a work in progress last edited August 2022.

Absent Justice - A Breath of Fresh Air

And at worse fabricated, 

On 15 July 1995, two months after the arbitrator prematurely brought down his findings on my claim, AUSTEL’s previous General Manager of Consumer Affairs  provided me with an open letter noting:

“I am writing this in support of Mr Alan Smith, who I believe has a meeting with you during the week beginning 17 July.  I first met the COT Cases in 1992 in my capacity as General Manager, Consumer Affairs at Austel. The “founding” group were Mr Smith, Mrs Ann Garms of the Tivoli Restaurant, Brisbane, Mrs Shelia Hawkins of the Society Restaurant, Melbourne, Mrs Maureen Gillian of Japanese Spare Parts, Brisbane, and Mr Graham Schorer of Golden Messenger Couriers, Melbourne. Mrs. Hawkins withdrew very early on, and I have had no contact with her since.

The treatment these individuals have received from Telecom and Commonwealth government agencies has been disgraceful, and I have no doubt they have all suffered as much through this treatment as they did through the faults on their telephone services.

One of the striking about this group is theur persistence and enduring belief that eventually there will be a fair and equitable outcome for them, and they are to admired for having kept as focussed as they have throughout their campaign.

Having said that, I am aware all have suffered both physically and their family relationships. In one case, the partner of the claimant has become seriously incapacitated; due, I beleive to the way Telecom has dealt with them. The others have al suffered various stress related conditions (such as a minor stroke.

During my time at Austel I pressed as hard as I could for an investigation into the complaints. The resistance to that course of action came from the then Chairman. He was eventually galvanised into action by ministerial pressure. The Austel report looks good to the casual observer, but it has now become clear that much of the information accepted by Austel was at best inaccurate, and at worst fabricated, and that Austel knew or ought to have known this at the time.” 

After leaving Austel I continued to lend support to the COT Cases, and was instrumental in helping them negotiate the inappropriately named "Fast Track" Arbitration Agreement. That was over a year ago, and neither the Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman nor the Arbitrator has been succsessful in extracting information from Telecom which would equip the claimants to press their claims effectively. Telecom has devoted staggering levels of time, money and resources to defeating the claiams, and there is no pretence even that the arbitration process has attemted to produce a contest between equals.

Even it the remaining claimants receive satisfactory settlements (and I have no reason to think that will be the outcome) it is crucial that the process be investigated in the interest of accountabilty of publical companies and the public servants in other government agencies. 

Because I am not aware of the exact citrcumstances surronding your meeting with Mr Smith, nor your identity, you can appriate that I am being  fairly circimspect in what I am prepared to commit to writing. Suffice it to say, though, I am fast coming to share the view that a public inquiry of some discripion is the only way that the reasons behind the appalling treatent of these people will be brought to the surface.

I would be happy to talk to you in more detail if you think that would be useful, and can be reached at the number shown above at any time. 

Thank you for your interest in this matter, and for sparing the time to talk to Alan. (See " File 501 -  AS-CAV Exhibits 495 to 541 )

Absent Justice - Hon David Hawker MP

In September 1995, after having read this letter from Amanda Davis my Federal Member of Parliament, The Hon David Hawker MP arranged for some of the COT members to meet with the then-Shadow Minister for Communications, Senator Richard Alston, in his office in Canberra late September 1995. Senator Alston was more than concerned about the way my arbitration was conducted.

It appeared that, when we signed for arbitration, both Senator Richard Alston and the then Senate Whip in the Australian Senate, on behalf of the National Party, Senator Ron Boswell had been under the same delusion as the COT four; believing that the arbitration would be a non-legalistic and fast-tracked process.

Although the following Senate Hansard - 20 September 1995 has been raised on the Home page it was most important to raise it again below.

Absent Justice - Senator Ron Boswell

Senate Hansard - 20 September 1995

Senate Hansard records under the heading A MATTER OF PUBLIC INTEREST dated 20 September 1995, shows a very emotional Senator Ron Boswell discussing the above type of injustices that we four COT claimants ( i.e. Ann Garms, Maureen Gillan, Graham Schorer and me) suffered prior during and after our 'so-called' government endorsed arbitrations - (see Senate Evidence File No 1 20-9-95 Senate Hansard A Matter of Public Interest):

“...Eleven years after their first complaints to Telstra, where are they now? They are acknowledged as the motivators of Telecom’s customer complaint reforms. … But, as individuals, they have been beaten both emotionally and financially through an 11-year battle with Telstra. 

“Then followed the Federal Police investigation into Telecom’s monitoring of COT case services. The Federal Police also found there was a prima facie case to institute proceedings against Telecom but the DPP [Director of Public Prosecutions], in a terse advice, recommended against proceeding.

“Once again, the only relief COT members received was to become the catalyst for Telecom to introduce a revised privacy and protection policy. Despite the strong evidence against Telecom, they still received no justice at all. 

“These COT members have been forced to go to the Commonwealth Ombudsman to force Telecom to comply with the law. Not only were they being denied all necessary documents to mount their case against Telecom, causing much delay, but they were denied access to documents that could have influenced them when negotiating the arbitration rules, and even in whether to enter arbitration at all. …

"This is an arbitration process not only far exceeding the four-month period, but one which has become so legalistic that it has forced members to borrow hundreds of thousands just to take part in it. It has become a process far beyond the one represented when they agreed to enter into it, and one which professionals involved in the arbitration agree can never deliver as intended and never give them justice." 

"I regard it as a grave matter that a government instrumentality like Telstra can give assurances to Senate leaders that it will fast track a process and then turn it into an expensive legalistic process making a farce of the promise given to COT members and the unducement to go into arbitration. “Telecom has treated the Parliament with contempt. No government monopoly should be allowed to trample over the rights of individual Australians, such as has happened here.” 

 

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‘Absent Justice’

In Alan Smith’s book he shows us the twisting path of government arbitration,
the ways it can go wrong and how to make sure it doesn’t go wrong for you...

IT'S FREE!! 

All of the main events as quoted in this unbelievable true crime story are supported by copies of the original freedom of Information documents on Alan's website absentjustice.com

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 that can be downloaded from absentjustice.com is possibly a world first.

ABSENT JUSTICE HAS IT ALL.

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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.”

Hon David Hawker

“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

“…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.”

The Hon David Hawker MP

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

– Edmund Burke