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Chapter Two - Illicit screening

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 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 AFP would investigate my allegations of illegal phone/fax interception. (See Hacking-Julian Assange File No/28)

25 February 1994: This internal Government Memo confirms that the then-Minister for Communications and the Arts had written to me to advise that the Australian Federal Police (AFP) would investigate my allegations of illegal phone/fax interception. (AFP Evidence File No 4)

18 March 1994: This letter 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 was concerned that his 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 his arbitrations or, during the seven years after his arbitration, that Telstra was intercepting his 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 In 2022, 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 - Universal Declaration of Human Rights

It is most important we raise the statement made in a Telstra internal email that is discussed on this website 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 including their corporate secretary Jim Holmes, concealed from me and the government just 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 which he stated words to the effect "...they, meaning AUSTEL, had to literally 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 actually written private telephone numbers of several single women members of my singles club on Telstra documentation as well as 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 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 after the 3 June 1993, when Telstra technicians had left their elusive briefcase exposing the severe telephone problems within Telstra's network. As the documents, which AUSTEL had received, were in confidence documents 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.surrounding the interception of my telephone conversations. I told the AFP that John McMahon had told me of the documents AUSTEL had uncovered confirmed beyond all doubt that my phone conversations had been bugged over a period of time.

Question 81 in these AFP transcripts Australian Federal Police Investigation File No/1 the AFP asked me:

AFP  "Did John McMahon ever describe the document that he'd spoken to you where it had been identified to him about live monitoring?

Answer. "No, no never".

AFP: "Okay. That, that document that you, that you might be referring to, or John McMahon may be referring to we do have a copy of it".  

Answer: "Right"

AFP: "However, because it's been provided to us by Telecom, I'm, I won't show it to you".

Answer: "You can't yeah I understand".

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

Absent Justice - Julian Assagne

When very young Julian Assange [the hackers] told COT Cases spokesperson Graham Schorer there were forces at work during our arbitration that were acting illegally against us could well have been what the AFP and AUSTEL uncovered but were able to stop it as the Scandrett & Associates Pty Ltd report document|730][the hackers][the hackers][the hackers], and File No/13) shows. This invasion into the COT Cases private and business lives continued for a further three years after the AFP found no evidence such activities had taken place. I assume the AFP forgot their admission in the following transcripts Australian Federal Police Investigation File No/1 that they had evidence Telstra had been bugging my telephone conversations.

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 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, which then raises a number of very important questions. Since we constantly hear about 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 the Fax Streaming arrangement has been officially organised by those Government offices, 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 in this same way? Could it be that Telstra’s Fax Streaming process means that, around the country, private is not so private at all?

PLEASE NOTE: although the George Close exhibits are of poor quality (having been copied a number of 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 certain faxes leaving Mr Close’s residence were intercepted. I have used these two examples because they were both 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 is being hacked by the opposing side, screened, and copied before sending it on to its intended destination? The advantage of knowing the other sides 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. 

Absent Justice - My Story

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:

  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), 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.”

One of the two technical consultants attesting to the validity of this Scandrett & Associates report (see Open Letter File No/12 and File No/13 fax 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)

The fact that a secondary fax machine installed in Telstra’s network during the arbitration process intercepted this document (see Hacking-Julian Assange File No 26) is another reason why this illegal interception of legal in-confidence documents should have been investigated during our arbitrations, when these illegal acts were first discovered. 

How can the Australian government who endorsed our arbitrations continue to ignor that the central points of our claim at arbitration was not taken into account by the arbitrator and how no amount of effort to have these points addressed bore any fruit. How, in the course of all these travesties, the regulatory bodies — Austel (for the government) and the TIO (for the carriers) — failed to exercise any control over Telstra to the point where they could reasonably be seen as acting in concert.

Together, these travesties spell a breakdown of justice, way out of proportion to the problem we began with — people asking that their phone services be guaranteed to work to a reasonable standard so that they can reliably conduct their businesses.

Each of the COT members assumed, as most telephone users would assume, that their phone faults would be quite easily found and fixed by Telstra's skilled technicians. But 'No fault found' was the constant refrain, and the problems continued unabated throughout the course of our arbitrations, and for years afterwards, with disastrous effects on our businesses. This seemed incomprehensible: everyone had a phone the system is supposed to work for everyone. What was going on?

Absent Justice - Privacy

And why did it seem everyone was protecting Telstra, turning a blind eye to what was unlawful behaviour? Withholding important discovery documents in an arbitration procedure is unlawful. Tampering with evidence in the arbitration is unlawful (see Tampering of Evidence). Relying on defence documents that are known to be flawed in arbitration is unlawful (see Evidence - Telstra's Falsified SVT Report and Telstra's Falsified BCI Report).  

In February 1994, Detective Superintendent Jeff Penrose and Constable Melanie Cochrane of the AFP visited my business to discuss my concerns regarding the possibility my telephone conversations were intercepted and my faxes were not being received at the intended destination. During this visit, I spoke to Constable Cochrane regarding my concerns about the privacy issues connected to my singles club records, explaining I had provided the club members with a written assurance that I would not circulate their private information to anyone without first seeking their permission. For this reason, I was particularly concerned that it would not be fair to submit any of their private information into my Fast Track Settlement Proposal. Constable Cochrane commented that the TIO should contemplate suspending our settlement process until after the AFP finished their investigations into Telstra’s unauthorised interception of COT cases’ telephone conversations and in-confidence faxes (Evidence - Australian Federal Police Investigations).

The TIO and AUSTEL often refused to act; Members of Parliament, when in Opposition, were happy to provide support for the COT cause, but as soon as the government was theirs, that support vanished. No one was prepared to make Telstra accountable. It was enough to make the most level-headed person suspect conspiracies.

QUESTIONS ON NOTICE: On 15 February 1994, during my settlement /arbitration process, Senator Richard Alston (Shadow Minister for Communications) put a number of questions to the Senate Estimates Committee, On Notice, to be answered by Telstra. These are the questions most pertinent to the COT claimants (see Main Evidence File No/29 QUESTIONS ON NOTICE):

  1. Could you guarantee that no Parliamentarians who have had dealings with ‘COT’ members have had their phone conversations bugged or taped by Telstra?
  2. Who authorised this taping of ‘COT’ members’ phone conversations and how many and which Telstra employees were involved in either making the voice recordings, transcribing the recordings or analysing the tapes?
  3. On what basis is Telstra denying copies of tapes to those customers which it has admitted to taping?
  4. (A) How many customers has Telstra recorded as having had their phone conversations taped without knowledge or consent since 1990? (B) Of these, how many were customers who had compensation claims, including ex Telecom employees, against Telecom?
  5. Why did Telecom breach its own privacy guide-lines and how will it ensure that the revised guidelines will not be open to similar breaches or abuses?
  6. Could you explain why a large amount of documents accessed by customers under FOI have a large amount of information deleted, including the names of Telecom employees who wrote and received memos and documents?
  7. How many customers who have alleged that Telecom has tapped or bugged their phones without their consent or knowledge are the Australian Federal Police currently investigating?

The response to Question 5 (see Main Evidence File No/29) notes “…These matters are currently being investigated by the AFP and AUSTEL, and by Telecom;

It would be inappropriate for Telecom to make any further comments at this stage about possible breaches of the Telecommunications (Interception) Act while the matter is before the Federal Police. However, the Minister will be making a full statement in the near future on action taken to date to remedy apparent procedural problems within Telecom”.

Telstra’s claim (when referring to Question 5 On Notice) that it would be inappropriate for them to comment on these phone interception issues whilst the AFP were still investigating these matters is, in itself, the normal and expected comment that Telstra lawyers would have ensured that Telstra would make, under those circumstances.  No other form of interception investigation by any other authority should have taken place whilst the AFP were still investigating these breaches of privacy issues because that might well have undermined the AFP process.

Absent Justice - Questions on Notice

Before I signed for my arbitration, on 21 April 1994, I used a similar response to questions from the Telecommunication Industry Ombudsman (the administrator of the arbitrations) when I advised the TIO that it would be unworkable for the Arbitrator to start my arbitration while the AFP had not yet concluded their investigation, particularly since the COT spokesperson and I were both seeking compensation from Telstra as part of our arbitration claims and in direct relation to Telstra’s breaches of the Interception Act.  I still clearly remember, as if it was yesterday, that the TIO stated that he would tactfully carry out his own investigations, along with the Arbitrator, and that their investigation would not impede the then-present AFP investigations.  As shown in our Front Page Part One, the arbitrator then allowed Telstra to cross-examine me regarding what the AFP had uncovered during my arbitration.

Telstra’s statement to the Senate Estimates Committee (at point 5) that: “It would be inappropriate for Telecom to make any further comments at this stage about possible breaches of the Telecommunications (Interception) Act while the matter is before the Federal Police”, clearly raises the question of why the COT Cases were forced into arbitration while the AFP were still investigating exactly the same breaches of privacy claims that were to also be investigated by the arbitrator because how can there be two investigations, by two separate bodies, into the same complaints, at the same time? What if the AFP and the arbitrator came up with conflicting findings? Which findings would the arbitrator then use to calculate and pay compensation?

Of course, it was an unworkable arbitration process while the AFP was involved.

The depths to which Telstra stooped in its conduct with the COT claimants seems to suggest just how little confidence Telstra had in its own case. But why was it so fearful of being found liable? What was the worst that could happen if our claims were vindicated? What was it trying to conceal? What convinced the arbitrator to ignor the most important findings in his arbitration technical consultants report?  Why did the arbitrator order his finacial advisors remove a large amount of their findings in their formal report and in doing so minimize Telstra's liability to pay me my true losses? (See Prologue - Chapter 2 - Inaccurate and Incomplete).

Why were the first four COT claimants Ann Garms, Maureen Gillan, Graham Schorer and me forced into arbitration under the guise [the promise of discovery] to prove our claims as are provided in most democratic administered litigation and arbitration procedures and once the four claimants signed their individual arbitration agreements the arbitrator failed to ensure the claimants received their promised documents?

Some of the documentation that George Close wanted the COT Cases to access under FOI and advised them to do so under FOI was all information surrounding Telstra's corroded copper wire network. Telstra arbitration unit always maintained there was corrode copper wire network documents in their archives. Were the articulated FOI requests that George Close prepared for the COT Cases intercepted on route to the COT cases businesses? Did Telstra after intercepting those faxes from George Close visit Telstra's FOI viewing room [archives] and remove the information they knew had been requested under FOI so that it was not available when Telstra's arbitration legal department tried to access this now removed technical information? 

How have many other Australian arbitration processes been subjected to this type of hacking?  Is this electronic eavesdropping, this hacking into in-confidence documentation still happening today, during legitimate Australian arbitration’s?

Absent Justice - Phone Hacking

During the infamous UK phone-hacking scandal, the Daily Mirror printed an apology in that newspaper, admitting that “such behaviour represented an unwarranted and unacceptable intrusion into people’s private lives”. Why hasn’t the Australian government compensated the COT Cases that clear proof that: an unwarranted and unacceptable intrusion into their private and business lives during their arbitrations ruined any chance they had of having a proper assessment of their arbitration claims i.e. an arbitration process originally endorsed by the government?

The COT cases should never have been forced into arbitration while the AFP was investigating Telstra for unauthorised phone and fax hacking issues. Evidence showing in-confidence COT cases privileged client to lawyer and arbitration procedural documentation was hacked into during the COT arbitrations.

NONE of the COT Cases were ever on a terrorist list in 1994 (or since, for that matter) and nor were any of us ever listed as suspects in relation to any crimes committed against any Australian citizens. This means that we must therefore ask: why were these innocent claimants’ in-confidence arbitration and Telstra-related documents hacked by Telstra while Telstra was defending the various COT cases arbitrations? In my own case, 42 separate sets of correspondence faxed to the Arbitrator’s office (some with attachments) are not listed on the Arbitration Schedules of Material received by the Arbitration process.  It is clear from Front Page Part One File No/1 that even though the Arbitrator’s secretary advised Tony Watson (part of Telstra’s Arbitration Defence Unit) that on 23 May 1994, six of my claim documents were never received at the Arbitrator’s fax machine.  It is clear from my Telstra account I was charged for those six faxes as having left my office, yet no one from the Arbitrator’s office nor the TIO’s office when this matter was exposed, allowed me to amend my claim so that these proven “non received” claim documents were valued by the Arbitrator in support of my claim.

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


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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 on Alan's website

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 is possibly a world first.


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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.”

Hon David Hawker

“…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

“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

“…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