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Absent Justice Part 1

Why were the FOI documents not provided to the claimants under the agreed to process?  Why were the arbitrations not conducted under the agreed ambit of the arbitration procedures? How can arbitration be a just process when the arbitrator has no control over how it is conducted? When did Dr Hughes lose control over the arbitrations? Was it the first week, or two months or even nine months into the process? And, just as importantly, who authorised him to conduct the process entirely outside of the ambit of the arbitration procedures?

The confidentiality clauses in the first COT four arbitration agreement has been used since the conclusion of my own arbitration on 11 May 1995,  to stop a transparent investigation into the conduct of my arbitration. That confidentiality agreement became null and void as soon as the arbitrator conducted my arbitration entirely outside the agreed ambit of the Victorian Commercial Arbitration Act 1984.

Copies of Mr Shelton’s 24 January 1994 letter to Dr Hughes were provided to all four COT Cases and the government communications regulator AUSTEL as confirmation as to how the arbitrations would be conducted.

At an official arbitration meeting on 17 February 1994, Graham Schorer (COT spokesperson) asked the TIO and the arbitrator to assure us that the agreement the COT claimants were being pressured to sign was not Telstra’s proposed rules of arbitration. Telstra’s own transcripts of this meeting (see Arbitrator File No/103) confirm that both the arbitrator and the TIO’s Special Counsel replied: “… they had not received this document and had not read it and that it was irrelevant”. However, Arbitrator File No/104 confirms that the Arbitrator was provided with a document called Telstra Corporation Limited – ‘Fast Track’ Proposed Rules of Arbitration before 18 January 1994, one month before this meeting.

In fact, Arbitrator File No/105  dated 24 January 1994 (see also above), confirms that both the arbitrator and a representative of the TIO’s Special Counsel had read Telstra’s proposed rules. And they actually used that document as the basis for the final arbitration agreement; the version presented to the first four COTs for signing the very next month. This was the version that we were assured had been drafted totally independently. This is clear evidence that during the first official arbitration meeting before the COTs had signed their arbitration agreements and even before he had been officially appointed, the arbitrator was already misleading and deceiving the claimants and all other interested parties.

This deception, in relation to which version of the agreement we had signed, was maintained throughout the various COT arbitrations. This agreement was NOT independently drafted by the Special Counsel, but by Telstra – the defendants.

One thing we did not know when we accepted the COT arbitrator, who was proposed to us by the Government and described as a senior partner in a very large Australian legal firm, is that the Sydney office of that firm was already legally representing a number of Telstra union members at the very same time that this so-called ‘independent’ arbitrator agreed to his appointment as the COT arbitrator, i.e. a series of arbitrations against Telstra. If we had been told about this back then, then we would certainly not have accepted him as our arbitrator.

Another fact that we also did not know back then is that, just three years before this ‘independent’ arbitrator accepted this position in the COT battle against Telstra he had already represented one of the first four COT claimants back when that claimant fought against Telstra on his own, but in relation to the very same issues that the arbitrator was now supposed to be arbitrating on – independently.

As the  Conflict Of Interest  page explains, the legal firm, where this allegedly ‘independent’ COT arbitrator was a senior partner, had been aware that Telstra had concealed vital Federal Court discovery documents from that client during his claims against Telstra, three years earlier, and also knew that this fact had been deliberately concealed from this client.  Furthermore, they had all this information while the same ‘independent’ arbitrator represented this same claimant (who then became one of the first COT Case claimants).

Our  Conflict Of Interest  page also explains that, since that court case three years before the COT Case group was formed, this particular member of the group swore, in a formal statutory declaration, attesting to the fact that he had no knowledge about these concealed Federal Court documents at the time of his previous claim against Telstra and that, if he had known this when this COT arbitrator was being sworn in, he would never have agreed to this new appointment.

The deception that invaded the COT arbitration process three years after this terrible earlier deception, was conceived on the 17 February 1994, just two months before the first four COT Cases signed our individual arbitration agreements and, very quickly, we all began to suspect that something about the arbitration process was not quite right, months before AUSTEL (then the Government communications regulator), on behalf of the Government, promised us four COT cases that all the Telecom documents we needed to support our claims would definitely be made available to us if we entered into the AUSTEL-facilitated arbitration process. We then discovered however that these promises – made by the Government and tabled in Federal Parliament –were promptly broken and we were forced into an arbitration process that, as we continually argued, did not follow any of the promises that had been made to us to encourage us to sign our agreements in the first place. It very quickly became a situation in which we just had no trust in those who were going to administer the process, and our concerns are well documented in Government records. This pending arbitration stank of Telstra’s influence, despite the new ‘independent’ arbitrator’s official assurance at this 17 February 1994 official meeting that, if we did not get the documents we needed to fully support our claims then, as “the Arbitrator, he would not hand down a determination on incomplete information: (see Arbitrator File No/103) i. e. because that would mean that he had incomplete information on which to base that determination.

What all this indicates is that, in every corner of the COT arbitration process that this allegedly ‘independent’ arbitrator was involved in, he failed the claimants completely because he DID hand down his findings, even while he was fully aware that Telstra had concealed many, many relevant documents, not only from me but also from other members of COT as well.

A letter dated 23 February 1994, from Telstra’s arbitration liaison officer to the pending arbitrator notes:

“Telecom is of the view that Special Counsel and the Resource Unit should be accountable for any negligence on their part in relation to the arbitration process, given that these parties are acting in their capacity as experts. Therefore, this clause should not be amended so as to include an exclusion from liability for Special Counsel and the Resource Unit”. (See Arbitrator File No/3)

So why did the parties discuss at the bellow clandestine meeting of 22 March 1994, that the Special Counsel and Arbitration Resource Unit wanted to be exonerated from all liability in regards to any negligence when it had already been agreed by the defendants in their 23 February 1994 they should be liable?  

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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.

ABSENT JUSTICE HAS IT ALL.

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“…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

“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

“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

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

– Edmund Burke