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Chapter 9 - Spurious claims

Although the arbitrator agreed to investigate our claims of phone and fax interception, his official findings contained no reference to the matter.

Confidential faxes, intercepted during the arbitration, included faxes to our lawyers and advisors and various senators who were trying to help us. Some critical faxes, both incoming and outgoing, which could have changed the outcome of the arbitration went missing, in transit. I used Telstra’s own data to show that at least six of the arbitration claim documents that I faxed to the arbitrator’s office, never arrived for his assessment. My Telstra bill itemised them, but the arbitrator’s secretary stated that these six faxed documents never arrived. The arbitrator ignored the evidence I placed before him. Something was very amiss with the whole process.

We again draw the reader’s attention to the 12 May 1995 letter from the arbitrator to the TIO stating:

“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 Main Evidence File No 34)

This letter from the arbitrator to the TIO, written towards the end of the arbitration process but before the closing date for an appeal – a fax that was critical to my appeal process – did not reach me. I did not receive a copy until 2002. If I had received this fax, I could have successfully appealed the negative finding of the arbitration process, but unfortunately, I did not receive this letter until after the statute of limitations had expired.

The fax imprint across the top of the arbitrator’s letter is the same as the fax imprint described in the Scandrett & Associates report (see Open Letter File No/12 and File No/13). The question the TIO’s office has still not answered is:

Was this letter actually faxed to my office by the ombudsman to assist me in any pending appeal process, and if not, why was such an important letter deliberately kept from me during my designated appeal period?

I have asked this question many times because, if I had received a copy of this letter declaring the agreement used in my arbitration process was not credible, then of course I would have appealed the arbitrator’s award. How could an appeal judge argue against the arbitrator’s own findings that the agreement was not credible, even though he used it anyway?

Interception of 12 May 1995 letter:

Absent Justice - Lost Claim Documents

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 had 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 correctly faxed from the arbitrator’s office, on 12-5-95, at 2:41pm to the Melbourne office of the TIO – 61 3 277 8797;
  2. The middle line indicates that it was faxed on the same day, exactly one hour later, at 15:41, from the TIO’s correct fax number, followed by the words “TIO LTD” to;
  3. The top line, however, begins with the words “Fax from”, followed by the correct fax number for the TIO’s office, and then the date (12/05/95) and the time (14:50).

Consider the order of the timestamps. The top line (3) is the second sending of the document at 14:50, nine minutes after the fax from the arbitrator’s office (1) therefore, between the TIO’s office receiving the first fax, which was sent at 2.41pm (14:41) and sending it on at 15:41, exactly one hour later, to his home (2), the fax was re-sent at 14:50 (3). 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 Open Letter File No/12 and File No/13, the Scandrett & Associates report, which states:

“We canvassed examples, which we are advised are a representative group, of this phenomenon.

“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.” (See Open Letter Evidence File No/13)

On 11 January 1999, Mr Peter Hancock stated in a sworn testament:

“In my experience there is no other explanation for the discrepancies in the facsimile footprints in question.

“I have read the report of Scandrett & Associates Pty Ltd and concur with it’s [sic] findings.” (Open Letter File No/13 )

Mr Hancock also states that, in his professional opinion, selected faxes between the Golden Messenger and Graham Schorer’s lawyers and between various members of COT and my office at Cape Bridgewater were intercepted.

What is so disturbing about the arbitrator’s 12 May 1995 letter to the TIO, is the letter condemned the arbitration agreement as ‘not credible’, but the arbitrator had used it for my arbitration anyway: they both knew this arbitration agreement was secretly drafted by Telstra’s arbitration defence lawyers.

Not only were important documents, properly submitted to the legal, government-sanctioned COT arbitration process, somehow misplaced or lost along the way, but despite Graham Schorer providing Senator Ron Boswell with conclusive proof of someone, via Telstra’s network, intercepted claim material travelling between at least five COT claimants, the arbitrator, advisors and various government officials; this unlawful interference was never transparently investigated – at all.

Surely, an official notification of illegal behaviour of this nature should create a huge furore. However, this is just one indication of exactly how much power the Telstra Corporation had – and possibly still has – to manipulate the Australian legal system to their advantage, regardless of illegality.

The documents I provided included confirmation from the Australian Federal Police (AFP) that the surveillance of my daily movements appeared to have started sometime around August 1992. The international media recently reported that the hacking scandal in Britain, discussed below, appeared to affect those subjected to it deeply, on emotional levels, although this hacking into businesses and private lives did not occur over an extended period, as was the case for many of the members of COT (including me).

On 17 October 1994, during my arbitration, the TIO was advised that Telstra would respond to the claim (of illegal hacking) under the agreed arbitration procedure (See Questions on notice Senate Hansard, see also Hacking - Julian Assange Chapter 4 – What Privacy? and Hacking-Julian Assange File No 25) but neither Telstra nor the arbitrator has ever responded to my claims. Transcripts of an arbitration hearing on 11 October 1994, in the presence of the arbitrator and the writer of the 17 October 1994 letter, record that I wanted the arbitrator to investigate these matters as part of my arbitration claim.

Pages 38 to 41 of the transcript of this meeting (Telstra FOI document folio L69280-L69284), which was provided to the Office of the Australian Prime Minister, the Hon Malcolm Turnbull and various other LNP ministers since 2014, confirm the arbitrator knew these matters were to be addressed as part of my arbitration process.

Oral Arbitration Hearing

Absent Justice - Oral Hearing

Transcripts from my 11 October 1994 oral arbitration hearing confirm Telstra advised the arbitrator they thought my singles club information was irrelevant and therefore should not be accepted into the arbitration process. This evidence supported that I had lost two businesses due to my ongoing telephone problems, i.e., the school camp bookings as well as the more lucrative singles club bookings. The transcripts, which I can supply the AFP if requested, show Dr Hughes was badgered into accepting Telstra’s insistence that my singles club material be not assessed during the arbitration process. Why did Dr Hughes allow Telstra to decide not to view my singles club evidence as a business loss, even though he had previously understood the advice given to me by Superintendent Detective Penrose and had agreed the singles club material could be submitted under confidentiality during the oral hearing? That he went back on his word.

Question 24, in the 20 September interrogatories shown in our Front Page Part Two File No/3 A to 3 C link here we show I answered the following question 24 by stating to Telstra and the arbitrator:

“This matter is currently under investigation by the Federal Police. In the interest of fair justice I believe that I should not further comment apart from what I have already stated that it is true that I was told this by Detective Superintendent Penrose. It the Australian Federal Police are prepared to disclose the details of their investigations and of their conversations with myself, then Telecom will be able to obtain the same” 

In our Front Page Part Two link 3-c for the date of 11 October 1994, during my five-hour, nonstop, oral-arbitration hearing, Telstra’s Mr Benjamin and Telstra’s other arbitration liaison officer, Steve Black, discussed along with the arbitrator and me my claims regarding Telstra’s unauthorized interception issues noting:

Mr Benjamin: “In respect of Detective Superintendent Penrose.”

Mr Black: “There has been an allegation that Detective Superintendent Penrose says that the Plummers’ telephone was allegedly unlawfully tapped” —

Me: “I believe Telecom is playing on words – the word “illegally tapped” – it’s like asking me – I’m not a —

Dr Hughes: “Sorry, if I can interrupt both of you, the issue here is that your answers – your answer to question 24, you indicate that you were told something by Detective Superintendent Penrose.”

Me: “Yes:”

Dr Hughes: “Is there any documentation to support that statement or is there any other light that you can shed upon that statement you have made in relation to Detective Penrose?”…

Me: “I have spoken to Detective Penrose on two occasions and he has stated that my phones had been listened to.”

I raise the interrogatories and the oral arbitration hearing (see Front Page Part Two File No/3 A to 3 C) because of the main question they raise:  how could it possibly be ethical, or moral, for Dr Hughes to expect me to disclose further personal and private information about the female members of my Singles Club, for all to see, when the AFP were still investigating Telstra in relation to how they were able to separately record the names and phone numbers of various other female Singles Club members when that information had only ever been sent by fax or discussed over the telephone. NONE of my singles club lost revenue due to my ongoing proven telephone faults were ever recorded by Dr Hughes (the arbitrator) or Ferrier Hodgson Corporate Advisory (arbitration resource unit) in their final Cape Bridgewater Holiday Camp findings as discussed below. It can be viewed from File No/3-C that I wanted Telstra’s authorization of my telecommunications services investigated as part of my arbitration claim.

Is it possible that if the AFP had not been involved in interviewing Telstra’s staff for alleged misconduct towards me and not advised me it was inappropriate for me to disclose the names and phone numbers of my single club members, and if I had disclosed this then that part of my loss might have been assessed by the arbitrator?

What is so appalling about the withholding of relevant documents is that no one in the TIO office or government has ever investigated the disastrous impact this had on my overall submission to the arbitrator. Material, which could further support my claims before the arbitrator, was denied me. The arbitrator and the government (who at the time fully owned Telstra) should have initiated an investigation into why an Australian citizen, who assisted the AFP in their investigations into unauthorized interception of his telephone conversations, was so severely disadvantaged during a civil arbitration process.

No third world country, let alone one that boasts of being democratic, should force claimants to enter into an arbitration process with a corporation like Telstra, while its senior management was under investigation by the Senate and the government, and its middle management were under investigation, by the Federal Police. These investigations included the rorting of millions upon millions of dollars (possibly billions) from Telstra shareholders: i.e., the government and Australian citizens, who then owned Telstra (see Front Page Part One). The same defendants were under investigation on two fronts for committing criminal conduct towards fellow Australians, including alleged criminal conduct towards claimants, who were forced out of their already operating government-endorsed Fast Track Settlement Proposal (commercial settlement process) into an arbitration agreement that the defendants were secretly allowed to draft in order to benefit their defence. And yet, when the arbitrator realised the arbitration agreement he allowed the defence to draft was not a credible document, he still used it anyway. How in the name of justice, as we know it to be in Australia, have these matters been allowed to remain unresolved?

Thirty-Three Months After My Arbitration 

On 14 January 1998, Telstra sent two officers to meet with me. As discussed elsewhere, during this meeting, I showed them various faxes that had arrived on my machine from the Crown Casino in Melbourne. This fax was not intended for me and was one of many I received over the following months, all from the Crown Casino complex. I complained to the TIO in July 1998 and, although the TIO’s office never responded to my complaint, these faxes from the casino stopped. How did these faxes, originating from the casino, reach my fax machine? The fax numbers they were addressed to were nothing like mine; not even in a similar range. In fact, most of the numbers the faxes were intended for were 450 kilometres away.

After this meeting with the two Telstra officers, I waited for some sort of resolution of the faults I had raised but nothing happened until October 1998. At this time, I was paying only part of my fax account in an effort to highlight the problems that were not being addressed. Even though the account for this fax line was still in dispute, Telstra disconnected the line. I continued to pay off the account although this meant I was paying the rental for a service that no longer existed. The final payment was made on 20 March 1999, six months after the line was disconnected. This means that, from October 1998, I had to move most of my office duties to my residence in order to connect my fax machine to a working phone line. I sent all faxes from my residence from that time on and, although some faults continued to occur, they were not nearly as numerous as those I had suffered prior to July 1998. On 28 January 1999, I sent a fax to a business associate some distance away. My Telstra fax account shows charges for two fax calls to his number on this date: 08:23 pm, lasting for 40 seconds and 08:24 pm, lasting for three minutes and 31 seconds. According to my fax journal, the first call was not answered – so why was I charged for this call? Remember, these are all long-distance, timed calls, not a single 25-cent local call charge. And then, according to my associate, the second fax never arrived – so where is it?

These examples of missing faxes are not simply glitched in the system, or of little importance; there are even more astounding and, so far, unexplained events. On 19 March 1999, my secretarial agency in Melbourne sent a six-page fax to my office. My fax machine doesn’t cut off each page, so multi-paged fax comes off the machine as one long strip of paper. As I watched this fax roll off the machine, it began to ring as if a new call was coming in even though the line was fully engaged at the time. The fax from the secretarial agency stopped and two-page fax from my solicitor, also in Melbourne, followed on. While I stood gaping in surprise the phone rang again. The fax from my solicitor ended and the final three pages from the secretarial agency rolled out of the machine – all in one continuous strip: three pages from one address, two pages from a second, totally unrelated address, then another three pages from the first address.

And so we arrive at this question: are your faxes and emails also being lost or intercepted? Who knows? What we do know is that the technology exists to divert calls from one phone (or fax) to another and what we must now ask is – how is that technology being used?

Because I complained about short-duration calls (lasting only a few seconds) many times over many years, Telstra wrote to the regulator on 11 November 1994 stating they would address these short-duration calls as part of their defence of my claims. Of course, this didn’t happen and the short-duration call issue remains unresolved.

A Telstra document (FOI number A03610) stating Telstra believed that some of these calls were diverted, opened another can of worms. I certainly did not have a call diverter on any of my lines back in 1994, not even to divert calls to Telstra’s message bank – I have my own answering machine. So, if these calls were being diverted, to where were they being diverted? Who arranged for them to be diverted? And why were they being diverted? Again, I don’t have the answers to those questions.

I am not the only Telstra customer suffering from this ‘phantom diverter’ problem. The members of COT have provided the Victoria Police and Telstra with the name of another Telstra customer who contacted our group some time ago. It was proven, and Telstra has acknowledged, that some of this customer’s business calls were being diverted to her competitor. Again the question must be asked: how many other customers have suffered and are suffering from unrecognised interference with their phone calls and faxes? Why haven’t the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman and/or the Federal Police investigated any of these issues? How long is the Minister for Communications going to continue to ignore these issues? Telstra’s enormous profits continue to grow and Telstra shareholders continue to reap the benefit, which is a good thing – unless, of course, these profits come from faulty billing procedures and ‘ripped off customers.

Graham’s fax journal does not coincide with my Telstra fax account for faxes charged as sent. Fax journal printouts taken from Graham’s fax machine (AS 255) do not match up in relation to faxes that we were charged for, as being sent.  Graham Schorer’s and my fax interception files that I offered to the Australian Communications & Media Authority (the ACMA) on 9 February 2011, confirm frequent problems with faxes being sent between our offices.

If I hadn’t phoned Graham to discuss a document that didn’t arrive, we may not have discovered that it had ‘gone walkabout’ between our fax machines. Most people would accept a single incident like this as just a ‘blip’ in the system. Unfortunately, this happened repeatedly from October 1993 through to December 2002.

The information in Open Letter File No/12 and File No/13, was offered to the Australian Communications Media Authority (ACMA) and the TIO’s office for assessment purposes. To date they have refused to assess that information together with two arch lever files of similar evidence. Had they assessed this evidence, as one would expect an independent regulator to have done, their findings would have resulted in them having to investigate further. A second investigation would have uncovered numerous arbitration claim documents that I either faxed or sent by Australia Post that never reached the arbitrator.

The only conclusion one can draw from the refusal of these two offices to view this evidence is that both the TIO and ACMA would have to agree that, as a large portion of my claim material never reached the arbitrator for assessment, that part of my arbitration claim is still unresolved.

Main Evidence File No 42 is a Memorandum of Advice re Supreme Court of Victoria proceeding, Graham Schorer (Golden Messenger) v the Telstra Corporation, which was prepared by Barrister Paul Cosgrave, and faxed to Graham from Mr Cosgrave’s office in Melbourne, on 3 December 1998. The correct fax identification for Mr Cosgrave’s office has been removed and replaced with the words “Fax from”, followed by Mr Cosgrave’s correct office number, 61 3 960 8877, and this appears across the top of all 12 pages of the document.

Main Evidence File No 43 shows another legal document, faxed from Mr Cosgrave’s same Melbourne office to Graham, c/o Canberra International Hotel, on 8 December 1998. On this occasion, Mr Cosgrave’s correct fax identification appears on all 17 pages of this fax. It seems that whoever had access to Telstra’s network while Mr Schorer was in litigation with Telstra, used certain keywords to locate the faxes they wanted to intercept between Mr Cosgrave’s Sir Owen Dixon Chambers and Graham’s office.

The Federal Attorney-General’s office should have dealt with this interception issue years ago and long before Australia began competing with Asia in relation to conducting international arbitrations. If in-confidence legal documents can be intercepted freely, as happened both during and for years after the COT arbitrations, and if the government regulator, ACMA, will not intervene or even look at the evidence the COTs are offering, this must mean the government knows that the COT claims are true.

Absent Justice - Of Public Concern

Of public concern: Graham Schorer and I each have a copy of an internal Telstra document that refers to particular documents faxed between Graham’s office and mine. This document states that Graham and my documents were “Stored in Fax Stream,” thereby confirming that Telstra did (and probably still does) store customer in-confidence documents that they have intercepted. Perhaps these documents can be accessed at any given time and in any situation that might arise, such as court action against claimants that Telstra might label as vexatious, or even during an arbitration process.

The possibilities for sensitive information to be used by corrupt individuals or corporations, for their gain, are endless.

The matters discussed on this website absentjustice.com are said according to my interpretation of the  Public Interest Disclosure Act 2013

Copyright © 2017 Alan Smith

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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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“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

“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

“…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

“…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