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Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman

The following deceit by the arbitrator and administrator of the COT arbitrations is nothing short of treachery, akin to a Judas kiss with its underhanded dealings and disloyalty. It represents a corrupt and dishonest arbitration process. Such behaviour is corruption at its worst and was just as harmful, if not more so, than double-dealing and cheating that went on during the COT arbitrations.


The Arbitrator 

Absent Justice - Order of Australia

Dr Gordon Hughes, Warwick Smith - Order of Australia

When a citizen needs surgery, they expect the surgeon to be fully qualified; junior surgeons spend years learning how to perform the right incisions. Amputating the left leg of a patient when it should have been the right leg is irreparable. Making the wrong calculation in a highly legalistic and complete technical arbitration is irreparable and often life-threatening.

Warwick Smith, the administrator of the  COT arbitrations, assured the COT cases and the Australian government that Dr Gordon Hughes was a fully qualified and graded arbitrator. Senator Richard Alston (Shadow Minister for Communications) also said a qualified graded arbitrator would be used for our arbitrations, as had been the case during the British Telecom (BT) arbitrations. In those cases, the arbitrator had been chosen from a panel of graded arbitrators from The Chartered Institute of Arbitrators Britain.

As confirmed by Senator Richard Alstons, in the BT arbitrations, one arbitrator was allocated to one arbitration. In the COT arbitrations, Dr Hughes was appointed to seven arbitrations, and he conducted all seven at the same time. No wonder so many COT Cases have had their business lives ruined, as well as their private lives.

Learn about horrendous crimes and unscrupulous criminals, corrupt politicians and the lawyers who control the legal profession in Australia. Shameful, hideous, and treacherous are just a few words that describe these lawbreakers.

When I alerted the Institute of Arbitrators Australia to this Government - Corruption and terrible denial of natural justice by Dr Hughes, they later explained, in writing (see File 713 - CAV Exhibits 701 to 756, that to appoint an ungraded arbitrator into an arbitration process such as mine was a "risk". It is well known in legal circles, and I have written evidence showing Dr Hughes was not a graded arbitrator until well after my arbitration concluded (see File 711 CAV Exhibits 701 to 756. It was also said (and no one has denied it) that, during the first four COT arbitrations and due to many allegations against Dr Hughes’ professionalism, it was suggested he sit the exams to become a graded arbitrator. He did and failed.

Why didn’t the Institute of Arbitrators Australia nominate a graded arbitrator? Why were our arbitrations begun without a proper, transparent investigation of Dr Hughes’ qualifications? Why were our arbitrations not put on hold after Dr Hughes failed his exams to be a graded arbitrator? Surely, in the COT cases, all small business people, with their livelihoods at stake, are entitled to a proper, qualified and graded arbitrator. Anyone reading Chapters 1, to 5 in our Price Waterhouse Coopers pages that Dr Hughes even mislead and decieved the Institute of Arbitrator Australia concerning my claims against the conduct of my arbitration.

During my arbitration, when Dr Hughes' secretary Carolyn Friend could not find my arbitration claim material, which I had just faxed ten minutes previously and was calling to ensure she or Dr Hughes had received it, she confirmed it was not in the holding fax tray, I yelled at her in sheer anger and frustration. That night I arranged for a bunch of flowers costing $50.00 (which I could hardly afford) to be sent to Ms Friend to apologize for my outburst. 

It may well be that Dr Hughes' secretary, Caroline Freind, might have thought she was helping me when she and her assistant provided Dr Hughes' arbitration files back to me, but what Ms Freind did not understand was that discovering just how corrupt and unethical Dr Hughes had been, both before and during my arbitration, had left me haunted by that corrupted evidence forever.  I believe that she had no comprehension of how this has not only completely ruined my life, but has equally ruined my partner’s life too.

If I had never seen those corrupt files (now displayed on,) then perhaps, in time, I could have walked away from the whole ghastly COT situation but, once I had seen this irrefutable evidence against Dr Hughes, against his arbitration consultants, and against Warwick Smith (the administrator of the COT process), that evidence absolutely ended any chance of that ever happening for me.  Instead it left me fighting for justice (so far) for twenty-eight years.

After Carolyn Friend had returned this terrible evidence, amongst these documents were other COT Cases claim material that had nothing to do with my arbitration matters. When I pointed out to the Deputy administrator of my arbitration Wally Rothwell, that arbitration faxed claim documents belonging to COT Cases Ann Garm's from Brisbane Queensland was stapled to some of my faxes, he advised he would contact John Pinnock, the second appointed administrator to the COT arbitrations. No response has ever been received regarding these faxing problems. 

None of the COT Cases knew of this possible conflict of interest or the fact that faxes arriving at the arbitrator's Melbourne office after the close of business each day were automatically redirected to the Sydney office where Telstra related legal documents were also being received assessed by the Sydney lawyers.   

According to this letter dated 30 July 2009, from Graham Schorer (COT spokesperson) and ex-client of the arbitrator Dr Hughes (see Chapter 3 - Conflict of Interest) wrote to Paul Crowley CEO Institute of Arbitrators Mediators Australia (IAMA), attaching a statutory declaration (see Burying The Evidence File 13-H and a copy of a previous letter dated 4 August 1998 from Mr Schorer to me, detailing a phone conversation Mr Schorer had with Dr Hughes early in 1994 regarding lost Telstra COT related faxes. During that conversation, the arbitrator explained, in some detail that:

“Hunt & Hunt [The company’s] Australian Head Office of was located in Sydney and [the company] is a member of an international association of law firms. Due to overseas time zone differences, at close of business, [the company’s] Melbourne’s incoming facsimiles are night switched to automatically divert to Hunt & Hunt Sydney office where someone is always on duty. There are occasions on the opening of the Melbourne office, the person responsible for cancelling the night switching of incoming faxes from the Melbourne office to the Sydney Office, has failed to cancel the automatic diversion of incoming facsimiles.”Burying The Evidence File 13-H.

These lost faxes, which were initially faxed to the arbitrator's office, played a significant role in the COT arbitrations, as shown throughout this website.

Had I been provided with this advice concerning the deficiencies in the faxing process between Dr Hughes Sydney office and his Melbourne office, I would undoubtedly have had reasonable grounds to appeal my award during the designated appeal process. 

Was the real reason Dr Hughes (the arbitrator) did not make a finding regarding my lost faxes or carry out an investigation as to why so many of my claim documents did not arrive at his office for assessment is that had he asked his technical resource unit DMR & Lane they may have uncovered some of my lost faxes was due to the known faxing problems between the arbitrator Melbourne and Sydney offices?

Was it the realization of the damage that these lost faxes had casued me during my arbitration that prompted Caroline Freind, to provided so much damging evidence against Dr Hughes? 

Absent Justice - Hon David Hawker MP

Carolyn Friend's files tell a different story to the one told by Dr Hughes  

As my Federal Member of Parliament, The Hon David Hawker MP had been the driving force behind me in pressuring the government for better phone service for the electorate of Wannon (the electorate my business was in), I sent some of the evidence which had been attached to the arbitration file provided to me by Carolyn Friend (see Open Letter File No/41/Part-One and File No/41 Part-Two to Mr Hawker’s office. It was after Mr Hawker had shown so much concern for what he had read in this arbitration file that I gave him a letter dated 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 

“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.(" File 501 -  AS-CAV Exhibits 495 to 541).

After reading this letter from Amanda Davis, my Federal Member of Parliament, The Hon David Hawker MP, arranged for me and some of the COT members to meet with the then-Shadow Minister for Communications, Senator Richard Alston, in his office in Canberra in late September 1995. After reading much of the evidence that Carolyn Friend had provided me, Senator Alston stated to both the Hon David Hawker MP (who later became the Speaker in the House of Representatives that he would ensure this evidence was investigated.


Why has Warwick Smith never been made to answer why he allowed Telstra's arbitration agreement to be used in the COT arbitrations when all parties, including the government and the claimant's lawyers, agreed that the arbitration agreement would be drafted independently of Telstra? Why did't Warwick Smith ensure the arbitrations were conducted according to the ambit of the agreed arbitration procedures?


The arbitrator failed to make any reference in my final award to my arbitration procedure being conducted entirely outside of the agreed ambit of the Commercial Arbitration Act 1984. He did not warn me, before I signed the arbitration agreement, that my arbitration would be conducted in this manner.

For the arbitrator and the TIO to allow our arbitrations to continue, after discovering that they were being conducted outside the agreed and accepted ambit of the Victorian (Australia) Commercial Arbitration Act, was corrupt.

With iniquity, this decision has stood without investigation for 18 years despite the TIO confirming, to both a Senate estimates committee hearing and the communications minister’s office, on 26 September 1997, that the arbitrator had no any control over the process because it was “conducted entirely outside the ambit of the arbitration procedures”. (See Arbitrator File No/71)

The arbitrator, after conducting our arbitrations in such an unethical manner, wrote to the TIO on 12 May 1995 and declared the COT arbitration agreement was not a credible document for the basis for my arbitration (see Open Letter File No 55-A). This letter, condemning the agreement, was also deliberately concealed from me during my designated appeal period. Neither the arbitrator nor the TIO (the administrator) ever gave me an amended document during my arbitration.

The confidentiality clauses in my arbitration agreement, which appear to have been used since 22 June 1995 to stop a transparent investigation into the conduct of my arbitration, became null and void as soon as the arbitrator conducted my arbitration entirely outside the agreed ambit of the Victorian Commercial Arbitration Act 1984.

On 17 February 1994, during this official arbitration meeting, Graham Schorer (COT spokesperson) asked Dr Hughes 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 both the arbitrator and the TIO’s special counsel stated, “they had not received this document and had not read it and that it was irrelevant”. 

However, Arbitrator File No/104 confirms 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, confirms both the arbitrator and a representative of the TIO’s special counsel 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. During the first official arbitration meeting, before the COTs had signed their arbitration agreements and even before he was officially appointed, the arbitrator was already misleading and deceiving the claimants, and all other interested parties.

This deception, regarding which version of the agreement we signed, was maintained throughout the various COT arbitrations. This agreement was NOT independently drafted by the special counsel, but by Telstra – the defendants.

This 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)

Chapter 1- Prior to Arbitration
Chapter 1- Prior to Arbitration
Government - Corruption. Learn about horrendous crimes and unscrupulous criminals, corrupt politicians and the lawyers who control the legal profession in Australia. Shameful, hideous, and treacherous are just a few words that describe these lawbreakers.
Chapter 2 Corruption in the making
Chapter 2 Corruption in the making

Government - Corruption. Learn about horrendous crimes and unscrupulous criminals, corrupt politicians and the lawyers who control the legal profession in Australia. Shameful, hideous, and treacherous.<

Chapter 4 Deception in the public service
Chapter 4 Deception in the public service

Corruption in government, including non-government self-regulators, undermines the credibility of that government. It erodes the trust of its citizens. 


Chapter 5 Fraudulent conduct
Chapter 5 Fraudulent conduct

Bribery and corruption in the seat of arbitration in Australia during the COT Cases arbitrations cut deep into the rule of law.

Chapter 6 Intimidation Threats
Chapter 6 Intimidation Threats

Corruption in government, including non-government self-regulators, undermines the credibility of that government. It erodes the trust of its citizens. Corruption of public officials.

Chapter 7 TIO Lies Fraud Deception
Chapter 7 TIO Lies Fraud Deception

Tampering with technical evidence, falsification of two similar technical reports, criminal conspiracies to hide from the citizens of Australia the true extent of Telstra's poor telecommunications network

Julian Assange - Hacking TIO Chapter 3
Julian Assange - Hacking TIO Chapter 3

Corruption in government, including non-government self-regulators, undermines the credibility of that government. It erodes the trust of its citizens. 

Absent Justice Ebook

Blowing the whistle 

Absent Justice - Hon Malcolm Fraser

While in the midst of my arbitration case against the Telstra Corporation, I stumbled upon a freedom of information release by Telstra. The release disclosed that Telstra had documented and redacted my phone conversations with former Prime Minister of Australia Malcolm Fraser see page 12 → Australian Federal Police Investigation File No/1. During those phone conversations, I expressed my concerns that Australia was providing wheat to China in 1967 despite being aware that China was redirecting it to North Vietnam. I'm curious to know how the interception of my telephone conversations during the arbitration proceedings in 1993 and 1994 with Malcolm Fraser is related to my exposure to the government on 18 September 1967 that Australia was trading with the enemy. 

What intrigues me is the reason behind documenting a seemingly harmless conversation about Australia's wheat selling to China while being aware that China was supplying wheat to North Vietnam during a conflict with Australia, New Zealand and the United States. I am confident there must be a significant motive behind this, and I am determined to uncover it.

It's difficult to fathom the extent of harm inflicted on the young Australian, New Zealand, and United States service members by North Vietnam soldiers who were fueled by the wheat supplied to them by their communist Chinese supporters. Sadly, many of these brave service people lost their lives or were left with permanent injuries.

1.     In September of 1967, I brought to the attention of the Australian government that a portion of the wheat allocated to the People's Republic of China on humanitarian grounds was being redirected to North Vietnam during the Vietnam War Chapter 7- Vietnam - Vietcong

2.    Who else in the Australian government was aware that Australian wheat intended for a starving communist China was being redirected to North Vietnam to feed the North Vietnamese soldiers before those soldiers marched into the jungles of North Vietnam to kill and maim Australian, New Zealand, and United States of America troops? Refer to Footnote 82 to 85 FOOD AND TRADE IN LATE MAOIST CHINA, 1960-1978, prepared by Tianxiao Zhu, who even reports the name of our ship, the Hopepeak and how the seaman feared for our lives if we were forced to return to China with another cargo of Australian wheat. This wheat was being redeployed to North Vietnam during the period when Australia, New Zealand, and the United States of America fought the Vietnam Cong in the jungles of North Vietnam.   

3.   During the 1960s, the Australian Liberal-Country Party Government engaged in misleading conduct regarding trade with Communist China despite being cognizant that Australian merchant seamen had vehemently refused to transport Australian wheat to China. The grounds for such an objection were their apprehension that the wheat would be redirected to North Vietnam during the North Vietnam War between Australia, New Zealandand the United States of America. The underlying inquiry is to ascertain the government's rationale for deliberately deceiving the general public and jeopardising the country's troops whose lives were being lost in the conflict in North Vietnam.  Murdered for Mao: The killings China 'forgot'

4.    Why didn't Australia's Trade Minister, John McEwen, correctly and honestly advise the people of Australia why the crew of the British ship Hopepeak had refused to take any more Australian wheat to China because they had witnessed its redeployment to North Vietnam during their first visit to China?  

Quote Icon

“…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

“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

“…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

“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

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