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Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman


The Arbitraitor 

Absent Justice - Order of Australia

Dr Gordon Hughes, Wawick 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 highliy legalstic and complext 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 Charted Institute of Arbitrators Britain.

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

When I alerted the Institute of Arbitrators Australia to this 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 wasn’t a graded arbitrator nominated from the Institute of Arbitratots Australia? 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 four small business people, with their livelihoods at stake, we're entitled to a proper, qualified and graded arbitrator. Anyone reading Chapters 1, to 5 in our Prologue 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.

The full letter by Amanada Davis can be read by clicking on Summary of Events (" 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.

Absent Justice - Hon Paul Fletcher MP

Paul Fletcher former Liberal Coalition Minister for Communications  

It is also essential for anyone who reads Open Letter File No/41/Part-One and File No/41 Part-Two, to understand that a copy of that report dated June 1996 was originally sent to Paul Fletcher at his request, during the period he was an adviser to Senator Richard Alston (the then-newly appointed Minister for Communications and the Arts).

After reading Open Letter File No/41/Part-One and  File No/41 Part-Two, it will become clear that the exhibits and evidence that were attached to the report show that if Paul Fletcher, former Minister for Communications, Urban Infrastructure, Cities and the Arts, in the 2022 Morrison government had properly had investigated that evidence in June 1996 then most (if not all) of the issues that I have been trying to have investigated since then, would have been settled in 1996.

It is also essential for anyone who reads Open Letter File No/41/Part-One and File No/41 Part-Twoto understand that a copy of that report dated June 1996 was originally sent to Paul Fletcher at his request, during the period he was an adviser to Senator Richard Alston (the then-newly appointed Minister for Communications and the Arts).I have completed this Home page many times only to find I have missed important issues, and so the introduction to the website gets bigger and bigger until I rewrite it again with the full intention of keeping it short. But how can you keep this tragic episode short? Well, below is about my hundredth attempt.

Chapter 1- Prior to Arbitration
Chapter 1- Prior to Arbitration

Corruption in government, including non-government self-regulators, undermines that government's credibility. In the case of the COT arbitrations, this corruption and deception by Telstra, the arbitrator and the arbitrator's advisors became the cancer that destroyed the COT arbitrations.<

Chapter 2 Corruption in the making
Chapter 2 Corruption in the making

Australia has its own Panama Papers, as well as corrupt politicians and lawyers (see<<

Chapter 3 - Julian Assange - Hacking -1
Chapter 3 - Julian Assange - Hacking -1

View these COT files and discover how corruption and criminal activity undermines the credibility of those businesses that have been subjected to criminal legal abuse. See who the arbitration consultants were who preyed upon the COT claimants, denying them their fundamental legal rights.&

Chapter 4 Collusion
Chapter 4 Collusion

For an arbitrator to have a conflict of interest, taking or allowing the defence to use threats that were later carried out which then allowed fraud, and forgery, to creep into the arbitration process is more than just a breach of trust, it was unconsionable<

Chapter 5 Fraudulent conduct
Chapter 5 Fraudulent conduct

Check out the deception, fraud, and double-dealing, trickery of the COT arbitrator and his arbitration resource unit who knowingly acted in a criminal, evil and unscrupulous manner so as to conceal how bad the Telstra telephone network was. 

Chapter 6 - No findings on lost claim documents
Chapter 6 - No findings on lost claim documents
When the arbitration process allowed Ericsson to purchase Lane (the arbitration technical expert advising the arbitrator) during the arbitrations, Lane made no adverse findings against Ericsson or, in my case, would test the Ericsson exchange service lines into my business was collusion.
Chapter 7 - Julian Assange - Hacking -2
Chapter 7 - Julian Assange - Hacking -2
The COT arbitrations illustrate that corruption in arbitration is much more than just bribery, threats and concealment of discovery. Corporate crime does not usually involve a bag of money. The awarding of advancement in the Establishment is worth millions for those that allowed this crime to happen
Absent Justice Ebook

Read Alan’s book
‘Absent Justice’

Alan Smith’s book shows us corruption, fraud and deception perpetrated against fellow Australian citizens by the then government owned Telstra Corporation and the use of an 'arbitration confidentiality gag clause,' which is still being used in 2023 to cover up the many crimes committed by Telstra, the arbitrator and the arbitrators advisors during and after the arbitrations between 1993 and 1999 (see  Chapter 1 - The collusion continues  and Chapter 2 - Inaccurate and Incomplete.

This book is asking the government why are these crimes committed by Telstra being concealed under a gag clause?


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 this website (see Absent Justice Book 2)

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.


Read About Our Dealings With

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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

“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.”

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

“…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