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Chapter 4 - illegal act



Absent Justice - The Hon Richard Alston

On 15 February 1994, Senator Richard Alston (Shadow Minister for Communications) raised a number of questions on notice for Telstra to answer. The questions most pertinent to the COT claimants are numbers 5, 9, 10, 11(a), 15 and 20:

Telstra’s answers to most of the interception questions state:

“These matters are currently being investigated by the AFP and AUSTEL, and by Telecom itself.

“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.”

These statements made by Telstra, that it is inappropriate for Telstra to comment on these phone interception issues whilst the AFP are still investigating these matters, is the expected comment that Telstra lawyers would ensure Telstra made under the circumstances. No other form of interception investigation by any other authority should take place whilst the AFP was still investigating these privacy issues. To do so would undermine the AFP in that process. Yet, the TIO and those of its officers who were seconded from Telstra appeared to be doing just that, in order to confuse those who were not aware of their skullduggery. In fact, during their ‘investigations’ they were actually covering up the illegal operations that the Telstra Corporation had undertaken to pervert the course of justice (during a government-endorsed arbitration) against fellow Australian citizens.

As mentioned previously, prior to signing my arbitration, I also similarly cautioned the TIO that it would be unworkable for the arbitrator to commence my arbitration until the AFP had concluded their findings. The TIO replied he would “tactfully carry out his own investigations along with the Arbitrator” and “would not impede on the present AFP investigation”.

I have never received a copy of his or the arbitrator’s “tactfully” conducted investigation.

My 3 February 1994 letter to Michael Lee, Minister for Communications (see Hacking-Julian Assange File No/27A) 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)

On 3 March 1994, a Portland Observer article states:

“FEDERAL Police officers are investigating allegations of possible illegal activity on the part of Telecom Australia.

“Officers from the Federal Police visited Portland last week and interviewed Cape Bridgewater Holiday Camp proprietor, Alan Smith, who is one of the four original members of COT (Casualties of Telecom).” (AS-CAV Exhibit 765-A to 789 - See Exhibit AS 777-B)

Telstra’s arbitration liaison officer wrote to Robin Davey, chairman of AUSTEL, on 18 March 1994. Under the heading Tape Recorders – Use In Locating Fax Faults he states:

“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 facsimile or otherwise;

the recording would be of signals generated by a test message;

there is no B party involved.”(See Hacking-Julian Assange File No/30)

Neither prior nor during my arbitrations – and not even in the seven years after my arbitration – was I ever informed that Telstra was intercepting my faxes as part of their testing process. I was not warned of any other reason for that matter and I never provided Telstra with written permission for this interception to occur, even though this letter to Mr Davey is quite clear, Telstra had to obtain written customer consent prior to using tape recorders when intercepting faxes.

He insists I informed him about this conversation, but this is a falsehood. Again, Telstra has never been able to give a convincing explanation for their employee having this information. And of course, this employee knew who callers were even when they phoned from a different location, as discussed earlier. This information had to come from illegal monitoring. Obviously, Telstra was still actively monitoring my private calls because I was involved in litigation with them and their lawyers.


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“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

“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

“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

“…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

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

– Edmund Burke