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Chapter 7 - Felonious and Illicit



Shallow wiring across Australia

By clicking on the shallow wiring below, you will learn the COT story could have easily been your story had you purchased an Australian business in the 1980s.

Absent Justice - Telstra+39s Shallow Wiring


16 October 2002. FOI folio 100264 concerns the new owner of my business Mr Lewis having ongoing phone problems and contacting his local Member of Parliament.

“Customer has contacted MP again re service as he is not receiving calls on message bank or *10#. Customer is aware previous owner of business also had problems with service. Customer said he was told by Telstra that there was a problem in his exchange.” ( AS-CAV Exhibit 282 to 323 – See AS-CAV 289)

18th October 2002. Telstra FOI folio 100266, re the Lewises’ phone problems, says:

“The TIO have now raised a Level 1 complaint on behalf of Mr & Mrs Lewis. The TIO have specifically mentioned in their correspondence that the TIO have previously investigated a number of complaints raised by Alan Smith the previous account holder for this service.” ( AS-CAV Exhibit 282 to 323 – See AS-CAV 290)

8th November 2002. This Portland Observer newspaper article is headed:“Holiday camp still plagued by phone and fax problems”, and says:

“The telecommunications problems which plagued former Cape Bridgewater Holiday Camp operator Alan Smith continued to beset current owner Darren Lewis.” (GS-CAV Exhibit 410-a to 447 – See GS-CAV 414)

When our story began in 1987, most rural businesses were not using the internet, email or mobile phones. Mobile phones did not work in most rural locations, and mobile blackspots, even in the city outskirts, were common. It wasn’t until the late 1990s that this modern technology became a typical way to run a business.

Those of the current generation reading Absent Justice Book 2 or might find it difficult to understand that 20-plus years ago, then state-owned Telstra (and its government minders) could deceive many Australians into believing that they were trying to repair the ailing Australian telecommunications network, when, instead, they were band-aiding the many serious problems in Australia’s communications network. And why were they attempting to postpone this expenditure? Because privatization was on the government’s agenda and, within Telstra, the attitude from the top down was one of ‘let the shareholders foot the bill after privatisation’. This was Telstra’s only answer to the ongoing problems that were causing devastating problems for businesses around the entire country.

Even worse, as shows, at this time Telstra was also purchasing and installing Ericsson equipment in its Australian telephone exchanges, even when it was well known in the communications sector, around the world, that that equipment was seriously deficient and therefore not appropriate to install at all. Telstra knew other countries were removing Ericsson AXE equipment from their telephone exchanges as fast as they could. 

So our COT story is not just about what the industry refers to as ‘old and historic phone complaints that affected Australian’s telephone reception 20 or more years ago’, because some of that deficient equipment is still installed in Telstra exchanges all over the place. And the same people who got away with these appalling offences 20 years ago and covered them up still hold powerful positions, both in the Australian Establishment and in Telstra, even now. In the meantime, a fair resolution of all the COT cases’ claims has still not been reached (see An Injustice to the remaining 16 Australian citizens).


Click on the following image of me in my office to see that the COT case claims should have been resolved two decades ago.


Absent Justice - My Story - Alan Smith

Call for Justice

My name is Alan Smith. This is the story of my battle with a corporation and the Australian Government: a battle that has twisted and turned since 1992, through elected governments, government departments, regulatory bodies, the judiciary and the Australian telecommunications giant Telstra, or Telecom as it was known when this story started. The quest for justice continues to this day.

My story started in 1987 when I decided my life at sea, where I had spent the previous 26 years, was over. I needed a new land-based occupation to see me through to my retirement years and beyond.

My business is hospitality, and I had always dreamed of running a school holiday camp. Imagine my delight when I saw the Cape Bridgewater Holiday Camp and Convention Centre advertised for sale in the Age newspaper. It was located in rural Victoria, near the small maritime port of Portland. Everything seemed perfect. I performed my “due diligence” to ensure that the business was sound; or at least, all of the due diligence I was aware I needed to perform. Who would have guessed that I had to check whether the phones worked? Within a week of taking over the business, I knew I had a problem. I was hearing from customers and suppliers alike that they had tried to call and couldn’t get through to me.

Yes, that’s right. I had a business to run and a phone service that was, at best, unreliable, and at worst, just not there at all. Of course, we lost business as a result. And so, my saga began: a quest to get a working phone at the property. On the way I have received some compensation for business losses and many promises that the problem is now resolved. But, it has still not been resolved to this day. I sold the business in 2002 and subsequent owners suffered a similar fate to me. (See Chapter 4 The New Owners Tell Their Story) I eventually found out, through FOI requests, that the local unmanned exchange was installed in the late-1940s/early-1950s for the then low call-rate in the area. As the area grew in population and became a tourism and holiday destination, more phones were added to the local network. The exchange was overwhelmed and couldn’t cope.

Other independent business people similarly affected by poor telecommunications joined me on my journey and we are collectively known as the Casualties of Telecom, or the COT cases. All we ever wanted was for Telecom/Telstra to admit to our various problems and fix them all, then pay compensation for our losses. A working phone: is that too much to ask?

We initially asked for a full Senate investigation into Telecom in general and these issues in particular. We were offered, as an alternative, an arbitration process. It seemed like a good way to resolve the problem so we accepted this alternative. At this early stage, we honestly expected that the technical problems that prevented our phones from working would be resolved.

No such luck. Suspicions that something about the arbitration process was not quite right started almost immediately. We had been promised that the Telecom documents we needed to make our case would be made available to us if we entered into arbitration. Despite that promise, they have never been made available; we still do not have those documents to this day. We were further troubled when we discovered that, during the arbitration process, our fax lines were being illegally tapped.

Why didn’t the arbitrator allow me to re-submit the claim documents I proved never reached his office?

Absent Justice - Lost Claim Documents

Who controlled the distribution of the COT Cases’ documents that went missing?

Of course, with the weight of the government against us, these interception issues were never transparently investigated. 

The fax imprint across the top of this letter (Open Letter File No 55-A) is the same as the fax imprint described in the Scandrett & Associates report (see Open Letter File No/12 and File No/13), which states:

We canvassed examples, which we are advised are a representative group, of this phenomena [sic].

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.

After my arbitration appeal time lapsed, I received a letter showing the arbitrator claimed the arbitration agreement was not credible.

The questions the Telecommunication Industry Ombudsman (TIO) and the Federal Attorney-General have still not answered are:

Was this letter (Open Letter File No 55-A) faxed to my office by the TIO to assist me in my pending appeal process? If not, why was such an important letter deliberately kept from me during my designated appeal period? 

Had I received a copy of this letter declaring the agreement used in my arbitration process was not credible, I could have appealed the arbitrator’s award. After all, how could an appeal judge argue against the arbitrator’s findings that the agreement was not credible, even though he used it anyway?

When I first began to write Absent Justice Book 2, one of the technical consultants attesting to the validity of the Scandrett & Associates report (Open Letter File No/12 and File No/13) emailed me on 17 December 2014, stating:

“I still stand by my statutory declaration that I was able to identify that the incoming faxes provided to me for review had at some stage been received by a secondary fax machine and then retransmitted, this was done by identifying the dual time stamps on the faxes provided.” (Front Page Part One File No/14)

It is clear from Front Page Part One File No/1 that at least six documents I faxed from my office to the arbitrator did not reach his office, even though Telstra billed me for all six non-received faxes.

The next part of our journey was to do everything in our power to obtain the promised but withheld documents through Freedom of Information (FOI) requests. We know the evidence is there to make our case that the phone lines were not working and that they had not been properly tested according to agreed protocols. But for those documents to be any use to us, we have to obtain them.

What do you think? Are we imagining it or has there really been massive corruption and collusion on the part of public servants, politicians, regulatory bodies and Telstra themselves, to protect Telstra at all cost?

The following Herald Sun newspaper article by court journalists Rebekah Cavanagh and Ashley Argoon, under the heading “More judges, magistrates disciplined over bad behavior, dated 21 April 2023 (see, starts by stating:  

“Four complaints a week are being made against judges and magistrates as more judicial officers than ever are being disciplined for bad behaviour.

A Herald Sun investigation found the Judicial Commission of Victoria has received a staggering 1110 complaints since it was established in 2017 to investigate allegations against officers of the law.”

Articles like this have been appearing in the media since it was revealed that the COT arbitrations had not been conducted according to the ambit of the arbitration procedures. But the court system in Victoria, which includes arbitration, is still failing plaintiffs and leaving them to suffer.

So as you read those 1993 to 2023 newspaper articles listed as exhibits on this website,, remember how the law, the judges and arbitrators have continued over more than two-decades to fail the citizens of Australia. 

And what about the newspaper articles themselves? Do the arbitrators and judges consider the resultant ongoing financial losses experienced by one bad newspaper article like the one below? The damage that this Herald Sun article had on my accommodation business (more than 100 beds) was never considered by the arbitrator, even though my claim before the arbitrator in 1994/95 showed not one single hospital, convalescent home respite or holiday care facility for the aged or adolescent health ever visited my holiday camp again. 


Clicking on the ambulance below will show what the sister of the Herald Sun owner, Rupert Murdoch, said after reading Absent Justice.

Absent Justice - My Story

Children’s lives could be at risk

From the Herald Sun, 30 August 1993.

The Royal Children’s Hospital has told a holiday camp operators in Portland that it cannot send chronically ill children there because of Telecom’s poor phone service. The hospital has banned trips after fears that the children’s lives could be at risk in a medical emergency if the telephone service to the Portland camp continued to malfunction”.

The centre’s stand follows letters from schools, community groups, companies and individuals who have complained about the phone service at Portland’s Cape Bridgewater Holiday camp.

Youths from the Royal Children’s Centre for Adolescent Health, who were suffering from “chronic illnesses”, visited the camp earlier this year.

Group leader Ms Louise Rolls said in a letter to the camp the faulty phones had endangered lives and the hospital would not return to the camp unless the phone service could be guaranteed” Arbitrator File No/90

After the Melbourne Children’s Hospital recorded a near-death experience with a sick child being rushed to the Portland Hospital, 18 kilometres away from my holiday camp, Telstra finally decided to take my telephone faults seriously. It took several tries to ring out of the holiday camp. Even my coin-operated Gold Phone was plagued with problems. An ambulance was dispatched after I eventually got through to the hospital. None of the 35 children (all with cancer-related illnesses) or the nurses and carers had mobile phones and, regardless, there was no mobile coverage in Cape Bridgewater until 2004, 11 years after this event.  

It took this almost-tragedy for Telstra, after five years, to send someone with real technical experience to my business. Telstra’s visit happened on 3 June 1993, six weeks after the Children's Hospital vowed never to revisit my camp until I could prove my camp was free of phone-faults. During my 1994/95 arbitration, Telstra’s arbitration defence hit man, Steve Black, declined to submit a written guarantee that my three telephone service lines were fault free. Yet the arbitrator hearing my case, Dr Gordon Hughes, still made no written finding in regard to these same ongoing telephone problems.

Chapter 9 – Read about our dealings with and similar pages on this website show the COT cases’ ongoing telephone problems were not fixed as part of the agreed government-endorsed arbitration until August 2009, after the subsequent owners of my business were walked off the holiday camp premises as bankrupts. (See Chapter 4 The New Owners Tell Their Story and Chapter 5 Immoral – hypocritical conduct). 

Worse, even the arbitrator’s technical consultants, DMR Group, flown in from Canada to investigate the COT case claims, along with Lane (Australia), jointly advised the arbitrator on 30 April 1995 in their draft report that they still needed extra weeks to investigate and diagnose my ongoing billing problems. Those statementswere removed from the joint draft report, including the wording the report would not be complete until these billing matters were assessed (see Chapter 1 – The collusion continues).

How could the arbitrator have allowed this draft report to be altered and re-submitted into the arbitration process as the final report when he knew this was not the case?

The statement at point 2.23 in the DMR & Lane report says,

“Continued reports of 008 faults up to the present. As the level of disruption to overall CBHC [Cape Bridgewater Holiday Camp] service is not clear, and fault causes have not been diagnosed, a reasonable expectation that these faults would remain ‘open’.”


Absent Justice - 12 Remedies Persued - 8

Senator Helen Coonan v Senator Barnaby Joyce

Senator Coonan stated if Senator Barnaby Joyce agreed to the privatisation of Telstra then the government would appoint an independent assessor to value the unresolved 14 COT cases. The assessor would look at the resultant effect that Telstra’s phone- and fax-hacking had on the overall well-being of the COT business owners, due to several newspaper articles highlighting the fact that, in my case, customers had their phone conversations listened to, as well as commented on in Telstra memos, and the interception of faxes. The mental health and suffering and the bad publicity all this had needed to be valued.

Senator Joyce stipulated the assessor had to be independent of the government. These were the type of privacy issues that Senator Barnaby Joyce told the government that had to be resolved if they wanted his crucial vote to sell off Telstra. On 15 September 2005, Senator Barnaby Joyce wrote to me stating -

“As a result of my thorough review of the relevant Telstra sale legislation, I proposed a number of amendments which were delivered to Minister Coonan. In addition to my requests, I sought from the Minister closure of any compensatory commitments given by the Minister or Telstra and outstanding legal issues. …

“I am pleased to inform you that the Minister has agreed there needs to be finality of outstanding COT cases and related disputes. The Minister has advised she will appoint an independent assessor to review the status of outstanding claims and provided a basis for these to be resolved.

“I would like you to understand that I could only have achieved this positive outcome on your behalf if I voted for the Telstra privatisation legislation.” My emphases. (See Senate Evidence File No 20)

Once Senator Joyce cast his crucial vote (the one vote hanging in the balance), and made history for the Telstra Corporation and the Liberal-National coalition government, however, Senator Coonan reneged on her promise with a decisive back-flip, as letters collected on this website show. And, despite Senator Joyce casting his vote in return for an independent assessor of our privacy issues, the government stated it would assess our claims.

In my 10 March 2006 letter to Liz Forman (one of the government assessors appointed to assess my privacy issues and my claims Telstra perverted to course of justice during my 1994/95 arbitration), I wrote:

“Although you have stated in your letter that “...the assessment process will not extend to an examination of whether the law was broken by Telstra....” I have been advised that it is mandatory, under Commonwealth law, for DCITA and/or the Minister to notify the Attorney General of any unlawful activities they may uncover during official department investigations.” (My emphasis). (See File 614 AS-CAV Exhibits 589 to 647)

On 17 March 2006, David Lever, consumer section manager, telecommunications division (a further government bureaucrat), wrote to me in response to my letter to Ms Forman noting:

“Thank you for your letter of 10 March 2006 to Ms Forman concerning the independent assessment process. If the material you have provided to the Department as part of the independent assessment process indicates that Telstra or its employees have committed criminal offences in connection with your arbitration, we will refer the matter to the relevant authority.” (See File 657 AS-CAV Exhibits 648-a to 700)

The evidence on this website indicates that Telstra employees did commit criminal offences in connection with my arbitration, as Telstra’s Falsified BCI Report and Telstra’s Falsified SVT Report and the Tampering with Evidence page clearly show. Yet the government bureaucrats, namely Liz Forman and David Lever, did NOT consider these three reports. .

On 17 May 2007, the Hon Senator Helen Coonan wrote to me:

“I have now made both formal and informal representations to Telstra on behalf of the CoTs. However, Telstra’s position remains that this is a matter that is most appropriately dealt with through a Court process. Telstra is not prepared to undertake an alternative means of pursuing this matter. I also appreciate the depth of feeling regarding the matter and suggest you consider whether any court proceedings may be your ultimate option.” (My emphasis) (See File 616-B AS-CAV Exhibits 648-a to 700)

Surely it was Senator Helen Coonan’s responsibility, as the Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, to initiate an official enquiry into why Telstra continued to intercept in-confidence documents leaving my office (or residence), the offices of various senators and the Commonwealth Ombudsman during and after the COT arbitrations? 

Why was it left to an Australian citizen to take Telstra to court for its interception of documents when the Senate Estimates Committee had also been advised that some of these faxes were also intercepted leaving and arriving at Parliament House? (See Open Letter File No/12 and File No/13)


Evidence deleted by the government before it was read

Absent Justice - My Story - Parliament House Canberra



Between February and August 2006, during the DCITA government assessment of my unresolved Telstra arbitration-related matters, the Hon David Hawker MP, Speaker in the House of Representatives, personally hand-delivered faxes to Senator Helen Coonan’s office. These faxes had been sent by COT cases and the Commonwealth Ombudsman's office to various government ministers. The timestamps on the faxes showed clearly that they had been intercepted via a secondary fax machine.

The Hon. Mr Hawker also provided evidence showing that a two-page letter, dated 3 November 1998, from me to the Hon. Peter Costello, Australia’s Federal Treasurer, had also been intercepted en route to Mr Costello’s office. (See Exhibit 10C File File No/13)

I reiterate: Why was it left open to an Australian citizen to take Telstra to court for intercepting letters to government ministers while those ministers were representing the citizens of Australia?

It is obvious from File 562 GS-CAV 522 to 580 that evidence sent to the DCITA assessment process on 23 April and 25 July 2006 was not read during my government-endorsed assessment process and was deleted on 1 February 2008 by the government. My claim advisor, who faxed that material to the government for assessment purposes, had a receipt confirmation attached to her emails so as she was able to determine when documents were received, read or deleted. Although my DCITA claim cost well over $20,000 to prepare, the government never read it.

My 2006 claim evidence to the DCITA included attachments Open Letter File No/12 and File No/13. As shown immediately below, the Open Letter File No/12 and File No/13 reports confirm the COT cases’ arbitration-related documents were screened by the defence. My evidence, provided to both the arbitrator in 1994/95 and the government DCITA assessors in 2006, confirmed 41 of my faxed claim documents never arrived at their intended destination and, like File 562 GS-CAV 522 to 580, that information was never read by the assessors appointed to value it and make a written finding on the content. (See Chapter 8 – The eighth remedy pursued)

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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

“…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

“…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

“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