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My Story

Please note this website is a work in progress: last edited in August 2021.

All of the main events as quoted on this website are supported by copies of the original documents (confirmation data), which are linked in the text: for example, CAV Part 1, 2 or Summary of events. Clicking on these links with your cursor will automatically open a PDF of the exhibit by using this method and following the various file nos discussed in our various pages. Without those documents, most people would really struggle to believe that the Casualties of Telstra (COT) claimants have actually lived through these appalling events.

Absent Justice - Senator Kim Carr

My name is Alan Smith. On the 27 January 1999, after reading the first draft copy of my manuscript (Absent Justice) which can now be downloaded from this website Senator Kim Carr, who is now one of Australia's longest-serving Senators wrote to me stating:

“I continue to maintain a strong interest in your case along with those of your fellow ‘Casualties of Telstra’. The appalling manner in which you have been treated by Telstra is in itself reason to pursue the issues, but also confirms my strongly held belief in the need for Telstra to remain firmly in public ownership and subject to public and parliamentary scrutiny and accountability.

“Your manuscript demonstrates quite clearly how Telstra has been prepared to infringe upon the civil liberties of Australian citizens in a manner that is most disturbing and unacceptable.” (See Arbitrator Evidence File No 66)

I am sure Senator Carr’s statement, “Your manuscript demonstrates quite clearly how Telstra has been prepared to infringe upon the civil liberties of Australian citizens in a manner that is most disturbing and unacceptable,” would have been much stronger if he knew the Australian government communications regulator found heavily against Telstra, for the whole six-year period covered in my 1994 arbitration claim but was to conceal those findings from me until November 2007 see AUSTEL’s Adverse Findings, aware I would be unable to use this fresh evidence as the statute of limitations had long expired.

This is the story of a group of ordinary small-business people fighting one of the largest companies in the country. The story of how, for years, the Telstra Corporation failed to address the many phone problems that were affecting the capacity of the Casualties of Telstra (COT case short) Four to run their businesses, telling them 'No fault found,' when documents on this website show they were found to have existed as our story shows. 

Until the late 1990s, the Australian government fully owned Australia’s telephone network and the communications carrier, Telecom (today privatised and called Telstra). Telecom held the monopoly on communications and let the network deteriorate into disrepair. Instead of our very deficient telephone services being fixed, as part of our government-endorsed arbitration process that was set up by the government to fix the problems, it turned into an uneven battle the COT Cases could never win, our ongoing telephone and faxing problems were NOT fixed as part of the process, regardless of the hundreds of thousands of dollars, it cost us, four claimants, to mount our claims against Telstra. Crimes were committed against us and our integrity was attacked and undermined. Our livelihoods were ruined, we lost millions of dollars and our mental health declined, yet those who perpetrated the crimes are still in positions of power, today. Our story is still actively being covered up.

How the central points of our claim at arbitration were ignored by the arbitrator and how no amount of effort to have these points addressed bore any fruit. How, in the course of all these travesties, the regulatory bodies — AUSTEL (for the government) and the Telecommunication Industry Ombudsman (for the carriers) — failed to exercise any control over Telstra to the point where they could reasonably be seen as acting in concert.

Together, these travesties spell a breakdown of justice, way out of proportion to the problem we began with — people asking that their phone services be guaranteed to work to a reasonable standard so that they can reliably conduct their businesses.

Each of the COT members assumed, as most telephone users would assume, that their phone faults would be quite easily found and fixed by Telstra's skilled technicians. But 'No fault found' was the constant refrain, and the problems continued unabated throughout the course of our arbitrations, and for years afterwards, with disastrous effects on our businesses. This seemed incomprehensible: everyone had a phone the system is supposed to work for everyone. What was going on?

And why did it seem everyone was protecting Telstra, turning a blind eye to what was unlawful behaviour? Withholding important discovery documents in an arbitration procedure is unlawful. Tampering with evidence in the arbitration is unlawful (see Bad Bureaucrats/Tampering of Evidence)

Using defence documents that are known to be flawed in arbitration is unlawful. The TIO and AUSTEL refused to act; Members of Parliament, when in Opposition, were happy to provide support for the COT cause, but as soon as the government was theirs, that support vanished. No one was prepared to make Telstra accountable. It was enough to make the most level-headed person suspect conspiracies.

ACMA Australian Government

I began compiling the evidence in our website download back in 2007 when I received a government communications regulatory report AUSTEL had previously concealed from me prior to and during my government-endorsed 1994 arbitration process (see below). I was unaware up and until November 2007 that the Government Communications Regulator AUSTEL (now called the Australian Communications Media Authority) (ACMA) had compiled a different set of facts pertaining to their investigation into my ongoing telephone problems than what was provided to the relevant arbitrator hearing my case.  Had I been aware of those findings, which confirmed that I had a much stronger case against Telstra (the new defendants in my arbitration) the arbitrator would have been compelled to award me a far greater compensation payout than he awarded. This damning evidence supplied to me under the Freedom of Information Act is attached as AUSTEL’s Adverse Findings.

Falsification Reports File No/4 dated 22 September 1994 is a transcript taken during an oral interview at the Commonwealth Ombudsman’s Office, with AUSTEL’s representatives, Bruce Matthews and John McMahon.  On page 7 of this transcript the Commonwealth Ombudsman’s officer John Wynack, asked: ‘What was the date the report was issued, the AUSTEL report'? And AUSTEL’s representative replied:

“The final report was April – I can’t remember the date in April, but April 1994. The draft report was produced in March 1994 and Telecom received their copy of that at the time.”

While it is clear from the statement made by one of AUSTEL’s two representatives at the hearing (see above), that Telstra received a copy of AUSTEL’s Adverse Findings, ‘NONE’ of the information in this draft report, which enabled AUSTEL to arrive at their adverse findings against Telstra, was ever made available to me during my arbitration. Thousands upon thousands of documents were withheld from me and the other COT Cases by Telstra (the defendants) and AUSTEL (the then government communications regulator). By Telstra having these secret findings, they were able to know what documents were relevant to my case and which were adverse to theirs. This enabled Telstra to conceal from the process that they were using known AXE Ericsson telephone equipment that was not fit for purpose.

Telstra knowingly continued to use Ericsson equipment in its Australian telephone exchanges, despite other telecommunication companies overseas recalling that same equipment because the incoming call loss to the customer service lines ranged from between 15% and 50% see Misleading Deceptive Conduct File No 4-D and 4-E. How disgusting and unethical for a government-owned corporation like Telstra to have hidden this type of fault from the Australian consumer. Even though we COT Cases sought to obtain this AXE Ericsson evidence to support what Misleading Deceptive Conduct File No 4-D and 4-E discloses, this information was deliberately withheld from Telstra and later by ACMA.  During my first 2008 Administrative Appeal Tribunal freedom of information hearing in Melbourne, No V2008/1836 and my second FOI hearing in 2010 also held in Melbourne No V2010/4634 AXE Evidence File 1 to 9 that when AUSTEL discussed my ongoing AXE telephone problems on pages 167 and 168 in their public COT Cases Report released on 13 April 1994 they state at point 7.40:

"AUSTEL recently became aware that Telecom had prepared an internal document on the subject of this AXE fault and on 21 March 1994 sought a copy from Telecom".

The Pen Pushing Powerful Bureaucrats within ACMA have not released this AXE internal document that should have been released under FOI during my 1994/95 arbitration and my two Administrative Appeal Tribunal hearings of 2008 and 2010. In January 1996, I was advised by a senior ex-government official that accessing this AXE document would win my appeal. Telstra had been for years, operating outside of their licensing conditions by using known faulty Ericsson equipment but AUSTEL closed their eyes to this fact Submitting this internal AXE document during my pending appeal process would have forced Telstra and the government to settle what was truly owed me. Something the arbitrator could not do during my arbitration without this type of evidence. 

Absent Justice - My Story Senator Alan Eggleston

On 23 March 1999, almost five years after most of the arbitrations had been concluded, the Australian Financial Review (newspaper) reported on the conclusion of the Senate estimates committee hearing into why the COT Cases were forced into a government-endorsed arbitration without the necessary documents they needed to fully support their claims i.e.

“A Senate working party delivered a damning report into the COT dispute. The report focussed on the difficulties encountered by COT members as they sought to obtain documents from Telstra. The report found Telstra had deliberately withheld important network documents and/or provided them too late and forced members to proceed with arbitration without the necessary information,” Senator Eggleston said. “They [Telstra] have defied the Senate working party. Their conduct is to act as a law unto themselves.”  

I doubt there are many countries in the Western world governed by the rule of law, as Australia purports to be, that would allow a group of small-business operators to be forced to proceed with a government-endorsed arbitration while allowing the defence (the government which owned the corporation) to conceal the necessary documents these civilians needed to support their claims. 

The Senate Hansard of 11 March 1999 includes quotes confirming just how scathingly critical a number of Senators were in relation to the way Telstra ran the COT arbitrations, and not the arbitrator Dr Hughes even going so far as to note that it was “a process subject to unilateral amendment by Telstra”. That the committee was able to state Telstra used their “unilateral” control of the arbitration process to avoid supplying the promised documents shows the arbitration process failed the COT cases.

Absent Justice - 12 Remedies Persued - 5

It is also important for anyone who reads our Open Letter File No/41/Part-One and File No/41 Part-Two, to understand that although 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) it was also sent to the Commonwealth Ombudsman’s office as well as the then Australian Securities Commission (now ASIC). I can only assume that it was this report Open Letter File No/41/Part-One and File No/41 Part-Two, that first prompted Mr Alan Cameron, chair of the Australian Securities Commission to originally agree to investigate my complaints.

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 (now the Minister for Communications and the Arts in the current government had properly 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 interesting to note at the time Paul Fletcher requested the information now attached to our downloads is he was one of several Pen Pushing Powerful  Bureaucrats who are discussed in the following ABSENT JUSTICE INTRODUCTION link.

 

Absent Justice Ebook

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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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“…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

“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.”

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

“…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