Please note: absentjustice.com is a work in progress: last edited in January 2019.
It is important to advise newcomers to absentjustice.com that various exhibits are linked in the text: for example, Front Page Part One File No/1, Main Evidence File No/3 or Prologue Evidence File 1-A to 1-C. 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 (see menu bar above) you will be able to verify our story. Without those documents, most people would really struggle to believe these appalling events actually happened in a government-endorsed arbitration process.
My name is Alan Smith. My story starts in 1987 when I decided my life at sea, where I had spent the previous 20 years, was over. I needed an occupation to see me through to my retirement years and beyond. I had always dreamed of running a holiday camp similar to the Butlins Bognor Regis – Wikipedia I had experienced in my boyhood England.
Imagine my delight when I saw the Cape Bridgewater Holiday Camp and Convention Centre advertised for sale in The Age. 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 thought to check whether the phones worked? Within a week of taking over the business in February 1988, I knew I had a problem. Customers and suppliers alike were saying they had tried to call and couldn’t get through to me.
Other independent business people, similarly affected by poor telecommunications, have joined me on my journey. Collectively, we became known as the Casualties of Telecom, or the COT cases. All we wanted was for Telecom/Telstra to admit to the issues, fix them and pay compensation for our losses. A working phone: is that too much to ask?
What sort of faults were we experiencing? Customers or potential customers, trying to ring us would receive a deadline or the phone would ring continuously without being answered as if no one was there, or callers were met by a recorded announcement saying the number was not connected at all. And, when calls did connect, the line dropped out, as might happen these days on a mobile phone, but these were landlines.
This is the story of a group of ordinary Australian small-business-people who have been forced into a long-lasting, legal fight with one of the largest companies in all of Australia. It is the story of how the main Australian telecommunication company, Telstra (originally called Telecom), wasted years of their customers’ time, apparently unable to address the many phone problems that were affecting the capacity of the first four COT claimants to run their businesses. In fact, Telstra constantly told the COT group that they (Telecom/Telstra) had checked but there had been ‘No faults found’, even though we now know that Government records dated from before 1994 (when the COT group was first formed around Australia) show (see AUSTEL’s Adverse Findings) that Telecom/Telstra had actually found numerous serious telecommunication faults that were directly wrecking those businesses. The truth about these faults was, however, deliberately concealed from the four claimants for more than twelve years, even though the Government had agreed that, if the COTs were proved to be correct in their claims, then a Government-appointed arbitrator would award damages to compensate the claimants for the various problems still affecting the viability of their businesses. The process was to be administered by the newly appointed Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman, Warwick Smith.
The fact that Warwick Smith, the administrator of our arbitrations, allowed Grant Campbell, a seconded Telstra employee, to sign off letters on his behalf and, in doing so, minimise Telstra’s liability in my arbitration, is beyond contempt when you consider Telstra was the defendant in that arbitration. More on this part of our story can be viewed by clicking on Absentjustice Brief Summary Part 2 and reading Chapters One to Four in the Prologue page. Reading these chapters would, I am sure, convince the devil himself that the arbitrator and the arbitration resource unit were in league with the Telstra Corporation to prevent the investigation of these ongoing telephone problems. Had these problems been investigated, the arbitrator would have uncovered just how serious my phone issues were and this would have resulted in my arbitration being placed on hold until the problems were located and rectified. Chapter Four in the Bad Bureaucrats page shows the new owners of my business were still experiencing these same problems in 2006, 11 years after Grant Campbell provided this false information to Telstra and Warwick Smith.
After addressing the telecommunication problems in connection to my case, while wearing his TIO hat, Mr Campbell returned to Telstra and began making the same type of assessments in relation to another COT claimant, from Brisbane, Queensland, while wearing his Telstra hat. The fact he knowingly minimised the devastating impact my poor faxing service had on my overall claim – hindering my ability to send information to the assessor – is possibly the most harmful false advice he gave Telstra and, I assume, Warwick Smith (who he was representing when this false advice was provided). See Telecommunication Industry Ombudsman.
The TIO’s June 1994 annual report has no record of Mr Campbell working in the TIO office during the period he was signing off letters for Warwick Smith. This suggests he was on the defendant’s payroll when he gave out this false information concerning my phone and fax services (see Chapter Three in the Telecommunication Industry Ombudsman page.
And so, my saga began: a quest to get a working phone service in which to operate my phone dependent business.
In January 2018 my partner, Cathy, was with me for my first appointment with our local doctor after I had survived a heart attack and double by-pass surgery. Although the doctor was very sympathetic to my situation (and he knows my COT story) he couldn’t help but ask: “Why am I not surprised?”
As I write this it is now 2019 and still, every time I go back to finalise various parts of our website at absentjustice.com, and I have to re-read all the complex details that make up the whole, true, terrible saga, my anxiety levels instantly begin to rise alarmingly. The situation gets worse though because I also find I am just stuck; I seem to be unable to find the right words to finish off this dreadful story. It seems that, no matter what I do, I just can’t find a way to properly explain this disaster that we have all struggled with for so many years. One part of the problem is, of course, that none of the COT cases – all honest Australian citizens – should ever have been forced into a situation that would eventually leave us all dealing with so many still-unaddressed crimes; crimes that were committed against us while we were officially part of a government-endorsed, legal, arbitration process. There are two parts to this problem for the COTs, though: to begin with, there are those who are now identified below, who worked with Telstra to carry out those still-unaddressed crimes, and then there is Telstra, an organisation with so much power that they could stop any authorities (including government authorities) from investigating any of those crimes as Condensed version of my story so clearly shows.
One of the Telstra technicians, whom I refer to below as Joker Three, and who was one of those who knowingly and deliberately misled and deceived the arbitrator during my arbitration, is a respected member of the Portland community in a position to often make decisions affecting Portland residents as well as local council. This, I believe, puts me in difficult situation: i.e., do I have a moral obligation to tell my Federal Member of Parliament about this man’s appalling past behaviour? Clearly, lying under oath in a formal litigation process, or at any other time for that matter, is not something that would meet the expected criteria for a person whose professional advice is often sought by others.
I have sat on this evidence for more than twenty years now, without publicly naming this Joker, or identifying any of the six other Telstra employees who also lied in their arbitration witness statements, even though, so far, none of those Australian citizens have come forward to explain why they lied as they did, during my arbitration. I am now 74 years old however and believe that the time has come for me to say enough is enough. Having clear proof of these types of crimes has taken a serious toll on both my partner’s health and mine, and we deserve to have some peace of mind in the years that are left. For this reason, I am, again, informing my local Member of Parliament, The Hon Dan Tehan, this time on 14 January 2019, of these still unaddressed arbitration issues. I hope this will prompt him to remind the government that it was at the persistence of his predecessor, The Hon David Hawker, The Hon Richard Alston (the then Shadow Minister for Communications) and the government communications regulator that I ventured down the path that has lead me to where I am today.
Between April 1988 and through to my arbitration of 1994 to 1995, I continued to experience faults with my phone service, particularly call drop-outs when, part-way through a conversation, the line would simply go dead, and short duration rings when the phone would ring once or twice and then stop, with no-one there if we picked up the receiver. In October of 1992, Joker Three arranged for two testing machines (called ‘Elmi’ machines) to be installed, one at the local Cape Bridgewater exchange and the other at my office.
In the afternoon of 13 October 1992, I reported four calls dropping out, at 1.20, 1.40, 2.00 and 3.00, and an occasion when I had answered the phone to find a dead line. Despite the Elmi machines, the Telstra technicians found, as they had in so many instances before, no faults that they could detect. What was going on?
In June 1993, I obtained a bundle of Telstra related documents from AUSTEL, one of those documents was a hand-written file note stating,
“We had the Elmi disconnected at the RCM [unmanned telephone exchange] and were installing it at Mr Smith’s house and the CCAS showed no evidence of above [not receiving ring] 1.20, 1.40, 2.00 and 3.00.” (See My Story Evidence File 1)
This was simply not the case at all; I knew Joker Three was not installing it at my house at this time; it was already installed. So I asked Telstra to supply their Elmi print-outs from September–October 1992. Some weeks later a number of documents arrived, including tapes which show that the call drop-outs and dead lines that I had experienced appeared on Telstra’s Elmi tapes (see My Story Evidence File 2) as answered calls at approximately 1.30 pm and 3 pm.
I could not fathom why a local technician would state that the Elmi equipment was disconnected at the exchange and were installing it at my house when these two print-outs show that it was actually installed and operating at both locations, albeit incorrectly.
If Joker Three says that the file note in My Story Evidence File 1 is not his handwriting and that he knows nothing in regards to the information provided on this document, then some other Joker at the Portland telephone exchange misinformed Telstra management concerning my legitimate complaints.
Anyone who uses a telephone has at some time reached a recorded voice announcement (known within the industry as RVA): ‘The number you have called is not connected or has been changed. Please check the number before calling again. You have not been charged for this call.’ This incorrect message was the RVA people most frequently reached when trying to ring the Camp. While Telstra never acknowledged this, I discovered much later, among a multitude of FOI documents I received in 1994, a copy of a Telstra internal memo which explained, ‘this message tends to give the caller the impression that the business they are calling has ceased trading, and they should try another trader.’
My first bundle of Freedom of Information FOI documents from Telstra arrived by August 1993. In it, astonishingly, was a Telstra minute, dated 2 July 1992, concerning the Portland AXE telephone exchange. It states:
“Our local technicians believe that Mr Smith is correct in raising complaints about incoming callers to his number receiving a Recorded Voice Announcement saying that the number is disconnected.
“They believe that it is a problem that is occurring in increasing numbers as more and more customers are connected to AXE.” (See False Witness Statement File No 3-A)
At last I had a document that confirmed Telstra regarded my complaint as: “…a problem that is occurring in increasing numbers as more and more customers are connected to AXE”.
The author of this AXE document, whom I have named Joker Two, later signed an arbitration witness statement, dated 12 December 1994, which told a completely different story to what he knew about the Portland AXE exchange. In his witness statement, he admits, “I had perceived problems” but then says he had not observed any deficiencies in the service provided by Telstra. Yet it is clear from the AXE document that this is not the case. Folios C04007 and C04008, headed Telecom Secret, note:
“Legal position – Mr Smith’s service problems were network related and spanned a period of 3-4 years. Hence Telecom’s position of legal liability was covered by a number of different acts and regulations. … In my opinion Alan Smith’s case was not a good one to test Section 8 for any previous immunities – given his evidence and claims. I do not believe it would be in Telecom’s interest to have this case go to court.
“Overall, Mr Smith’s telephone service had suffered from a poor grade of network performance over a period of several years; with some difficulty to detect exchange problems in the last 8 months.”
It is clear from much of the information supplied by David Hawker, MP, to me in 1993 and 1994, that many people as far away as Penshurst, Apsley, Hamilton, Timboon, Victoria Valley and through to Portland were complaining to him about the phone problems in his electorate. The Hon Mr Hawker was passing on many of those complaints to me for the COT cases to take to Parliament House, Canberra, in our pursuit to have the Senate investigate why so many rural south-west citizens were experiencing the same problems as my business (see Introduction File No/11-E).
In the first five months of 1993, I received 11 written complaints, including a letter from the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne see Arbitrator File No/90.
“To Whom it May Concern, A group from the Centre for Adolescent Health (Royal Children’s Hospital) in Melbourne, recently spent a week from Monday 19th April to Friday 23rd April at the campsite. Two of our leaders attempted to make phone calls at 6.25 pm on Tuesday evening and experienced a deal line when trying to ring out. A number of our campers attempted t make calls on the Gold Phone during the week and were unsuccessful.
Many of our campers and leaders had chronic illnesses therefore, it was vitally important that our group had easy access to an operating telephone system 24 hours a day, in the event of a medical emergency. We would require a guarantee that the telephone system was fully operational before considering Cape Bridgewater Camp as a future venue.”
On the 12 July 1993, a newspaper article from the Portland Observer Newspaper is headed ‘Network Complaints Taken Up by MPs’, and notes:
“Problems highlighted by Cape Bridgewater Holiday Camp operator Alan Smith, with the Telecom network have been picked up on by not only other disgruntled customers but Federal politicians. Having suffered a faulty telephone service for some five years, Mr Smith’s complaints had for some time fallen on deaf ears, but it now seems people are standing up and listening. Federal Member for Wannon, David Hawker, described the number of reports of faulty and inadequate telephone across Australia as alarming. Mr Hawker said that documents recently presented to him showed that the problems people had been experiencing Australia wide had been occurring repeatedly in the Portland region.” (See My Story Evidence File 7)
I struggled to keep focussed on what COT was pushing for: a Senate Inquiry into Telstra’s unethical treatment of our small group of claimants. A further letter of support for the Senate Inquiry from a worker at D. Madden & Co of Warrnambool (Lawyers), dated 10/11/93, gave added heart to my decision to fight on. (My name had been passed to Madden & Co by The Hon David Hawker, with regard to a public meeting COT was organising.)
“I am writing in reference to the proposed Senate Committee Investigation into Telstra.
As you are aware, I am employed as a telephonist with a large legal firm in Warrnambool. In the course of my employment, and particularly during the months of July and August this year, numerous service faults have been brought to my attention. These problems include:
- Calls being disconnected during conversation.
- Recorded messages informing Melbourne clients and callers that the number has been disconnected when the correct number was dialled.
- An engaged signal received by callers despite a number of lines being available.
- Complaints from callers that the line has rung out when no ringing tone has been received at the number dialled.
Our firm duly contacted Telstra on a number of occasions in an effort to have these fault rectified. However, Telstra technicians were constantly unable to identify the numerous problems and subsequently remedy our complaints.”
Rural subscribers wrote to TV stations and newspapers supporting my allegations that, with regard to telephone services, rural small-business people, as well as the general public, suffered a very bumpy playing field compared to our city cousins. David M. Thomson & Associates, Insurance Loss Adjusters in Ballarat, wrote to the producer of Channel 7’s ‘Real Life’, a current affairs program:
“I have watched with interest the shorts leading up to tonight’s program as I have similar problems to the man at Cape Bridgewater.
Our office is located in Ballarat and due to Telstra structure the majority of our local calls are STD-fee based.
On many occasions we have been unable to get through to numbers we have dialled, often receiving the message ‘This number is not connected’ or similar messages which we know to be untrue.
Clients report that they often receive the engaged signal when calling us and a review of the office reveals that at least one of our lines was free at the relevant time.
We have just received our latest Telstra bill which in total is up about 25–30% on the last bill. This is odd because our work load in the billing period was down by about 25% and we have one staff member less than the previous billing period.”
On 9 December 1993, The Hon David Hawker wrote to thank me for:
“…your persistence to bring about improvements to Telecom’s country services. I regret that it was at such a high personal cost.” (See Arbitrator File No/82)
This was very affirming, as was another letter, dated 9 December 1993, from The Hon David Beddall, MP, Minister for Communications in the Labor Government, to Senator Michael Baume, senator for New South Wales, that says:
“Let me say that the Government is most concerned at allegations that Telecom has not been maintaining telecommunications service quality at appropriate levels. I accept that in a number of cases, including Mr Smith’s there has been great personal and financial distress This [sic] is of great concern to me and a full investigation of the facts is clearly warranted.” (See Arbitrator File No/82)
A Portland Telstra technician, whom I have named Joker Seven, experienced major problems during his official fax-testing process of my service on 29 October 1993, nevertheless he advised the arbitrator that there was no problem with that service, despite what the following Telstra document shows:
“During testing the Mitsubishi fax machine, some alarming patterns of behaviour were noted, these affecting both transmission and reception. Even on calls that were not tampered with the fax machine displayed signs of locking up and behaving in a manner not in accordance with the relevant CCITT Group 3 fax rules. … Even if the page was sent upside down the time and date and company name should have still appeared on the top of the page, it wasn’t. During a received call the machine failed to respond at the end of the page even though it had received the entire page (sample #3).” (See False Witness Statement No 7-A)
Didn’t this local Telstra technician understand that lying under oath in his witness statements assisted Telstra to conceal from the government and the arbitrator how bad the phone system really was in his hometown of Portland? Did he not understand that hindering my chances of getting a fair hearing in the arbitration also hurt his own family and friends, who were also residents of our region?
The Cover-up Continues
This internal Telstra document discusses the errors experienced at the Cape Bridgewater unmanned exchange, at least up to July 1991, and states:
“When the ‘A’ direction of system 2 was initially tested, approximately 11000 errors per hour were measured. In the ‘B’ direction, approximately 216 errors per hour were measured, 72 errors per hour is the specified number allowable.” (See Main Evidence File No 22)
False Witness Statement File No 13-B), dated July 1993, clearly shows Telstra continued to experience degraded errored seconds and minutes in the newly installed exchange at Cape Bridgewater. Worse, even though this new RCM exchange was installed in August 1991, Telstra did not realise it hadn’t connected the fault alarm system, from the main Portland manned exchange to this unmanned Cape Bridgewater exchange (18kms from Portland), until March 1993 (18 months later)! This March 1993 document reports the following:
|“Initial error counter readings, Portland to Cape Bridgewater direction”:|
|System 1||System 2||System 3|
“At this stage we had no idea over what period of time these errors had accumulated.
- the alarm system on all three RCM systems had not been programmed. This would have prevented any local alarms being extended back to Portland.”
A False Witness Statement
This False Witness Statement File No 13-A), signed by Joker Three, is possibly the worst example of Telstra employees swearing under oath to something they knew was a lie. At point 9 in this document it states:
“I checked the CRC error counters regularly between the date the RCM systems were installed and February 1994 when I left Telecom. Checking the CRC counters in this way was a normal maintenance practice. I can recall checking the CRC counters prior to March 1993. When I checked the CRC counters pre March 1993 I did not observe any errors that could have impacted upon the telephone service provided to Cape Bridgewater customers. A typical reading for each RCM system was 5 to 10 errored seconds, no degraded minutes and no severely errored seconds. I regularly checked the CRC counters for possible faults particularly when Mr Smith reported complaints.”
At point 27 in this same False Witness Statement File No 13-A, Joker Three officially advises the arbitrator “The standard of service provided to Mr Smith was entirely consistent to be a very good level of service provided to other rural customers.”
This statement does NOT match the many statements made by the government communications regulator in its own AUSTEL’s Adverse Findings, of 3 March 1994. (See points 10, 17, 18, 23, 37, 39, 40, 42, 44,46,47, 53, 56, 61, 62, 70, 75, 76, 79, 86, 87, 89, 91, 92, 93, 98, 100, 101, 104, 105, 109, 110, 111, 112, 118, 115, 129, 130, 136, 144, 151, 153, 158, 170, 173, 186, 187, 188, 206, 207, 208, 209, 210, 211 and 212.
In particular, at point 212, AUSTEL notes: “In view of the continuing nature of the fault reports and the level of testing undertaken by Telecom doubts are raised on the capability of the testing regime to locate the causes of faults being reported.” This statement suggests the government communications regulator believed my phone problems would not be located.
Had Telstra’s management conveyed to the arbitrator that AUSTEL had doubts “on the capability of the testing regime to locate the causes of faults being reported”, then the arbitrator’s award would have had to allow provisions for me to further claim against Telstra once the fault causes were located and fixed.
It is also clear from AUSTEL’s Adverse Findings, at point 209, which states, “Cape Bridgewater Holiday Camp has a history of service difficulties dating back to 1988. Although most of the documentation dates from 1991 it is apparent that the camp has had ongoing service difficulties for the past six years which has impacted on its business operations causing losses and erosion of customer base,” that the government’s own findings prove that when Joker Three advised the arbitrator “The standard of service provided to Mr Smith was entirely consistent to be a very good level of service provided to other rural customers,” he knowingly lied under oath.
Portland Tourist Information Centre
It is important we conclude these falsehoods by combining AUSTEL’s letters to Telstra dated 6 January, 27 January and 4 October 1994 (see False Witness Statement Files 15-B to 15-F) because these show AUSTEL knew there were many problems affecting a number of Portland and Cape Bridgewater Telstra customers.
AUSTEL’s 27 January 1994 letter to Telstra’s Steve Black (see File 15-C) states:
“You are probably aware of Mr Smith’s ongoing complaints as to the efficacy of his 008 service – he maintains that many callers receive a RVA advising that the number is no longer connected.”
“Further to that point is the experience of the Portland Tourist Information Centre which is now complaining of precisely the same problem. It is understood that these issues gained prominence after considerable incidences of problems from various points throughout Australia following a nation-wide promotion of south western Victoria. A copy of a fax from the Centre is attached. You may wish to consider this issue further.
Joker Three and Joker Seven have been prominent identities in Portland over the past twenty-years, advising interested parties on a number of issues. This suggests they have never really understood the damage their misleading and deceptive statements caused, not just to me but to others in the Portland region. Had the arbitrator full knowledge that my complaints of ongoing problems were real, and not a figment of my imagination, this may well have prompted him to have these complaints investigated by an impartial entity instead of Telstra, who were, after all, the defendants in my government-endorsed arbitration. NO testing of my service was undertaken by anyone other than Telstra during my arbitration.
Australian Federal Police Visit Portland
On 3 March 1994, A Portland Observer newspaper 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).” (See Hacking-Julian Assange File No/29)
Transcripts dated 26 September 1994, taken during the AFP investigations (see Australian Federal Police Investigation File No/1), show the AFP was very concerned at some of the documents I received from Telstra under FOI. These documents showed Telstra knew my private information: whom I talked to, who visited my business and even the names of female members of the singles club I had started at my venue. The AFP transcripts show concern that this surveillance was evident for well over 12 months. Telstra documented the dates I would be away from my business, weeks before the intended trips, and even documented when I telephoned my ex-wife, where my son resided – nothing appeared sacred.
When Telstra found out I provided these sensitive FOI documents to the AFP, I was contacted and threatened: if I continued to supply the AFP with FOI documents, then Telstra would not supply me with any further documents I needed to support my arbitration claims.
AFP transcripts, taken during an interview on 26 September 1994, confirm the author of the previously discussed false witness statements, whom I have named Joker Three, was the Portland technician Telstra management directed to listen into my unauthorised telephone conversations (see Australian Federal Police Investigation File No/1). Dr Gordon Hughes, in his position as arbitrator, declined to assist me with the interception issues and the threats I received from Telstra management (if I continued to assist the AFP investigations). Dr Hughes’ failure to assist me enticed Senator Ron Bowell to became involved, as the following Senate Hansard shows.
Page 180 ERC&A, from the official Australian Senate Hansard (dated 29 November 1994), reports Senator Ron Boswell asking Telstra’s legal directorate:
“Why did Telecom advise the Commonwealth Ombudsman that Telecom withheld FOI documents from Alan Smith because Alan Smith provided Telecom FOI documents to the Australian Federal Police during their investigation?”
After receiving a hollow response from Telstra, which the senator, the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and I all knew was utterly false, the senator states:
“Why would Telecom withhold vital documents from the AFP? Also, why would Telecom penalise COT members for providing documents to the AFP which substantiate that Telecom had conducted unauthorised interceptions of COT members’ communications and subsequently dealt in the intercepted information by providing that information to Telecom’s external legal advisers and others?” (See Senate Evidence File No 31)
They still received no justice
On the 20 September 1995, five months after my arbitration was concluded, in a very emotional speech to the Senate, Senator Ron Boswell discussed the injustices that we four COT claimants ( i.e. Ann Garms, Maureen Gillan, Graham Schorer and me) had experienced during our government endorsed arbitrations stating
“Eleven years after their first complaints to Telstra, where are they now? They are acknowledged as the motivators of Telecom’s customer complaint reforms. … But, as individuals, they have been beaten both emotionally and financially through an 11-year battle with Telstra. …
“Then followed the Federal Police investigation into Telecom’s monitoring of COT case services. The Federal Police also found there was a prima facie case to institute proceedings against Telecom but the DPP [Director of Public Prosecutions], in a terse advice, recommended against proceeding. …
“Once again, the only relief COT members received was to become the catalyst for Telecom to introduce a revised privacy and protection policy. Despite the strong evidence against Telecom, they still received no justice at all. …
“These COT members have been forced to go to the Commonwealth Ombudsman to force Telecom to comply with the law. Not only were they being denied all necessary documents to mount their case against Telecom, causing much delay, but they were denied access to documents that could have influenced them when negotiating the arbitration rules, and even in whether to enter arbitration at all. …
“This is an arbitration process not only far exceeding the four-month period, but one which has become so legalistic that it has forced members to borrow hundreds of thousands just to take part in it. It has become a process far beyond the one represented when they agreed to enter into it, and one which professionals involved in the arbitration agreed can never deliver as intended and never give them justice.”
“I regard it as a grave matter that a government instrumentality like Telstra can give assurances to Senate leaders that it will fast track a process and then turn it into an expensive legalistic process making a farce of the promise given to COT members and the unducement to go into arbitration. The process has failed these people an can never give them justice–a point confirmed by professionals deeply involved in the arbitration process itself and by the TIO’s annual report, where conclusion is described as ‘if that is ever achievable’.”
“Telecom has treated the Parliament with contempt. No government monopoly should be allowed to trample over the rights of individual Australians, such as has happened here.” (See Senate Hansard Evidence FiNo-1)
Clicking on the following link > Absentjustice Brief Summary Part 2 shows that a number of senators concluded the COT arbitrations were not administered according to the rule of law.
Sadly, Ann Garms passed away on 14 July 2018, but I know she would want her story included here
Further Damning evidence shows see 20130627133948062.that, although the Australian Government Solicitor (AGS) warned Telstra that Graham Schorer (later – COT spokesperson), of Golden Messenger Courier services, had a valid claim against them for misleading and deceptive conduct under section 52 of the Australian Trade Practices Act and advised Telstra should settle with Mr Schorer, Telstra ignored the AGS. For the next NINE years, Telstra went on a deliberate campaign to destroy Mr Schorer’s credibility and his finances even though they knew the AGS was right.
When Graham Schorer (COT spokesperson) signed his arbitration Deed of Release in April 1999, he agreed not to divulge the goings-on surrounding his claims against Telstra. Before we tell the rest of Graham’s terrible story, we want to be 100 per cent sure that we won’t be sued because of this Deed of Release.
We are now seeking legal advice from a number of areas including the government: Was Telstra and the government communications regulator AUSTEL (now ACMA) allowed to conceal from the arbitrator, before Graham signed the arbitration agreement, that the Australian Government Solicitors had already proved his case and therefore there was no need for him to have to prove again what was already officially proven?
On age 23 of the government communications regulatory draft findings on Golden Messenger (see 20130627133948062: it notes:
“Telecom Minute of 30/3/88 states that advice from Legal and Policy Headquarters indicate that Golden Messenger appeared to have a case against us…and…the Australian Government Solicitor had advised Telecom that Golden Messenger is likely to be successful in establishing that Telecom engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct contrary to the Trade Practice Act and that consequence of lost calls or calls not getting through was likely to lead to an immediate loss of business in relation to that call and potential loss of future business from the customer”.
Exhibits 20111025143553046 and 20130627133948062. were not released to Graham until October 2008, fourteen years too late to be used in his arbitration or during the Senate Estimates Investigation into why relevant documents were being withheld from Graham during his arbitration. In other words, if AUSTEL had provided their adverse findings against Telstra to Graham and the Senate Estimates Committee during that 1997/1999 Committee investigation, it would be fair to say that the Committee would have immediately ensured that Telstra didn’t pressure Graham into accepting compensation of only 33% of his arbitration claim – and that 33% did NOT include the thousands upon thousands of dollars Graham had wasted on legal fees to prove something that the government regulator had already proved.
The continuation of this Graham Schorer episode can be viewed by clicking onto > Absentjustice Brief Summary Part 2
The matters discussed on absentjustice.com are said in the public interest and therefore are made in accordance with the Victorian Defamation Act 2005 Defamation-division 1 Defamation and the general law see > www.legislation.vic.gov.au/Domino/Web-Note.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org for advice regarding our claims:- thank you.