Consumer Affairs Victoria (CAV) Evidence File Part One

Graham Schorer and Alan Smith’s – Overview Casualties of Telstra (COT)

References to the documents now available for downloading from our websites can also be found in various other documents, e.g. Exhibit 1 supports entry CAV GS 1 on the CD.   The Exhibits on the CD are divided into separate folders called GS CAV 1 to 88GS CAV- 89 to 154-bGS CAV- 155 to 215 (Graham Schorer) and AS-CAV-1 to 47AS-CAV 48 to 91AS-CAV 92 to 127, and CAV 128 to 180 etc. (Alan Smith).

Graham has always been the official spokesperson for the whole COT group, which is mostly referred to as the COT Cases, but he has always been reluctant to document his own case because of something that happened back in 1999, when he unwittingly signed a Deed of Release with Telstra, at the conclusion of his case.  Unfortunately, back then, when he signed this Deed, he was not aware that the Government Communications Regulator, AUSTEL (now the Australian Communications and Media Authority or ACMA), had compiled a different set of facts regarding his case than the so-called ‘facts’ that were provided to the relevant Minister for Communications on 13 April, 1994.  Interestingly, AUSTEL’s findings confirmed that, according to the Australian Trade Practices Act, Graham did have a case against the Telstra Corporation, for misleading and deceptive conduct and, if Graham had been aware of AUSTEL’s findings at the time, then none of the members of the COT Cases group would have ever agreed to abandon the already-Government-endorsed Fast Track Settlement Proposal that we had signed on 23 November 1993.  The current regulator, ACMA, finally provided this damning evidence to Alan (in November 2007) and to Graham (in October 2008), under the Freedom of Information Act: this document confirms that, by March 1994, the Government had already proved that our claims were correct, so why did the Government allow us to enter into a highly-legalised arbitration process when the official Government Communications Regulator had already found so heavily against Telstra?

In 2006, in order to be positively sure of our facts as we prepared our documents to go to the Victorian Government at (Consumer Affairs Victoria), hence all the marking on our exhibits start with the abbreviation of Consumer Affairs Victoria i.e; CAV. We began this database to assist the CAV with their investigations.

Although we originally planned to produce only one website, we quickly found that the details are easier to follow if they are separated this way because each of the individual topics spreads out over many years.  The topics we have chosen to include do not cover everything we have experienced, but do include:  the general deception and corruption that contaminated our TIO-administered arbitrations; the illegal interception of many documents that the claimants legally submitted to the arbitration process; the details of documents that were lodged with the arbitration but never addressed or referred to in the awards; and documents that were apparently somehow lost in the fax system and therefore never reached the arbitrator at all.  Taken together, these topics all contributed to one end result – a series of entirely undemocratic arbitration and mediation processes (absentjustice.com and justicecommand.com)

During 2007 and 2008, on more than one occasion, Graham and Alan, and the SVPO, were led to believe that the CAV were investigating their matters.  This belief was further supported when Alan was asked to provide all of the COT submissions on a CD disk so that the CAV could pass it on to their investigating officers so that they would then be able to process them more quickly (because the hard copies were too voluminous).  Again, the CD was duly provided to the CAV by the SVPO.

Between December 2007 and 3 October 2008, while Alan and Graham were involved in a case before the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) in relation their COT FOI documents they had requested from the Australian Communications Media Authority (ACMA), these thirty-four plus submissions were also submitted to the ACMA, along with a Statement of Facts and Contention. The result of that case was that both Alan and Graham’s FOI applications and the statements they made under oath on 3 October 2008 concluded that Alan’s claims were correct and he was not the frivolous or vexatious person he had been accused of being.  The documents that contain those conclusions are still available from Government records.

The CAV, ACMA and AAT submissions are discussed here because, as part of Alan and Graham’s attempt to obtain the justice that they, as members of the COT Cases group, had been denied over a period of more than twenty-years, they were freely provided as submissions, as well as Statement of Facts and Contentions, into the public domain.

This means that the current Government cannot now hoodwink the Australian public by saying that Graham Schorer and Alan Smith’s matters are confidential because they are no longer in confidence documents.

The Victorian Government has never provided a finding in relation to any of these matters, although they have returned the documents Alan and Graham gave them, with an admission that these matters were never investigated.

When Alan raised the issue of his reluctance to tell all to the CAV, because of confidentiality clauses set in the arbitration agreement, Peter Hiland (CAV Barrister) made it clear that neither Telstra nor anyone associated with the arbitration process can hide behind a shield of confidentiality. The law does not permit one party to threaten another or tamper with evidence provided by a party in order to benefit oneself as was the case during the COT arbitrations. And yet, the current Australian Federal Government is still allowing Telstra to hide behind this confidentiality shield.

We are now, in 2018, ten years further on and we have chosen to disclose and resubmit this information, as it is no longer confidential, because it has all already been submitted, on three other occasions, to the Government i.e.:

  • In 2006, when it was all submitted to the Federal Government as part of the Hon Senators Helen Coonan and The Hon Barnaby Joyce Department of Communications Information Technology and the Arts (DCITA) Independent Assessment Process;
  • In 2007 to Consumer Affairs Victoria (CAV) and
  • In 2008, and again in 2011 when it was also submitted to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (Commonwealth Government) and the Australian Communications Media Authority

The information included in these documents is of importance to all Victorians, because if it can happen to twenty-one individual COT claimants who were, after all, not only standing their ground for a better phone service for their own businesses, but for all Australians, then it can happen to anybody.

Administrative Appeals Tribunal 

Transcripts from my Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) hearing (No V2008/1836, respondents ACMA), on 3 October 2008, show I maintained my Freedom of Information applications to the Australian Communications Media Authority (ACMA) should be provided free of charge, in the public interest, including all the requested information Telstra and AUSTEL withheld during my government-endorsed arbitration process.

During this AAT hearing, I supplied conclusive evidence, to the AAT and ACMA’s two lawyers representing the government, showing AUSTEL misled and deceived the relevant government minister concerning my claims that AUSTEL acted in concert with Telstra to conceal the extent of my ongoing phone problems. I likewise provided evidence showing someone within Telstra tampered with my phone, by introducing a foreign substance into the TF200 phone, after it was collected from my premises.

On completion of this over-12-month investigation, concerning my claims against both Telstra and the government communications regulator, a 156-page Statement of Facts and Contentions outlined the many illegal acts committed against the COT Cases during their arbitrations, including:

  • Telstra’s submission to the arbitrator of two known Telstra’s Falsified BCI Report ‘masked identities’)
  • AUSTEL’s false representation to the relevant minister concerning Telstra’s submission of the Telstra’s Falsified SVT Report ‘unmasked identities’;
  • AUSTEL’s concealment, from the Hon Michael Lee MP, that they had found in my favour before Graham and Alan went into arbitration and therefore there was no need for them to prove their case, as the government regulator had already done so (see 20111025143553046 and 20130627133948062 and Open Letter File No/4, File No/5, File No/6 and File No/7)
  • Telstra’s submission of their falsified EXICOM TF200 and Flexitel reports.
  • Someone with access to Telstra’s network had continued to intercept in-confidence faxed (hacked) into arbitration related documents during Graham and Alan’s arbitrations.
  • The Arbitration Agreement used for the first four arbitrations had been drafted by Telstra’s lawyers and not an independent consultant (as the Government was advised would be the case);
  • The Administrator acted in concert with Telstra allowing the TIO-appointed Arbitration Resource Unit to be in charge of which arbitration documents the arbitrator would see, and which would be discarded.  This effectively meant that the claimants also did not see this material;
  • Allowing the COT Arbitrations to be conducted entirely outside the ambit of the arbitration procedures which provided Telstra an enormous advantage.

Numerous other incidents whereby the arbitration process was not conducted lawfully, was also supplied to AAT accompanying my 156-page Statement of Facts and Contentions.