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Notice given 15 February 2002

107  Senator Harris: To ask the Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts—

(1) Why did the testing procedures fail to detect inherent data faults with the Telstra 1800 prefix ‘conditioning’ from and/or prior to 1 September 1993.

(2) Why have the ‘008 - 1800’ subscribers still not been advised of the conditioning faults.

(3) Is it a fact that the above conditioning faults were the result of exchanges not being conditioned by 1 September 1993, and one of those not conditioned was Salisbury ARE in Brisbane (Mr Ivory’s 1800 prefix exchange) thus preventing incoming 1800 calls to all Telstra subscribers who were reliant on the Salisbury exchange.

(4) Is it a fact that exchanges that were not conditioned by 1 September 1993 and/or by 20 September 1993 would have then not been conditioned except in response to a customer complaint that callers could not get through; if not, can evidence to the contrary be provided.

(5) Please advise, with documented evidence, the specific date of the initial complaint that was lodged by Mr Ivory, on 11 May 1994, in relation to the Solar-Mesh 1800 777 592 service, and what date it was finally conditioned to rectify the initial 1800 prefix fault.

(6) From 1 September 1993, was there also a problem with the DMS accepting 1800 numbers for trunking in some exchanges.

(7) If the above referred to ‘DMS 1800 accepting faults’ existed, could it have adversely affected incoming (Australia Wide) Telstra subscribers’ calls after the initial conditioning fault had been rectified, and/or from day one for the few 1800 services that were lucky enough not to have suffered damage from a conditioning fault.

(8) Did 10-digit number faults occur pertaining to numbers beginning with ‘1’.

(9) If 10-digit number faults occurred on numbers beginning with ‘1’, would Telstra subscribers’ customers have been prevented from receiving calls when 1800 prefixes were dialled.

(10) During the 10-digit number faults and during the conditioning fault periods, could Telstra subscriber’s freecall customers still have received incoming 008 dialled calls if customers knew to dial 008 in front of the number instead of dialling the new 1800 prefix.

(11) (a) Is it correct that Telstra ‘number length difficulties’ caused further faults with 1800 numbers from 1 September 1993 in relation to the CPE problems; (b) did these faults still exist on 16 March 1995; and (c) would the ANP have escalated these systemic fault difficulties.

(12) (a) Is it a fact that Telstra has 1800 ‘cyclic storage problems’ with ARF common register and KS failure that prevented proper digit transfer (eg. 1800 123 456 will be changed to 1800 123 418, i.e. The first two digits will be reinserted after the 8 th digit);

(b) was this cyclic storage problem another 1800 prefix systemic fault; if so, did Telstra have difficulties with having sufficient maintenance staff trained to be able to attend the faulty exchanges for rectification;

(c) would this fault have occurred not just when dialling 1800 code prefix numbers but also where more than 8 digits are dialled (eg. 100, 1800, ANP 1818 etc.); and

(d) was this another very major fault covered up by Telstra.

(13) If the cyclic storage fault existed, could it have adversely affected incoming Australia Wide 1800 customer calls.

(14) Is it a fact that Telstra also had another 1800 prefix systemic fault called a ‘no progress fault’ whereby the switching of 1800 calls takes a longer switching time than 008 calls, leaving customers to believe that their calls had failed.

(15) If the above referred to ‘no progress fault’ existed, would it have adversely affected incoming Australia Wide 1800 customer calls.

(16) Is it a fact that Telstra also had another 1800 prefix fault, called a ‘congestion tone fault’ route fault for 18 codes not graded to sufficient capacity, causing 1800 customers to have insufficient answering capacity to receive incoming 1800 code prefix calls.

(17) If the ‘congestion tone fault’ existed, could it have also adversely affected incoming Australia Wide 1800 customer calls.

(18) Between 1 December 1994 and 31 December 1994, over its entire 008 - 1800 network, did Telstra calls received totall 27 565 289; if so, how many of those calls were 008 dialled calls and how many were 1800 dialled calls.

(19) How many total Telstra network 008 / 1800 dialled calls were recorded between and including 1 August 1993 and 31 August 1993.

(20) How many total Telstra network 008 / 1800 dialled calls were recorded between and including 1 September 1993 and 30 September 1993.

(21) How many total Telstra network 008 / 1800 dialled calls were recorded between and including 1 October 1993 and 31 October 1993.

(22) How many total Telstra network 008 / 1800 dialled calls were recorded between and including 1 November 1993 and 30 November 1993.

(23) How many total Telstra network 008 / 1800 dialled calls were recorded between and including 1 December 1993 and 31 December 1993.

(24) (a) How many total Telstra network 008 / 1800 dialled calls were recorded between and including 1 January 1994 and 31 May 1994; and (b) how many total Telstra network 008 / 1800 dialled calls were recorded between and including 1 June 1994 and 21 December 1994.

(25) (a) Did Telecom/Telstra do any print, radio or television advertising to advise its 008 - 1800 subscribers and to also advise its 1800 subscribers customers and/or to advise the general public of the defective limitations adversely affecting 1800 prefix subscribers’ businesses;

(b) if no such advertising was published nationally to the public by Telstra, could it have adversely restricted nationally the number of incoming 1800 customer calls being received by Telstra’s subscribers from their potential customers and/or from the general public who were not informed by Telstra (the then trusted fully Commonwealth-owned carrier), which was still promoting the use of 1800 prefix numbers nationally;

(c) did Telstra keep concealing from its 1800 subscribers and from the public that Telstra’s 1800 prefix network was not fit for use from the 1 September 1993 change-over commencement date; if so, why was a large pool of Telstra’s subscribers not informed of their daily accruing potential damage; if not, why not; and

(d) were these potential liabilities fully disclosed in the T1 and T2 public offer documents; if not, why not.

(26) (a) What action will the Commonwealth be taking to ensure that the Telstra Board informs all of its investor/shareholders of their right to pursue Telstra for any failure to disclose all of its potential liabilities from the T1 and T2 public offer documents;

(b) (i) was Mr David Hoare, then Chairman of Telstra, also the chairman of Telstra’s share sale legal advisory law firm, (ii) was Mr Stephen Mead, a partner of the law firm also a Telstra employee, and (iii) did this represent a conflict of interest;

(c) was the above conflict of interest revealed in Telstra’s public offer documents; if not, why not; and

(d) were the above systemic faults in Telstra’s 1800 network and computer software disclosed in the Telstra public offer documents; if not, why not.

(27) (a) As the Minister responsible for the T1 and T2 share sell-off by the Commonwealth, why did the Minister not ensure to have disclosed in the T1 and T2 offer documents the fact that Telstra’s then Chairman, Mr David Hoare, was at the same time Chairman of Telstra’s legal advisory firm, Mallesons Stephen Jaques;

(b) as the Minister responsible for the T1 and T2 share sell-off by the Commonwealth, why did the Minister not ensure to have disclosed in the T1 and T2 offer documents the fact that Telstra’s then in-house Counsel, Mr Stephen Mead, was at the same time a partner of Telstra’s legal advisory firm, Mallesons Stephen Jaques; and

(c) as the Minister responsible for the T1 and T2 share sell-off by the Commonwealth, why did the Minister not ensure to have disclosed in the T1 and T2 offer documents the fact that the Commonwealth’s legal advisory firm, Freehill Hollingdale and Page, was also on a Telstra retainer in relation to the concealment of the potential liabilities to the COTs (Casualties of Telecom/Telstra) in other COT related matters, including the few COT cases settled just before the T2 sale.

(28) (a) Is the Minister aware that Mr Stephen Mead was a good friend of a Mr Simon Dudley Williams who, along with the firm (Spruson and Ferguson), were, since before Mr Ivory’s 11 May 1994 1800 conditioning fault complaint to Telstra, being sued by Mr Ivory’s company for professional negligence; and

(b) was the Minister aware that Mr Mead and Mr Hoare’s law firm partnership of Mallesons Stephen Jaques was acting for Mr Ivory’s multinational competitors, Boral Cyclone - Azon Cyclone Hardware, at the same time Mr Mead’s friend (Mr Williams) of Spruson and Ferguson was acting for Boral Cyclone.

(29) (a) Is it a fact that the 1800 universal exchanges could have only been conditioned in blocks of 10 000 number ranges;

(b) was it possible for any single 10 000 lot 1800 number ranges to have been missed completely in the 1 September 1993 conditioning;

(c) is it a fact that the 1800 universal exchange conditioning defects could have accidentally allowed a single number to have been completely missed in the 1 September 1993 conditioning of the 1800 prefixes; and

(d) is it a fact that Telstra would have been reliant on receiving a customer complaint to enable it to rectify any numbers that were not conditioned.

(30) (a) Is the Minister aware:

(i) that the Solar-Mesh 1800 777 592 code conditioning fault occurred from 1 September 1993, but was not initially uncovered and reported until 11 May 1994, when it was first reported to Telstra’s faults department by Telstra’s Miss Hatton and also by Mr Ivory, and

(ii) it was then not rectified until the 31 May 1994 when Miss Hatton, witnessed by Mr Ivory over the telephone in a three-way conversation, bypassed Telstra’s faults department and went straight to Telstra’s exchange;

(b) is the Minister aware that the phantom fault testing done on 1 June 1994, by Telstra’s Mr Adam Sears, was done the day after the conditioning fault had been rectified; and

(c) Given that these matters could be proven to the Minister if he were to instigate an internal investigation into Telstra and/or have a face-to-face meeting with Mr Ivory, is the Minister prepared to do so.

(31) (a) Is it a fact that Telstra’s Operational Processes Support People, Network Operations Manager and Product Integration Management, during October 1993, each became aware of many major 1800 code implementation fault problems that had resulted in no access to a large number of 1800 services right across Australia, not just in country areas but also in metropolitan areas;

(b) did these problems stem from system failures, equipment failures, planning failures and/or managerial neglect prior to and from 1 September 1993;

(c) is it also a fact that, by 8 October 1993, Telstra knew that some of these implementation faults and network faults existed and were likely to worsen unless some rationale and co-ordination was introduced at high level to the product introduction process; and

(d) is it a fact that Telstra has concealed these faults and defects.

(32) How many Australia Wide 1800 customers did Telecom/Telstra have as 008 - 1800 prefix subscribers as at 31 August 1993 at the Salisbury Queensland exchange.

(33) How many Australia Wide 1800 customers did Telecom/Telstra have as 008 - 1800 prefix subscribers as at 31 May 1994 at the Salisbury Queensland exchange.

(34) How many Australia Wide 1800 customers did Telecom/Telstra have as 008 - 1800 prefix subscribers as at 31 August 1993 at the Valley Queensland exchange.

(35) How many Australia Wide 1800 customers did Telecom/Telstra have as 008 - 1800 prefix subscribers as at 31 May 1994 at the Valley Queensland exchange.

(36) How many Australia Wide 1800 prefix exchanges did OPTUS have as at 1 September 1993.

(37) How many Australia Wide customers did OPTUS have as 008 - 1800 prefix subscribers as at 1 September 1993 in their Queensland exchanges.

(38) How many Australia Wide customers did OPTUS have as 008 - 1800 prefix subscribers as at 1 September 1993 in their New South Wales exchanges.

(39) How many Australia Wide customers did OPTUS have as 008 - 1800 prefix subscribers as at 1 September 1993 in their Victorian exchanges.

(40) How many Australia Wide customers did OPTUS have as 008 - 1800 prefix subscribers as at 1 September 1993 in their South Australia exchanges.

(41) How many Australia Wide customers did OPTUS have as 008 - 1800 prefix subscribers as at 1 September 1993 in their Western Australia exchanges.

(42) How many Australia Wide customers did OPTUS have as 008 - 1800 prefix subscribers as at 1 September 1993 in their Tasmanian exchanges.

(43) How many Australia Wide customers did OPTUS have as 008 - 1800 prefix subscribers as at 1 September 1993 in their Northern Territory exchanges.

(44) How many Australia Wide customers did OPTUS have as 008 - 1800 prefix subscribers as at 1 September 1993 in their Australian Capital Territory exchanges.

(45) In which, if any, states or territories were OPTUS’s 1800 prefix exchanges, as listed above, fully working and/or fully compatible with Telstra’s exchange equipment as at 1 September 1993.

(46) (a) Is it also a fact that, despite Telstra key staff knowing about the above 1800 code implementation and network faults and the possibility of the faults being likely to worsen, Telstra still failed to put in place an exchange by exchange, 1800 number by 1800 number, process of testing and sending staff out to each 1800 exchange across Australia to locate and rectify the systemic 1800 code implementation faults and network failures;

(b) is it a fact that Telstra elected to wait and fix individual faults in response to individual customer complaints being made that callers could not get through when dialling 1800 code numbers; and

(c) what does the Minister intend to do to have the appropriate department, or Telstra, immediately recompense subscribers for damage and injury.

(47) Is it a fact that it is a policy of Telstra that, since at least the 1995-96 financial year, its employees have not been allowed to obtain outside employment, and must keep their outside activities separate from Telstra Company work.

(48) Is it a fact that Telstra employees since at least the 1995-96 financial year have not been allowed to take outside employment without first obtaining written approval from their Telstra Manager; if so, can copies be provided of the signed approval for Mr David Hoare to become the dual hat Chairman of Mallesons Stephen Jaques and the signed authorisation for Stephen John Mead to become a partner in Mallesons Stephen Jaques while Mallesons Stephen Jaques was on a Telstra retainer and while Mr Mead was still employed by Telstra.

(49) If these signed authorities cannot be produced, what action will the Minister immediately be taking against Mr Hoare and Mr Mead, and against Mallesons Stephen Jaques and against Telstra’s negligent directors responsible for bringing Telstra into such disrepute in breach of Telstra’s own Code of Conduct.

(50) (a) Is it a fact that Telecom Australia/Telstra has, and has always had, a strict duty of care to keep secure and confidential its customers’ records, unless specifically authorised to do otherwise; and (b) does the Commonwealth ensure that such procedures and policies are in place within Telecom/Telstra and that they are at all times adhered to, even in the case of Casualties of Telecom complainants’ matters; if not, why not.

(51) (a) Is it a fact that Telecom Australia/Telstra employees are not allowed to be involved in bribes, pay-offs or kickbacks or in other considerations that are either paid or received directly or indirectly; and

(b) did the Minister know of Telstra’s potential liabilities pertaining to the 1800 network being sold and promoted from 1 September 1993 while the 1800 network of Telstra was not fit for use; if so, why did this occur.

(52) (a) With reference to Freehill Hollingdale and Page, the Telstra-retained COT claimants law firm from at least 1993: why did the 1994-95 financial year revenue received by Freehill Hollingdale and Page from Telstra fall below the amount that Mallesons Stephen Jaques received from Telstra in relation to COT claimant’s matters; and

(b) was the Minister aware of the conflicting loyalties of partnerships which occured while both David Hoare and Stephen John Mead were Telstra employees.

(53) Can a detailed breakdown be provided, including claimants names, of which ‘Casualties of Telstra’ related matters Mallesons Stephen Jaques was specifically retained by Telstra to handle in exchange for the $1 129 767 00 paid by Telstra to Malleson Stephen Jaques from the 1993-94 financial year up to and including the 1996-97 financial year.

(54) Can a fully itemised detailed statement be provided of how much money, financial year by financial year, has been specifically paid by Telstra to Mallesons Stephen Jaques since the 1993-94 financial year up to and including the 2000-01 financial year with each individual matter separately itemised.