DAB Telstra Evidence
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DAB Vogt Evidence


Robert Holland  Allison Muldoon  Debra Farrelly   Patricia Watson

Telstra witnesses

Robert Holland, Kelly Simpson, Debra Farrelly, Alison Muldoon, Charlotte Bartrum-Terril,

Vogt Witnesses

M.Vogt (appellant), S.J. Acreman, R. Mahar, V.A. Butler

Telstra Barrister

Mr. Gardiner of Freehill, Hollingdale and Page 

Vogt Barrister

Mr. Wraight

Robert Holland National General Manager of National Telemarketing since
Sept. 1995. Stated first aware of Newsletter as it appeared anonymously in his in tray


The Evidence of Robert Holland

" Mr. Gardiner (Telstra) I am putting you on the spot here , Mr Holland, are you familiar with Shakespeare? ---

RH "I’ve heard of him. I’ve never met him

Gardiner: Do you have anything to say about the context of the line "What is that strange odour? does it come from Denmark?…………

RH: "no I’m afraid that one escapes me".

Rumpole would have said me old darling don’t ask a question when you are not sure what the answer will be

Newsletter 24 ….. "An independent observer might well be excused for thinking the CEO of Telstra came to us from another country where the right of free speech is guaranteed in the constitution when he seeks to gag the staff of Telstra"

RH:…. I think it is a direct criticism of the CEO and I think it totally misrepresents the CEO and the Telstra management’s position. I think it is inflammatory…..and did cause concern to people and is not accurate

It is incredible that Telstra sought to use this quote when this is exactly what this case is all about. It should have been obvious to a genuine board that the statement was indeed accurate

Gardiner : Just on paragraph 3 where there is that line about:

"Frank Blount might be criticized for many things but never has this reporter ever heard of him being indecisive" and you found that critical of management

RH : Yes I did

But can it not be read that it is actually complimentary of Mr. Blount?

RH: Yes it could be read like that but it is also suggesting that there are many other reasons why he should be criticized.

Gardiner : Newsletter 25 Telstra under threat and you say that was not an accurate reflection, that you advised of the potential outsourcing but you said it was not to overseas companies? (One of the companies was Teletec which became an "industry partner" the other was Stellar which became a joint venture with Exel both of those companies are American. As a result of my enquiries there and the misleading information given by management there was an industrial dispute on the matter. What RH had said was that 6 companies had expressed interest 2 of which were American)

RH Well the word outsourcing I think I used in the generic sense but I did not say it was to two American based overseas companies and I did not say it would be cheaper (Then why outsource?)

Gardiner: It is true, is it not, that the work has been outsourced since this letter?

RH: No that’s not true. We don’t outsource anything, technically. That’s why I referred to the word outsource. We do have a partnership agreement, that is true. (When is a rose not a rose ? When you don’t call it a rose and you call it something else)

During the cross examination of Mr. Holland it was established from his own evidence that during the meeting which he claimed was misreported. MV was taking written notes RH was not.

RH had felt offended at the cartoon and it formed part of his decision to lay charges

When Mr Wraight (for Vogt) asked RH if he understood the concept of Natural Justice RH responded "yes" When Wraight asked for the meaning of Natural Justice the chair intervened stating "He is not a lawyer" (bias on behalf of the chair ? he had said that he understood the concept)

Alison Muldoon

From the start AM was noticeably disturbed & nervous she stated she considered MV a work expert, helpful and generally knowledgeable. She obtained newsletters at union meetings.

Muldoon had stated several times that her concern was that she wanted to buy a house and was upset at the prospect of loosing her job or going on a contract. However she then stated that she had since bought a factory.

Allison Muldoon was so visibly disturbed that the chair had to intervene. She stated that the team supported MV. She attended union meetings. She expressed a fear of loosing her job, from videos etc. The chair asked her to leave the room and then stated that "I have some reservations about her – dare I say emotional stability and health but she seems to be highly stressed.

MV intervened to say that her distress was worrying him.

Gardiner: " Well I can say she is distressed generally about the prospect of appearing to the point that she’s going to tender her resignation at the end of today."

While Muldoon was outside the room others heard and her being heavily pressured by the Telstra people to go return as she did not want to. At a later time Muldoon told others that she had been bullied to return.

Despite this the chair brought Muldoon back into the room.

During the questioning AM stated that in other areas of Telstra where she had been the Union and management had a really positive relationship.




Was an industrial officer with the CPSU for 5 years prior to becoming a manager at Telstra and was still a CPSU member.

She could not remember when she first became aware of the Newsletters. She stated that in 1966 on a smoke break she had spoken to Allison and Gavin

On 26th of August meeting she could not recall who was there, and could not recall whether she was there when the question of whether it was a union publication. She then stated that MV had said it was authorized by the members on the night shift.

DF "Kelly stated to Mervyn that she – if they weren’t a union newsletter then she didn’t want them distributed in the workplace.

Gardiner: If it was an official union publication, what do you say was the proper process from your knowledge ? …….

DF I think if a delegate is issuing a bulletin to their own workplace they would authorize it as being the delegate of that workplace……

Questioned on what had gone on in the meeting at which the alleged instruction was given DF could not remember any detail and stated that MV could mail the letters to people’s homes.

She was then asked about grievance procedures in Telstra. She was asked if she has been at any meetings concurrent with MV where there was discussion of the re-letting of the premises. DF could not remember dates and needed to refer to her notes. She was again confused on the dates on which the lease would run out (by years) DF showed considerable lack of memory about events and the chair asked if she had any notes to refer to

Wraight: And by February 1997 no one’s been told there’s a new lease on the building, is it fair to say that some of the staff may have been a little concerned when they knew the lease ran out a month before ?

DF : Well assurances were given that even though there might be a specific date at the end of the legal document called a lease that the negotiations would continue

Questioned about the pre-meeting DF could not recall who was there. DF agreed that MV could have said anything he liked except Telstra in Confidence in the Newsletters if sent to staff homes.

DF: I had a secondary role in the discussion I guess so Kelly was the one who, I guess, led the – I suppose made opening comments and directed Mervyn that he was not to distribute the newsletter in the workplace.

Wraight Do you recall any written directive about that? Email, memo, letter, anything going to Mervyn about not distributing?

As I’m not his manager, no , don’t.

Was it discussed in the meeting that he would receive anything to that effect?

DF I don’t recall it.

It was established that DF was a financial member of the CPSU and saw their publications and that they had articles and cartoons in them that were critical of management and that she had written some of them. She also admitted that it was generally known that 22,000 jobs had been lost in Telstra.

The management rep on the board asked if the Newsletter had been brought up at the Consultative Committee meetings

DF. I think we didn’t because outside of that forum we were asking the union was it a union newsletter……..

A series of questions were then asked about the access to general staff notice boards. It was established that permission was not required to put notices up.

Patricia Watson

Concerning Newsletter 24 "The CEO and the Board presumably make policy on behalf of the owners but we are the owners. It is logical to suggest to ask the owners as to their opinions and instructions on a matter fundamental and important as this one in which 25 – 30,000 would loose their jobs."

Asked if the article affected her she claimed distress as she had put $10k deposit on a house, and was on dialysis. She claimed the newsletter caused nightmares and loss of sleep. She had then approached Carl Anthony and Kelly Simpson. She then stated she believed what Mr. Holland had said regarding the lease.. But Mr.Vogt knew everything…"everything he said was actually correct"

On Cross clarified had been with company 2 years. She claimed MV has said in a meeting that the lease would not be renewed but could not remember when. Pressed she said she didn’t go to a lot of meetings.

Wraight : Were you aware of general staff cuts in Telstra earlier in 1966

PW : No . Newspapers ---- No

You did not know there was to be a restructuring ? I knew there was to be a restructuring but not for anything like that.

Asked how she found out there would be staff cuts across the board at Telstra, she stated she did not know there were to be staff cuts.

There had been considerable coverage in all the media including head office union materials which she would have received



Gardiner : Telstra will withdraw charges 2 & 3

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Last modified: August 01, 2010

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