Tuesday, August 21, 2007



Date of Submission: 24 July 1998.

From:Faruque Ahmed,
Taxi Drivers' Section, NSW TWU,
6/12 Woodbury Street, Marrickville, 2204.
Phone - (02) 9564 1079, Fax 9559 6030, Mobile 0418 227 551.

Independent Commission Against Corruption
Cnr George and Cleveland Street,
Redfern, 2016, New South Wales,
Fax - (02) 9699 8067.

Dear Commissioner,

I begin with two questions:

(1) Why has the Premier of New South Wales, Mr. Bob Carr, continually and consistently thwarted numerous submissions calling on the Parliamentary Stay Safe Committee to mount a full and open inquiry into the N.S.W. Taxi Industry, despite the matter having broad cross-party and cross-factional support?
(2) Why has the N.S.W. Ombudsman's Office, after a preliminary 0examination of some of the evidence presented below, privately suggested that the evidence would be more appropriately forwarded to the ICAC for examination?

Read On
Source: Sydney Taxi Corruption


1. Introduction:A Brief Historical Overview in the Development of a Cultureof `Lawlessness and Corruption in the NSW Taxi Industry.

Throughout this document reference will be made to the "NSW Taxi Industry" wherein matters addressed refer specifically to the Sydney taxi fleet. The use of the term "NSW" here is in recognition that the Sydney fleet is governed by the Legislature, Ministers and Cabinet of the State of New South Wales. The Sydney fleet is also subject to the industrial court determinations that apply within the state jurisdiction. Hence there is no specific attempt to address the problems that beset taxi drivers or owners in geographical areas outside the greater metropolitan region of Sydney.

Part of the political culture and folklore of Sydney is that everyone "knows a cabbie" and hence is "an expert on the taxi industry". Amongst the professional class there are many who worked part-time or on week-ends to get themselves through their accountancy or engineering degrees. Others have relied on the industry as "a second job". Hence there is the general perception that the itinerant nature of the industry means that drivers are prepared to suffer lackof industrial representation, lack of enforcement of award conditions, etc. because "it's the nature of the job". You put in thehours, earn a quid and get out. Similarly, owner-drivers have developed a certain "maverick" image derived from dealing with allsorts of people in the community. They have cultivated a certain care-free attitude, a distaste for bureaucracy and a toleration of the low return on their investment because they like the job.

Over a long period of time the "cash-in-hand" system allowed owners and drivers alike to "rob Peter to pay Paul" and delude themselves that the personal freedom offered by the "laissez-faire"-faire"nature of their industry's regulatory infrastructure more than compensated for the long hours, drunken passengers, unsafe working conditions and lack of entitlements that the "nine-to-fivers"enjoyed. While this cultural aspect to the job has continued to flourish over the past two decades the ability of taxi drivers to "earn a decent living" with "minimum interference" has not. Legislative changes have occurred which benefit a tiny minority within the industry. This minority, trading on the pre-existing culture of the industry has now manoeuvred the whole industry into a state of play where all the other players in the game are pre-ordained losers. The influence of this minority has grown into an oligarchy with inter-connecting threads in the political, trade union, media, legal, bureaucratic arenas. The result is a system approaching nepotism and favouritism that threatens the stability and quality of the industry.

The first judicial mention of "lawless bailors/taxi operators" goes back to a decision of Justice Edwards in 1940. The unresolved problem was restated by the Full Bench of the Industrial Commission in 1968.The problem began to escalate in the 1970s and early 1980s with the removal of the Seniority system for the allocation of new taxi plateleases and the expedient increase of the number of vehicles on the road beyond the customer demand or services of those vehicles. The latter development created not only excess capacity but undermined the stability of the sole proprietor as the lynch-pin in the system. A system that had as its axiom "the owner will look after his bailee driver because he is a driver too". The arrangement was invariably the owner performing the day shift with a regular non-casual night driver. A close bond existed between the two through a system oftrust (which the owner invariably exploited even then).

The system was then compounded by the deregulation surrounding taxi ownership which shifted the balance of power and numerical strength within the industry away from the single owner operator/bailee normin favour of the more corporatist fleet management/entrepreneurial ownership regime that is now in place. The final lynch-pins in this `brave new world' was the full corporatisation of the Taxi Co-operatives which drastically shifted any residual decision-making and economic power of the single owner operator out of their hands and into the clutches of the Board of Directors of the Cooperatives.Through sleight of hand and clever but questionable legal manoeuvres these Board of Directors were now in full control.

The Board of Directors were originally elected by the majority ofdrivers within the industry through owner operator attended AGMs. Thenew style Board of Directors were only responsible to a minority oftaxi owners who were "shareholders" within restructured co-operatives which bore little legal semblance to the original organisations. Yet the disenfranchised majority of owner operators were still tied to their "Cooperatives" by government legislation that coerced them to remain financial contributors to organisations that they had no realsay in running. This is the current situation in NSW.

Naturally a lot of owner operators voted with their feet and puttheir lease plates on the market. Under the deregulated ownershiprules (owners no longer required to drive their vehicles for aliving) the "big fish" in the industry further consolidated their power by either purchasing these newly available licence plates or by encouraging the new (non-industry) owners to take advantage of the economies of scale of fleet management and place their "asset" underthe fleet management control of the power brokers. The industry was moving closer to monopolisation at this stage with the Boards of Directors of the major Cooperatives being able to use inside knowledge of the taxi industry to both increase the percentage of taxi plates on the road under their direct control and extend their influence over government policy through the creation of the "TaxiCouncil" as the major advisory body to government.

Technological change in the 1980s (computer assisted dispatch system) and 1990s (computer assisted telephone booking system) saw the demiseof the two way radio dispatch system. The Taxis Combined radio network emerged as the dominant player within the industry. It now has seven of the eleven taxi networks directly hooked into their computer assisted dispatch and booking system. As a result theworking records of the majority of Sydney drivers are entered intoand continually updated on their private data bases. All drivers must now have their authority cards authorised through the networks. This system ties them, like the single taxi owner operator into a form of conscripted loyalty to their radio network. (A small group of smarter drivers used mobile phones and pagers in an attempt to break out of this conscription and emerged as the first of many "executive fleets"in the `divided & ruled' world of the taxi driver).

The Beattie Report of the late 1960s stated, after extensive investigation, that there should be no fixed pay-in system at all. The taxi owners responded with the Lake Agreement, (Lake was the nameof the President of the TIA before current incumbent Reg Kermode).This agreement was an unregistered document whereby the bailees were offered a choice between percentage pay ins and fixed pay-ins. Owners enticed bailee drivers into accepting the fixed pay-in system as the norm by offering low pay-ins at the time of introduction. As the older drivers, working on the percentage system, retired or left the industry throughout the 1970s the fixed pay-in system emerged as the dominant method of bailment. New drivers were seldom informed of the percentage pay-in option. Those that were informed were scared away from exercising this option by owners who warned them they would be incurring a heavier (and more easily detected) taxation liability.The reality was the owners were the major tax dodgers in the industry. Now they wanted to increase their income further by avoiding the responsibility of guaranteeing a basic income to their bailees.

Under the leadership of Mr. E. McBeaty the Transport Workers Union lodged a claim for taxi drivers before the industrial court inDecember 1979 [V-13] which included a Clause (8) entitled "Guarantied Earnings" whereby the driver would be guaranteed a minimum return for each shift worked. It also included a log of claims for improved sickleave, annual leave, long service and public holiday entitlements, as well as receipts for any payments made to the bailor. The Taxi Industry Association (TIA) stalled and resisted all these claims andargued for the legal entrenchment of a fixed pay-in system before they would negotiate.

Following the death of Mr McBeatty (by misadventure), the incoming Secretary of the TWU, Mr. H. Quinn, instructed the union's legal teamto break the stalemate and reach an agreement with the TIA. This occurred soon after when the TWU consented to the TIA demands for a fixed pay-in system and the erosion of other legal entitlements of the bailees. Under this consented arrangement bailors were no longer required to issue receipts to bailee drivers. Bailee driver claims to other entitlements were made unenforceable. For example, under Clauses 1 & 10 of this consented arrangement bailee's bailment could be terminated without notice or reason. Thus if a driver reached 219 shifts in a calender year he could be sacked without notice and deprived of four weeks annual leave which immediately accumulated after 220 shifts. The net effect was to remove all obligations from owners in regards to annual leave, and, ipso facto, any other obligations.

The official entrenchment of the fixed pay-in system occurred inearly 1984 with the new Taxi Industry (Contract Drivers) Contract Determination 1984 (known as `The Determination"). This "Determination" ensured the owners a guaranteed income every shift but put the onus on the drivers to raise their own incomes after they had first achieved the owners guaranteed income each shift. The implications of this Determination are obvious. Drivers would be compelled to remain on the road for longer hours to reach the same level of income as they had previously earned. Before long, the ("minimum") nine hour shifts became in practice 10 hour shifts, and with additional taxi plates released by the government, 10 hour shifts became 12 hour shifts. Today, the 12 hour night shift, (with no statutory meal break) is the norm. "Semi-double" or 24 hour shifts are also a common practice in the industry.

The machinations leading up the acceptance of the "Determination" in 1984 are documented in the T.I.S.A. submission to the Hylda RolfeCommission (1993) (See V14). In short, the TWU's cave-in to the TIA demands became the "Determination" when it was rubber-stamped by the Industrial Commission soon after their consensual arrangement. This occurred despite the consented arrangement being contrary to the procedures laid down under the Industrial Arbitration Act 1940 to1968 giving jurisdiction to the Commission to grant pay-ins only as apercentage of metered takings.

The recently strengthened optional system (where drivers had a choice between the percentage based OR fixed pay-in systems), known as the Interim Determination 1997, has been a total failure owing to widespread intimidation of drivers, government and union neglect and the corrupt failure of the bureaucracy to enforce the law. In short,drivers cannot choose to elect to return to the metered pay-in systemwhile they are still shackled to the Contract Determination which ensures the owner retains the power of instant dismissal. Out of over 20,000 drivers currently in the industry only two are known to beworking under the metered pay-in system without facing owner retribution.

Source: Sydney Taxi Corruption

The General Problem: An All-pervasive `allegations' of Corruption?

2. The General Problem: An All-pervasive `allegations' of Corruption?

Allegations of corruption, deceit, kick-backs, illegitimate pay-offs,tax evasion, collusive tendering/anti-competitive practices, political bribery, as well as official indifference to the violenceand/or death of taxi drivers, (via avoidable traffic accidents and assaults), have reached such a scale within the current N.S.W. taxi industry that, by comparison, recent public inquiries into thea dministration of the coal industry safety and the containment of tow-truck operator violence/kick-backs, etc. appear innocuous or ofmarginal concern. Of course allegations will remain just that. The truth of the matter can only emerge through the testimony of witnesses and presentation of documents. The refusal of Executive Government to allow such an inquiry through the Stay Safe Committee leaves no option except a full ICAC investigation.

The Submission:

The enclosed documentation consists of a series of extracts from government reports, correspondence/replies from various N.S.W. State Government ministries/departmental heads responding to a range of enquires from certain advocates of taxi industry reform, press coverage of contentious issues related to the N.S.W. taxi industry, Hansard transcripts, reproduction of official notices distributed to taxi drivers and minutes/summaries of certain meetings. Read a ssingle documents each will appear to be a minor glitch in the system. Read as a totality they represent a deeper and far more sinister problem.

All of this documentation has been compiled and circulated over the past decade (1988-1998). Although the issues submitted for your investigation and deliberation here are contemporary, many are endemic, and have a genesis pre-dating this decade long campaigning by your petitioner. Regardless of the time frame, a pattern of systematic maladministration and corruption of public officialdom isself-evident. The term maladministration here refers to more than simple political expediency by Executive Government or media stereotypes of a lazy and incompetent bureaucracy. It more closely resembles a `virus' within the body politic where good government andc ompetent public administration are forever beholden to a shadowyforce of vested interests. Hence the matter of corruption. Naturally this requires a greater burden of evidentiary proof. This is beyond my resources. It is not beyond those of ICAC. However, I can willingly supply, under oath, far more documentation than this original submission.

Source: Sydney Taxi Corruption

The Emergence of the "Taxi Council".

3. The Emergence of the "Taxi Council".

In the late 1960s the Full Bench of the Industrial Commission, echoing the Justice Edwards Report from the 1940s, pointed out that the taxi companies exercised an unfair advantage over their bailee drivers to the extent that they were able to avoid their legal responsibilities to the drivers. A number of recommendations were made for industry reform. To head off these recommendations the taxi companies decided to embark upon a major public relations campaign.They hired a well-known public figure (and former politician) Sir Asher Joel to investigate the industry and then produce a report entitled "Sir Asher Joel's Motivational Survey Report". The Joel Report supported the major finding of the Industrial Commission concerning driver exploitation. In his final recommendations he argued for the establishment of a "Taxi Advisory Council" (TAC) comprised of "representatives of the taxi industry (drivers, owners, etc), Dept. of Transport, Police and a Consumer group". [0-2]

The Taxi Advisory Council was established in the 1970s to "advise theMinister". Whatever its shortcomings the TAC at least provided some vigorous debate amongst the taxi industry stake holders. The TAC was abolished in 1988 by the incoming Liberal Party Transport Minister Bruce Baird. This created a vacuum whereby there was no longer a community or industry-wide input into the formulation of the official taxi industry policy. This vacuum was filled by the heads of the employer body (TIA) creating a "non-registered body"[Q2], with "no status under the law" [Q6]. The TIA called this body "The Taxi Council".

The "Taxi Council" was established in the early 1990s and unilaterally assumed the multi-pronged role of industry spokes person, government adviser and media public relations, when in effect, it was nothing more than a self-appointed mouthpiece for a small coterie of individuals drawn from the Boards of Directors of the major Co-operatives. In reality it came down to three people calling the shots - Reg Kermode, Bob Morrow and John Bowe. Perhaps fearing that their claim to legitimacy may become questioned, the "Taxi Council"announced in the November-December 1991 edition of their own publication "Taxi" that, "…. The operation of the NSW Taxi Council ceased on the 31.3.1990 and thereafter was carried on by the NSW Taxi Industry Association". The sensitivity of this misnomer became apparent when the "Taxi Council" appeared before the Hylde Rolfe Inquiry in the 1993. Submissions by worker representatives to Hylda Rolfe asked the question "Who is the Taxi Council?". The issue of the status of the "Taxi Council" was raised again three months later before the Federal Industrial Commission. For unknown reasons theTIA/"Taxi Council" appeared here under the name of the "Taxi Industry Council".

However, once the heat was off, (i.e. following the Minister forTransport, Bruce Baird, filing and burying the positive recommendations of the Hilda Rolfe Report), the bailors lobby resumed the use of the name "Taxi Council" in their public relations documents and newsletters. The "Taxi Council" again claimed to be the industry. They recommenced their duplicity and regularly issued biased public statements as though they were the entire taxi industry. Before long, letters announcing pending changes in theindustry were again being circulated to owners and drivers jointly countersigned by the Minister and the "Taxi Council".

Driver reps continued to question, via correspondence to government departments, the legitimacy of the "Taxi Council" to speak for one and all. Thus in one reply, written in the closing days of the Baird administration, (on the 25th November 1994), a letter from Pamela Sayers, Director Vehicle Transport Policy Development, acknowledged that the "Taxi Council" was an organisation "made up of taxi co-operatives, companies and owners" and was only "accountable to its members", and therefore, was not accountable to bailee drivers, nor the travelling public, nor any other users of taxi services. [02] Despite this clarification as to the very limited nature of the composition of the "Taxi Council" by this senior departmental bureaucrat, the "Taxi Council" itself, continued to purport to speakon behalf of the whole industry.

In a separate letter to the Taxi Industry Services Association/T.l.S.A. (an organisation representing non-owner driver interests) in February 1995 Sayers refined her argument. She maintained that the "Taxi Council" was not "appointed" as a "co-regulator" of the industry. It was merely a case whereby "Government Departments consider the views of representatives of industries affected by Government decisions". She argued that ". ...licence holders and their Networks are accountable to the Department for the standards of taxi service delivery especially in relation to radio booking services and vehicle presentation." [0-9] One could ask here why weren't the "Taxi Council" or "Networks" made "accountable" for frequent breaches of the Occupational Health & Safety Act and PublicTransport Act. There has never been one prosecution by the Department.

A revealing letter indicating exactly how the "Taxi Council" had co-opted both the Ministry and the bureaucracy to do its bidding was issued by the incoming Labor Party Minister for Transport, BrianLangton, (on the 3rd of August 1995). [06] In his potted history on the issue, evidently drafted from within the bureaucracy, Langton maintained the Taxi Advisory Council (TAC) was replaced by the Joint Implementation Committee (JIC) in 1990 which was renamed the Joint Consultative Committee (JCC) in early 1994. He claimed that the shift from TAC to JIC and then JCC represented "no qualitative change inthe consultative relationship that has existed between the Department of Transport and other taxi industry stake holders".[Q6]

Yet on further reading, the Minister's letter revealed there was indeed ``qualitative change'' in the ``consultative relationship''between ``industry stake holders". He identified the "Taxi Council"as "a member" of the JCC which had "opportunity to make representations on behalf of its members" (identified earlier as "taxi licensees and operators", i.e. bailor/owners). He further argued it was "appropriate" for his department "to seek the views ofsuch a body when considering regulatory options affecting the taxi industry". All of this flowed, he also revealed, because the new "consultative mechanism" under the JIC in 1990 was one of "co-regulation under the Passenger Transport Act, 1990".[Q6]

The Minister and his Department are essentially saying they have an obligation to consult with the "Taxi Council" - i.e. Kermode and Bowe - because the Department (under the JIC) "co-regulates" the industry with the "Taxi Council". Indeed, as a letter to a taxidriver, concerned with the issue of the privacy of departmental computer records, revealed, "co-regulation" extended as far as a contractual arrangement between the Dept. and the "Taxi Council': one governing the release of personal files from the Department to theTaxi Networks. John Stott, the Acting Director General of the Dept.of Transport in his reply to this driver stated: ".. ..The Dept. ofTransport and the NSW Taxi Council negotiated a contractual agreement whereby the Dept. may grant a very limited "view" access to certain records contained in its database of public transport drivers andoperators [T6].

But the contradictions are everywhere! The Stott letter fell withinthe same time-frame as Minister Langton's letter assuring everybody there was no "special relationship" between the Taxi Council and the Department. If this was the case why weren't other "stake holders"informed or consulted over contractual arrangements governing the release of private computer database information on individual taxidrivers and owners? A more thorough examination of this issue would reveal that misuse of private data on individuals is a common practice throughout the industry. Neither the TWU, TISA, the Privacy Committee, other concerned individuals were allowed a say onthis "co -regulatory" contractual arrangement, were they?

The Minister further contradicts himself by arguing "the changes brought about by the implementation of the Passenger Transport Act1990", (by this he means "co-regulation" of the industry withthe "Taxi Council), have "no effect on the individual rights of taxidrivers". Clearly these changes do. The driver's union and other representative bodies are excluded from the consultative processunder "co-regulation". Under "co-regulation", the 1990 "Code ofConduct" (for drivers), made it an offence for drivers to do or say anything that was "detrimental to the (taxi co-operative) network".Even writing this submission to ICAC is a breach of the "Code of Conduct" for which the punishment is the possible withdrawal of the privilege of driving for the network. Even if the network is guilty of breaking the law, it is still an offence to publicise law-breaking by the network because it is by definition "conduct detrimental". [01-8].

I0t should also be noted here that the Minister [06 & AM2] and hisDepartment [09] have argued that all financial arrangements between owners and drivers "do not fall within the jurisdiction of the Dept(DOT)." but fall under the Industrial Relations Act. Clearly the "Taxi Council's" "co-regulatory" power was responsible for the $40 a day increase in pay-ins after the announcement of the $1 flagfall rise in June 1996 by the Minister for Transport. This was self-evident from the Minister's press conference where he was seated between the Taxi Council and Bus & Coaches Association spokes people (both employer groups) without any presence or acknowledgment of involvement by the TWU or bailee groups. His Director General went as far as issuing a directive for the immediate imposition of this flagfall increase which the' Taxi Council" in turn used to justify a $40a day rise in driver pay-ins totally outside any consideration by the Industrial Courts.

The extent to which the "Taxi Council" dictates policy for the industry as a whole was self-evident from a comprehensive article in the Australian Financial Review (FR24.4.98, p.18). [FRA]l clearly demonstrated the extent of the "Taxi Council's" influence in the taxi industry. Their President, Reg Kermode's statement concerning competition in the taxi industry was a case in point. Even though seven of the eleven (radio) networks existing in Sydney are under MrKermode's influence, (through his control of the TCS Radio Network) he still maintained that "competition is strong" in the industry. Really? The Australian newspaper (15.6.98) and the Sun Herald(22.6.97) tell a different story about the Sydney taxi industry.[TAA]. These articles show the performance of the NSW taxi industry compares unfavourably to all other capital cities. Not surprisingly the fleets of the other cities are peppered with ex-Sydney drivers who have voted their lack of confidence in the Sydney taxi establishment with their feet. [See also NPA1, NPA2 and NPA3].

Source: Sydney Taxi Corruption

The Transport Workers Union and its failure to represent Taxi

4. The Transport Workers Union and its failure to represent TaxiDriver Interests

From the outset it must be stated I am not a "union basher" but anactive unionist and someone who fervently believes that unions mustserve those who pay their wages - the membership. In the early part of this campaign I helped build the TWU Taxi Drivers Sectionme mbership up into the hundreds. The fall off in TWU membership renewal subscriptions was directly related to their complete dereliction of duty to their members and sabotaging of members initiatives. A letter was sent to the head of the ACTU (Jenny George) pointing out nine (9) specific breaches of the law by the bailors (as identified by the Justice Edwards investigation into the taxi industry in 1940 and which were identified by the Full Bench of theIndustrial Commission in 1960 as still existing). These concerned matters such as the employers/bailors having responsibility for the payment of fuel and wash, the overcharging of drivers -beyond the gazetted rate, etc. The letter pointed out that these practices were still continuing in 1995.[A1-4]

It is self-evident from all the correspondence between myself and government instrumentalities that the NSW Transport Workers Union is regarded as the industry-wide advocate of employee/bailee drivers and the legitimate counterpart to the employer TIA/Taxi Council" body before industrial courts. Indeed, Commissioner Connor in various hearings has attempted to maintain that the TWU is the only employee/bailee representative with locus standi during his hearings.

The TWU internal structure consists of sectional interest membership groups that represent the different types of transport workers inNSW. The (TWU) Taxi Drivers Section to which I was elected Secretary for the period 1993-96 and President from 1996 until now has actively pursued the interests of bailee drivers both inside and outside the Industrial Courts despite the fact that the full time TWU executive has attempted to undermine honest and genuine trade union organisation.

The problem that ICAC must confront relates to examining the implications that flow when the TWU full-time Executive (includingTWU/TDS organiser(s}) have been compromised by their "Taxi Council" counterparts to such an extent that no fair-minded person would consider they are still acting in their members interests. Consider their stand on the following issues: Contract Determination/84 that denied a basic wage to bailees, Variation/85-89 that approved unfairpay-in rises, Interim Variation/April 96 legalised seven years of illegal pay-in collections, /Appeal to Full Bench/96, appeared before court to assist TIA case against their own members, Business expensesof Bailors shifted to workers/Sept'96 (i.e. who pays for gas/wash),The $1 flag fall Rise sellout Sept'96 (pay-ins rise $40 a day, takings down 20% or more).

The issue of bribery and acceptance of gifts and other financial inducements are documented in various political science text books and press articles on certain occasions when the NSW Branch of the TWU has come up for mention. (Two examples here are Marian Wilkinson's, `The Fixer', Heinemann, 1996, at p.xi and The National Times revelations in the 1980s). While it would be wrong to expectthe ICAC to canvass the relative merits of the collectivist versus individual contract argument currently raging in the broader political arena, or even examine whether the industrial relation stactics of the NSW TWU leadership are defensible from the viewpoint of the union's own self-interest, there remains examples where apparent conflicts of interests could be legitimately examined byICAC as part of a broader study of the public service-Ministerial-employer-union interactions that preceded all major decisions concerning the taxi industry.

In the light of all this history, can the ICAC regard the ongoing response of Minister's offices, the DOT and the DIR alike, where by they refer back to the TWU virtually all legitimate bailee complaints and pleas for help concerning industry wrong doings. Is this simply acase of naivety or even containment? The evidence suggests that this practice is corruption of public office if only in the sense that itis a denial of natural justice and a fair hearing of individual stakeholders interests within the taxi industry? I cite my own attempts (on behalf of numerous taxi drivers) to obtain information/actionfrom public servants who constantly refer me back to the TWU evenafter I have explained that such an avenue is not open.

In reality it amounts to a policy of shoring -up and protecting aunion leadership to prevent the emergence of any group who wish to democratise their union leadership in the interests of workers/bailee drivers and the community as a whole who are served by those same drivers. In short, if there is, as alleged by many drivers, a "protection racket" between the TIA and TWU leadership, why doesthe government and its departments actively foster and encourage it? For example, a full time union organiser, in denying the Union's complicity in the $1 fare rise conspiracy, went as far as alleging to two separate newspaper journalists, that it was the "Taxi Council and not the union, that "bought off" the Minister into accepting the $1rise. (details available). Another example here is the issue of whether the TWU leader Steve Hutchins brought pressure to bear on the NSW Labor Council Secretary Michael Costa to cancel a meeting planned between the Health & Safety Officer of the Labor Council, the Minister for Industrial Relations, Jeff Shaw and a delegation of 5-6 legitimate representatives of the TWU Taxi Drivers Section to discussthe crucial issue of taxi driver safety on 13th August 1996. [STD-10], [V-15]

Source: Sydney Taxi Corruption

The Key Issue of Fare Rises & Pay-in Increases & the Role of

5. The Key Issue of Fare Rises & Pay-in Increases & the Role of the Industrial Commission.
*Fixed Pay-in History

Discussion over how the Contract Determination was reached in 1984 has already been canvassed above in the historical overview of the industry. Below I wish to examine how more recent Industrial Commission decisions have further entrenched the unjust nature of the system and left bailee drivers open to greater exploitation and thereby tempted the owners to seek out more lucrative means of "corrupting public officials" in their search for greater profits and return on their investments.

By way of background here, the NSW Industrial Court, when deliberating on an application for pay-in rises by the TIA in 1986, requested that the TIA demonstrate the labour component in their application. The judge in this case found it remarkable that there was no consideration of the labour component in the TIA submission concerning their cost increases, (which invariably flow over into the revised taxi meter rate). The judge here was indirectly questioning and expressing his surprise at the lack of consideration as to minimum income levels of the workers. Income levels are a normal cost input factor that feature in all other industrial award hearings dating back to the Justice Higgins decision over minimum wage guarantees in the 1915 Harvester case.

The TIA could only argue that there was an inferred income that wasthe balance of the driver's takings after their pay-ins and expenses had been deducted from their gross takings. By way of background, following the 1984 Contract Determination the fixed pay-ins system was enshrined. Under this system the TIA was, and is still, unable to demonstrate that there exists any guaranteed minimum income level for bailee drivers. [Note the TWU in their pre-court conferencing in 1984 with the TIA consented [V14] to the withdrawal of Clause 8 of their original award submission(1979) that sought a guarantee of a minimum $30 per shift in income to drivers).[V-13]

Because their application for increased pay-ins from drivers was questioned in this manner in the late 1980s, the TIA, between 1989-1995, succeeded in skirting around this key issue and the law itself by brazenly ignoring their legal obligations. The TIA achieved this end year by year by making a simple announcement of an income boost to all taxi owners through advertisements in their own taxi magazine, claiming, "after consultation with the TWU" a pay-in rise of "x"% had been "agreed to by both parties". [See A7-A15j. In doing so, the TIA implied that an obligation to consult with the TWU was imposed uponthem by an instrumentality of the IRA (known as the Contract Determination) and that this was sufficient to legally effect a rise in driver pay-ins. However they ignored the fact that they had a second, and more fundamental pre-requisite to fulfil. That is to subject the results of their TIA/TWU consultations before the Industrial Court for approval. A third pre-requisite before any risein driver pay-ins was legal, was to await the gazetting of the Industrial Court decision in the NSW Industrial Gazette as is the law under Section 685 of the IRA/90 (and its predecessors} where changes or amendments to industrial awards must be listed.

Despite the fact that the TWU denied ever having reached such anagreement with the TIA in the 1989-95 period and even demanded in writing a retraction of such claims [A14-15], the TIA's illegal demands for higher pay-ins during this period were still enforced by all owners against all drivers in a climate of disinterest by the DIR prosecution section. The TIA in every case omitted to inform anyone of their obligations under Section 685 to gain prior approval from the Industrial Court for increased pay-ins.

This was done in successive years with the supposed agreement of theTWU who never mounted a legal challenge. The importance of this matter is that all fare rises and pay-in rises have a detrimental effect on driver incomes (related to obvious consumer resistance tofare rises and the drop in patronage or for that matter the increased cost of living that drivers themselves faced). In the face of TIA/TWU decisions to guarantee income rises to owners despite their illegality.

In 1993 (see Mok vs. Ahmed) an individual driver challenged this cyclical method of fare rise/pay-in rise extra judicial determination. The court established that the only fares (i.e. the maximum fare) that the TIA were entitled to charge over their taxi meters were the ones that had been gazetted in the Industrial Gazetteas required under section 685 of the IRA/90. [A5-6] In effect thisruling meant that all fare increases to the public between 1989 and then were illegal. Nevertheless neither the Attorney General nor the Dept of Industrial Relations, nor the (Consumer) Prices Tribunal even hinted at a prosecution of the TIA or the taxi owners. It fell on individual taxi drivers to refuse to pay the increased pay-ins.Naturally, without TWU support, individual drivers could not bargain against the powerful TIA who hide behind the illegal industry "consensus".

This situation continued on until 1996 when the TIA fronted the courtagain and demanded that all their illegal over-charging of the non-owner drivers (and hence the public through subsequent fare rise increases) should be retrospectively declared as lawful. The TWU leadership did not opposed this request from the TIA despite their entire sectional membership (TWU/TDS) strong objections. They did not even attempt to use it as a bargaining chip to win any new conditions or improvements for their members despite the enormous benefits that accrued to the taxi owners. They simply urged the Commission to support the TIA's submission claiming the union would "oppose it later". They never did! The overriding theme here is the issue of whether this collusion amounted to corruption? Did money change hands? Were promises made to individual union representatives regarding employment prospects within the industry, offers of cheapor free taxi shifts, etc.? What was in it for the DIR officials and politicians who did not object to these apparent deals between theTIA and TWU? I believe there is more than a little evidence which an ICAC inquiry could properly unearth.

Source: Sydney Taxi Corruption

The Industrial Commission and the $40 a day pay-in rise (Sept 96).

* The Industrial Commission and the $40 a day pay-in rise (Sept 96).

At the same hearing before the Industrial Commission in September 1996 CC Connor granted a pay-in rise in favour of taxi owners amounting to $40 a day.[V-12] Commissioner Connor failed to justify this increase when requested to explain his decision to members ofthe TWU Taxi Drivers Section. (See [AH1-3] and [STD 5-6]). Connor simply relied on an assertion by the Director General of Transport contained in a letter to the TIA (and circulated by the TIA) that thefare rise (and expected pay-in rise) was legally endorsed by theMinister. However correspondence circulated subsequently from both the DIG of DOT and the Mm. for Transport openly denied any endorsement by either the Minister or the Department of any approval of what became perceived as another TIA/TWU "deal" to accept the $40a day pay-in rise before the Commission. Their correspondence also denied the construing from the Connor decision that the Minister or his Department have the legal power to determine pay-in increases.[see AM, [W-3] and [AH3].

Yet despite these hand-washing disclaimers, the Minister and his Director General must clearly share responsibility with Commissioner Connor for the consenting to taxi owners demands for the right to overcharge the travelling public without any adequate justification under the guise of the so-called "industry reform package". Commissioner Connor appeared to be even entering the political debate when he deliberated during his decision ". ..there is an urgency to grant such increment.."(i.e.the $40). Thus he implied the extortionately high fare rise was justified for the speedy implementation of the so-called "industry reform package".

Yet there was no evidence from Connor, the Minister, or the Department of "urgency" when it came to implementing the most vital and cost incurring component of this package relating to driver safety. Clearly the banning of smoking in taxis, the wearing of uniforms and the repainting of taxis were the cosmetic aspects of the so-called "reform package" and had nothing to do with safety reformas such but were part of the incidental and normal operational costs in the industry. The driver safety aspects - satellite tracking, safety screens, video monitoring, etc. were the more important, and more costly, component of the "urgent" reform package.

Yet despite the milking of hundreds of millions of dollars from the public over the two year period in question, (14.7.96-31.7.98), these new safety measures are still incompleted and in many ways an abysmal failure. In May 1998 the government announced that the reform package program was edging towards completion and hence from July 31st 1998 the one dollar surcharge on the flagfall -agreed to by Commissioner Connor was to be rescinded. Given that the "urgent" reform package isstill in reality far from complete a good starting point here for ICAC would be to determine where (the approx.) $200 million ofrevenue collected by taxi drivers has gone. If the answer is largely in the form of an unjustified financial windfall for the taxi owners then a "please explain" note from ICAC's office to various public officials is certainly in order!

Source: Sydney Taxi Corruption

The Failure of Executive Government to Address Taxi Industry

6. The Failure of Executive Government to Address Taxi Industry Problems.
Ministerial Incompetence or Corruption?

The maladministration of the taxi industry encompasses all the relevant authorities and extends back in time over at least the entire decade under review. Of some note, this is a period of time that overlaps the tenure of both the current N.S.W. (Carr) ALP Government, the prior (Greiner/Fahey) Liberal Party Government, even back to the (Wran/Unsworth) Labor era. For the purposes of my current submission I would like ICAC to investigate the ministerial portfolios of Industrial Relations and Transport. In the first instance this involves testing whether or not the current crop, Jeff Shaw, Q.C.(Industrial Relations) and Carl Scully (Transport), and/or their departments, are privy to and part of an entrenched system of corruption in their deliberations related to the NSW taxi industry.

In the second instance your investigation should involve deciding whether the aforementioned are unwitting partners in an entrench system of corruption that they have inherited from theirTransport/Industrial Relations Ministry predecessors, in particularBruce Baird and Brian Langton, both former Transport Ministers. Itmay be difficult to decide what is corruption and what is just sheer negligence as the following correspondence demonstrated in regard to the Langton period: [X1-2] is my letter following earlier correspondence to the Minister and his department. [X3] is his reply which on careful reading exposes the Minister and his department.[X4] is a further, frustrated, reply from myself.[Y1 -3] is a further illustration of the attitude of the Minister and his department. A classic example here is the way the Minister of Transport Brian Langton dealt with the $1 rise in flag falls (from $2 to $3) in June1996. The flow of documentation supplied by me is as follows. First is a letter to the Minister for Transport about rumoured $1.00flagfall rise. [U1-3]. This is followed by a misleading and incorrectreply. [U-4] Then there is the letter from Alan Coutts, the D/G ofthe DOT. [V-1]. In this letter Coutts steps outside his area of authority and approves (supposedly) an industrial deal without any justification whatsoever. Note the original estimation of costs inthe Keatsdale Report [V16] reveals Coutts duplicity here. Then there is the letter from the Taxi Industry Association (TIA) advising it's members to charge $40.00 extra a day to all taxi drivers (under what law?). [V2-3]

Then there was my urgent letter to the Minister for Transport asking him to confirm or deny that he was a party to the Coutts' letter to the" Taxi Council." The Minister refused to reply. [V4] Followed by my letter to the Minister for Industrial Relations on the same subject. [V5] Conveniently, he too did not reply. Following this is another letter to the Minister for Transport from a taxi driver who was also an ALP member. [V6] The letter is self-explanatory. Then came follow up letters to politicians requesting that the matter beraised in State Parliament. [V7-9] Further correspondence shed more light on the Minister's lack of integrity and intelligence.[V10-11].

The issue of the $1 flagfall increase also demonstrated a failure on the part of government ministers other than Brian Langton. In July1996 a letter from me was sent to Jeff Shaw. [C-1]. It raised the issue of further breaches of industrial laws by the bailors. By way of background, my letter to the Minister here was prompted by Alan Coutts' letter to John Bowe of the "Taxi Council" which outlined how he (Coutts) has consented to and approved of (on behalf of the Minister for Transport) pay-in rises "from Sunday 14th July1996", (although he has no jurisdiction in matters pending before theIndustrial Tribunal.) [C2] (see also [Ahl-3]). By circulating the Coutts letter as official confirmation for approval of the fare risesand pay-in rises, (from Sunday 14th July), the "Taxi Council" acted fraudulently. On the 14th of July, the pay-in rises were imposed on all Sydney taxis - some two months before the matter was even discussed and deliberated on by the Industrial Tribunal. The convenient silence on this matter by the Attorney General and Minister for Industrial Relations, Jetf Shaw Q.C., was scandalous in the least. (For details concerning this subject please references [V1-20]).

Another Minister who failed to act with probity over the $1 flag fall increase was the current Minister for Transport, Carl Scully. In a letter sent to him (and Jeff Shaw) [AK1-2] by James Dalziel, the Chief Investigator - Taxi Driver Survey Project from the Dept of Psychology Sydney University, it was pointed out that the current proposal to drop the $1 flag fall increase from $3 back to $2 "betrays a lack of comprehensive advice to you concerning the real structure and function of the taxi industry. It is my understanding that once flagfalls are reduced, taxi vehicle owners will NOT subsequently reduce pay-in rates by an equivalent amount. As aresult, the average taxi driver will see a direct fall in earnings Dalziel's projection should be read in the context of the Minister'sdecision to drop the flagfall from July 31st 1998 without any consideration that the decision will have over pay-in scales. [SeeAH1-3].

It is not surprising that Dalziel's research and submissions have gone unacknowledged by the Minister and the DOT. (Previous Ministers have done their best to suppress independent research like the Keatsdale Report. See [PH14]. ) The Minister's own department defines "stake holders" in the transport industry of NSW as confinedto senior bureaucrats from within their own department, meeting in conjunction with other public officials from the Public Transport Authority and the Public Transport Advisory Council. No commuter reps, driver reps or even the TIA people. Thus the Minister apparently makes his decisions without reaction from those at the coalface. In effect, he is wearing the legacy of Baird's decision to abolish the Taxi Advisory Council. [AD1-4] & [NPA3]

I cannot resist the temptation of a few Hansard extracts [PH1-40]. Here you will discover what they said in State Parliament which is often in direct conflict with what they did outside parliament and amounts in many cases to a deliberate misleading of parliament. I refer specifically here to the efforts of Brian Langton and Jeff Shaw. [PH6] Further to this, their misleading press statements and personalised attacks on democratically-elected, hard-working taxidriver representatives such as myself amounts to an abuse of the privileges of public office.

Source: Sydney Taxi Corruption

7. The Bureaucracy: The Failure of Government Departments to enforcethe Law against Employers for Breaches of the Law.

Indeed, the apparent inability of the current Ministers forTransport, Industrial Relations, etc., along with variousdepartmental heads/policy officers, and, for that matter, even theonce impartial industrial courts, to either enforce or police theexisting laws, or to introduce relevant legislation that isbeneficial to the citizens of N.S.W. as a whole, is a crucial reasonfor this matter to receive ICAC's urgent attention.For there is documented evidence that both Dept. of Transport (DOT)and Dept. of Industrial Relations (DIR) inspectors are lax, negligentand oblivious to legal requirements when it comes to enforcingbreaches of the existing laws against members of the powerfulemployer body known as the "Taxi Council". This reticence to enforcethe law against the industry "big guns" extends all the way down tothe arbitrary and hit-and-miss way the law is enforced against evenlowly "backyard operators" with two or three rust-bucket taxis and aready army of naive, intimidated and exploited casual labourers; thedesperados trying to escape from the dole queues and willing to risktheir lives working for a pittance in total ignorance of allindustrial and legal standards.
Source: Sydney Taxi Corruption

Department of Transport.

*Department of Transport.

The issue of the `double standards' of the Department of Transport was raised in a letter to Jock Murray, the DIG of the DOT, in March 1998. [AL1-2]. It referred to correspondence from the Minister's Parliamentary Secretary admitting there had been no prosecutions of bailors under the new uniform requirements but "100 prosecutions of drivers". My letter pointed out that the taxi networks/co-ops were favoured by the DOT by the issuing of free licence plates (e.g. Nexus series) that were "not to be traded", but subsequently, were indeed traded for profit without any DOT policing or prosecution. My letter questioned why the DOT gave financial assistance to the TIA members in this manner but never extended the same privilege to the TWU orits members. The reply from Jock Murray did not address any of these concerns.[AL3-4] See also [AH1-3].

Numerous complaints were forwarded to the DOT documenting breaches of the regulations of the PTA/90. In every case the response was a bureaucratic fob-off where the issues raised were either ignored or promises of action against bailors were never followed through to prosecution stage. [AJ1-3]. (See also [AI1 2],[AF1-3],[AB3-6]).

Following reports that taxi plates issued by the DOT were being used in unauthorised ways, a letter was forwarded on the 30th January 1998 to Brian Scarfe, the Regional Manager of the DOT, requesting details of "the number of taxi plates (free of charge and conditional) given to taxi networks and/or companies by the DOT". [AG-1] The letter also requested information on how much revenue was paid by those networks to the DOT for usage of those taxi (plates). Other questions were raised as to how many of the taxis were traded on to other bailors and for what amount. A further series of questions focused on the "never to be traded" (pre-1995 issue) plates and whether the DOT had lifted the restriction on these plates. Other questions were raised as to the number and monitoring of the disabled/wheel chairaccess taxis and their conditions of release. Finally there was aquestion on whether the DOT kept a register of taxi owners/operators that would be accessible to bailee drivers to ensure their authenticity. [AG1-2J

Scarfe passed this letter on to his superior John McL.oughlin, the Acting Executive Director of Transport Services who replied on the 3rd of March 1998. His letter contained little of substance apart from revealing there were 227 wheelchair accessible taxi licences on issue in NSW with 145 of them being in the Sydney metropolitan area. All other information sought was denied. In the classic bureaucrat's stone-walling journalese McLoughlin wrote " As to all the detailed information you have sought, I am afraid that much of the informationis not held by the Department, and that the expense that would be incurred in collating the remaining information from Departmental files could not be justified" [AG-4].

Is the DOT serious? 'Do they expect people to believe that they don't have ready access to the numbers and types of the taxi plates released onto the Sydney Metropolitan Network area? Are they really ignorant of who the actual beneficiaries of these plates are? Of course, if they are saying they are ignorant on whether the Nexus/"Never to be traded" plates (and others distributed for free or for peppercorn leases), are now being used illegally, that is a different issue. If they don't know what is happening to these public assets are they willing to investigate? Are they negligent in not investigating? Or are they in the know and protecting the financial beneficiaries for reasons known only to themselves?

It would appear that only ICAC has the power and resources to get tothe bottom of this rather fishy pond which has profound implications for the projected 500 new `conditional' and `special purpose' plates that are about to enter the- market and, is therefore, of urgent concern to all players within the industry at the moment.

But obfuscation and stone-walling were not the only tools of the DOT.

When all else fails try bland assertion. A letter to the Second-in-Command of the DOT, Jock Murray, asking for a justification and actual breakdown of the revenue distribution following the $1 flagfall hike [AH-i] received the reply from Third-in-Command John McLoughlin " The package was introduced with the industry's full support and operators were granted an increase in the flagfall to recover the initial and recurrent costs of the reforms. It was considered that $1 .00 per trip would adequately cover these costs."[AH-3]

But McLoughlin did not reveal who's done their sums to come up with the nice round magical figure of $1.00. It could not have been theIndustrial Commission, because Commissioner Connor stated (September1996), he was just rubber-stamping what the Minister had announced publicly three months prior (June 1996), and as for theTWU/TIA "parties to the proceedings", they had only agreed to it in the interim period?. (see [V11.5] & [V12].

Using DOT logic here, the mathematical magician must have been the Minister. Why? Well, McLoughlin's letter reiterated, (after doing his sums?), the Minister recently announced that the Government has decided to reduce the taxi flagfall by $1.00 from 31 July, 1 998."[AH-3]. Again, this decision could not have been a TIA/TWU/Industrial Commission one, simply because these parties have not as yet met to even discuss the close off date for the flagfall drop ! ( [AH-3], note well para. 3 of the McLoughlin letter saying it should be amatter for the DIR !).

But Mr. McLoughlin you have left the initial questions directed to you unanswered:
What was the formula used for such an increment? What was the projected revenue? What was the actual revenue? What was the projected revenue for bailors/bailees after the so-called 80%/20% split? What was the actual revenue? What was the impact on the price of taxi plates? The impact on taxi network/radio network fee? The justification of radio fee rise linking with flagfall rise? How much of this money was actually spent on safety reform? What was the projected spending on safety reform? Of course neither the government nor the DOT can release the real figures because it would expose theTaxi Council as having used its influence to compel drivers to milk the public of over $100 million dollars most of which went straight into the owners bank accounts or was used to meet the rising Network fees rather than the intended purpose of improved driver safety.

Source: Sydney Taxi Corruption

Other Correspondence with the DOT: A Case of Hiding the Statistical

*Other Correspondence with the DOT: A Case of Hiding the Statistical Truths

Behind the Statistical Lies and a Wall of Silence?

A letter was sent to the Minister for Transport in April 1992 attempting to establish some basic statistics concerning the number of taxis on the road, the number of fares handled, the number of complaints against drivers, the number of convictions following those complaints, the number of assaults on drivers, the number of taxi driver licences issued and cancelled annually and the statistics used by the department to regulate the supply of taxis on the road, fare structures and driver pay-ins. [Ml]

The reply from a DOT "Regional Transport Operations" head (dated11 .5.92) indicated inter alia that the DOT had assumed responsibility, (from the Roads & Traffic Authority), for public passenger vehicles in July 1990 under the new Passenger Transport Act. This official stated it was "not possible" to supply statisticson 6 of the 9 subject areas raised in the original letter. The most misleading aspect of this response was the claim that "....The statistics used by the DOT to determine the number of taxis to be onthe road is based on results of taxi performance surveys and measured by performance standards for taxi delivery." [M2-3]

This inadequate response led to another attempt by myself to obtain basic statistical information from the DOT and understand what management policy (if any) was used by the DOT for regulating thetaxi industry. I helpfully suggested a range of methods that the DOT could utilise to provide the basic statistical data originally requested but denied to me in their initial response. I again raised anomalies such as how could they determine the demand for new vehicles with nebulous concepts like "performance standards"and "efficiency" of delivery when no basic statistics are maintained on the number of passenger journeys per annum. Logic would suggest that an increase or decrease in the averaged number of passenger journeys per vehicle on the road (i.e. "performance efficiency") would require the maintenance of such basic statistics? [N1-4]

The reply, indicated in part a non-cooperative attitude of the DOT (if not a cover up). This letter confirmed the DOT did not keep information on the number of vehicle journeys and hence was indeed in no position to assess supply and demand factors for vehicles on road. The DOT fall back position here was to state, "The last survey was undertaken by a consultancy firm ….. in 1990" in order to "accurately and objectively determine the level of service provided". Yet the DOT and government's decisions to increase the number of taxis on the road in the 1990-92 period (which according to the DOT letter dated 11.4.92 was from 4,198 to 4,302 taxis) was not supported by this 1990survey. [N5-6]

Source: Sydney Taxi Corruption

Department of Industrial Relations (DIR).

*Department of Industrial Relations (DIR).

A letter was sent to Jeff Shaw as Minister for Industrial Relations requesting him to enforce the Industrial Relations Act and the Taxi Industry (Contract Drivers) Contract Determination 1984. [B1-2] The letter claimed there was widespread industry victimisation of drivers and many breaches of the award that had been brought to theMinister's attention in earlier correspondence but still not acted upon. The reply from the DIG of the DIR, Helen Bauer, referred to a review of the Compliance function of the DIR as "on-going" (i.e.stationary?). Further the letter conceded the DIR could not determine The number of prosecutions under the legislation. This was a typical response of an identical request of mine also sent to the Honourable Jeff Shaw, QC. As you can see from paragraph three of this DIR reply there is the clear implication of negligence by the DIR and a failure to enforce the law since 1940. [63]

I made a complaint against a well-known `repeat offender' bailor (who has been convicted by Courts and Commissions for many breaches of Industrial Relations Acts and the Contract Determination. My correspondence also indicated what I consider the unacceptable behaviour of the DIR Inspector. [El-2] I received a response to my original complaint from Jeff Shaw Min. for IR. [E3-4]. I responded with another attempt to reiterate my original complaint and demonstration of existing practical inadequacy in the industry because the way the law is written makes it difficult for drivers to achieve justice. [E5-6] The final response from the Acting DIRDirector-General McDonald totally inadequate.[E7]

I appealed directly to the Minister to address through new legislation the iniquities of The Taxi Industry (Contract Drivers) Contract Determination 1984 which has denied employment justice for 20,000 bailee taxi drivers. [Fl-2]. The reply demonstrated the changed legal position following the Interim Variation (of TheDetermination) and a promise by the Honourable Jeff Shaw QC concerning compliance measures for the Determination in regards shift payment options and protection from victimisation.[F3]

I wrote an earlier warning which included another desperate attempt to obtain some assistance from Jeff Shaw to prevent further damage to taxi workers (bailees) resulting from the TWU leadership's apparent collaboration with the employer group (TIA). [G1-2]. The reply conveyed a promise by the Attorney General for "an education campaign to ensure that the parties comply with the terms of the [interim] variation.". Yet, the Attorney General could not bring himself to prevent a mockery of the law by using his power (under "special circumstances" and "in the public interest") to intervene in front of Connor CC during the sell-out. [G3] Following the damage down in the Industrial Commission to driver's legal rights, I made another request to the Attorney General Jeff Shaw that he fulfil his stated promise and enforce the law of the land. [H1]. The reply from the Director General Warwick McDonald is virtually an admission that the DIR is unwilling to prosecute breaches of the law and expects the TWU to "police" cases of victimisation..[H2]

I wrote a letter to Bob Carr concerning driver victimisation.[I-1] I included a statutory declaration concerning victimisation by abailor. [I2-3] Three ludicrous replies came from the DIR and the Premier's Office [I4-6]. [J1-2] is a complaint concerning my unfair dismissal and victimisation by another lawless bailor. [J3] is ananother roundabout response by the DIR. [K1-2] is a specific complaint against a bailor. [K3-4] is the evidence of his unlawful pressure. (K5] is an attempt in vain to obtain some assistance from the honest union leadership. [KG] is a nice response from the DIR but down the track failed to solve the problem. [L1-2] is the complaintas suggested by the DIR as per [J3]. [L3] is a justifiable reply from the Ombudsman and [L4] is another hopeless promise by the DirectorGeneral of the DIR impregnated with very incorrect information, as well as contrary to promise made by him earlier referred in [K6].(See also [PH 6]).

Source: Sydney Taxi Corruption

A Footnote on the DIR/Minister/TWU/Industrial Commission.

* A Footnote on the DIR/Minister/TWU/Industrial Commission.

The annexures referred to above convey many burning issues and concerns relating to bailee taxi drivers, their working conditions and safety. It is on the record that the Attorney General and Minister for Industrial Relations Mr. Jeff Shaw was informed about the unworkable nature of The Determination entered into in 1984 by what can only be described as a questionable TWU leadership. [further oral evidence to be given here] . Recently, Justice Marks and many others made similar observations. The Minister was urged by taxi drivers to remove anomalies and he was requested to reform the industrial law. He has been briefed in full during a face-to-face meeting about the anti-worker, immoral and unjustified dereliction of duty by the TWU leadership.

Yet, he has done nothing apart from correspondence to the TWU's critics employing the cruel joke " ... contact the TWU for assistance ". The reality is that the overwhelming majority of drivers regard the TWU as nothing more that a mouthpiece and policeman for the Taxi Council?' They refuse to lodge genuine grievances with the union or even make enquiries as to membership lest they be "pimped on" to the employers and be further victimised. How else can they view a union that allowed the offence of fare evasion to be downgraded from a criminal offence to a misdemeanour asoccurred in 1990?

Obviously, the minister's silence, empty promises and cruel advisegenerate questions, "did the Minister performed his duty with intelligence and integrity or was he protecting his party mate then the Vice President, now President, of the N.S.W. Branch of theAustralian Labor Party (ALP)? This question is emphasised by the following correspondence: My Statutory Declaration is [STD1-3], my speech to CC Connor [STD4], my attempted speech to CC Connor is [STD5-6] and my recent letters to Steve Hutchins [STD7-10] should question ethical responsibility of TWU lawyer Mr. Adam Hatcher, fairness of CCConnor, involvement of his associate and the TWU leadership's actual motive and reason behind such a motive.

Certainly, I am questioning the Department of Industrial Relations officials and relevant Minister's competence and integrity. In truth,I am asking, "do their actions, inactions, manipulations and ill-motivated (as I believe) advice constitute negligence, and/orcorruption under s8 of the Independent Commission Against CorruptionAct 1988 ?

Source: Sydney Taxi Corruption

Paying the Piper? Some Questionable Public Sector Resignations

8. Paying the Piper? Some Questionable Public Sector Resignationsand `Career Moves.

Under the Passenger Transport Act 1990, regulations enacted thereunder, and the so-called "Code of Conduct" (?), certain illegal practices have been adopted, tolerated and even encouraged within the industry in order to harass and intimidate both non-owning taxi drivers and single operator taxi owners. A disturbing aspect here is that some key personnel, responsible for drafting, designing and ultimately approving amendments/regulations to the PassengerTransport Act 1990 ( PTA/90), resigned from either the Ministry of Transport or its Department.

Many of these individuals subsequently became either taxi plate holders and/or accepted employment with the NSW "Taxi Council" orwith one of its affiliated "Taxi Co-operatives". In short, key public servants have apparently left the public sector to work for the private sector in a way that appears to contravene the ethical standards governing public sector resignations prior to industry consultancies or appointments. The extent of ministerial knowledge orconcern with this questionable, and perhaps devious, practice is for you, the ICAC, to determine. I have evidence to present on these machinations and "career" shifts.

Source: Sydney Taxi Corruption

The Corruption of the Legislative (Advisory) Process?

9. The Corruption of the Legislative (Advisory) Process?The Victimisation' clause of the Industrial Relations Act 1993196 asa case in Point?

Further to this suggestion of public service `conflict of interest'is the seat jockeying in the political and legal arenas. A clear example was the workings in 1995 of the advisory body known as theIndustrial Relations Legislation Secretariat (IRLS). On paper this body was composed of all major interest groups in the NSW Taxi Industry and was willing to accept extensive written submissions onproposed changes to the 1990 Industrial Relations Act (as amended1993). The earlier legislation (i.e. under IRA/93, Section 674 ,subsections 'c'& 'd') enacted protection for taxi drivers against victimisation by bailors (employers) to the extent of imposing fines of up to $10,000 for a single offence.

Despite assurances from members of the IRLS during their 1995 deliberations that changes to the legislation in the proposed 1996 IRA amendments would be of further benefit to bailees (non-owningtaxi drivers) and, that these changes would merely "remove ambiguities" to the `93 legislation, the final drafting saw much fudging. Indeed, the IRA/96, as legislated, substantially removed all protection for drivers! A clear win for the sectional interests ofthe "Taxi Council".

So decisive was this legislative removal of all protection for drivers from victimisation under the new IR Act/96 that the thenMinister for Industrial Relations and Attorney General Mr. Jeff Shaw expressed both surprise and dismay when the true impact of the IRAI96 amendment was pointed out to him. Indeed, this annulling of drivers rights was totally at odds with the simultaneous political campaign by his federal ALP counterparts under Beasley to oppose the removal of the former Keating Government's unfair dismissal legislation by the incumbent Howard Government under federal industrial laws.

The issue that ICAC must grapple with concerns the influences that were brought to bear, if any, on the IRLS between the time period of acceptance of submissions in late 1995, the IRLS's apparent undertaking to continue the reform package of the IRA/93 during these submissions, and, the final outcome, namely, a complete reversal of stated intent when the drafting of the IRA/96 came before State Parliament and was subsequently enacted (without debate on the relevant clause changes) in 1996, (although even here there is somedoubt about the consistency between the new act and the regulations there under).

Some questions that should be examined by ICAC relate why the workers' representative on the IRLS, Transport Workers Union (TWU) lawyer Mr. Adam Hatcher did not brief his membership on the reversal of the victimisation clause in the new act. Indeed, was he aware of its redrafting? Did he support it? Was his subsequent severing of his links with the TWU at all associated with his taking up of chambers in the same legal office that Jeff Shaw emerged from prior to his appointment as Attorney General? Similarly why was the most experienced Commissioner in taxi matters, (Ms. Donna McKenna), stood aside from this role following her participation in the IRLS 1995 submissions? Was it related to her objective stance prior to the drafting of the new provisions?

Clearly all these issues are matters of conjecture to outsiders. However should ICAC take evidence from the individuals mentioned, and others omitted for space reasons, there may clearly emerge a pattern of both outside interference with and undue coercion upon people inpublic office. I fully concede that it is one of the fallibilities of our democratic system that unjust legislation may pass through parliament without proper consideration and debate. However, the element of corruption here relates specifically to the influence, real or imaginary, over public officials (IRLS members) entrusted with the initial drafting of the amended legislation. Were these individuals compromised and how?

Source: Sydney Taxi Corruption

Victimisation/Harassment of Drivers by Owners/Operators.

10a. Victimisation/Harassment of Drivers by Owners/Operators.

There are proponents of the view that there was no need for legislation to protect drivers from harassment or victimisation by the owners/operators in the first place. They simply argue that none exists. However, there exists extensive documentation concerning the unfair and unjust harassment of taxi drivers/single cab owners by the taxi networks/companies identified above collectively as the "TaxiCouncil"/Taxi Industry Association (TIA)/Taxi Cooperatives who all have as their titular head a "Mr. Taxi" one Mr. R Kermode.

It is the view of many non-owner drivers (bailees) that attempts to demonstrate this pattern of owner harassment through individual prosecution in the Industrial Courts have been undermined by the complete unwillingness of the Transport Workers Union (TWU) to either follow through court directions to their logical conclusion, or, in the majority of cases, to initiate prosecutions of employers/employing bodies in the first place, even where there are clear and well-documented examples of driver harassment.

As far as single cab owner-operators are concerned, there is also clear evidence that if they complain about anything of substance to their peak body (the TIA) they are regarded as nuisances. There is atleast circumstantial evidence that such single cab owner-operators can be subjected to victimisation by DOT/DIR inspectors. The same fears have been raised in relation to audits from the Taxation Dept.In some cases even the bailee drivers these owners employ are also subject to harassment by the government departmental inspectors. Someo wners have gone as far as to allege that these inspectors operate a sa private police force under the direction of key personnel within the TIA. (There are documented cases of DOT inspections as late as 12 midnight and other examples where a taxi owner in dispute with theTIA faced repeated inspections of his taxi when it was in "tip top"condition).

This alleged misuse of enforcement personnel from the public sector must surely be a matter of concern to any ICAC inquiry? At the very least ICAC must inquire as to whether public officials are impartially enforcing the law to one and all within the industry. At a minimum, it must be established why those owners most closely associated with the TIA appear forever immune from prosecution for what are clearly flagrant breaches of all the relevant legislation. Without a full inquiry into these aspects of the industry public confidence will never be regained, aggrieved drivers and owners willi nevitably continue to inform the travelling public of their fears and misgivings. This inevitably saps confidence in the entire industry.

Source: Sydney Taxi Corruption

Driver Harassment/Assaults/Robbery and Fare Evasions by Members

10b. Driver Harassment/Assaults/Robbery and Fare Evasions by Members of the Public (The Safety Issue)

The issue of driver safety has been continually highlighted in the media and through independently commissioned reports over the last decade. Despite numerous statements by successive governments and departmental heads (in correspondence) the problem still exists. The recent flagfall rise was ostensibly introduced to fund a so-called "safety reform package". This has only partially addressed the problem. The role of the "Taxi Council" was exposed yet again as recently as July 19th 1998 in an article in the Sunday Telegraph where it was revealed the "Taxi Council" would be giving drivers "abuse tapes" so they can get used to being abused by passengers. They obviously don't feel the owners have any responsibility to reduce or eliminate the level of abuse of drivers.[NPA4].

Because of the structure of the taxi industry every aspect of the so-called "safety reform package" was seen as another potential area of revenue scam by vested interest groups. This extended to the failure to install proper safety screens, the satellite tracking system, the failure to install video surveillance cameras to deter assaults on drivers, the training of radio operators and drivers, the conducting of effective public education campaigns, inspection and maintenance of vehicles, etc.

Drivers have long been concerned about fare evasion which affects their income directly. But because of the fixed pay-in system the owner is still guaranteed their nightly income and hence have no real financial incentive to be concerned about the safety of their drivers. (e.g. compulsory central locking of doors controlled by the driver). The Liberal Party under the Baird Ministry passed retrograde legislation that removed fare evasion from the Criminal Code and reduced it to a minor misdemeanour where the maximum fine is less than some of the fares that are evaded. The current government hasmerely increased the fine by a nominal amount. It is still not a disincentive to those who wish to evade paying their fare. No government has conducted any public education campaign to warn the public of the seriousness of fare evasion unlike the constant campaigns over revenue (fare evasion) in the bus and train sectors of public transport. It should be noted that many driver assaults result from attempts from fare evasion situations.

I have corresponded with authorities over this issue pointing out howthe legal onus is normally on the employer to supply a safe working environment and to foot the bill accordingly as a cost of production.[D1-4] However, the TIA has shifted the financial responsibility on to the non-owner driver in this matter contrary to the spirit and intent of the Occupational Health & Safety legislation. When this matter was brought to the attention of Workcover they stated "Workcover takes the issue of taxi driver safety very seriously and will consider prosecuting any employer who fails to adequately comply with WorkCover legislation." [D3]

Source: Sydney Taxi Corruption

Request for an Inauiry by the NSW Stay Safe Committee.

10c. Request for an Inauiry by the NSW Stay Safe Committee.

By September 1996 more than 1,000 taxi drivers had signed a petitioncalling for an Parliamentary Staysafe Committee Inquiry into the NSWTaxi Industry and its safety record. A Letter was written to Paul Gibson the Chair of the Committee by the TWU TDS requesting such aninquiry. (PSC1-2] . A request of support from the TWU Executive failed sustain any support to the TWU/TDS [ISD4-6] and failed to make aseparate submission. A request for support for such an inquiry was also made to the Secretary of the NSW Labor Council Michael Costa.[ISD3] My letter to Bob Carr (25-8-98) [ISD1-2], other letters urging to support Parliamentary Inquiry [ISD3-8], supportive reply from Parliamentary Committee members [ISD9-17] and media articles [ISD18-36] should generate a genuine suspicion about the Labor Party (Right Wing) cover-up and corruption, in order to protect a network of offenders making a mockery of the law, and involving the manipulation and misguidance of state governmental instrumentalities.

To clarify the extent of the damage to taxi industry workers I would like to request the ICAC Commission examine James Dalzial's Reportfrom Sydney University and the Keatsdale Report commissioned by theDepartment of Transport referred to earlier in this document. More recent correspondence includes [Z1] my letter to Mr. Michael PhotiousMP. [Z2] is a letter from Michael Photios to Bob Carr. [Z3-6] prompts the question of what are Bob Carr and Brian Langton trying to hide? While on the one hand the Minister's Office maintains it is "very concerned about the safety of taxi drivers in the workplace" and "theDept. of Transport closely monitors security incidents which are brought to its attention" [AB-2] it does not keep any statistics on the number of drivers who are bashed, assaulted and robbed. A request for such information from his office in 1997 brought the curt response that "crime statistics" were "a matter for the NSW Police Service". Similarly the Minister's Office would not reveal whether it kept, or was aware of any statistics kept by either the Networks incident reports or Workcover. [AB-1]

Source: Sydney Taxi Corruption

The Driver Authority Card. Radio Networks & Privacy Issue

10d. The Driver Authority Card. Radio Networks & Privacy Issue.

[01-8] is letter to the Honourable Paul Whelan seeking his assistance to renew my taxi licence due to unfair, undemocratic (possibly illegal) laws and practices imposed on taxi drivers by the Ministerfor Transport regarding changes to licence renewal procedures. Those laws and practices are anti-competitive by nature, provide a detailedand dominant control of taxi drivers by taxi owners, (there by changing the employer-employee relationship), in total breach of privacy and civil liberty related laws. They also in many ways ensurea form of compulsory unionism of taxi owners (isn't it illegal?) tothe detriment to workers, public and state in general. [09-10] is the usual evasive reply from the Minister for Transport.

Source: Sydney Taxi Corruption

The Abuses of the Taxi Radio System

10e. The Abuses of the Taxi Radio System.

Originally the two way radios were introduced to benefit the drivers and the general public by making communication, pick-ups, etc. easier. The "Code of Conduct" changed the whole nature of radio operations and the relationship between drivers and the Networks. The radio Networks have become a pivotal mechanism for theindustry "heavies" controlling all aspects of the bailor- bailee relationship. So much so that Professor N.E. Palmer, a world authority on bailment law, described this and other aspects of the1990 legislation, it was a case where the bailor exercised "continuous detailed and dominant control" over the bailee and changed the employment relationship into one of employer-employee. [018]

Today the radio system can and is utilised to discipline drivers who don't toe the line (i.e. harassment). Drivers can be victimised by not being "paid" rank preference or location preference when bidding on jobs. Drivers can be punished by- being sent to non-existing jobs at false addresses. The Executive Director of the DOT Rod Gilmour's in correspondence dated 23 August 1993 [012] argued " Legislation also requires taxi drivers to utilise the radio units installed in their taxis in accordance with procedures laid down by the networks and their published rules." This raises the old slogan "No Taxation Without Representation" because bailee/non-owner taxi drivers are required to conform to the taxi radio network rules without any say whatsoever. Drivers have no legal redress over arbitrary and unfair suspensions imposed on them or any other disputes between themselves and the radio room. The judicial committees reviewing disputes are neither qualified nor impartial.

Favouritism over the allocation of radio hirings goes unchallenged. Radio operators can ring their mates on mobile phones and encourage them to make bodgie bookings through the normal radio booking service in order to advance their queue position when the operator tips them off of a pending lucrative hire. It is a common practice for taxi networks to preserve the most lucrative radio hires legally (?) for either specialist drivers e.g. handicapped vehicles, "ExecutiveFleets", "Silver Top" cabs, "First Choice Drivers" "Premier Gold"hire cars or even unlicensed family members or illegally through unauthorised private arrangements over mobile phones, pager systems,etc. In short it is a breakdown of the universality of standards within the service.

Even the Dept. tolerated immature surveys where driver response times were measured by way of directing numerous drivers to the same false locations as a crude means of measuring response times (private consultants employed under Baird's administration used this method of survey with the full co-operation of the radio networks and the DOT to the financial disadvantage of drivers who were deliberately sent on wild goose chases across town to nonexistent work). Because of the fixed pay-in system the owners were still guaranteed their income so there is no incentive for the radio networks to desist in wasting drivers time with either the prompt calling of legitimate jobs or the refraining from calling fake jobs.

Source: Sydney Taxi Corruption

Safety and the Radio System

*Safety and the Radio System

While the taxi networks are obliged under the OH&SA to ensure driver safety, the DOT don't have sufficient knowledge, staff or intention to police or enforce this requirement. This was evident from the DOT letter written by John McLoughlin [014]. When specifically asked whether the Networks' radio systems could respond to an attack on adriver when that driver had forgotten or failed to key in his driver authority identification pin number, McLoughlin chose to ignore theissue. He responded by merely reiterating the need for the driver to conform to the "Code of Conduct" and obey the radio rules. WouldWorkCover approve of a system that leaves a driver exposed to violence and physical attack simply because he has keyed in a wrong pin number? Is this a case of "Your punishment for not rememberingyour pin number... . is.. .DEATH !"

The "Taxi Council" argues that compulsory radios are to assist with driver safety. In reality it does not happen. For example the radio networks do not train operators properly to assist drivers under attack. The networks do not keep comprehensive statistics on the number/frequency/location/nature of attacks on drivers. If they do they do not make them available to drivers. For further details please refer to the questionnaires prepared by contained in the Keatsdale Report for the radio networks.

Source: Sydney Taxi Corruption

Privacy and the Radio System

*Privacy and the Radio System.

Following a letter to the DOT [013] on the driver identification issue and the driver safety issue a reply was received from John McLoughlin of the DOT on the 20th August 1993. [014] His letter pointed out that in order to drive a taxi, drivers must first "complete the taxi driver authority package" (i.e. in itself anintrusion into the industrial rights of drivers who were now required to supply information to the networks/employers in their own "free"/unpaid time). Further, the driver must sign a "Declaration" in which they declare "they will abide by the NSW Taxi Industry's Code of Conduct for authorised taxi drivers".

The authority package consists of the driver passing over to the networks personal details such as date of birth, residential address, phone number, etc. While this may appear to be a normal request from a responsible employer, once an authority number has been assigned to an individual driver it becomes freely available to all employees in the radio room within the networks and beyond. This is because the driver is now required to punch in his personal ID number at alltimes from the commencement of each shift. Should a radio room employee identify a `blacklisted' driver (a process that is far easier now as all details about the driver are freely available and not just the pin number) then a driver is much more exposed to victimisation, illegal transmission of personal details (i.e. to taxi operators outside of the radio room, e.g. base managers) and, under satellite tracking all driver movements are now monitored for purposes good and bad.

Source: Sydney Taxi Corruption

Unpaid Labor Cabcharge and other Credit Facilities.

10f. Unpaid Labor Cabcharge and other Credit Facilities.

In a letter I requested information as to the source of the legal obligation of drivers to accept and process Cabcharge credit facilities. [013] A reply from a DOT official (McLoughlin) stated that under the Passenger Transport Act 1990, and regulations thereunder, the so-called "Code of Conduct" (Item 8) reads, "Drivers must accept all charge cards authorised by the Network". [014] A separate letter [015], raising the same issue, received a different response from another DOT official (Wilkinson) [016]. This response claimed "...the administration of Cabcharge does not fall within the scope of the Passenger Transport Act 1990". He argued, it came under the responsibility of the Trade Practices Commission, who authorised Networks, "to take punitive action against members who fail to do so Apart from the issue of whether bailee drivers are "members" of Networks, [017-18] the inconsistencies of these two DOT letters raised queries as to the propriety and legality of enforcement of theCabcharge system. For example there are respectable legal opinions available that the entire "Code of Conduct" is neither covered by thePTA/90 or the regulations there under. Indeed, Bruce Baird described the "Code of Conduct" as merely ``complementary'' and an ``adjunct tothe overall package endorsed by the DOT" without elucidating on its proper legal status back in 1992. [019]

However, despite the fact that Cabcharge puts a 10% surcharge onto every taxi transaction (raising the fare 10% higher than the legislated maximum on the meter) without providing any service ortaking any risks whatsoever, the owners of Cabcharge still expect and compel all the drivers to provide up to half an hour each per shift as free labour for Cabcharge. This is because driver's are compelled to accept all credit cards and process them after they have turned the meter off.

Source: Sydney Taxi Corruption

10g. The Complaints System and need for Public Education on Workings

10g. The Complaints System and need for Public Education on Workingsof theTaxi Industry.

In September 1992 a cost effective submission was made to theMinister for Transport Baird outlining nineteen basic ideas forreducing both physical attacks and baseless verbal and written complaints against taxi drivers.[P1-2] The response from the DOT attempted to shift the responsibility for educating the public onsuch issues as the illegality of over-loading, the legal obligation to obey traffic laws, etc. back onto the drivers. The response once again attempted to play down the driver safety issue although it had become a frequently cited issue in the daily media. Clearly driver safety was a low priority for the DOT.[P3-4]

Source: Sydney Taxi Corruption

Workers Compensation and Third Party Insurance Fraud in the Taxi

10h. Workers Compensation and Third Party Insurance Fraud in the Taxi industry.

In December 1994 a letter was written to the DOT drawing attention tothe non-compliance of certain owners & operators with their legalresponsibilities in regards to workers compensation and compulsorythird party insurance. It was pointed out that non-compliance herewas leaving non-owner drivers unfairly exposed to legal claims andcourt actions that were rightfully only the responsibility of theowner/operators [R1]. An acknowledgment was received from JohnMcLaughlin indicating the matter would be investigated.[R2]

Overlapping correspondence was also exchanged suggesting that simplerecourse to a requirement for owner/operators to have displayed intheir taxi vehicle an authority ID card with full details of ownerinsurance cover, etc would greatly assist with problems related totraffic incidents, accidents and insurance matters.[R3-4] The DOTresponse, while sympathetic, was a fob-off; it indicated that thematter was on hold (within the DOT) until it had been "raised at aTaxi Council meeting". [R4] The "Taxi Council" discussed thisproposal and replied to the DOT that they did not feel an authorityID card for owners (containing insurance details) was warranted. TheDOT in response did nothing. Meanwhile bailee drivers continued to bepersecuted by courts, police, other authorities, but especially bynegligent owners who wished to continue the practice of avoidinglegal responsibilities for third party insurance and workerscompensation.

The resistance of the "Taxi Council" and the DOT to implementing asystem whereby non-owner drivers could readily check the identity andlegal coverage governing the vehicles they were driving raised otherimportant issues of public policy. An example here can be gleanedfrom correspondence sent to the Minister for Industrial RelationsJeff Shaw on 18th November 1997[J1-2]. This letter documented someseven to eight breaches of the regulations under the PTA and awardconditions of employment under the IRA. The Minister passed theletter on to his Director General [of the DIR] Warwick McDonald tohandle. [J-3].

The McDonald reply on 10th December 1997 [J3] revealed in fullthe "Catch 22" dilemma facing taxi drivers who wish to complainagainst shonky operators. McDonald's letter stated " … Where bailorsinsist on breaching these laws the DIR will enforce the legislation.However the DIR cannot investigate alleged breaches until a complaintform has been lodged at its offices.... It is essential.. .you areable to clearly establish the identity of the bailor. Without suchinformation the DIR can take no action."[J3]. However, in theoriginal letter of complaint[J1-2], the driver had supplied allavailable personal details such as mobile phone number, home phonenumber and work address of the operator. It was clearly stated thatthe owner had refused to identify himself in full. An industry wideauthority ID card for owners/operators would have avoided thisdilemma and removed the DIR's escape clause for its own inaction inthis case.

But the matter didn't end there. A letter of complaint about the sameincident had also been forwarded to John Bryson, the head officer ofthe Compliance Division of the DOT. [AF-1] This led to somebuckpassing. The reply came not from the Department, but from theMinister's Office on the 21st January 1998. On behalf of the MinisterCarl Scully, the Parliamentary Secretary for the Minister ofTransport, Kevin Moss M.P., stated, inter alia, the Taxi ComplianceTask Force has identified the operator in question" and willbe "undertaking a full audit of the taxi operations to determine ifthe Taxi-Cab Service Operator Accreditation Standards are beingcomplied with." [A F -3].

Based on this Ministerial reassurance that this shonky operator hadbeen clearly identified, and that action was finally proceedingagainst him by the Compliance Division of the DOT, a subsequentletter was then forwarded to John McLoughlin the Executive Directorof the DOT on the 5th of February 1998. [AI-1]. This letter, aftermaking reference back to the original one sent to the ComplianceDivision of the DOT the previous November, reiterated the knowndetails on the operator, and, requested the full name and particularsso that they could be forwarded to the DIR for possible prosecutionby that Department for breaches of the Industrial Relations Act aswell.

Yet despite the Minister's earlier assurances to the complainant [AF-3], the Regional Manager of the DOT ,Brian Scarfe, (on behalf of theExec. Dir. /DOT John McLoughlin), offered the startlingresponse, "....Based on the information you have supplied theDepartment is unable to identify (the taxi operator in question) asyou have not provided sufficient information." [AI-2]. The obviousquestion here is whether it is the Minister or the Department runningthe show. Clearly someone has a vested interest in not enforcing thelaws and regulations governing the NSW taxi industry properly.

Thus it came as no surprise that the complainant was separatelymaintaining a paper war with the DOT over the failure of the Dept. toimplement the simple reform of owner/Operator accreditation IDslisting full names, DOT authorisation, address and insurance detailsas a means of curtailing "lawlessness, tax evasion, money launderingand violations of the DOT and DIR regulations". [AE-1]. The responsefrom the DOT was predictable. The matter "is receiving attention"and "we'll be in touch" [AE-2].

Source: Sydney Taxi Corruption

Shortage of City Cabs at Changeover Time

10i. Shortage of City Cabs at Changeover Time

A press release from the Minister for Transport said he would improve the so-called shortage of taxis in the city at changeover time by extending trading hours of some taxis and request the "Taxi Council"to ensure that base operators staggered changeover times.[S1]The "Taxi Council" misled the Minister about compliance with staggered shift changeover times in order to increase the value of taxi plates, extend driver working hours, and, obtain extra cabs on the road. It can be clearly demonstrated that the Minister faileddespite the record of achievement he claimed in his press release.Press articles provide clues on how the "Taxi Council" took him for aride. In this "changeover" episode workers and the travelling public got little advantage, but taxi owners increased the value of their assets (?) and many are now forcing drivers to work up to 18 hourshifts [S1-3].

Source: Sydney Taxi Corruption

Taxi Plates Supply & Demand

10i. Taxi Plates Supply & Demand

One of the key factors that has prompted this submission to ICAC isthe total corruption involved whenever the government decides torelease new taxi plate licences onto the market [AA1-3]. The numberof taxis in operation affects the owners return or sale price of hisplate. It also affects the capacity of drivers to attract sufficientcustomers to earn a living. It affects the general community in termsof frequency of service and utilisation.

Despite repeated requests the Minister for Transport and hisdepartment continually deny that they keep any statistics [Ml to N6]on the issue of multi-cab ownership. [T1-6] It is widely rumouredthroughout the industry that certain politicians, ex-politicians,their wives and families, media personalities and "high societypeople" including overseas investors are silent partners in multi-cabownership and thereby exert a hidden influence over the industry. Thecurrent proposal to introduce 500 new taxi plates onto the market,supplied free of charge to the Taxi Co-ops/Companies is in urgentneed of ICAC investigation. [AG1-4]. No consultation has occurredwith bailee drivers or single cab owner-operators although thesepeople are considered as the industry and are the actual serviceproviders.

The Minister for Transport Brian Langton argued in January 1997 [V-11] that "Taxi cab licence values are determined entirely by themarket." This argument is flawed as the press article indicated "theprice of taxi plates is dependent on both market demand and thedegree of state government regulations in place.

Source: Sydney Taxi Corruption