Hotel inquiry calls for Telstra phone records

 

The board of inquiry investigating Victoria's hotel quarantine program has formally requested phone records from Telstra, significantly upping the pressure on those involved in the fatally-flawed program.

The Herald Sun can reveal the inquiry wrote to the telco at the weekend seeking complete call logs for at least one person of interest to the board.

The records would include incoming calls, as well as outgoing calls and text messages.

It is the first time the board, chaired by retired judge Jennifer Coate, has sought records directly from Telstra, and shows the inquiry is upping its efforts to unravel inconsistent or incomplete evidence given by several key officials.

Chris Eccles resigned after a renewed focus on his phone records.
Chris Eccles resigned after a renewed focus on his phone records.

This includes secretary of the Department of Premier and Cabinet Chris Eccles, who resigned on Monday after a renewed focus on his records showed he had called former chief commissioner of police Graham Ashton. He had previously given evidence to the inquiry that he had not called him.

Mr Ashton has also given two statements to the inquiry about his records, but they remain incomplete, with only outbound calls and some messages available.

A Telstra spokesman told the Herald Sun: "I can confirm that the inquiry has come in with a request.''

He could not answer further questions, such as whose records were sought, and under what legislation the request had been made.

Graham Ashton’s statements about his phone records are incomplete.
Graham Ashton’s statements about his phone records are incomplete.

The Sunday Herald Sun revealed on October 4 that the records were being held by Telstra but had not been made available to individuals due to legal questions arising from a tension between privacy laws and the Telecommunications (Interceptions and Access) Act 1979.

Mr Ashton and Mr Eccles had said they could only see outbound calls, and could not access their inbound calls.

It has not been explained how Mr Eccles came to discover an outbound call he made to Mr Ashton after he previously said he had checked his records and could find no such call.

The inquiry asked a number of individuals and agencies on Friday night to hand over calls records including Premier Daniel Andrews, members of his private staff and Mr Eccles.

Victoria Police was asked for further information, but not for call records.

 

Originally published as Hotel inquiry calls for Telstra phone records



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