Friday, January 6, 2017

Hell in a handbasket

Got to have faith: in PJK. Now there was a leader.

If you have had half an eye open in recent days you may - and should - have noticed that Centrelink is in meltdown. It's been sending letters to tens of thousands of people who received benefits but is questioning them whether they were eligible, because it is matching income data with data collected by the ATO but it's like comparing apples and oranges and nothing is adding up.

So in its wisdom the Federal Government thinks this is a great way to improve its bottom line - by clawing back money from those least able to pay, even if they owed it, which they mostly do not.

Twitter has gone into meltdown but the only response from our Government appears to be that everything is working well. It's actually been mesmerising to watch, because having worked in media and politics I keep expecting someone to own this problem, explain it and let everything return to normal. But no one has. Can you imagine getting an official letter from Centrelink a few days before Christmas stating that you need to prove that you were eligible for the benefits paid, sometimes up to six years ago? And then not being able to get through to Centrelink to explain your side of the matter.

Even if you didn't keep the paperwork, the Christmas/New Year break is no time to be doing official government business. Hell, I live in Canberra and the city is asleep between Christmas and Australia Day. Same every year.

The only other political headlines today were about a Minister buying an investment property - on impulse - but while in another state on official business and then an announcement by the Agriculture Minister to ban the importation of green prawns, something that the prawn industry has been seeking for a long time, but only happened today in the middle of two rather big crises/own goals.

I've been in the position for the past 14 months of probably being able to get assistance from Centrelink but every time I looked at its website I recoiled in horror as I knew my spirit would be crushed by doing business with this department. I feel for those suffering this immense strain. Wouldn't it be good to have some leadership on this rather than platitudes about how great it all is?

Do you think the PM is making sure all his MPs and Senators are having health check-ups?

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