Saturday, June 10, 2006

KafkaLink,where you go in to drop off a form & may never be seen again. or not in this lunchtime ...

Centrelink is becoming decidedly creepy, as opposed to merely being depressing.
In a moment of blind faith in our public institutions, DH offered to duck over to Centrelink in her lunchtime to drop off her daughter's Pension Education Supplement form.
Her instincts should have told her something was wrong the minute she walked in the door. Where were the usual queues of her shuffling fellow desperates? Had they been shunted out the back to be turned into Soylent Green for export? Bussed off to Christmas Island to save on rental subsidies?
Instead, squarely in the centre of the floor, stood a squat grey machine.... surrounded by a seated circle of silent worshippers
The service desks were all deserted, but collaring a passing CSO, DH was told to push the "Student Allowances button", take a ticket from the maw of the grey beast, put her feet up and wait.
"How wonderful", thought DH. "Instead of having to stand in a queue for 10 minutes, I get to take the weight off my feet. Maybe our Government really does care about our comfort after all. :-)"!
ONE HOUR later....
Really. No kidding! Though many had waited, few were called.
One hour later. DH's number finally came up
But when she got to the desk, it turned out her number had the WRONG PREFIX and she was in the wrong queue.
She was told that she should have pushed the "Pensions" button.
But there was no "Pensions" button!!!. Good to see Catch 22 is alive and well in our Government departments. OK, there was an "Aged Pensions" button - but it hardly covered her disabled first year Uni student.
Finally, 90 minutes later, DH was finally able to drop off her form and get a receipt, a procedure which in itself took 30 seconds.
In passing she gleaned from the poor suffering Kafkalink staff, that this system had been imposed on them from Kanberra about a month earlier, they had repeatedly informed Cyentral Commyittee, that the system did not work, that it was a nightmare, but todate, Canberra has been unmoved.
It's all beginning to remind DH of her travels in the former Soviet Union, where you might queue for a day in front of an unmarked door, just to be told which other unmarked door you should be queuing in front of... But surely that sort of thing can't happen here under the auspices of our free market anti-bureaucratic anti-red Government???

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