Tuesday, January 16, 2007

This is so disgraceful, I'm going to have to use the c-word


There, I said it. I'm pretty sure it's the first time I've used it here.

If you go into Centrelink to lodge your dole form and you have what used to be known as a 'breach' - they have some new-fangled euphemistic phrase for it now, 'participation failure' or something - they won't process your form. They tell you that no one in the office can help you and they send you over to a phone to call some other place. The problem is you can't get through to the other place; you sit listing to hold music for a half an hour, or sometimes an hour and a half.

Sometimes there is someone in the office who can help you, but instead of getting to see them, they make you go over and ring them up. They make you sit out the front of the office talking on the phone to someone hiding in the back of the office.

You have to do this, or you won't get paid. Ever.

Centrelink used to pride themselves on 'customer' service. Now it seems they just don't care. They used to want to help people, now they make you talk to people sitting 10 metres away from you by phone. I'm sure it's so the staff don't get to see the people on the other end as people, just annoyances they can hang up on if they feel like it.

This is symptomatic of the contempt in which the Howard government holds unemployed people. It matches the contempt in which they hold employed people. (c.f. WorkChoices.) If you aren't an employer, they don't give a crap.


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