8th Oct 2014
Centrelink customer service shake-up
Centrelink customer service shake-up

The Department of Human Services has been forced to compromise on its plan to have Testra phone operators answer Centrelink and Medicare phone lines after a legal challenge.

As revealed in the Canberra Times last month, the department and Telstra were working on plans to have telco employees move into two of the department’s call centres and answer calls from Centrelink and Medicare customers. This lead to the main public sector union, the CPSU, claiming that it was the start of privatisation of public service jobs, but the DHS responded that it was only a trial.

The union challenged the proposal at Fair Work Australian and the two sides, the union and Tesltra, met through mediation. Following mediation, the Union sent a briefing to all its members, claiming that the DHS had been forced to make a number of changes to its plans. "The CPSU has secured the department's commitment to address our concerns about its failure to fully disclose and consult with staff on its proposal to outsource DHS call centre work to Telstra," the union told its members.

"DHS has agreed to halt any further implementation of the proposal, take the 30 October commencement date off the table, meet with the CPSU to share more detailed information on this proposal and the business case to support it."

However, department spokesman Hank Jongen dismissed such claims stating that the department hadn’t yet made a decision as to whether it not it would continue with its plans.

There has been no decision made on the proposed partnership with Telstra and implementation has not commenced," Mr Jongen said.

"Therefore, there is no implementation to 'halt'.

"As no decision has been made, there is no fixed implementation date.

"We are committed to consulting with our staff and their representatives about the proposal.

"Consultation commenced on 17 September 2014 and is ongoing.

"The proposal, if implemented, would not result in a loss of jobs and no work or customer information would be sent offshore."

The union responded by saying there would be no let up in its campaign.

Read more at SMH.com.au.

Opinion: Dumbest idea ever!

Anyone who has ever tried to get a qualified Centrelink or Medicare customer service operator to answer their query or deal with their complaint over the phone will no doubt have felt their blood boil with frustration, so imagine my horror when I read that there were plans afoot to get that other well-known customer service provider (tongue in cheek) to assist those in need of help.

Seriously, ask any Tesltra customer who has ever tried to have a problem resolved and the testimonial for the telco will not be glowing.

Aside from the union issues and the privatisation of public service jobs, this underlines the lack of commitment companies and our government departments place on customer service. Tesltra employees are not trained to deal with customer complaints and queries, the same complaints and queries with which public service staff with years of experience find difficult to answer.

Usually by the time someone has picked up the phone to try and receive assistance, they’ve tried all other avenues to resolve their problem and picking up the phone really is the last resort. Throw in that often when calling Centrelink or Medicare that the customer is distressed about a medical or payment issue and this plan is simply littered with holes and incredibly poorly thought out.

Do you think this is a cost-cutting exercise destined to fail? Or should government departments be looking at ways to streamline their operations?





    COMMENTS

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    Mamacrystal
    8th Oct 2014
    11:08am
    Last contact (fairly recent) with a "Telstra Operator" turned out to be with someone based in the Philippines. What a great benefit that would be to Centrelink and Medicare problems/inquiries.....I don't think! The idea is a HUGE fail from me! Surely these jobs should be kept here.
    moke
    8th Oct 2014
    11:13am
    Mamacrystal I fully agree with you keep the jobs here and have English speaking people answer the phone with out an accent that makes it almost impossible to understand what they are saying.
    tia-maria
    8th Oct 2014
    12:32pm
    Mamacrystal, fully agree with your comment...........we need to keep Centrelink and Medicare Problems and inquiries in Australia??????????,................ as many operaters will be unqualify and unexperience for starters ........YET alone cant talk proper english................whats happening to our country????? we need to keep these personal details in our HomeLand Australia.
    Adrianus
    8th Oct 2014
    12:35pm
    People? Real people? The only thing to admire about the phone service is their sense of humour in promising to let you talk to a real person 'as soon as we blast your eardrums with some very loud music.'
    Then checking to see if you are still there every 5 minutes as the music gets louder. If you are still there after an hour somebody will wipe the tears from their eyes and regain there composure long enough to answer the phone.
    Adrianus
    8th Oct 2014
    12:42pm
    I say a better idea would be to hand it over to the phone operators/dispatchers at 000, who do an absolutely marvellous job. They can show Centerlink, medibank, Telstra, Foxtel a thing or 2 about effective communication.
    Joy B
    8th Oct 2014
    1:46pm
    I agree - it is hard enough to get a response at the best of times. Just because we need their services doesn't mean we can afford to be put on hold for an hour or so each time we want an answer or clarification. It would be even harder talking to someone who is not across the policies and guidelines and they wonder why some people don't bother telling them stuff.
    Gra
    8th Oct 2014
    2:40pm
    I couldn't agree more Frank with your comment about Emergency Services telephonists/dispatchers, the only problem being that not all had some time with Centrelink (or DSS as it was when I was there) like I did before getting into that role.
    While the majority of 000 operators (not the Telstra person who takes your initial call and then transfers you to your required service) are truly great at their job, they simply are not trained on all aspects of Centrelink policy and procedure as they would need to be to answer the myriad of questions they would be asked.
    Dotty
    8th Oct 2014
    9:01pm
    I agree again Mamacrystal !
    If they put them into a call centre it would end up in the Phillipines or India and we have enough of that from other big Companies that send their Business off shore and you cant understand a damn word they are saying just as they can't understand what you are trying to tell them about any problem!
    Dotty
    particolor
    8th Oct 2014
    9:12pm
    I got that annoyed with one of them one day, He asked Me if I was Becker ??
    Jorje
    8th Oct 2014
    11:15am
    You've hit the nail on the head about callers to Centrelink being distressed - we are talking about people who are more likely than not to be in dire financial situations - money needed to buy food or pay rent. It can be infuriating enough to get through to any organisation by phone these days, however it is usually not a matter of life or death if we are contacting QANTAS or our insurance company. Distress is compounded by the fact that Centrelink staff are also often confounded by changes in policies and systems which have been hastily cobbled together.
    Oars
    8th Oct 2014
    12:07pm
    A simple answer is to pay everyone a flat pension, and forget the messy "meaney's test" and "income test" . That would save huge blunders of overworked Centrelink staff. Then those C-Link staff can cross the road and get a job with ATO. Then everyone will pat tax at their particular marginal rate.
    niemakawa
    9th Oct 2014
    6:40pm
    I agree.
    Crazy Horse
    8th Oct 2014
    12:11pm
    Just employ enough staff to do the job Centrelink. I certainly don't want to deal with you through Telstra who have extreme difficulty sorting their own problems.
    particolor
    8th Oct 2014
    9:56pm
    Threaten them with Excommunication !!
    Oars
    10th Oct 2014
    7:39pm
    Crazy horse. Your sign has much merit. Keep it up you character .
    debs
    31st Oct 2014
    12:36pm
    the media is bad enough; but it's the politicians who have never had to exist in the REAL world that are the biggest problems!! They have never had to scrape for money to buy petrol or food (they have drivers and allowances and we pay them unreasonable amounts of money to make decisions they are not qualified to make
    How many ministers actually KNOW ANYTHING about their portfolios??
    Forget Telstra!! Centrelink is bad enough - i have a brain injury and i often have to explain THEIR jobs to them. Most of them haven't a clue!!
    particolor
    31st Oct 2014
    12:42pm
    And will remain in the Dark until the next Big Bang !!
    Gooch
    8th Oct 2014
    12:12pm
    Privacy will be eroded all over the country with unqualified Telstra operators knowing all of our finances etc. The most stupidest inane idea that a so called professional has ever come up with.
    Pass the Ductape
    8th Oct 2014
    1:15pm
    I have to agree with you Gooch! What in God's name are they trying to do? It's bad enough trying to sort out your problem with Centrelink as it is without having to deal with some unknown person from overseas who has no idea what you're on about. Not -with-standing the fact that I have no ambitions to explain my financial position or woes to some turkey with whom I have no idea as to what they are likely to do with the information they receive. Talk about qualifying for the dumbest idea this century. Those who dreamed up this bit of nonsense should find themselves another job.
    FrankC
    8th Oct 2014
    4:17pm
    I'm glad you said 'so called professionals'.
    tia-maria
    8th Oct 2014
    4:31pm
    Gooch and Ductape spot on very scarey indeed............Telstra have no real respect for their customers only thinking about the $$$$$$$ they can make
    Oars
    10th Oct 2014
    7:41pm
    Gooch. Most of our finances are known by "sworn-in-newcomers" anyway, so wot's the worry.
    debs
    31st Oct 2014
    12:49pm
    Why would we expect Telstra and Centrelink to have respect for their customers when the Prime Minister doesn't give a $%#@. except to keep raking in our money for HIS and his mates salaries. Cut (instead of INCREASING) THEIR pay and we wouldn't HAVE a deficit. The ordinary person has already given up the perks that the pollies have, PLUS we get blamed for the shortfall
    Look in your own backyard first before you start blaming the people you are SUPPOSED to represent.
    Dot
    8th Oct 2014
    12:22pm
    With all the scamming and rorting going around the world all our private information should be high priority here and no Government has the right to expose us to outside interests by outsourcing Australian jobs not to say that all our information is safe with the amount of foreigners working here. There are many employed in Government departments and banks, people who I do not trust. Yes the days of high security has gone and we have the Politicians to blame for that.
    particolor
    8th Oct 2014
    10:01pm
    Make them Walk the Plank !!
    niemakawa
    9th Oct 2014
    6:42pm
    Because we have allowed them (the politicians) to do so. Reason: self-interest by the general voter.
    Oars
    10th Oct 2014
    7:43pm
    Dot's right Dot. These newcomers have little reason to keep your info secret. They have very little scrutiny on what they chat about at the local mosque.
    particolor
    31st Oct 2014
    12:59pm
    I think they just learnt the topic of Conversation that goes on there !! Yesterday !!..
    patrick
    8th Oct 2014
    12:24pm
    Calling Telstra or Centrelink, you can expect t be kept
    On hold indefinitely. Of you have a home phone,
    Its not too bad, but if you have a mobile, the charges
    Mount up because of the time you are kept on hold.
    I gave up calling these time wasters. Best to
    Get to their offices and do you query or your
    Phone bill and blood pressure wold go up.
    Ageing but not Old
    8th Oct 2014
    5:23pm
    Let's not forget that they are one of the 'coolest' places around during the really hot days of the Summer! So if your don't have A/C, or want to save money spent on powering your A/C during the hottest parts of the day, go sit in a Centrelink office when you need to get a query/problem solved. And the bonus is you get to talk to a real, live person, even if what you hear is not to your liking.
    Oars
    10th Oct 2014
    7:47pm
    Patrick. If the phone "delays" were used in a private business, that business would soon go broke. But if it's the public service, then that's OK- right???? Wrong. We are too apathetic. These mobs have monopolies and they sure know it. If there was more competition with more telco's then we would have cheaper phone bills. We are almost the dearest telco in the world. Please check this out if you don't believe me.
    Blossom
    8th Oct 2014
    12:38pm
    As if Telstra Call Centre are going to be able to answer Centrelink and Medicare Queries.
    Some don't even know how some of their own systems work. A large part of it is done from overseas
    mrs macca
    8th Oct 2014
    12:43pm
    I really worry about the duffers that come up with these ill thought out plans and I am astounded that others can be found in the Govt ranks to support them!!! The money wasted on stupid schemes would be mind blowing I think.
    Gooch
    8th Oct 2014
    12:54pm
    AMEN to that thought
    tia-maria
    8th Oct 2014
    4:33pm
    Just goes to show us all what our damm POLITICIANS get up to????????????........... allowing our personal details............. being allowed for these overseas operators to have control of.
    Jude
    8th Oct 2014
    12:49pm
    Since my initial 'retirement appointment' a few years ago I have never visited or rung Centrelink; If I have something about which I need to notify them I write a letter. Works for me, but then I've never had an emergency situation where I've had to personally speak to someone from Centrelink. After experiences trying to explain a telephone fault to overseas-based Telstra operators I would never ever ring Centrelink if it meant going through a Telstra operator. Mail would be quicker anyway!
    Jules
    8th Oct 2014
    12:54pm
    It's hard enough to get anything done over the phone, at least at the moment, where Medicare & Centrelink are concerned, we are talking to Aussie call centres........Heaven help us if we have to talk to a Philippino or Indian call centre. Doesn't matter how efficient they may seem, it's the language barrier. The older I get the harder it is to understand them especially when they have a thick accent. C'mon guys; life is hard enough without making it any harder just to save money. I wouldn't mind if some of the money saved flowed back to us Centrelink & Medicare customers, but it goes straight into Govt coffers and we poor old pensioners don't see much of it. I love the way they (Govt) crow about it when they give us a $5 rise. Whoopee......I think I'll take a trip to Hawaii next week.....not! What the Hell can you do with $5 these days.....barely buys a cup of coffee; forget about some cake or a scone to go with it. And I don't want to hear what some smarty pants can do with $5 worth of minced meat. I've heard it all before. Tough luck if you don't like minced meat. Leave us alone to get on with things the best we can without making it any harder.
    Pass the Ductape
    8th Oct 2014
    1:32pm
    Jules - despite all the hype about how the pensioner of today has helped this country to take a strong grip in the world; so that those working today can enjoy a much better life style - those in control, frankly, couldn't care less. They will do everything possible to get us into the grave; the quicker the better - and the cheaper the better.
    particolor
    8th Oct 2014
    9:54pm
    Dirt's Cheap ! Ask the Chinese !!
    Oars
    10th Oct 2014
    7:50pm
    Jules. you hit the nail (or language barrier) on the head. We are too tolerent to these offshore mumblers. Keep the work here, and screen the appliacnts on a regular basis.
    Tom Tank
    8th Oct 2014
    12:57pm
    This tends to smack of the Government's mindless drive to privatise everything. It is just blind ideological nonsense.
    Pass the Ductape
    8th Oct 2014
    1:20pm
    Hank Jongen - time to quit buddy! If you think there is any merit in this stupid idea, then all I can say is you need to retire whilst you still have some of your normal faculties intact.
    particolor
    8th Oct 2014
    5:32pm
    I'm sure Pollies think that When You Retire Your Brain goes to Sleep ??
    Don't answer that !!
    Oars
    10th Oct 2014
    7:51pm
    Particolor. You are assuming that Pollies even CARE wot we think. You are too kind.
    downunder
    8th Oct 2014
    1:23pm
    You talk about customer service with Centrlink? You got to be joking, waiting 60-90 minutes or being cut off half-way though your call, then having to rejoin the waiting line again from scratch. It is the most miserable customer treatment I have ever experienced. If you are lucky and get to talk to a human person, they normally are friendly and helpful. It is wholly fault of the organisation. Telstra is a completely different matter, half the time you need a translator to understand what's about, but then you don't have to wait half a day to get someone on the line.
    All in all it stinks.
    Oars
    10th Oct 2014
    7:53pm
    Again. Why do we put up with this turmoil? It seems that the C-Link mob think we are all criminals or embesselers or money launderers. Wot a farse.
    debs
    31st Oct 2014
    1:00pm
    even if you go in person to Centrelink you're flat out getting anyone to actually DO anything. For 3 years i have been taking mail TO Centrelink for child support non payment (i opened it to check) for someone who doesn't live here!!!
    So that is Child Support AND Centrelink who haven't noticed that this guy is not where he says FOR 3 YEARS. Finally had enough and am going in today to see a supervisor and watch while they sort it out. Have to go in anyway and it's a bit hot and i could use the entertainment - the person at the front always wants to know why you are there - will sit until i have a supervisor to talk to. Minions are a waste of my time at this point. i'm now a grumpy old lady and have the patience to do this. I even drag a chair over to sit on in the queue (and brought one over for another lady once) they don't like it, but makes a point
    particolor
    31st Oct 2014
    1:16pm
    You are Advancing in the Queue !! Your Whinge is Important to us ! Please move Your Chair forward !!
    MITZY
    8th Oct 2014
    1:58pm
    In yesterday's SMH the article indicates the CPSU says that while the actions they have taken with Fair Work Commission might SLOW the DHS proposal down, it doesn't stop it. There is ongoing communications.

    So, the CPSU is asking all of its members to sign a petition to DHS (Secretary) Kathryn Campbell to ask her to stop outsourcing DHS work to Telstra or any other external organisation. MAYBE WE, AS INDIVIDUALS, SHOULD WRITE A LETTER TO CENTRELINK OR OUR LOCAL MP showing our disdain for this crazy proposal.

    The CPSU is quite a strong union working for its members and protecting their jobs.

    We know our current government is only interested in helping private enterprise BIG business (and not even private enterprise SMALL business) and is drastically reducing public service jobs, and to have the CPSU going into bat for these workers is a case in point that we do need "good" unions. The fact that Coalition governments always end up conducting Royal Commissions into Unions shows why they are desperately needed for the average workers of Australia who find it difficult at times to make themselves heard.
    I should add that I have never been a union member of any union and only worked in the public service sector in my very first job after leaving school.

    The government is not popular and yet it seems to antagonise all and sundry (especially pensioners).

    Pensioners and welfare recipients need good services from government departments and because their information is personal it should be protected by the Oath that public servants take not to disclose any information on their particulars. Telstra call centre operators would'nt know the meaning of an Oath.
    KSS
    8th Oct 2014
    1:59pm
    According to Mr David Thodey the CEO of Telstra in August 2014, there will be no call centres in five years. According to him what currently goes through a call centre will be done via the internet and smart phones. He uses the banks as his example posing the question how often do people call or go to the bank today - most banking now done on-line.

    So if Mr Thodey is right, all this angst about "will-there-won't-there-be-a-Telstra-run-call-centre-and-if-so-where-will-it-be" will all be for nothing.
    Anonymous
    8th Oct 2014
    3:15pm
    Hope the govt will supply all of us with computers and smart phones free of charge!
    particolor
    8th Oct 2014
    5:41pm
    After the latest Telstra Scam on the Net I think anyone Doing any Banking or Bill Paying on line Is just another Customer Waiting to Donate !!
    Cleo
    8th Oct 2014
    2:10pm
    The other big issue that hasn't been mentioned is privacy. Would the Telstra employees/overseas contractors have access to the individual's personal and sensitive information. My contact with Centrelink is that they want to answer in the context of the individual's circumstances which is understandable. And even with trained Centrelink staff my experience has been that it's difficult to get consistent answers when talking to different staff, and that I needed to know the exact question to ask otherwise I was not given complete information. While the call centre staff need help, this is not the way to do it.
    Frisby
    8th Oct 2014
    2:53pm
    The issues with privacy absolutely terrify me. At Centrelink the security is very strict and non-compliance, or inappropriate disclosure of ones personal information, can lead to instant arrest. These records must not be accessed by anyone unless they have security clearances as they can cause terrible problems, especially to clients from other cultures where this type of payment is frowned upon. I am appalled and would take this to court if I was on payments and had the fear of disclosure hanging over my head.
    Sen.Cit.90
    8th Oct 2014
    2:54pm
    Mamacrystal;
    This a HUGE FAIL from me also. My last contact with Telstra also was with an Asian accented person whom I had to ask to speak slower and cleares.
    Sen.Cit.90
    8th Oct 2014
    2:59pm
    Oops,Clearer.
    Incidentally; my complaint to Telstra was concerning daily scam phone calls from male and female Asian accented voices.
    FrankC
    8th Oct 2014
    4:16pm
    Yeah Sen Cit, I get these calls from some bloke in Mumbai or somewhere in India, telling me there is a problem with my computer; when I reply and say, which one, we have two computers here, mine or my wife's, the little bastard rings off
    particolor
    8th Oct 2014
    7:48pm
    Tell them You haven't got a Computer ! But while You are on the line can You fix My Microwave Oven ??
    KSS
    8th Oct 2014
    7:57pm
    Or tell them you have an Apple Mac!
    particolor
    8th Oct 2014
    8:03pm
    makes My Jam Tart look Ordinary ?
    talofa
    8th Oct 2014
    3:01pm
    I don't use the telephone anymore...I either go to the centre or online..Talofa (75y) talofa
    MarLin
    8th Oct 2014
    3:15pm
    Good for you, Talofa. I also go to the local centre at first, but when they say they can't answer my question (increasingly, since the staff cuts), I use THEIR phone, turn on the loudspeaker so I can hear them answer without having the phone stuck in my ear for half an hour or more, then read the paper while I'm waiting to be connected to the "higher authority"! It would all be a joke if it wasn't so potentially tragic!
    Macey05
    8th Oct 2014
    3:05pm
    I was part time ongoing and we only had two weeks training, where as the full timers have initially about 6-8weeks and the training was ongoing. Sadly amongst some of the full time Public servants they were off the phones because of STRESS.
    We were trained not to judge but its a bit off putting when someone curses on and calls your mother a daughter of a WH...E (thats one of the tame ones) when the customers sense of entitlement is not satisfied.
    I have heard the good the bad and the ugly and cannot imagine Telstra operators even understanding what the persons needs actually are???? A number of calls are prompted by irresponsible TV shows like Current Affair and the like, misquoting a benefit, and the customer is not in that entitlement group, or the person didnt really know or understand the system
    Incidentally most of the non-ongoing were put off, and the CPSU were absolutely not help whatsoever.
    Maybe they can just get full time TRAINED staff and be done with it, would save the return calls and muck ups to peoples benefits and payments in the long run. Maybe they can do a Razor Gang on the higher ups (Management) and get staff who can actually help the public understand.
    MarLin
    8th Oct 2014
    3:22pm
    Not sure if everyone understands it, but when I worked at Telstra the call centre (Front of House) staff worked from scripts - they were not encouraged to think for themselves or 'chaos' could ensue (imagine if all the different call centre staff gave their own interpretations of a problem and its solution/s to all those different customers - yikes!). So the problem is not the call centre staff per se, it's the sub-standard material they're given to work with!
    Macey05
    8th Oct 2014
    6:42pm
    Very true, no proper training these days, hasnt been for a while.
    KSS
    8th Oct 2014
    8:00pm
    Well Macey05, that is exactly the 'sense of entitlement' this current government wants to change.
    particolor
    8th Oct 2014
    8:11pm
    They want to make Your Pension Payments Payable to the Politicians Pension Entitlement Fund !!I think ??
    niemakawa
    8th Oct 2014
    8:24pm
    Well one has to be charitable and it would be for a good cause.
    particolor
    8th Oct 2014
    8:33pm
    Yep Its for their Days of Wine and Roses !!
    lindy
    8th Oct 2014
    3:21pm
    What a ridiculous idea; its hard enough now to get through and when you do, you want information that id correct. I always find the people well trained. Telstra calls now go to Manilla etc, is this what we will get?
    particolor
    8th Oct 2014
    7:34pm
    OH ! Good !! Manilla is just down the road From Here !!

    8th Oct 2014
    3:57pm
    Privatise the damn thing

    How can government run anything efficiently - impossible.

    Leave it to the private sector to make payments and answer queries under a lump sum tender to private enterprise
    niemakawa
    8th Oct 2014
    6:48pm
    Maybe Governments should be privatised. No taxes but all services and welfare payments provided by donations through the public. Way to go !?!?
    Anonymous
    8th Oct 2014
    7:21pm
    Now you're just being stupid.

    But ALL government service departments SHOULD be privatised.

    Government focus on Governing - ie set laws and policies. Service delivery should be in the hands of private enterprise - employ the most efficient and effective companies to provide the service with strict contract performance management regimes in place.
    niemakawa
    8th Oct 2014
    7:25pm
    Don't take life so seriously, you'll be dead before you know it. Mr Packer fro PM, that will put a "free" spin on things.
    particolor
    8th Oct 2014
    7:52pm
    Cant wait till they Privatize the Army, Navy and Air Force !! That's about all that is left now Anyhow ??
    Anonymous
    8th Oct 2014
    8:41pm
    Particolor - imagine if the USA employed a mercernary army to annihialate ISIS.
    The job would have been done and dusted 3 months ago.
    Bin laden would have been shot dead on September 12th a date after twin tower plane crashes
    Well perhaps a couple of months later, but you get my drift
    particolor
    8th Oct 2014
    8:51pm
    I do !! As a lot of Mercenaries have no Mercy !!.. Job Done Where's the Loot ??
    Kevie from Buderim
    8th Oct 2014
    4:07pm
    Why outsource at all??? Is this not our country?
    Why not train our senior citizens who would love to have a job then employ them on a "work from home arrangement".
    These people would love to assist and have the time and the motivation to do an excellent job. Employ enough of them to ensure that waiting times are reduced then sit back and watch the increased efficiency and customer satisfaction. These people could educate bureaucrats the true meaning of "caring"...
    LHC
    8th Oct 2014
    4:39pm
    What a brilliant idea. All the experience older people have would be a benefit. I wish someone would do this
    musicveg
    8th Oct 2014
    5:21pm
    Great idea but who would take up the offer considering the abuse you get. It would have to be well paid.
    Kevie from Buderim
    8th Oct 2014
    5:33pm
    The people who have worked from the age of 16 till the age of 66 have 40 years of accumulated "people skills". It would give some of them the opportunity to work till 70 and beyond from the relative comfort of their own home. I dare say that many of them would have a quiet chuckle at some of the curved balls tossed at them.
    I believe that our elderly are better able to analyse and empathise with the needs of others than foreigners in an offshore call centre.
    particolor
    8th Oct 2014
    5:48pm
    Great Idea but One Problem !! They would want us to VOLUNTEER !!..
    And Yes to Music and Kevie
    Ageing but not Old
    8th Oct 2014
    5:52pm
    It IS a great idea: I once applied for a job working at home for a small private business firm that had 24/7365 phone lines. It took some technological items/actions to be handled, but most people with land lines/home phones and a PC/Mac or laptop could be connected. How it would work on a very large scale... I don't know. But lots of large companies around the world have staff that WFH/telecommute, so it seems possible. Re: confidentiality; well, I used to work in two different Commonwealth Gov Departments. One was downsized and morphed, but we used to work closely with DSS/C'link, and sometimes when I go into my C'link offices, I see people whom I knew from those days. So much for your neighbours knowing your business. The other Department had one of the strictest privacy/confidentiality restrictions of all, to which I am still bound! That can be handled as well as it can for employees in offices by careful screening of applicants and thorough, rigourous vetting of people (i.e. National Police Clearances.
    FrankC
    8th Oct 2014
    4:09pm
    What about customer confidentiality. I presume they have thought about the signing of the appropriate government forms !!! If you ring up, you wouldn't know who you were talking to, it could be someone in your street. What a waste of time.As always , decisions are made without any consultation with the people who are going to be affected by this stupid action.And yes mamacrystal, I have had the 'pleasure' of talking to someone in the phillipines before now. I was so fed up with it I asked to speak to someone else because this person couldn't understand me, and I couldn't understand her. I told her if she wants to keep that job, go and take English lessons as I was going to report her to the company here in Australia via email.
    particolor
    8th Oct 2014
    6:01pm
    I copped the same Frank ! But I never entered the Fine Detail like You did !!.
    I told Her that I didn't speak Russian, and what am I doing in the Philippines when I only bought a ticket to Sydney ??
    Sweet pea
    8th Oct 2014
    4:16pm
    I couldn't agree more with the stupidity of it. I have had so many dealings with Telstra over the years where I have reached the point of wanting to hang up the phone. Do they intend to have operators that have gone through a course in understanding the language? Plus, I am fed up with the operators who keep apologising every time I make a comment!!!
    particolor
    8th Oct 2014
    7:43pm
    "Sorry !!!"
    AlbertC
    8th Oct 2014
    4:24pm
    IMAGINE RINGING TELSTRA AND GETTING DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES AND CENTRELINK AND IMAGINE THE HEADLINES FOR THE HACKERS PICKING UP ON ALL THOSE DETAILS THEY WOULD HAVE FIELD DAY AND THEIR WOULD BE NO END TO THE SPAM YOU WOULD GET.NO THANKS LEAVE WELL ENOUGH ALONE .HAVE A NICE DAY
    Sweet pea
    8th Oct 2014
    4:26pm
    As for Centrelink I'm still amazed when I personanally updated all my information at their office, printed it out, sat down with one of the interviewers, showed the update and left confidently knowing I have done the right thing. I have was wrong because I received 2 phone calls and strict letter telling me I haven't updated my details. Eventually after being spoken to rudely on the phone, I did receive an apology from them. Hate to think what would have happened if I updated either via phone or online?
    Sweetlittle
    8th Oct 2014
    4:56pm
    Heaven help us! After suffering Telstra and ongoing ineptitude for many years, I now refuse to be associated with them. Now you think they are capable of handling Centrelink and Medicare? I don't think so!
    particolor
    8th Oct 2014
    5:22pm
    Pleas Hold the Line ! Your call is Important to us !! You have Progressed in the Queue !!..
    "GREENSLEEVES"...
    particolor
    8th Oct 2014
    6:44pm
    Or was that the Power Company ?? Both I think ??
    midnight
    8th Oct 2014
    6:12pm
    It is not the staff at Centrelink, it is the system. Sending an email is an absolute waste of time, a phone call required two hours to be set aside in the vain hope of getting through. a drive to an office means worry over finding a park because it may take hours to speak to anyone, and as for the 'Job Service non-providers'? What a joke that is. How clever of someone to at least come up with a way for small companies to pretend to be working for the public. Telstra. The nightmare to end all nightmares. Try living in a country area.
    retroy
    8th Oct 2014
    6:14pm
    The best thing I ever did since I retired was to ditch Telstra.
    They stuffed up my bill and when they said they would fix it they didn't.
    Go to a small internet and phone supplier who have a personal touch, and then you do not wait on the phone being told "your call is important to us" before being cut off and having to start again. When you managed to speak to some one in the Philippines it was hard to understand them with their accent, but most of the ones I struck were well meaning.
    It is now great, and if enough people cut Telstra then they will have to give proper service to survive in the real world.
    P.S. it was also only two thirds the price charged by Telstra.
    Centrelink is better dealt with in person, if you have the patience to wait a long time.
    particolor
    8th Oct 2014
    6:40pm
    One or Three of My best Experiences with Telstra were Getting a nice Indian Tecky on line to fix a Computer Error !! I couldn't understand any of them so I put the Computer under My arm and took it down the Street to Telstra's Office !!..I got it Fixed !!( Their Errors Mind You).. And Your not Wrong !! Their Charges are Abominable !
    niemakawa
    8th Oct 2014
    6:43pm
    I agree Telstra operators are not the answer. My experience with Centelink call centre operators has been been without fault. Some areas of Centrelink offer a call back service and I have availed myself of this on a number of occasions and have never been disappointed. The staff have been very helpful and always followed up any enquiry I had made. Also I find the on-line service provides a great deal of information about upcoming and past payments and other details. Uploading documents is easy and you always have a record of it on the system. I hope the good service that I have received will continue.
    particolor
    8th Oct 2014
    7:38pm
    Yes The On Line service is the Best ..Get a Full Security Clearance and it is even Better !!
    particolor
    8th Oct 2014
    7:56pm
    Don't Forget The Full Eclipse Of The Moon Tonight 9.25pm EST , that is for Sydney !! Find Your own time for it !! Just Google.. What Time Moon Eclipse Australia ..OK ??..
    BLOOD MOON....
    niemakawa
    8th Oct 2014
    8:23pm
    "Don't go around tonight. Well, it's bound to take your life. There's a bad moon on the rise"
    particolor
    8th Oct 2014
    8:31pm
    Doot Doot Doo Lookin Out MAR Back Door !!
    niemakawa
    8th Oct 2014
    7:53pm
    Love thy Centrelink and he will love thee.
    particolor
    8th Oct 2014
    7:58pm
    Go to the other Blog and You will get a CUDDLE for that !!
    Mitch
    8th Oct 2014
    8:17pm
    Of course this government believes that yet again another inefficient business such as Telstra, can take over the complete inefficiently functioning department of Human Services. Only a completely obnoxious group of people with total ignorance to the facts. DHS is the worst department to ever have to deal with, at least Medicare functioned, now they have been joined with Centrelink, god alone knows were the rational came from. Yet again another total stuff up and waste of good tax payer dollars, well this is how governments operate, come in change what isn't broken, and completely stuff it up. Wouldn't they be far better off, creating more jobs. Then maybe there wouldn't be so many people on centrelink.
    bookwyrm
    8th Oct 2014
    11:52pm
    DSP Centrelink line is never answered anymore since Abbott got in. Even if you hang on for an hour or two it‘s lucky if you get through. Before you could get through in a few minutes. Now you have to go in to the office where they are not as nice as thny used to be. Orders from Abbott govt I suppose - make them suffer!
    rob101
    9th Oct 2014
    2:33am
    FYI Frank ,000 Phone operators are employed by Telstra,either directly or through an Employment agency,on Contracts.A friend of mine has been a 000. Operator for 2 years.

    Robert 101
    Kezzo
    9th Oct 2014
    4:17am
    The DHS should not be allowed to make regulations.... They may suggest to the ministers office but not be allowed to implement any without it either going through Aussie Parlm. or at the very least the ministers office ....
    I know for a fact that many regulations the DHS has impounded on age pensioners alone are not fully notified to the minister or his office knows nothing about them..
    particolor
    9th Oct 2014
    8:53am
    I Know Nussing !!
    speakup
    9th Oct 2014
    5:11am
    Once again our employees (Government Public Servants) know whats best for us without asking our Opinion
    rob101
    9th Oct 2014
    5:41am
    All 000 operators both first and second contact are Telstra employees,either directly or through an employment agency.
    Robert 101
    particolor
    9th Oct 2014
    8:44am
    I think I'm a Telstra Employee !! Because I'm sure I'm paying somebody's Wages ??
    unicorn
    9th Oct 2014
    9:46am
    Inmy upinion they have never offered a true customer SERVICE.
    particolor
    9th Oct 2014
    6:50pm
    But don't forget to pay Your Bill !!
    mel
    9th Oct 2014
    10:08am
    I waited 35 mins for last contact with centrelink. and even then my questions were prompted by voice mail, can it really get much worse what is wrong with good old fashioned operators?
    particolor
    9th Oct 2014
    6:53pm
    They found the Medical Profession was Better !! More Money !!
    FrankC
    9th Oct 2014
    10:13pm
    They bought a Jeep !!
    particolor
    9th Oct 2014
    10:21pm
    Yes Frank They bought a Freekin Jeep !!
    professori_au
    9th Oct 2014
    12:43pm
    This proposal is a breach of privacy and confidentiality. Also it proposes to hand over clients details to a private company, which notoriously has a reputation of passing on the information (at least names and addresses. I dealt with Telstra years ago and found it to be one of the most incompetent organisations to deal with. with call centres going off shore it is impossible to get a straight answer to questions and frequently the operator resorts to attempts to bully the client. I would prefer Telstra come back into the hands of government and become a public utility with jobs remaining in Australia. Neither Telstra or Centre link are at present user friendly. It assumes everyone is computer literate. This problem is extending right across the board of corporations and government departments and as the government continues with its policy of dumbing down the public by cutting education I suspect it is the intention that what the public does not know they will not care, so we can introduce changes for the benefit of the few. Our government is not the de jure government but a corporation registered in the USA and accountable to the USA. It is time for a return to the lawful government,( we the people) where the parliament is the servant elected to carry out the Will of the people and not the factional interest of the political parties or the foreign corporations they have contracted with or signed agreement s without the approval of the people
    aly_rob60
    9th Oct 2014
    12:45pm
    How ironic, that the department that is supposed to be helping us find jobs, is trying to get rid of more of their own staff!!!
    professori_au
    10th Oct 2014
    12:27am
    It is interesting when our "little mate" Joe Hockey advises 16-35s to go where the work is. However, he does not provide the information. That is one issue.
    The next is working for the dole. It is nice that the Federal government has decided to employ all unemployed people, However, he does not explain the rate of pay, except it will be 25 or 28 hours per week. Hmmm! I expect the government would only pay the minimum rate of pay (You are lucky to be exploited and have a job:( ) I wonder what the hourly rate works out. A floor sweeper's minimum rate would be so much but an engineer's rate would be different and so on. Next will these "employees" be covered by workCare or will that be tough luck if you are injured? The will the government contribute as an employer into the superannuation fund, i.e. one contribution is the present government contribution applicable across the board and then the employer's contribution. What about other benefits applicable to those in employment in the private sector. The suggestion that commercial employer's will employ the dole" employee to record and collate the job applications. this is clerical work. what is the rate and other associated award conditions? The past parliaments have done an excellent job of selling or destroying businesses and industry so there is no work available and the unemployed can be exploited. As an advocate I hear of many cases. One example was a disabled chap. He had several medical problems and was designated as unemployed. Well he was registered with a "Charity" who placed him in a job in its organisation that he told me paid $4.80 per hour. I said this seemed to below the award rate. He told me that he was allowed to keep his disability pension and the organisation told him they intended to review his work in 6 or 12 months time. I asked when that was and he replied 4 years ago. This person was a qualified Telstra technician until his health became a problem. The charity was a registered job placement agency and receives a subsidy for placing him a job. That is not the end of it. The organisation is a registered training provider and he was told he had to attended a training course. I asked what was the course and he replied virtually a "nothing " course. The other students in his class were intellectually disable and some could not speak and were unable to communicate, others due to their condition had no ability read or write yet were expected to attend. The organisation receives a training subsidy for each student. No wonder some of these "charities are becoming exceedingly wealth, investing in all sorts of wealth creation. I believe it is time for a royal commission into what these corporations posing as charities are doing with our tax dollars and are they delivering a service to benefit the people they are supposed to help or are they just in the revenue collections business?
    particolor
    10th Oct 2014
    9:32am
    Yes !...
    Roger.C
    9th Oct 2014
    12:55pm
    It's an outrage! WHY is the word 'Telstra' only spelled correctly 3 out of the 10 times it appears in this article!!
    particolor
    9th Oct 2014
    2:36pm
    Some folks like to Spill things Wrong to avoid Libel !! Well that's what they think Anyhow ??.. And I checked for Spilling errors and only found too !!
    particolor
    9th Oct 2014
    2:40pm
    And Your not Outraged anymore, You are Offended !!. Its the New Way now !! Since the Take over !!
    nico
    9th Oct 2014
    3:09pm
    It is extremely difficult, with all the red tape and changes to get online with Centrelink. One minute it is one way and the next time you are left up in the air because they have changed their mode of communication. Frankly, I am no whizz when it comes to the computer; my learning goes back to the times of mental arithmetic, spelling and dictation but I wish for old timers like myself, we didn't have to go through Dr Who to point us to his ways. Please simplify contacts so you don't have to scroll until the sun rises next day.
    particolor
    9th Oct 2014
    3:49pm
    Its the same at all call Centres now You get the Seven (DEAD) Seas Scrolls !!..
    Now listen carefully as our Options have changed recently ! If you want Mr Maggoo push the ? key ! Bla Bla !!.... And for all other Inquiries push 92 key !! . To repeat this Message push !... I want Me Mummy !!

    9th Oct 2014
    4:47pm
    I have my phone and broadband wuith Telstra and changing my plan has resulted in loss of account. And have been trying to get it up and running for 3 weeks having exhausted all Telstra avenues - think a miracle needed. Every time I get email with details and fonfirmation of plan nothing attached or on it re plan and my account says no account. Polite people but their English is lacking and I am now sitting back having had a "top up" free allowed 3 times a year when over-run, as my changeover is 10th Oct and wait to see if billed and what happens. Please forget using them for Centrelink/Medicare. Must be Aussies. Not racist but other countries used are not first language English speakers so not able to follow our vernacular. Can imagine too medical or pay problems are far more emotional.
    professori_au
    10th Oct 2014
    12:02am
    I would suggest it is time to take it to the Communication ombudsman and lodge a complain. Perhaps also ACCC as it seems to me there is a breach of contract as Telstra id failing to deliver the service you have paid for. Have you checked you internet option or your networking option because this may be the cause as to why you are connecting. Have extreme doubts about the ability of Tekstra to assist based on my experience, especially now that you are dealing with people off shore. That is why I use a server that despite buying space from Optus, provides me with an excellent service and support. If I have a problem I just contact them and I can rest assured they will solve it for me. Sometimes the problem is not with the server but with the program I am using, so one would not expect the server support to be involved, yet many times they have rung me back and told me that if I do so and so, it will fix the problem. How is that for service. AND I AM CONTACTED WITH AN AUSTRALIAN TECHNICIAN.
    Mamacrystal
    10th Oct 2014
    11:12am
    Big Val....try DEMANDING (firm but polite) to speak with an Australian operator. I have just had a second experience with a Phillipines operator and they told me that they are being used because if we have a natural disaster here, our service would not be affected (to them).....I nearly burst out laughing on the phone! but I was busy sobbing!!If the disaster was so bad that our local services were out (I am talking landline here) how did she think I would connect to her country? Next time I will definitely not speak with them.
    retroy
    10th Oct 2014
    2:04pm
    Just go to another service provider
    It will be cheaper
    It will be more efficient
    It will be less stressful
    It will be great.
    I did, and I am glad
    niemakawa
    9th Oct 2014
    6:45pm
    "Ring ring why don't you give me a call..."
    particolor
    9th Oct 2014
    6:58pm
    Please Hold ! While I put You through to the First Available Operator !!......
    4 Hours Later !! "Your Call is Important to us ................."
    niemakawa
    9th Oct 2014
    7:08pm
    "Oh you got to Hold on, Hold on You got to hold on
    Take my hand, I'm standing right here
    You gotta hold on"
    particolor
    9th Oct 2014
    7:24pm
    And He Held !! and 2 hours later and 45 Songs He never wants to hear again as long as He lives He got someone who said Please Hold while I transfer You through to another Department !! WTF ??
    niemakawa
    9th Oct 2014
    7:36pm
    'Never let me go, never let me go.
    Never let me go, never let me go.

    I am the Centre of your link
    Not Senile Yet!
    20th Oct 2014
    3:10pm
    Would not be surprised to learn the this is what they do in America with their Social Services Customer Service Phone queries....as they out source everything to Private Enterprises and cut every ones pay packet as they do it.
    Yes it costs the Government Less!!!
    But will it be a better performance or better value for money for the Customer???? If the American System is anything to go by.....then the answer is outright NO!
    Not to mention giving people outside the Government acces to your Personal History and details....Has caused every Government who ever implemented such changes an absolute NIght mare with regards to invasion of privacy information.
    Just a method or idea put forward by Management to the Government to save Money (Public Servants cost more than Private sector outsourced contract workers) and pay people less!!!
    COMPLETELY against it simply because it is a copy cat idea!!!!
    Besides...our Current System is not only Inadequate ...it is already understaffed and inefficient!
    Our Governments need to stop trying to buck pass off their responsibility to create a better and more efficient system!!!
    To do that .....One needs to SPEND MONEY....not cut back the spending by outsourcing!!!!
    particolor
    20th Oct 2014
    3:22pm
    Watch Becker on You/Tube in America, when He Rings a Government Department !!.
    Its Hilarious !!.. I would like to be on the other end !!..And that's what it is here now already ??..Thanks Again !!
    professori_au
    6th Jan 2017
    6:25pm
    Those who entered public service did so, accepting a lower pay because they had a good career path.
    since the beginning of the '90's governments have privatised services and put public servants on contract gradually reducing the entitlements.
    Executive management has continued to get massive increases because they have politicised the public service. Most of the grunt work is still being done by people whose wages are getting lower. Don't be hoodwinked by the claims by senior managements. They are just licking the boots of their political bosses. The politicians must have the shiniest boots in history, I am apolitical and don't trust any political party with their self interested and an agenda that does not reflect the will of the people. I have challenged many on the law and the constitution and found out how little they know. As long as they do what the political factions demands they are generally assured of re elections chances.
    professori_au
    31st Oct 2014
    7:54pm
    Soloman.
    You ask the question how can the government run an organisation competently. The government did run a competent system until the public service was privatised and corporatized. Most departments are no long government departments but trading corporations. They are no longer interested in providing service and would rather outsource e.g. DHS and similar to the corporate charities and pay them to keep the public out of the governments hair. Remember this has been done without the authority of the lawful government. Government has been high jacked by a corporation called the Commonwealth of Australia Corporation registered in Washington USA and accountable to USA law and its revenue department. Since the political parties and their faction have taken control Australia has been steadily sold off to foreign powers. When questioned by too many people these corporations make a new law to block public accountability and transparency. How has this been achieved. Since approximately 1974 teaching the Commonwealth Constitution has been removed from the school curriculum and replaced by a citizenship model. Citizenship is not about your rights but about how the corporation considers how you will behave and what rights it may assign to you (if any). Did you approve via a referendum to give up your rights under the Commonwealth constitution, which is common law based and become an asset of a corporation without any rights whatsoever? I did not, nor my children. These politicians have acted treasonously and will not be brought to heel until we, the people demand that they return to the lawful government (you and I, the people) where parliament is our servant; not the other way around. People are now starting to speak out and that is a good sign but at the moment we need everyone to speak out.
    professori_au
    31st Oct 2014
    8:27pm
    Not senile yet. Hi.
    The government alleges we are in debt, yet goes and borrows approx. $500M to fix the problem.
    Now we are even further in debt. Are we really? How much money has our government in hidden accounts kept off shore? I understand there is 279M held in the cook Islands called the Futures fund, set up by Howard. I am told that it is to secure the superannuation fund and other perks of the politicians and senior bureaucrats. Why should their benefits be kept secure when we have to take potluck and where it can be lost due to super get rich investment. That's a start. Why are the services to the Australian people get cut while the government licks the boots of the USA and the UN to fight wars we have no right to be involved. Our taxes, etc. should be for the Australian community not for others. I have no objection to helping others but priories first. Abbott's signing of the TTP agreement is invalid as he does not have the authority of the people. It is a commercial contract between the Commonwealth Corporation and foreign powers. It has never gone to the people to be sanctioned. I can go on and on and some might consider I do:) However, people seem to be slow learners and need the message to be repeated. Brining back lawful government will not do me a lot of good. I will be 82 in January. I am concerned for the future of our children; their children and so on. The coalition is not the only villains. All political parties seem to be nearly as bad. Labor no longer represents the ordinary people but the vested interests of its political factions and foreign powers. Let us elect Independents and insure they are accountable to their local constituents who elected them. If we can get enough in government then the constituents "Will" will be to return to the lawful government. I sent a letter to the Victorian parliament requiring it to provide the authority to make laws outside of ts authority; that are repugnant and inconsistent with the Commonwealth Constitution 1901. To explain this simple question. A referendum was held in 1988 to see whether the Australian people wanted to recognise local government as a third tier of government. It was rejected. However, Victoria acting outside of its authority created the Local government Act 1989, the next year, giving local government powers as a third tier of government. It does not have that power. Their are two tiers of government; the Federal and the State and where laws of a state are inconsistent with the Commonwealth, the Commonwealth takes precedent in most cases. Local government is recognised in the constitution but only as a department of the State, so these trading corporations calling themselves council can at best be no more than a depots of the Department of the Local government, without authority to create laws, governance or taxes. I hope this is clear enough. I am trying to summarise what is a complex issue.
    particolor
    31st Oct 2014
    8:41pm
    I waited for Chapter 2 Before Replying Prof !! Very Interesting ! But not unknown to Me and Others I know !! Slimy things go on in this land now, without our knowledge !
    Honesty is History ! Elections are as fake as a 6 Buck note ! And we are all now Officially Serfs !
    particolor
    31st Oct 2014
    9:16pm
    PS But don't worry we will all soon be Highly MECCA NISED !!
    Snow
    13th Nov 2014
    5:13pm
    Centrelink don't know what customer service is. Nothing to be kept waiting over 1 hour for your call to be answered. DISGUSTING.. Having people that don't speak English would only create more problems. Nothing to do with Telstra.
    1944
    6th Jan 2017
    1:57pm
    Centrelink online service is unreliable. I have uploaded documents only to find the next day that the documents have been deleted from their system.
    Centrelink staff refused to accept a Statutory Declaration of a submitted 'change of circumstance' letter that they were unable to locate on their online system.
    Centrelink staff refuse to issue receipts for documents submitted personally to them. I include a copy of the submitted documents and request that the copy is date stamped which they will do.
    professori_au
    6th Jan 2017
    6:15pm
    Centrelink, competent or not. I am an aged pensioner who will be 84 on the 23rd of January. I have been on the pension since entitlement and have no other income or assets. I am not one of Hockey's leaners as I have and still working as a Voluntary community advocate; often working 12 or more hours on cases. Retirement to me has a new dictionary meaning and that is that retirement means I have stopped receiving wages but I am still working the hours. Fortunately I work to a tight budget as I never know when my poor old car needs some TLC or a something else comes up that I need to pay urgently so I try to keep a contingency fund, even if it means taking a loan from Centrelink. I had taken a loan but with the fortnightly deductions and six months to pay that loan has been paid end of October. I have enough contingency left to pay the rent. I have enough food in the cupboard to live, so I am not particularly worried at the moment. If not paid by Monday I will call at Centrelink, so I am a little more fortunate than some others I have read about. However, a point of public interest. If I did not have the money to pay the rent, I would be charged a dishonour fee and possible receive a bad credit against my credit. Any pensioner in that position is being treated unjustly. While the government may claim it is making a re assessment of entitlements, it should continue to pay the pensions. I am being given information that people who genuinely owe centrelink nothing have been sent a bill and also having Centrelink admit there is no debt but the people are told they have to keep repaying the "alleged" debt. Will the government reimburse them and also pay interest or compensation for "stealing money from people's accounts. I doubt it unless there is a major class action. This government is a registered trading corporation with an ABN number, therefore it is not the lawful government, which is you and I the people and parliament is the servant. It is my belief what they are doing is theft and also an invasion of a person's privacy, confidentiality and so on, It is attempted intimidation of the most vulnerable, some who will pay to avoid trouble or not understanding their rights, e.g. the autistic young fellow who received a bill for a debt he did not owe. Fortunately his mother who is a prominent person in Autism Australia took over. Another case involved $24,000 that was denied by the person yet I am told the Centrelink took money from her account. It is not only Centrelink. It affects all levels of government. I am involved as an advocate for an elderly couple who were initially threatened with the loss of their home and who came to me for help. I analysed the accounting and found a flaw in the accounting software and had it confirmed, yet the council insists their accounting was correct. I found that instead of deducting payment from the rates the council was deducting it from the debt collection even although that is illegal unless order by the court or the alleged debtor agrees to accept the charges. Finally I discover the process server and the JP live in the same house, and while I cannot accuse them of misbehaviour the JP is in breach of her code of conduct and I will be wring to the attorney general's department requesting an investigation. It also discredits the process server who claims having served the document yet cannot sshow receipts of them being served or a receipt for the court's attendance fee. The pensioner's deny having been summons to court or receiving any document. If correct the council has taken them to court without summons to allow them to defend themselves. That is ex parte, meaning a decision for the one party and the pensioners can apply to the court for a rehearing and so on the intimidation went on. I sent the documents of the analysis last April and the council has yet to respond, apart fro reiterating their figures are correct. By Law they must respond wwithin 28 or 35 days. Nine months is more than 35 days, so they are in default there. They contacted me last week to have a meeting and they wanted the pensioners to attend. I vetoed that stating I did not want them put under any more stress. Council argued that is what council would insist. I told them they may but they would not be attending, I asked why, when they had been advised the pensioners had very little English as it was not their first language and as the education level was very low they could not understand or comprehend what the law or what their rights were. That is why I was given the authority. The question is why do you insist on them attending a situation where they will become stressed when you have someone who can deal with the case professionally. I told them if they were not prepared to have a meeting to resolve all of the issues then I was quite happy to arrange a meeting in Melbourne. The reply from the manager was that she would not go to Melbourne. I advised her she may not have a choice as I was willing to subpoena her and if she did not attend the it was likely a contempt of court or even possible for the court to hear the case in her absence. Enough information. There are reams of breaches this council has and it would become a novel on its own. Suffice to say people are beginning to challenge the government and its minions with some success. My background also includes a researcher into Constitutional laws and its associated acts. Very useful training and I am encouraging people to start leaning about the law and their rights before it is too late. There are many organisations researching and now passing the information to the public. Until we speak out in numbers they will continue their misbehaviour. I have written this in a hurry so please excuse any errors or omissions. God Help us if the government contracts with Telstra. It must be one of the most incompetent operators. I won't deal with them as their call centre is located off shore and although the operators have some understanding of English it is not the day to day English spoken by Australians. Cheers


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