Tasmanian Times

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche


Perhaps they think I’m money laundering: My experience of Centrelink …

I’ve got a bit of super … but not a helluva lot. Thus I need the pension …

But I’ve got a problem …

I applied for the aged pension back in March. But Centrelink is a tad reticent … because I took out a family trust to protect Tassietimes from a threat of defamation from then-Premier Jim Bacon. That is an amusing saga in itself …

Read all about it, HERE (go to the archives for May 2003 …)

TT ran a translation of famous French morning newspaper Le Figaro. Jim objected to quotes from Dr Bob Brown about the clearfelling of Tasmanian forests.

I remember it vividly. I had an email on Good Friday Easter 2003 from spinner Ken Jeffries, passing on Jim’s message that TT would be sued if I didn’t take down a translation of the Le Figaro article.

It stayed up. TT is yet to get a writ; it’s been 14 years so I doubt I will … (and there have been heaps of threats over the years; but only one substantive action which was seen off by Tame Beak).

But it did alert me to the fact that the family silver (of which there is very little) was vulnerable. Thus the family trust (which has since proven to be pretty useless).

Yes, it goes back that far. Mr Bacon died on 20 June 2004, in Hobart: Thirteen years ago. The threat of defamation from Jim Bacon came a year earlier, 14 years ago …

Incredible isn’t it!

Perhaps Centrelink thinks I’m money-laundering because PayPal certainly thought I was. I set up PayPal to accept donations from readers (since dumped; TT accepts donations now by direct deposit).

The reason PayPal thought I was money-laundering is because of the Trust. Despite copious efforts and docs sent to the States … they still owe me $200.

The perils of independent meedja …

Perhaps Kim Peart is right …

*Lindsay Tuffin has been a journo since 1969, mainly in Tassie apart from a few years elsewhere in Oz, and in Pomland where he had a brief stint as a youth worker and where for five years he edited ‘Buzz’ – a magazine dealing with church and social issues and which was beaten in audit circulation in the Specialist Interest category by Aero Modeller magazine …!

• Lindsay Tuffin in Comments: Good god … that was quick … I’ve got the pension … at last. Thankyou Centrelink …

• George Smiley in Comments: … Everyone has the right to work – but like the famous ‘pursuit of happiness’ it doesn’t guarantee you will get anywhere near your goal. And don’t think ‘trading account in Luxembourg or the Bahamas’ – that door too, is closed unless you are a multi-national corporation or personally acceptable somewhere else that isn’t Manus Island.

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  1. Brenda Rosser

    November 7, 2017 at 11:30 am

    I went into Centrelink to apply for a health care card not that long ago. It was about half and hour before closing time and I was asked to come back another day because it was so late in the day.

    When I did try to put in my application I was told that another Government department would process the claim .. health and human services?. I didn’t know where that was. It turned out it was in the same building and my application would be processed by identical staff using identical Centrelink information … but on another day.

    Brilliant system, eh?

  2. philll Parsons

    November 6, 2017 at 9:11 am

    March to November. 5 months from application to payment. I bet they said 6 weeks when the application [online] was made. I hope they back paid.

  3. George Smiley

    November 6, 2017 at 1:51 am

    At 65 I received an invite to a retirement seminar, think power point with a shiny, fit and handsome millionaire cavorting on some warm foreign beach, hand in hand with his still beautiful and shapely actress wife, the checks arriving in the post like Mussolini’s train to Biaritz.

    Did THEY have to declare every effing asset from the Datsun 120Y to the aging Labrador who would snaffle his entire pension and transmute it from kibble to dogsh** if she still had work? Or that he would spend some hours every month standing in line at Centrelink to have his pension re-instated every time a website was down somewhere on her payday? Or if she didn’t work (god forbid) he might forget to declare those occasional lawn-mowing jobs for cash, but it is less humiliating and more lucrative per hour than the line at Centrelink.

    Start now with something you can hide – a mower or small lathe to turn out those honey swizzlers or some other cash cow for the physically or mentally decrepit. Everyone has the right to work – but like the famous ‘pursuit of happiness’ it doesn’t guarantee you will get anywhere near your goal. And don’t think ‘trading account in Luxembourg or the Bahamas’ – that door too, is closed unless you are a multi-national corporation or personally acceptable somewhere else that isn’t Manus Island.

  4. garrystannus@hotmail.com

    November 5, 2017 at 6:04 pm

    It was a quiet day in the offices of the venerable Times of Tasmania. The Editor was out … that devotee to Bacchus had recently come into some moderate public largesse, and while the rest in the south knuckled down to another day in the office, he who must be obeyed had again slipped the leash …

    In the north, we confusedly set about the task of Recreation, some I’m sure seeing it as an opportunity to stay home and to practice procreation. A few desultory types took themselves off to the local … the sound of thin, loud laughter drifting down occasionally from Sporties. Having already practiced sufficiently in that aforementioned department (I’m not referring to Sporties here) – great-grandparent that I am, I stepped gingerly out into what I sometimes call ‘the garden’. I had a whale of a time, performing five snips for every two sips. After all, recreation rhymes with libation, n’est-ce pas?

    Pretty soon, I became more adventurous, and reached further into the thicket, snippers in the left … and grasping with the right. It was with some surprise and a modest amount of pain that I effected an incision on my dexter pointer. I knew what I had to do and there was no point in dilly-dallying. Pausing only to ‘ramasser ma verre’, I took the stairs up to my lair.

    Ooo, I laved, flushed, rinsed, and generally got the soil from the wound, then cast around for the disinfectant which I was hopeful that Marie had left me. [She is on the mainland au moment, catching up with the in-laws of my in-laws] It was up to me. While casting around for something resembling a band-aid (and there were many of differing sizes and shapes with which I had to experiment) I came across a small bottle of disinfectant – and teetotaler that I’m not – I poured it liberally onto the now-washed wound, straight from the bottle. I reckon it was out of date ‘cos it didn’t even sting or anything and eventually after sampling a range of Marie’s band-aids I found one which consented to wrap around my pointer, and ended the job. In the old days, being 200m from the public hospital, I’d have walked straight up and had a doc or a nurse look at it. Of course, there is a ‘surgery/clinic’ 400m away, just a minute or so on the Southern Star treadlie, but despite being ‘of retirement age’ I will get stung for the full fee, despite my being in excess of 65 ears, despite my seeking treatment only once every three years (except for when my L4-5 plays up).

    Bring back Gough! Bring back MediBank!.

    Yes, despite being senior, I can’t get a senior’s card. You see, I’ve kept working. Not because they reckon we baby-boomers should have to work longer so that the rest of Oz don’t have to pay for us to deteriorate and then to go into care … nah mate, I’ve kept working ‘cos I like my job … and they pay me. No CentreLink forms, no bustling clerk grubbily and roughly taking my Marriage Certificate away for the mandatory photocopy. I don’t know why she didn’t ask us to give her our rings for photocopying, or for whatever tests they have these days.

    Nah mate, yous can stick Centrelink – or whatever its called this week – ‘where the sun don’t shine’.

    Anyway, some years ago we bought a shack in town on second mortgage, a ‘town house’ as they used to call it. So now we’ve got a ‘country retreat’ and a ‘town-house’ to boot. We’re both still working and have paid both the buggers off. I’ll keep working, ‘cos I like my job, ‘cos they pay me for it and ‘cos they means-test the old-age pension these days, apparently. Marie … I reckon she’d like to retire … she’s in a professional job that never gives you time off. Oh yeh, you have leave and that sort of stuff, but whether you’re in Waikiki or just at home still at the computer, after midnight and trying to plan for the next day, the next week and/or for the rest of the term, her mob are never free.

    I note with wry derision (pardon the possible tautology) how the Premier before this present instar gave us Performance Development Planning, bless her Labour heart. She herself is now recumbent on the opposition benches, soon to leave the parliament for good. Yep, she was a Labor Premier. ‘It’s alright for some…’

    So our Editor has made it to the retired-and-on-a-pension list. Good on him. On a day like this, ‘Recreation Day’ in the north, I can sort of dig that idea. The sun is shining, there’s a few puffy white clouds (not like out of Steinbeck, I hope) and the telemarketers haven’t called for at least four hours. I’ve got some tucker in the ‘fridge, a wee bit of red at my side, and only have to remember that I’ve got to get up and go to work tomorrow.

    As long as I can work, Centrelink can go warble. After that it will be ‘Yes Ma’am’, ‘No Sir’ and ‘How high do I jump?’ It’d be nice to live in a society where the government appreciated those throughout the land, and appreciated those they claim to represent.

  5. Chris

    November 5, 2017 at 4:24 pm

    #2 … Been to the Caymans with the Fizza yet?

  6. Lindsay Tuffin

    November 5, 2017 at 10:46 am

    Good god … that was quick … I’ve got the pension … at last. Thankyou Centrelink …

  7. Kim Peart

    November 5, 2017 at 6:45 am

    I still haven’t applied for the old age pension.

    I still wait to hear from anyone who would like to test the waters of an alternative way, based on a Fair Go.

    At present it appears that most people are content to suffer the new convict system that we call Centrelink, where robots tell you your guilt level, so you can prove your innocence, or accept the guilty verdict.

    Is this how Australia becomes a police state, managed by robots, to cut government costs of paying workers, and reduce money paid to anyone, except politicians and their fat cats, who also often get to be politicians.

    Until citizens become interested in building an alternative way, from the grass roots, people will suffer under Centrelink, as part of maintaining a system of greed and fear, of abuse and cruelty, so that some may get a larger share of the national pie, while others slide into unemployment, poverty and homelessness, to provide an underground of suffering to keep enough people in fear, so that greed can thrive.

    My personal conclusion is to focus on the kind of economy that can be created in space, a stellar economy built on the power of the Sun, which in space is a virtually infinite energy-well, allowing any work to be done, any dream created.

    It will take a global movement of rather keen and adventurous people to begin the work on a stellar economy, which will send poverty into history using the gold of space, the power of the Sun.

    The stellar economy can include a universal basic income, tax free, no questions asked, no need for Centrelink, no more poverty, locally and globally.

    The stellar economy can also include a government employment guarantee, at a minimum wage, which will oblige free enterprise to compete with a higher wage level than the minimum wage.

    In this way we can put an end to expectations of unpaid overtime, under-employment, and outright slavery.

    I was shocked to read recently that slavery is bigger now than when the system was ended, only serving to reinforce the observation that we are tumbling into a new form of the convict system, offering no hope at all, until ill-health and death take the victims.

    The stellar economy may be the only way that we can inspire the level of change that leads to a Fair Go for all citizens, locally and globally.

  8. eagle eye

    November 4, 2017 at 11:47 am

    or perhaps an astute pubic servant has read the tea leaves and decided to climb the greasy pole.

    There are certainly a number of party politicians whose past performance could be taken to suggest an appreciation of such forward thinking and initiative by a future political appointee sitting before them at an employment interview.

    Such is the price for telling the truth.

  9. Tim Thorne

    November 4, 2017 at 11:36 am

    Of course, if you really did have billions salted away in tax havens, they would be falling over themselves to give you even more.

  10. Pete Godfrey

    November 4, 2017 at 9:24 am

    You need to watch your garbage bin, Linz. I bet Centrelink has a robot that sorts garbage and takes note of all the wine bottles and their labels. All those Grange bottles in your bin are a dead giveaway.

    Good luck convincing the robots that you as a media mogul have not got Cayman Island and Swiss accounts.


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