Saturday, April 04, 2009

Psst! Is that Bin Laden over there? (Part 2)

The groovy new laws, as described below in (Part 1) are nowhere near as simple to comply with as one would think.

For public servants are involved.

Commonsense would be for Mine Host to simply be issued (by the Office of Gaming Regulation or Aus-Trac) a stack of forms with which to report Big Wins, accompanied by a stern letter instructing Mine Host to report all "Big Wins" or else face big strife.

A simple list of current Gaming Licences would reveal to Aus-Trac who is to be contacted about this new law.

Aus-Trac did use this list to contact Mine Host, but to give a deadline by which the Wayside Tavern had to register ONLINE. This registration was complex, being page after page after page after layer of pages at an Aus-Trac website. There was so much difficulty filling it out that Aus-Trac engaged a team of telephonists to phone to all gaming sites and TALK us through filling in the form. The form was nothing more than an acknowledgement that Mine Host is aware of the new law and intends to comply with it.

Once the form was filled out (along with some acidic observations as to the pointlessness of the form) Mine Host presumed that would be it.

Hahahaha..... Commonwealth Public Service are involved, so dickheadsmanship shall reign supreme.

Shortly afterward Mine Host received yet another telephone call, reminding him that he had to fill out YET ANOTHER complex online form. This next form being to confirm that one has filled out the previous form. (This is not a joke)

Of course, filling out these forms was a frustrating and time consuming experience. Mine Host was unable to see the point of it.

Expressing this to the public servant (unhelpfully a new Australian with severe accent difficuties) Mine Host detected in her a complete and total incomprehension of why Mine Host would consider he had better things to do with his time than fill out forms to say he has filled out another form that he has filled out to say he is aware of a particular law, and why had just this one law been singled out to have forms filled out about it?

Becoming more & more frustrated, Mine Host pointed out that he did not blame the (fresh from the sub-continent) Australian public servant helping him to fill out the form, but that he did blame the Federal Government for inflicting this, this, this.... bulldust.... upon working Australians (ie, upon Mine Host).

A meaningless "cluck-cluck" of fake sympathy from the sub-continental if-you-insist-upon-speaking-in-that-accent-don't-expect-me-to-understand-you-sir Australian Public Servant triggered something in Mine Host.

He pointed out that he DID blame the federal government, and contrary to what the sub-continentally accented Australian Public Servant lady said, Mine Host actually COULD do something about it. He could use his vote, he could speak to his federal member, and most effective, he could influence the regulars.

In particular, Mine Host would be making it plain to all punters that their privacy was being invaded by the federal government, & perhaps they should consider this at voting time.

Mine Host went on to point out that his federal seat was held by the government, but quite marginally, and if every one of his customers changed their vote, the seat may well change hands.

Brief pause:

Then supercharged shock from the sub-continentally accented Australian Public Servant lady:

"You mean...... vote against... KEVIN?"

She could have reacted no more frantically if Mine Host had suggested we privatise the Commonwealth Public Service, or perhaps repatriate all Hindus.

Mine Host (quite reasonably) pointed out that if "Kevin" was going to make laws that caused inconvenience, discomfort, and social embarrassment to the punters of the Wayside Tavern, then "Kevin" could quite reasonably expect those punters to vote against him. If the Wayside Tavern had enough votes to cause a seat to change parties, and the government had a margin of one seat, then this would cause the government to fall. (For "Kevin" to lose government - in language understood by the sub-continentally accented Australian Public Servant lady)

Mine Host had the impression that the sub-continentally accented Australian Public Servant lady had never before encountered a coherently stated calm belief that Kevin should be voted out.

It shocked the living daylights out of her.


Indra said...

My Name Is Indra..
Nice To meet U

By :

Anonymous said...

Hi Steve.

First let me apologise on behalf of my fellow Commonwealth public servant d-heads. I don't work for Austrac (not even in the same department), but since you seem riled up by the process I guess you're owed an apology from someone. So it might as well be me, albeit in a private capacity (for purely legal reasons).

Secondly, for future reference, the Austrac forms (AML/CTF compliance forms) do not need to be submitted online. If you do not have the technology to submit the forms (and this includes a lack of proper skills and familiarity with the internet - a very good excuse if you do not want to fill out forms online) then paper copies of the forms for your completion are mailed to you as well as detailed instructions. The same detailed instructions are also available on the Austrac website. These instructions detail each question and provide the definitions that you may or may not be familiar with, as well as examples of the proper responses under various circumstances. I'm sorry (again, in private capacity) if you found the reporting process onerous and I'm sure you have better things to do with your time than fill out the six pages of ticking boxes.

Thirdly, all public servants on dedicated phone details undergo an English speaking assessment (and I'm afraid you'll have to take my word for it that some of the worse telephonists have been weeded out). The merits of this scheme I'll leave you to determine, but in defence of my fellow public servant, I will perhaps suggest this as to her shocked incredulity about your proposal to vote against the government at the next election: not many people suggest such a course of action. Instead, what we generally get are graphic stories about how people are going to track us down and put a bullet through our heads, how they're going to hack our families into little pieces with chainsaws while making us watch, how they're going to blow up the building we work at, how we're lazy, incompetent, useless, pathetic, moronic grubs that the world would be better without. We get stalked by people on a semi-regular basis, tires get slashed and property damaged. So when someone seems amazed that you might in fact 'vote for the other guy' instead of doing any of the above, then it is a sense of bemused, profound and inexpressible relief that motivates it.

Finally, apologies once more. Sounds as though you've had a rough experience.



Steve at the Pub said...

Azak, thank you for your deep apologies. Nice to know. You then proceed as if the process may have some merits.

It has no merits.

If a gambler wins more than $10,000 I must report it, and identify the winner. Simple.

If someone wins more than $10,000 I tell 'em "no ID no payment" then copy their driver's licence number & their name onto a form, & post that form to Austrac. Simple. Or it should be.

All the rest of the Austrac nonsense is surplus. The annual form is a laugh, like every other publican I know, I tick my way through choosing answers not because they are true, but because they are the most likely to not bring any follow up questions.

I would be very surprised (please correct me if I am wrong) if a publican, or indeed any holder of a gambling licence AND also a liquor licence (remember, we have passed a character probity test) would make death threats, stalking threats, or any form of physical threat, over the telephone, to a public servant, or to any other person.

Very surprised indeed.

Filling out a form online is not a concept beyond publicans, the law says we must have an internet connection, possess proficiency with basic software and internet use, and have an email address (registered with the state government - if only Austrac's forms were as simple as the "register your email address" form)

P.S. I found only one spelling error in your posted comment. Well done!