Wednesday, July 25, 2012

intuitive my aunt fanny

Oliver the 3 year old jigsaw genius

When I was quite young [many years ago] but older than Oliver by about 5 years, my mother brought home a second hand jigsaw puzzle. Had I managed to put it together it would have been my first ever grown-up jigsaw puzzle attempted let alone completed. Perhaps she didn’t know any better, or perhaps she thought even more effort was required to leave me scarred for life, but as soon as I tipped the pieces onto the dining table, she took the box with the picture away. Suddenly I had lots of little bits and pieces of something and no idea what I was supposed to do with them.

Young Oliver is a bit of a whiz kid as well as the wearer of a great range of designer pyjamas. The most important thing to note though, for the few seconds the above clip remains bearable, is the box is on display the whole time he puts the jigsaw together.

Dealing with modern software is a little like trying to do a megajigsaw without the big picture. It’s counter-intuitive. Unfortunately, Senna-link have only employed programmers of the ‘it’s intuitive’ school.

I tried very hard to report my income on line, but kept coming up against ambiguous questions which were like little jigsaw pieces. Where does one put what snippet of info? What if I put an amount in one spot and it’s double counted somewhere else?
I gave up. The Other and I went to the Frankston Office together, and were there from 1.09 to 5.09 PM.


While we were in Albury, Aunty looked after D’Arcy and Maude Schnauzer back in Melbourne and kept an eye on incoming mail. Sho’nuff, on the third day Aunty read me a letter from Senna-link which said more or less the following:

“As you have failed to provide your partner’s Tax File Number we are cancelling your health care card with effect 16 June 32 BCE. Do not use your card. Destroy your card. Do not pass go. If you use your card, threat,  threat threat,   threat threat threat threat threat    and if that does not scare the crap out of you consider     THREAT!!!”

I haven’t received a cent from this organisation for years but, as some will appreciate, a health care card is worth its weight in gold. The Tax File Number stuff was ridiculous – The Other and I have linked files with Senna-Link. Seems some intuitive programmer has organised the automatic issue of Threat Letter HCC 11616.5 v 6 until some Senna-Link employee physically completes screen TFN 11616.5 v 7 of their massive “system” and inserts the Tax File Number in yet another field of the record.

The Albury office of Senna-Link had lots of staff and lots of empty waiting chairs. All of the chairs were green but none were reserved for Medicare clients. We were the only people in the ‘standing queue’, and within three minutes were working with an enthusiastic staff member to solve the problem of the Tax File Number. She rang the intuitive help desk staff three times before they found a way to bypass the program glitch.



  1. I received a quite intrusive form to fill in from Senna Link. What I felt like doing was writing back, my partner's finances or income is nothing to do with me. While we jointly own things, we each pay our own way and always have. We have not received any benefits of being a couple over the last thirty plus years. While I won't see my partner go hungry, I feel and don't see that have any obligation to support him. I will write about it eventually and of course I have bowed to their form filling in, but I will wait until we have an outcome. I was on the dole for a couple of months when I was a teen. I can't believe how difficult they make it now. I really feel sorry for those with little education and no tenacity. The system really will do them over.

    1. Can I take it the word 'intrusive' is an understatement?

      For years I've had people sniping at me when I claimed benefits while living in a relationship, albeit 'same sex'. My response then and now is that I claim benefits for the same reason the Packers and Rhineharts of this world pay no income tax - I've simply been following the law.

      Now my situation is different. The government agreed that same-sex relationships would be treated equally across the board and we went and registered as a couple. The law is not quite equal yet but it's getting there. The Other has supported me in many ways including financially. The loss of benefits has been offset by the benefits of lodging joint tax returns.

      Your situation is completely different from mine. I find the whole notion of tangling the possibility of sex with everything else ludicrous. All humans are either root rats, headache-osexual or somewhere in between and this has nothing to do with financial arrangements. You and R have - whatever your sexual position [pun intended but detail not invited] made a conscious decision to live financially separate lives. This is not a recent or convenient fabrication but a long-lived fact. There is no practical or justifiable way for them to base your eligibility for benefits on presumptions about your private lives. Stuff 'em.

      As for people who lack education, tenacity or even hope, my heart bleeds for them. I cannot stop thinking about recently retrenched men and women with mortgages and families struggling on pissy benefits and about to lose everything. It will neither encourage any sensible behaviour on their part, nor make it okay that the mining boom benefits a few at the expense of most.

      I'm rooting for you on this one, Andrew.