September 17, 2012

Keeping Yourself Nice at Centrelink

Like ATM banking, online services delivery has eliminated the degrading aspect of lining up each fortnight at Centrelink like Charles Dickens Oliver Twist, with bowl in hand, ready to say "more please" ...when you do finally reach the front of the queue. 

Being able to make claims, via the Internet, injects a seamless anonymity into being a welfare recipient. This is essential these days, when certain radio and television current affair programs, routinely perpetuate negative images of the "lazy dolebludger". Beware recycled footage from the Paxton Family Archive.  

That said, it is relatively "too easy" until the time comes, when for one reason or other, you do need to visit Centrelink in person. Now I did this the other day, and discovered the following problem solvers:


If you don't want to be sent directly to the Siberian end of the queue (never to be attended to again), queue jump with flair, and have an enjoyable "Centrelink customer experience", I suggest you:

1.  Make a new best friend of the customer services officer (offer them a mint, or compliment their attire).

2.  If the customer services officer responds to your standard enquiry in a patronising and aggressive tone, don't suggest they reduce their coffee intake (as I stupidly did the other day). This ended in a 45 minute wait (the equivalent of being told to sit on the naughty step after which I gave up and went home).

3.  Travel afield and make new best friends with customer services staff at a new Centrelink in an adjacent locality (my only option after ruining my reputation with yesterday's coffee comment).

4.  Put on a happy shade of lipstick to conceal grumpy woman lurking beneath. Lipstick shade #29 ($2 Shop's Simpli Australian Made brandinfuses the face with an approachable Kath Day-Knight glow.  And keep on keeping yourself "noice".

5.  Go prepared with a decent selection of reading material in your tote (all 3 vols of 50 shades), or a colouring book if you prefer doodling.

6.  And finally, if you do find yourself waiting a few moments, use it as an opportunity to mingle with the locals.  I sat next to a man who has been out of work for 17 years!  Before I had time to determine star sign compatibility and discuss food intolerances, I was called over to the customer service desk, and had my problem attended to in record time.


  1. OH this made me laugh out loud. As I am in the same situation as you I can relate to this. Have you thought about writing a book.

  2. You also had to get your timing right-too early and you were in the pre WfD starting rush, mid morning risked being in the middle of the bum's rushing (and getting caught up in the local tribe playing advance payment lotto) lunch never worked well due to the line going all the way back to the car park and then there was the 2pm slow down-most were fed and coffee'd back to passing for functional.

    Same time, same channel meant building that valuable rapport that would give you the edge in handing in a job diary with a week missing because you applied for everything already.

  3. Great comment. It's always about the timing. Never had a job diary. Probably have jinxed myself and will get one now. But would use it as a creative writing exercise... perhaps with cute illustrations & stickers.....and could sprinkle some glitter.