Monday, October 10, 2005

Centrelink snaps on a latex glove, clenches a torch between its teeth and subjects you to THE FAMILY ACTUAL MEANS TEST

On Terry Lane's weekly show on Radio National, we meet the father of a university student who has had the temerity to apply for Youth Allowance to support her studies. For her troubles, since she will be living at home with her parents, said parents have been lumbered with this byzantine document to fill out. And the kind of information the Government expects you to yield is staggering.

For example, Question 12:

What was the total spending incurred by all family members on all types of transport, including public transport?

Do you keep every bus and train ticket you've purchased over the past year scrupulously catalogued and filed away? Well, ya should!

It gets better. Take a look at Question 13:

What was the total general living expenses for all family members living at home or living/boarding away?

"General living expenses" include things like food, gifts, video rental and movie tickets, newspapers and magazines and--get this--pet care. Who keeps a record of all this stuff?

Lane's interviewee is understandably pissed off, and has challenged Family Services Minister Joe Hockey to complete the form. As if.