tip off

ATO whistleblower takes a bullet

Crikey reader have their say.

ATO whistleblower

Georgie Smith writes: Re. “ATO whistleblower in court: ‘they sabotaged my complaints” (yesterday, item 1) I think Serene Teffaha should set up a Super PAC-style fund-raising account. Your story indicates that she is on leave without pay so is forced to live on savings and family largesse; I for one would happily donate money to someone who had taken a metaphorical bullet for the sake of the Aussie taxpayer (i.e. me).

So Ms Teffaha, should you read this, let me say thank you for what you’re doing, and send us your bank details. You work(ed) for the ATO so I’m sure you’ll declare the income, but I won’t tell if you don’t …

Vicki-Claire MacDonald writes:  I’m not surprised by the level of denial and secrecy at the highest offices of a government department. My mother was a customer doing “work-banking” during an attempted bank robbery at a bank in Footscray. The bank denied any compensation or financial assistance towards treatment for PTSD because the robbery attempt was thwarted by security guards, therefore not reported to Vicpol.

Her experiences with her employer’s WorkCover insurer were horrendous: bullying and baiting her in the workplace — eventually paying her to “move on”. Her experience with Centrelink was not much better. An exemplary employee, seven years with the aged care organisation, an expert in her field.

Three years later she is finally working again — still tackling PTSD symptoms daily — because my brother’s business expanded and was able to take her on. She regularly takes forced time off work to comply with Centrelink and Wise (employment consultants) after six months of work! Government contracts have to be justified; and be paid!

Without the help of her children and friends she would have been destitute — lost everything. And all because her employer were in serious arrears at the bank and the bank didn’t want the attempted robbery made public. Paranoia? Or corruption? One phone call from the CEO to the bank’s area manager and the problem went away. One phone call.

I’m not at all surprised at the ATO’s actions. I doubt there is a government organisation that hasn’t had a phone call.

Power in the Jewish world

Israeli-Australian secular Jew Sol Salbe writes: Re. “The Power Index: religion, Jewish leader Peter Wertheim at #6” (yesterday, item 10). Peter Wertheim is indeed an influential person, and certainly an interesting subject. Unfortunately you have him under the wrong category: he is an ethnic community, not a religious leader. He does not make pronouncement on Halachic issues to do with the Jewish religion. As far as I know he does not have rabbinical qualification and certainly, most of  his predecessors never had.

Can you imagine you listing someone in the Anglican Church with no divinical qualifications?  The body that Wertheim leads has at least one indirect affiliate which is somewhat hostile to the notion of religion, but is a legitimate part of the Australian Jewish community. If you want someone Jewish in the religion section, the most influential people are in the council of Orthodox rabbis. They rule the roost on religious matters.

Gay marriage

Gavin Greenoak writes: Regarding gay marriage (editorial, yesterday), one of the difficulties may be a belief in the reality of love between same-s-x couples in view of a confusion between s-x and gender. Our tendency to see the meaning of marriage fulfilled exclusively between women and men rather than between male and female.

The gay community are only asking for an expansion of our celebration of the whole spectrum of the masculine and feminine attributes of human beings, between whom love is a creative reality. That it is not also always a pro-creative reality is surely not a threat.

Pedants on pedants

Harry Lewis writes: Muted applause for Don McKinnon’s crediting of Lord Gnome for “Pedants’ Corner” (comments, yesterday).  The copies of his organ that I have to hand call it “Pedantry Corner”, but no doubt he has changed the name over the years.

I have not noticed due credit being given in Crikey for the phrase “nominative determinism” which originated with that other well-known British satirical magazine, New Scientist, in 1994. (It even has a Wikipedia article all to itself — the term, I mean.)

Robin Howells writes: Yesterday I sent the extract from your piece to a close friend who just happens to be one of Australia’s top specialists on the usage of Australian English. This is what I got in reply:

Thanks. But it doesn’t say anything I haven’t seen (many) dozens (if not hundreds) of times. Any up-to-date style guide would deal with this topic. And the dictionaries (certainly the Macq.) record the various current uses (yes, there’s more than one). Why not just accept that the horse has bolted. Ordinary language change in action. This item is useful only insofar as it’s another example of someone asserting publicly that a particular writer/journalist has ‘misused’ a phrase and making that assertion long after the objected-to usage has become established. His comments are counterproductive. He should buy or consult a good dictionary or style guide before publishing something like this.”

As Molly would say “Do yourself a favour, before starting a Pedant’s Corner!”

2
  • 1
    paddy
    Posted Friday, 21 September 2012 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

    Dear Crikey, it’s customary to warn your subscribers when you decide to trash the website. Right now, your sparkling new site is about as useful & user friendly as Apple Maps. Not happy.

  • 2
    Serenatopia
    Posted Friday, 21 September 2012 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

    Dearest Georgie Smith,

    Thank you so much for your lovely sentiments. Your wit has lifted my spirits.

    I suspect that the ATO is going to send in the heavy artilleries. I will keep you posted on my injuries.

    Thanks once again.

    Serene

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