To follow on from Wednesday’s tip about the national internet safety hotline NetAlert please allow me to confirm that yes, it really has been pretty quiet here at safety central.

It is my fourth day here and as yet I have only received one real call. Most people haven’t even had that! There are about two hundred of us hired to man the phones, about one hundred on the shift at any one time and about 100% of us playing computer games (our computers are not internet-enabled), reading books, or talking eight hours of the day (and that’s across from about 8.30am until 12.30 at night).

This is at a federally-funded per hour rate (i.e your money, Mr/Ms Tax Payer) that is pretty good for paying my rent and bills. Apparently Canberra gets the first fifty calls at any one time so this may explain the complete lack of calls in our Melbourne phone centre and they do expect it to pick up a bit more when the booklets are sent out next week.

But still, out of a population of around 21 million, exposed to an apparently multi-million dollar, prime-time, blitzkrieg campaign of radio, television and large-scale advertising on buses and the like, I find unbelievable that only fifty or less people are actually affected by the campaign enough to ring.

Either the general Australian populace is far more intelligent and/or more perceptive than we have all been presuming of late (a nice surprise) or this ridiculous, bandaid solution, fear election campaign (sorry, “awareness” campaign) isn’t working.

Nice for our sense of pride in rightly spotting a cynical pre-election gimmick a mile away but really, a bit of a Liberal waste of money don’t you think?