As public servants and avid Crikey readers, we often marvel about how we manage to make ourselves look like bloody idiots when we write to members of the public. However, we have never reached the heights of stupidity that the authors of this letter have reached.

Case in point. We thought that we wouldn’t be eligible for the Child Care Benefit any more because of our combined incomes (we have really hit the high life now as two EL1’s in the Commonwealth Public Service), but were stunned to find in the letter we received today, that our “family has been assessed as being eligible for Child Care Benefit. Your rate of Child Care Benefit, or how much you can be paid, is zero!”

I kid you not:


Now at 50, I plan to go back to school to learn maths. I was never aware before that zero was worth more than nothing. Zero zilch. I am going to apply for a job with the Family Assistance Office now — because if they can make our being eligible for zero an actual entitlement, not a loss, they can also do marvellous things for my mortgage, my super, my children’s HECS and everything else.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey