ATO: micromanaged and understaffed. Why was our reader yesterday on hold for an hour and a half with the Australian Tax Office? An insider explains:

“The Tax Office only funds the call centres on the basis of the smallest numbers of calls received. Therefore in busy periods there are delays for clients ringing the Tax Office. The Tax Office spends too much money on non-core activities like OH&S, affirmative action for Aboriginals, rewards and recognition and not enough on staff who deal with the public. There are too many SES staff and managers who have little approval rights. The selection processes discriminate against good workers and favour lazy workers. If anything needs approval then it will probably need four or five managers to approve it. The Tax Office is micro managed to the nth degree.”

Plenty of callers are experiencing delays. As one writes today: “You’ve struck it lucky with one and a half hours. At the end of the financial year it was days, i.e. impossible.” But maybe they’re not all bad: “I was also told there would be a 90-minute delay but was offered the option of a call back. Ninety minutes later, the ATO called me. No hold time, no inconvenience.”

Fresh-faced email abuse? Young Labor types are wondering how David Latham got away with dispatching this flier to promote his run for the Policy Forum internal election. “People sign up to the Young Labor list for information directly related to YL and YL events,” writes one Crikey reader. “This is clearly outside that ambit.”

Damning indictment on Scullion. Here’s part of a presser from deputy Nationals leader Senator Nigel Scullion on plans (or not) to dam the Daly River:

“My Coalition colleague Mr Robb was not talking about damning the Daly River but dams in north Queensland.”

Labour has made this up and the clear lesson is that you simply cannot trust Labor.”

Apparently you can’t trust the spell-checker, either.

Journos hanging around AMP. “AMP in Sydney are planning on abseiling a bunch of journalists down the side of their building,” a Sydney spy reports. No, we’re not sure why either. But as our anonymous tipster writes: “Now that’s one way to control what the media says about you.”

Newspaper free-for-all (cont). Another day, another circulation-boosting stack of free newspapers for the masses. These piles of Herald Sun papers were spotted outside Melbourne’s Regent Theatre — home of widely panned Phantom of the Opera sequel Love Never Dies — on Saturday morning. “Love Never Dies,” says our spy, “but circulation does.”

Burger buns that rot the teeth. From the 3AW Rumour File. “Caller ‘Buns’ says McDonald’s is not allowed to sell its buns on their own because of a 17% high sugar rate.” They’re some sweet buns.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey