Tips and rumours

Aug 20, 2014

Tips and rumours

Government appointments in the family ... NSW Police wins the Fail Award ... Vic Young Labor plays the Hunger Games

From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours … Opal cards a bit opaque. It seems impossible to implement a new ticketing system in an Australian capital city without stuffing it up and confusing everyone, and we've been receiving more than a few tips with gripes about Sydney's new Opal cards. Even if Malcolm Turnbull is a fan, one tipster told us there is a limit to the NSW government's generosity:
"So many breakdowns in that system has led the NSW State Government to only refund customers for three faults. After that, the customer gets no further refunds."
We asked the NSW Transport department if this were true and were told that there was no set limit to the amount of refunds given, but that staff in the call centre were given discretion when refunding customers for their errors in using the new cards. The spokesperson also said that the cards did not overcharge customers but that customers were still getting used to the new system and forgot to touch off. Ms Tips got a detailed explanation of how the cards work, and having finally learned the ropes of Myki, we can only say good luck to our friends north of the Murray. Healthy relations. Yesterday, Health Minister Peter “the Invisible Man” Dutton announced that former RACGP president Professor Claire Jackson would conduct a review of after-hours primary health care services. It’s an important issue, and one the well-credentialed Jackson is eminently suited to review. Except it’s a pity no mention was made that Jackson’s husband is Liberal Griffith candidate Bill Glasson. Whom someone is married to, especially when they’re as well-credentialed as Jackson, shouldn't be an issue and plainly shouldn't disqualify someone from appointment to an expert review. But a direct link to the Liberal Party like that is the sort of thing a government committed to being upfront with voters might mention. Clock's ticking on Victorian government. The Herald Sun's front-page splash was a victory for domestic violence victims today, but when it comes to child sex abuse it seems the Victorian government has more than a few questions to answer. Victims rights groups complain that, of 15 recommendations handed down by the state inquiry years ago, only three have so far been implemented. And only three months left to do the rest. Are you sure that's what you mean? Although we are sure that this award is meant with all the best intentions, on first look it doesn't seem like a title many would want to take home.

To the Left, to the Left.  While the Victorian media has been has been digging up Young Liberals' Facebook posts with grotesque results, Young Labor held its annual conference earlier this month, with more than the usual factional Hunger Games. While many on the Left were crowing that their faction had delivered its first president in living memory (living memory is short in a "youth" organisation), others were asking questions about what it took to get Emily Abrahams from the Socialist Left faction over the line. This year's conference was the first to move to a new model where anyone could register for the conference, as part of moves to democratise across the party, where in previous years only delegates attended and voted on executive positions. But it seems this hasn't broken the vice-grip the factions have on getting the right people in power. Votes from the conservative SDA delivered the victory for Abrahams in return for SDA victories in other positions on the executive, including Clara Jordan-Baird as senior vice-president. According to our tipster, many in the youth wing are wary of the growing dominance of the SDA, which nearly got majority control of the executive and "Hakki Suleyman, Michael De Bruyn and Johnny El-Halabi are a handful of factional warlords spotted at Trades Hall turning out numbers to keep the power bases as intact as possible within the Victorian Right despite being out of Young Labor for some years". The Age's Richard Willingham wrote this week that the "young" parties are "where brutal, nasty -- and often juvenile -- tactics are practised" and it seems that the conference did not disappoint, with the factions finding ways to eat their own young and spit out the results. One member of Young Labor who spoke to Crikey seemed exasperated with the games, saying "we've got an election to win this year", but that seemed to be an afterthought at the actual conference. There's an app for that. A few weeks ago Stilgherrian wrote that it would be easy for developers to create a smartphone app that would assist job-seekers in applying for 40 jobs a month, and hey, presto, the internet provides. It's called the "Dolebludger app", and it allows users to send their CVs to any MP they choose to make up the quota.

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5 thoughts on “Tips and rumours

  1. leon knight

    Love the “Dolebludger”app, what a corker of an idea….let’s hope it goes viral quickly..!!

  2. zut alors

    As Tasmania has such high unemployment amongst the young Erica Betz will be flush with non-existing-job aoplicants.

  3. Prefix

    I have to take issue with ‘It seems impossible to implement a new ticketing system in an Australian capital city without stuffing it up and confusing everyone’. Perth’s SmartRider system (props to Alannah McTiernan) has been more or less trouble-free since it was implemented. As it was installed years before Myki, it’s hard to understand how Melbourne stuffed it up so much.

  4. Scott Grant

    I am guessing, but I think part of the reason Perth’s system worked reasonably well (so I am told) was that Perth already had a simplified system of fares. If my memory is correct, the same company that implemented the Perth system was contracted to do NSW by the NSW Labor government. They failed and ended up in a court battle with the government. Possibly a much larger population and transport network had something to do with it, but I believe one of the major factors was the attempt to automate an existing, arcane, ticketing system, without any modification.

    As for the Opal card, I am finding it does work acceptably. I had a lot of trouble training myself to “tag off”, but I have done so now.

    Despite the official line, there ARE machines that sometimes failed to register properly. And customers ARE overcharged. This happens because, if the tag-on and tag-off are not correctly registered, you not only get charged the maximum amount, but it is not counted as a “journey” for the purpose of the so-called “travel reward”. That, to me, is an outright rip-off.

    I can accept paying a maximum if I forget to tag off. I am slightly more annoyed about it when I do tag off and I find out several days later that the machine failed to register it. BUt after paying more than double for my trip I am ropable when I find it is not counted as a journey, and at the end of the week I am not getting the free trips I expect. That means a no-tag-off costs more than 3 times the normal fare.

    However, I have noticed that some machines I have had trouble with in the past, now seem to work without a problem. Maybe they have fixed some software glitches.

  5. My Comment

    There are more serious problems with the Opal system.

    (1) The biggest problem is probably that Opal does not properly integrate different modes of transport. It is cheaper and more efficient for the government to run a train carrying lots of passengers than buses each carrying relatively few passengers, so ideally Opal would encourage passengers to move from buses to trains. Assuming that timetables match, this would also give the passenger a faster journey.

    But Opal encourages the opposite.

    It is more expensive for a passenger to catch a bus to the train station then transfer to a train for the remainder of the journey than to remain on the bus for the full trip.

    (2) The fares are more expensive for many people on Opal, despite the Government’s continued statements and advertising. For example, for some people buying off-peak return train tickets, the weekly cost will go up by 12% from 1 September.

    (3) Opal is more expensive and complicated for families. Separate cards are required for each child. Upfront payments are required for each card, even if it will take years to use them up. The Family Fare deal (only pay for the first child) is not available on Opal making fares even more expensive for larger families.

    (4) Privacy: as has been covered elsewhere.

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