FUCKING BAZZ or, perhaps, FUCKING BAIRD*!!!

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I’m cranky.

Not necessarily a new state for the grumpy old woman most of you see when you look at me, but I am the kind of cranky which is all capitals and all expletives – I think anyone who has ever used Twitter would understand that that means I’m REALLY cranky.

So, to overshare a little, during term time I live in Queanbeyan. I am not unhappy about this situation. Queanbeyan is, reputedly, .9 degrees warmer than Canberra on average each year, Queanbeyan is considerably cheaper to live in than Canberra and, most importantly, Queanbeyan is in a real State.

That is to say that while the New South Wales Government is inherently more conservative than basically anyone else on the planet (certainly, we a fairly lengthy history as being the single most conservative jurisdiction in Australia), we are safe knowing that the Commonwealth can’t overturn our laws.

To overshare again, I have been invited to a dinner in Sydney on Friday. I thought to myself, fabulous, I’ll order myself a stupid Opal Card, because I would rather like the NSW Government to know exactly where I am all the time.

I had actually looked into getting one about six months ago, but ultimately decided against it as I didn’t know whether I would actually need to use it and saw it as a waste of time. At this point, institutions like CIT, UC and the ANU were considered to be eligible institutions to qualify as a Concession.

Today? No. While the University of Canberra, the Canberra Institute of Technology, the Whitehouse Institute of Design (famed for giving one of Abbott’s daughters a $60K scholarship), the University of Tasmania (famous for being in, well, Tasmania) and JobQuest (which sounds rather more like a Job Network member than a registered training organisation) qualify… the Australian National University does not.

So, like any self-respecting, self-interested person, I seethed a little and sent a couple of emails.

I sent an email to ANUSA asking whether they knew anything about it, but no, they didn’t.

I called John Barilaro (local member for Monaro) who said it is apparently because ANUSA didn’t pay dues.

I called ANUSA… wtf?

I contacted Mick Veitch (MLC) and David Harris (MLA) who said it was in no way ANUSA’s responsibility… this is all a bit odd.

So I called the minister’s office. Minister Andrew Constance, to be specific, who is known in his electorate as the person not to talk to if you actually want something done about your issues… clearly an excellent appointment to the Transport portfolio.

‘… well, it’s your university’s fault.’

‘How is it my university’s fault?’

‘… clearly they didn’t support your application.’

‘My university wasn’t on the list for my application. How exactly could they have supported an application when I couldn’t lodge one due to the Transport Portfolio thinking it knows better than a Federal Act of Parliament establishing the bloody institution, at which I find myself attending?’

‘… well, obviously the university hasn’t done something?’

‘Exactly what were they supposed to do?’

‘… the university will have to follow this up with 131 500 – they run the policy on this.’

‘You’re saying that the agency [it’s not even a department they’re referring me to] runs the policy?… NOT the Minister?’

‘…’

‘Excuse me?’

‘… I must say I don’t appreciate your tone or you swearing at me.’

‘Well, there’s a surprise. So, we’re saying Big Bazz lied when he said that the Liberal Government was going to reduce red tape for the punters.’

‘… I don’t know to whom you are referring.’

‘#argh!!!’

I admit, that might have been a paraphrase. She did complain about me swearing MUCH earlier in the discussion. Next up, Jodi McKay, Shadow Minister for Transport! A lovely bloke in her office did let me rant for a little while (obviously the person in Minister Constance’s office should get some tips from this kid).

Apparently, questions will be asked next week.

But I still can’t get an Opal Card.

The NSW system isn’t like the Canberran system where every card looks the same and you just report changes in circumstance to the transport authority.  So, if I were to get an Opal Card now, when the ANU was finally acknowledged as being an institution by the NSW Bureaucracy, then I would have to get a new one – and from what I have heard they don’t automatically transfer over balances, so I would also be out of pocket.

Canberra is very much over bureaucratised… but at no point would a Federal or Territory Minister (or their offices) ever suggest that their department ran the policy on an issue, or made policy decisions regarding an issue. I know they wouldn’t do this, because they’d be considered useless and be fired pretty quickly if they did.

So, where does that leave me and my dinner? Well, I like dinner, I’ve always liked dinner… but for this particular dinner who knows. There is no point in getting the alternative Opal Card – I simply don’t have the cash to be out of pocket twice. Worse, there’s no chance I’ll be able to get a Concession Opal Card in time.

Then there’s driving in to town. Well, I’ve been there and done that many a time, and only when I was younger did I include driving in Sydney during peak hour on the list of enjoyable things to do. But never on a Friday night during peak hour… and these days, even without that degree of pressure, I prefer not driving anywhere near town at all if I can help it. ‘Park at Picton and catch the train in’ is my mantra.

So, it would seem, I am likely to have to miss dinner.

Thanks Big Bazz and thanks Mr Baird. The positive impact you have on my daily life is just remarkable. I am so thrilled, and I am just even more thrilled that you were re-elected in spite of pulling crap like this!

*Well, it may have been a policy shift between Premier Barry O’Farrell and Premier Mike Baird, so it may very well be that ‘Fucking Baird’ is a better title for this article, but, just quietly, the Minister’s office doesn’t bloody know, so why shouldn’t we blame both!