Monday, August 30, 2010

#206: Living It Up On The Dole

Years before the Dole Army existed you could buy books like this, and the one written by some clown who’s last name was Barbour (I think) in all good and bad book shops around the place. I once met Barbour (God, what was his first name? Neil?) when I worked as a Professional Mouse Strangler at a radio station here. Barbour (was his first name John? Nope…) used to wander in, go to the toilet and write details of how and where to buy his self-published books on the wall. He’d also leave a steaming pile in the bowl as he didn’t believe in flushing (wasted water) or, one presumes, wiping his arse (waste of paper) which was evident by the lack of paper. To amuse ourselves we’d send in a work experience person who’d generally scream at the sight of a blind mullet winking at them and saying, “How ya doin’?”

Good times indeed. Anyway, Barbour (ahhh screw his first name, he was a wanker anyway) used to live in a tent in the hills and used to argue with members of the DSS about his residential address. The DSS never believed that a tent in the middle of a paddock was a proper residential address and Barbour couldn’t see why he shouldn’t get rent assistance on a tent in the middle of a paddock, a tent which he probably stole and never paid rent on anyway. Win-win for all. Still he did write and publish a similar book to this one, and if you can find a copy then hang onto it – it’s a ripper read.

This book differs from Barbours in that it was written by an ex-DSS employee (in 1985) and where Barbour’s book showed how to rort the system without fear of consequences, this volume, equally as hilarious, makes the point that while you can rip the system off, eventually you may get caught and eventually you may face penalties. Simple as that really. Trust me though, this book is well worth reading and I expect that it’s probably a cult classic in the world of Centrelink, and if it’s not, then it should be. It’s more valid to those guys than anything else they’re reading.

And if you doubt me, just check out this sample chapter.

Dolebludging – A Taxpayer’s Guide. You won’t find it in your local bookstore, but if you are lucky enough to find a copy then hold onto it – it’s a brilliant piece of Australiana that’ll be the envy of all who see it. And yes, I do not condone ripping the system off, but I do condone the reading of this book, and laughing all the way...and sorry Dole Army, you're nowhere near the first to reveal how silly the dole office can be at times.  Hell, I know people who work there who hate the place.

As Bob Hudson once sang, "It's a full time job, everyday of the week, Living it up on the dole!"