Wednesday, April 28, 2010

"You Betta Geta a Lawyer, Son...You Betta Geta a Ree-al Good One"

(Photos: Sparksnleo, Flickr)
Do you know how many times I listened to the 'You Betta Geta Lawyer, Son' ditty today when I called the Roads & Traffic Authority?

60 minutes I waited on the end of the telephone line being audibly persecuted by their threatening little jingle; over 60 minutes of my life wasted while waiting for the RTA to respond beyond offering a tele-menu!

What is it with big corporations and government departments? Why do they think they can get away with treating us so dismissively and wantonly - grrrr! - (it was Telstra in my sights last week, this week it's the RTA!!!)

Anyway back to my opening sentence, & in answer to my own question - too many times!! I never want to hear that gravelly 'i'm-in-a-uniform-voice' advising some nebulous young man to seek competent legal representation ever again...

...only I'm going to have to!...

...aaahh! after finally being connected with a human voice (I think?) I was shunted around to various departments (shades of Telstra's modus operandi!), then redirected back to various switchboards ('you betta geta lawyer, son' - aaaahhhh!) ad infinitum. On the odd occasion an actual RTA person became involved they invariably put in their universal two bob's worth - "there are no exemptions for bicycle helmets" !!



(here's a little excerpt of the dialogue I had with the penultimate department I was 'shunted' to, having just encountered the statement "there are no exemptions for bicycle helmets" for the umpteenth time)

- "Lovely and thank you, but just right now I want to know how my application for an exemption is going"

- "listen there are no exemptions; you need another organisation"

- "but you are the authority defined in the dictionary of the act and the dictionary of the regulations"

- "... ... ... ..."

- "hello? hello? are you there?"

- "we're not the relevant organisation"

- well actually you are, and once again your role is defined in the dictionary of the act and the dictionary of the regulations, using the word authority

- "even so, any letter you sent to a bicycle unit wouldn't get here because there's no Bicycle Unit"

- "interesting, during my last phone call with RTA personnel, I was advised that Mr Bushby, who I believe has been temporarily stood down on full pay, had passed my application onto the Bicycle Unit"

- "Mr Bushby doesn't work here anymore"

- "completely understood and noted already, however perhaps you could put me through to his former department so I could chat to his PA to attempt to track down my application"

- "anyway Mr Bushby wouldn't have had anything to do with this - he was the CEO"

- "exactly, which is why I paid extra for the 'person-to-person' delivery (thank you, Australia Post!!), and it was definitely Mr Bushby who picked it up from the Post Office because I am holding the notification card with his signature on it (thanks again, Australia Post!)"

- "I'll put you through to his PA that used to be his but isn't now"

- "thank you"


...interestingly the PA (that used to be his but isn't now) knew about me - the lady from Scone! He attempted to reach the 'Relevant Department' but the line remained unanswered. He assured me that when he finally did get through to them, he would get the 'Relevant Department' to ring me back straight away (boy! I've heard that one before!).

In fact he sounded so genuine that before we took our fond farewells of each other, I insisted he gave me his direct line - I haven't tested it yet for its veracity, but I have every intention of doing so tomorrow!!

- this is such a long drawn out process - I feel exhasuted!!


  1. Keep up the fight!
    We are following you and respect your efforts to make the world a better place.
    Just in case you haven't heard of this: There is a motion for the swedish parliament to cancel their helmet law on children (under 15 yo).

    best regards from Iceland,

  2. Thank you, Jens, for your kind words & your support - it is the 'virtual cheering' like yours that keep the 'fight' in my heart!

    Thank you also for the link (with translation) - the proposed Swedish motion speaks volumes - Australia ought to take note!

  3. Hi, found my way here from Copenhagenize. I think it's fantastic what you're doing to try to abolish your country's idiotic helmet laws. Thankfully they haven't brought in this in my country and I hope they never do. I love cycling and it's starting to increase again in popularity after decades in decline and I know helmet laws would kill that, so best of Irish luck from me in your campaign! ;) Christina in Wicklow

  4. Wow! thank you, Christina! - and if mandatory helmet laws ever start to appear on any political Irish agenda: SAY NO!!!!!!