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The state bureaucracy works hard to rekindle my contempt for their bungling. The simple matter of a licence renewal was recently made difficult. How? By someone deciding that photo ID is now required on the licence document.

A previously simple task, repeated over countless years by simply mailing them a cheque, was complicated this year. I received, what appeared to be, a reasonable request in their letter:

“You are required to pay in person at your local Australia Post Office as it is a requirement to have your photograph taken. Australia Post can also process the payment for the renewal of the licence. Alternatively if your local Australia Post does not provide this service you may attend the Department of Transport or your local Shire office.”

Now, this should have been a simple task. But after visiting the local Shire office and three post offices, they all claimed no knowledge of their ability to perform these services. It was the fourth post office where this task was cheerfully performed.

Five lots of parking spots found, five queuing experiences and suddenly my whole morning had vanished. The end result? No benefit to me. No increased revenue to the State Government. But I have been robbed of a morning that could have been productively directed elsewhere.

This reminds me of Frederic Bastiat’s story about ‘the things seen and the things unseen’, told here by Henry Hazlitt. The morning of which I have just been robbed is very much ”seen” by me.

The thing “seen” by the bureaucracy who originated the “helpful letter” was the instruction, which appeared clear and co-operative. What forever will remain “unseen” is the inconvenience they inflict on others. I’m sure I’m not the only person who has suffered the above time-wasting exercise.


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