That was a crazy week
I RECEIVED an unusual SMS one evening this week. It was supposedly from one of the Big4 banks advising me that my card had been locked and I would need to open the conveniently-provided link, in order to update my security details.
Now, I'm no fool. For starters, I don't use plastic. Besides, I don't actually custom that particular bank. So, I contacted Crime Stoppers who, in turn, referred me to something called Scamwatch. I got a recorded message advising me that their office was closed and to call again during business hours.
My thoughts: Plaudits to the authorities for setting up such a body as Scamwatch (even if I had never heard of it before). But I must also question its effectiveness. Particularly as most of those fraudsters tend to make their moves outside of business hours. Perhaps that's why they never actually get caught.
I must also question just how concerned the major banks really are at protecting their brands from these types pretending to be them. Especially when I went to the trouble of going to the nearest branch of said bank the next morning to report the previous evening's text message. Their enthusiasm for my report was as underwhelming as it is for a Royal Commission.
That is just the latest in what has turned out to be quite a bizarre week. If you leave aside for a moment the sudden realisation that perhaps Alec Baldwin should have been the Republican presidential candidate, other events have made it clear to me that our politicians, government bodies and institutions have all been guilty of taking their eyes off the ball.
After the fanfare and advertising blitz that accompanied the launch of the new and improved $5 note (a design I still reckon looks like it was done by Malcolm Roberts when he was off his meds) came the less-publicised news that the new and improved note is as functional as a Galaxy Note 7. Apparently, it never registered with the boffins at The Mint that the new and improved note can't actually be used in cash machines. And even after businesses go to the expense of upgrading their note-reading equipment, the result is that the old $5 notes, still in circulation in their millions, can't be read by the upgraded technology.
Perhaps this is a job for the PM's Mr Fix-It, Christopher Pyne. It might help to take his mind off losing his budgie-smuggling friend.
However, I still hold firm to my view that red tape isn't all bad. Sure, sometimes too much of it strangles business growth but too little of it, not enough government overview, allows the potentially unscrupulous to act without restraint.
This week's revelation that the prevalence of Black Lung amongst coal workers might be more widespread than originally thought points to one thing: someone, whether that be the coal companies, the government or both, have taken their eye off the ball. There have been concerns in recent years about the gradual downgrading of official air quality monitoring, as government embarked on their bend-over-backwards approach to keeping the mining companies happy and in pursuit of budget cuts. But to what potential health ramifications?
And then, we had the awful case in WA of a young female backpacker who fell to her death on a highrise construction site. Has government become so obsessed with deregulation that the use of unskilled foreign backpackers on construction sites is now deemed acceptable? On the other hand, if they are prepared to allow cheap Chinese asbestos-free building materials (that actually do contain asbestos) into the country, then I guess it's also deemed now acceptable to adopt their labour practices.