Monday, 21 August 2006

The Great Passport Fiasco : August 21st Edition

An explanatory (and apologetic) call from the Australian Passport Office, early this morning. The situation as they saw it was that I had been informed over the phone that my passport application was going to be rejected, and that the APO were working on the formal letter to that effect. Accordingly, my application had been withdrawn.


It seems that there is now a thing called a "Ministerial" in play now. Exactly what a "Ministerial" is, I'm not sure. Whether it is a Ministerial Query, a Ministerial Pronunciamento of new policy, or just a Ministerial determination of a particular case, I have no idea. I suspect just a simple "please explain" from On High. But the effect is as of a Demon King appearing amongst the Fairies, and there were profuse apologies for withdrawing my application.

The application been re-instated, and they never, ever, ever would have thought of withdrawing it if they knew a Ministerial was involved, oh my word, no! It didn't take Mandrake the Magician to detect more than a mild overtone of Panic in the APO.

Well, I did tell them I'd written to the Minister.

So the current state of play is... that I have no idea. But the Minister for Foreign Affairs, in addition to looking after multi-billion dollar trade negotiations and peace talks about the War in Lebanon, is finding a few seconds to cast his jaundiced eye on the situation. It looks like the Policy Section hadn't been keeping him as informed as they should have, and what I thought might have been the result of Ministerial direct intervention, wasn't. But who knows, it is, after all, the Public Circus Service. Guesses, Conjectures and reading Tea Leaves is no substitute for knowing the facts.

I don't expect a quick answer. I now have just over 80 days before leaving the country, and it's doubtful it will be settled before then.

Now would be a good time to say that I really, really don't need this stuff.


Warren Nicholls said...

Having spent half my working life in the State and Federal Public Services,it all sounds oh so familiar. What you have struck is the chronic desire of most public servants to avoid Having To Make a Decision, because you do not fit into any of the little boxes they can tick. What's worse, you almost certainly come under the category of someone Having To Make a Courageous Decision, which is why they tend to duck for cover.
Given Alexander's liking for fishnet stockings, writing to him was probably the best thing you could have done. His sense of humour will probably be a plus, as well.

Zoe Brain said...

But what are the odds of getting a decision made in the next 60 days? That would be cutting it fine, a passport would have to be issued, then I can book a ticket, that would take 3 weeks at least.

I'm working on the assumption now that things won't be sorted out before I have to leave. They might be, but I can't bank on it. For one thing, there's no guarantee that I'll get an acceptable answer.