Monday, 7 August 2006

The Great Passport Fiasco : August 7th Edition

In order to get an application for a visa for my UK passport processed, it would be very helpful if DIFA, that is, the Department of Immigration, Multicultural Affairs and Indigenous Affairs had my records updated. Starting with my name.

You see, every Government Department has its own little database, and it hadn't ocurred to me that as I wasn't born here, I'd need to update my records at DIMA too.

The ACT Branch office, as I said in the August 4th post, were very helpful, got me the forms, photocopied and notarised the documents, they were great.

So I dropped into the DIMA head office, and hand-delivered the form to save time with postage delays. I'm told that in 2, 3, or perhaps 6 months, a case officer will eventually get to look at the application, evaluate it, and then in due course, a change may possibly be made. That takes a while. But it won't even be looked at for months, certainly.


I was told a letter asking them to expedite the process may help, once someone gets to evaluate that. That could take some time too. It would happen in the fullness of time. When the moment is propitious. So I better get writing, and hand-deliver that one too. I only have 96 days before I have to travel.

Onto the other front, trying to trace the latest edition of the Manual of Australian Passport Issue. The one at the National Library was dated 1994, and as it turns out, so is the one at the DFAT Library. Finding that out took a phone call to the Librarian.
The H V Evatt Library is located within the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
Public access to the library's resources is through the Australia wide interlibrary lending scheme. The Library's holdings are listed on the National Bibliographic Database and can be borrowed by other libraries. Researcher and post graduate student access will be granted if the H V Evatt library is the only library in Canberra holding relevant material. This must be arranged prior to any visit.

The Library is open Monday to Friday between 9.30 and 5 pm. The H V Evatt Library is not open to members of the public.
Hmmmm... so where CAN I find the latest edition? I know, ring up the Passport InfoLine.

They were very helpful. The first operator seemed to think that it wasn't actually available to the public, and she may even be right. She called in a Senior Operator anyway, to try to help me.

Then came a very interesting conversation. I never did find out how to get to the latest MAPI, but I did find out that my application hadn't been closed after all, but had been sent to "Policy" yet again, without my requesting it, or even knowing about it. This makes a Third time. Now with a notation that I be given a formal answer in writing.

The Senior Operator agreed that, from what I'd told her, my situation didn't fit in the box they were trying to put me in, and hoped that, and I quote, "Common Sense would prevail."

I have my doubts, but Hope springs eternal, and all that.

I hope to be able to do some work on my PhD research one day, instead of driving round Canberra, hand delivering forms, and speaking with bureaucrats, some very helpful, others who have been in the Public Service too long, if you get my drift.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

6 months?!?

I'd send them a letter of demand threatening procedings before the Privacy Commissioner (quoting NPP 6).

I've done it before with a government department, and it got me a very quick response.