Saturday, October 15, 2011

Who am I?

I went to the Dept of Main Roads today, armed with my birth certificate, several utility bills, Medicare and VISA cards - and forked over $50 - so I can finally prove who I am for the next five years, especially when sending parcels overseas at the post office.

Unless you drive in Australia, you're a non entity. Even a passport isn't "valid ID" because it has no street address on it. So now I have an embarrassing pic on a laminated card just like all the drivers out there.

I tried to get a "Proof of Age" card a few years ago, and the woman at the DMR laughed at me. "Proof of Age" photo ID cards were only available to non drivers between the ages of 18-26. Later, they changed the scheme to a more general identification card. The had sent me to the office of Births, Deaths & Marriages for a "Birth Card", but there was a 14-day waiting period to receive it, and a "Birth Card" really did the same as a passport, without the option for traveling overseas.

Mind you, I was one who voted in favour of the Australia Card a couple of decades ago. Even after that proposal was resoundly defeated, the government instigated the wider use of personal tax file numbers to do things like open a bank account, or apply for a job, so they achieved what they wanted anyway. Except I still couldn't prove who I was, unless I was willing to study a manual of road rules, pass a computerised test, and obtain a learner driver's permit I had no intention of using for that purpose.

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