Postman Pat leaves Bureaucrat Bob behind
Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm. Hey, maybe this “World Wide Interwebs” thingymajig could be worth looking into. What if this fancy-sounding “Electronic Mail” stuff takes off?!
More than two decades after the internet started linking homes and businesses throughout the world, Australia Post finally acted on that thought yesterday. “Digital MailBoxes” are going to be made available to all Australians later this year. Basically, they’ll be a one-stop shops for sending secure emails, paying your bills and getting in touch with service providers like banks.
And in recognition of the fact that close to half of Australians have shopped online, they’re also bringing in “super-stores” with 24-hour zones where people can post and collect parcels. A great idea when more Australians are buying more online than ever and more Australians are getting irritated because they’re unable to pick up their UrbanOutfitters singlet or kayaking implement between 9 and 5. If only the rest of the government would join in.
Five years ago you’d probably scoff at the idea that the post office is one of our most forward thinking government agencies. Snail mail couldn’t even compete with Hotmail on a 56.6k dial up modem.
But buried under a pile of white and yellow envelopes somewhere, tongue chronically dry from licking too many stamps, a postmaster type has realised that the internet is the place where many opportunities to help customers lie.
It’s an incredible opportunity to make things simpler for people. If only much of the rest of the Federal Government wasn’t just as far behind the present as the post office was. Just look at the Medicare website. It’s difficult to navigate.
I can tell you that none of the successful private health insurers would let their websites be that inaccessible. It’s the same story for a number of government departments and agencies. The Australian Parliament House website - a public resource - only just got upgraded into the 21st century.
Funnily enough, it was bringing in simple stuff like this that got Julia GIllard the accolades that catapulted her into the prime ministership in the first place. She brought in the Myschool website. A website that opens up a world of information about where you’re sending your kids to school. All you’ve got to do is type in the school’s name in a big search box and you’re instantly able to make a better schooling choice.
It made stuff simple for everyday people. Just as Google did for finding information and just as the car did for getting to point A from point B.
Maybe what the Federal Government could do with is a little more entrepreneurial ingenuity, a little more of an idea that organisations like Medicare and the post office are out there to help people and that to do that things need to be kept helpful and simple, stupid.
Correction: Finding a Medicare outlet using their website isn’t that difficult. (DP)
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