Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Not Safe In Taxis

AS new Speaker Peter Slipper seems disinclined to explain his extensive and extraordinarily expensive use of taxpayer-funded taxis, the curious can only speculate how one man could run up a $750 fare in the course of a single day. Suspicious minds might wonder, for example, if those many and various cabs were left waiting outside certain establishments while the hirer attended to pressing business.

This thought is unworthy and should be banished. As is well known, Slipper is actually the Reverend Slipper, ordained priest in the congregation of self-proclaimed Buggered Bishop John Hepworth, head of the breakaway Traditional Anglican Communion. Would a man of the cloth haunt bars and bordellos? Perish the thought! While Hepworth's schismatic flock has its differences with Anglican orthodoxy, the embrace of loose living is surely not amongst them.

So how to explain those astonomical charges? Well, one entirely theoretical point to consider is taxi vouchers' potential for fraud. It is a simple scam: The hirer sells the voucher to a crooked driver, who makes it out for an exorbitant sum which is then split between them. The hirer gets a fistful of dollars while the driver scores a "fare" without ever having to turn the ignition key. It is a common practice, a gentleman who owns several cabs tells the Professor, and has been mentioned in a NSW report on, amongst other things, the transition from paper vouchers to smart cards:
It became obvious during the trial that the smart card itself provided an opportunity to abuse the scheme through the use of taxi emergency dockets. These are dockets provided to drivers to be used in case of the EFTPOS system being out of service/range. In some cases drivers are using the smart card manually to generate an emergency docket rather than use EFTPOS, even if the vehicle is fitted with EFTPOS equipment and it’s working effectively.

In some cases trial participants used a disproportionate number of taxi emergency dockets using the same taxi driver. This has lead to 20 individual cases of suspected misuse being identified and referred to the Ministry’s Compliance Branch for investigation.

The high percentage of card transactions being processed manually has a suspected correlation to the level of fraud....

While it is impossible -- indeed, absolutely inconceivable -- that an elected representative of the Australian people would engage in something quite so tawdry, cheap and crooked, it is perhaps just a little easier to imagine a member of the Traditional Anglican Communion being so tempted.

After all, the Reverend Slipper's spiritual leader went down for robbing his own church of $1,200 to pay for a jolly celebration.

No doubt Australia Police will put these dark notions to rest when their expanding investigation is over and the Reverend Slipper is cleared, as the Australian people expect. After all, who could imagine the Gillard government elevating a thief, liar and nest-featherer to one of the most august offices in the land?


  1. Who could imagine the Gillard government elevating a thief, liar and nest-featherer to two of the most august offices in the land? Labor nominated and elected the now honourable reverend to the office of deputy speaker last year.

  2. As all the details (time, duration, route and cost) are kept for years on the taxi Company's computer it will be an interesting time for investigating officials. Even hackers may get in to sniff around for juicy morsels.

  3. I hope people put the slipper into this maggot and jail the arrogant crook.he should be sent to a gulag for life.

  4. PhillipGeorge(c)2011December 7, 2011 at 8:40 PM

    Oh, if only the good hackers of Climategate were to work their trade on this subject.
    Then the parliament might be whittled down to only a few dozen.
    Best if they stick to the World Wide Websters schemes. Bigger fish for the griller.

  5. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.December 7, 2011 at 9:50 PM

    The activities of the Gillard government already beggar the imagination. Who knows what is next? Parliament opening with a recognition ceremony to the blossoming intelligence of Gaia? An exit tax on doorways? Citizenship tests for the family dog?

    Nah. That's just par for the course loony rather than horribly sleazy. 'Fraid I'll have to cancel out on this one. My beggared imagination baulks at descending to the required depths.

  6. Talking to some people in the know this evening. This is a well known scam in the taxi industry.