Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Superannuation - what's your name again?

I've made some progress on my superannuation campaign! I've also been stuck in another bureaucratic loop.

The good news is that I've received a refund of insurance premiums and fees. It's a small amount of money but an important acknowledgement that other people were spending my money in a way I had not authorised and that is of no benefit to me.

In the meantime, the Australian Tax Office is investigating whether I've been denied choice of superannuation fund under the requirements of the superannuation choice legislation. I suspect I know what the answer will be, but it's all part of amassing evidence to then mount an argument and perhaps broaden the campaign.

My local members of parliament will soon be hearing from me.

Today I received a letter from the UniSuper Fund thanking me for my request to change my membership details. They then went on to note my new name and new address.  I've had the same name since birth and the same mailing address for fourteen years, so I was a little concerned. I rang the fund and was advised that the university HR department had changed my details.

"Change them back please," I said.

"We can't do that over the phone," came the reply from Alice.

"Why not?"

"Only the university HR department can change those details. You need to speak to them."

"Am I the owner of the account?" I asked.


"If there was money in the account, would that money belong to me?"


"Why can someone who is not me change my name and address?"


"You'll need to speak to HR. I can't do anything."

Maybe I'm feeling a bit sensitive after having to convince another employer on the weekend about what my name is. There was no folder with my name on it. Several people pointed me to the folder with the right first name, but the wrong surname.

"Oh, you're not Tanya Frew?"

"No I'm not."

"Are you sure?"

I have no patience for conversations like that.

I refuse to be sent back into the bureaucratic haze of buck passing between the employer and the superannuation fund. I insisted that the details be fixed. Alice just called back and told me the problem had been rectified. It's amazing what becomes possible when you persist, sound like you know what you're talking about and sound like you mean it.

I'll be calling the university HR department tomorrow to remove any authority for them to make changes to my account. I'll also be asking for details of the authority that they had to make the changes in the first place. That should be interesting.

In the course of the call, I've discovered that my account has been reopened, but no money has been paid in. It is set up without insurance attached, so that tells me that someone, somewhere is listening.

I'm a supporter of compulsory superannuation, but won't accept this distortion of the system.  Stay tuned.

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