NEWSFLASH! In September I will join The Conversation as its Business and Economy Editor. I have been honoured to work at The Age for the past ten years, originally alongside the legendry Tim Colebatch, and for the past four years as economics editor in my own right.

At The Conversation, my job will be to make the best thinking from Australia's 40 univerisites accessible to the widest possible audience. That means you. From the new year I will also write a weekly column.

On this site are most of the important things I have written for Fairfax and the ABC over the past few decades. I recommend the Search function. The site is a record for you, as well as me.

I'll continue to post great things from The Conversation and other places here, and also on Twitter and Facebook. Enjoy.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Swan's bank-switching package is a useless joke

In January I suggested it would be useless.

Now the Sydney Morning Herald's Jessica Irvine has actually tried to use it.

Her colleague Annabel Crabb details the joke:

The "special hotline" number just turns out to be the ASIC general phone number.

Try dialling it; at first you'll get a list of options asking you whether you are an ASIC agent or a company director, or are ringing to report a scam, in which case you should press "3". Even at this early stage, bank switchers, the urge to press "3" will be quite strong.

Resist it; stay on the line. When an operator arrives, and you mention that you're calling about bank switching, you will elicit first a brief silence, then a pleasant musical interlude, and finally an extremely nice young woman who explains that you might be better off consulting a website called "Fido".

There's more discussion here.