What's Really at Stake


I've been trying to register a new business for nearly two weeks now. The process, for those of you not familiar with it, is applying for an ACN number, which then allows you to apply for an ABN number. I'm not sure if anyone would find it beneficial to only have an ACN number, but that's another story. The process is pretty straight forward except when you try to do it through the government's websites, which are confusing, slow and have repetitive links that don't work.

Anywho, after two weeks of trying to get this going, I've been in contact with the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) several times and they've decided to take my case into their hands. Their response; I'm getting a paper application.

If this is a simple business name registration, I don't want to imagine what's it like to be on Centrelink, be on the Office of Housing or have a disability pension. My experience also reminded me of a blog post by Tim O'Reilly on what is really at stake when we talk about government interfaces. Here is an abstract:

"When Jen Pahlka asked 2011 Fellow Scott Silverman why he'd chosen to leave Apple for a year at Code for America, he said "Because I believe interfaces to government can be simple, beautiful, and easy to use". That line has become a mantra for us (Code for America), but it has been given new urgency as our 2013 projects have taken us deeper into issues that affect the lives of our poorest citizens, like access to social services, food aid, and even finding alternatives to incarceration.