Yesterday's issue has been resolved. Called Centrelink early this morning, had to lie to the automated call routing because it couldn't understand my speaking the information it demanded I speak, so said I didn't have that information and got put through to a person, to whom I spoke the aforementioned identifying code. Got told the solution to my problem was simple - all I had to do was show up to a Centrelink office for a drop-in interview and my payments would be reinstated.
The time then was ~09:25. I had an appointment with my case manager at 10:45, a 20 minute drive away. Roughly halfway between these locations was the Centrelink office my appointments have been at, so I picked up and left early to try and get both taken care of on the same trip.
Unexpected delay locating car keys, arrived at Centrelink ~09:45, waited in line to get an appointment, waited in chair to be called after that. Got called about 5 minutes before my other appointment was due. :-/ Fix consisted of sitting in silence for several minutes while the person who had called me typed things. No questions were asked of me. Eventually I was told that if I keep missing appointments my payment will keep being suspended without notification (the without notification is the annoying bit, am not surprised suspension would be repeated). Was told a date for the next appointment in ~6 weeks would be mailed to me. Only question was if I had anything else to talk about, said no, that am now running late for another appointment, and left.
Got call from case manager while stopped at intersection, apparently she is booked up for the rest of the day. Had to hurriedly hang up on, called back after finding somewhere safe to park, wrote down day and time of new appointment next Friday, returned home.
That was all understandable and annoying. The frustrating part is Centrelink's entirely goal seems to be for me to be physically present in one of their offices for 10-20 minutes every six weeks. There doesn't seem to be any other point. I don't get asked for details of my job searching in any way (not that I would appreciate having to provide that, but at least it would suggest they are getting information on anything beyond my ability to follow people who call my name and sit in a seat for a little while). In this case there wasn't even any direct communication, just an implicit acknowledgement that I entered their building and consequently my punishment is rescinded for now. If I had issues I needed to talk to someone at Centrelink about I could call them, like I did today.
I certainly don't want a tighter leash in this area, especially since it looks like the racist income management situation in the Northern Territory is going to be switched to mostly classist by bringing it nationwide (that's the system in which the federal government holds on to half the money they 'pay' you and issues you a card which can only be used in certain locations to pay for things they believe are appropriate for social security recipients to spend money on). But right now what little income I have is primarily predicated on my ability to enter a specified building once every six weeks, and that is thoroughly pointless. A hoop for the sake of having a hoop, the closest thing it has to a purpose is giving Centrelink a reason not to fire a whole lot of its consultants.
On the bright side, this afternoon I got to enjoy a long, fun reading session on Skype. I read a chapter from The Ersatz Elevator, Pazi read a chapter from Singularity Sky, and Ami read a chapter from I, Q. Three fun, delightfully different sf stories shared among some of the people most important in my life. That in itself would be enough to make a day a good one, even this one.