ERROL PARKER | Editor-at-large | Contact

A local employee of the Australian Tax Office has spoken candidly to The Advocate today about how one aspect of his job has him idling at the end of a dead-end street.

For nearly 40 years, Deverell Slacks enjoyed playing ultimate frisbee with friends down in the French Quarter’s famous Jardins De L’amour on Rue de Putain.

Then last summer, the 80-year-old business relations manager said he copped an errant frisbee to the throat and doctors gave him the sad news that he’d received the “Lockyer” injury that all ultimate frisbee players dread.

“It was career-ending to say the least,” he said.

“But I always look on the bright side and my employer was great, too. They gave me a tonne of leave and made sure I was back to 100% before I came back to the office. Because if there’s one thing the government and the ATO want you to be doing is working and paying tax until you die quickly and cheaply! [laughs] No, I’m lucky to have a great job and a great team,”

“But there’s one part of my job that’ll never be the same.”

Mr Slacks was fitted with an “ElectroLarynx”, a device that creates speech from damaged vocal cords, after the injury. That’s made one aspect of his job very difficult.

One of the worst parts of the job, Deverell says, is to call up small business owners to say they are about to be arrested if they don’t pay their tax debts immediately via $100 iTunes gift vouchers.

“It used to be so easy, I’d call them up and tell them they were about to go to the big house,” he said.

“Now, they just tell me to fuck off and hung up the phone. Nobody takes me seriously. It’s terrible,”

“They’ll have to move me off telephone duties if this keeps up. I’m just trying to perform a public service and people just call me names.”

More to come.


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