Alf Goodman is a contract staff specialist in the IT industry. He has problems - specifically with public liability insurance for his business, the Goods and Services Tax, and smoking. While sneaking a quick puff in a high-rise car park, Alf has a major depressive episode, which gets him into a ridiculously dangerous situation, perched on a high ledge of the car park building.
Godfrey Whitmore broods over his boring job as a spin-doctor for the Minister for Employment, Training and Enterprise Resources until he is given an unexpected assignment by the Minister’s personal assistant, Lola Hope. He must stand in for the Minister at an award presentation at a small business incubator, while the Minister is preoccupied with a GST error that threatens to get him in trouble with the Prime Minister. Godfrey rushes to get to the function on time but fate intervenes and he doesn’t make it. Instead he ends up in hospital after a freak accident.
As Alf teeters on the ledge of the car park, the voice of God gives him the WORD, lecturing him about his obsession with taxation, insurance and his frustrated attempts to change the system. Suddenly Alf is blown from the ledge.
Alf wakes in great pain to discover from his wife Doris that he is in Calvary Hospital after a “fall” which he believes has left him on the brink of death. Then he awakens to another voice, that of Godfrey Whitmore, a patient in the next bed, who claims Alf is responsible for his injuries. After further sedation, Alf re-awakens to find Godfrey, Lola and a reporter friend, Pete, who asks him what happened. Fearful of being sued, Alf spins an elaborate story of the circumstances leading to his fall. After Pete leaves to write a report on the freak accident, Lola explains to Godfrey that Alf is the author of a mystery email suggesting a radical tax plan. She explains that the Minister wants Godfrey to find out what he can about Alf, implying he is a political threat.
Godfrey and Alf learn a little about each other and develop a genuine rapport.
The article Pete publishes in the paper about “the accident” makes Godfrey out to be a hero, along with the Minister, for saving Alf and small business generally from a fatal fall. It also provides a distraction from the Minister’s GST scandal.
Godfrey gets Alf talking about his problems and his views about the banks collecting tax, rather than burdening small business with the job.
Godfrey finally gets Alf to reveal his tax plan in detail. A single flat rate tax on everybody is really the only tax the government would need to get the funds for all essential services, while regulating the banks and monitoring big business. It would prevent financial collapses, tax avoidance and the rate needed would be a key performance indicator of the government’s efficiency. Godfrey tries in vain to find a hole in Alf’s plan but he finally concedes it is sound.
Alf expresses doubts that the banks or the government would tolerate such transparency and accountability, but Godfrey points out that is what they are responsible for - managing people’s money and the economy.
Godfrey states that the people are the customers of the banks and the government. It’s what the people say at the poll that counts. He suggests Alf stand for parliament? When Alf points out that he is in no shape to stand, Godfrey vows to champion Alf’s cause for tax reform.
Alf can finally rest in peace, but Godfrey secretly doubts he can beat the party machine – that would take an act of God.
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|Age Range:||18 Years|
About the Author
Glen Dennis began his career as a Commercial Trainee in BHP’s Whyalla Steelworks and Shipyard. His first posting was in their purchasing department where he learned to make sound ethical buying decisions and negotiate contracts. He studied economics, finance & accounting and contract law, plus a unit in computer programming. After working his way up to supply and contract management roles with several major mining operations, he started his own contract consulting business, Supply & Contract Resources. His main aim was to help clients and colleagues improve their supply chain and contract administration processes and he soon had to contract out other procurement and supply chain professionals to meet growing client demand. Contract staffing proved to be a very effective recruitment process and in a few years he and his wife were making good money providing good people to clients across Australia. They had bought their home, educated their children and achieved respect and status in the business community and supply chain fraternity. Seeking a healthy work - life balance, rather than wealth, they decided to spread the wealth and the workload by franchising the business as ProcureNet. The introduction of GST (the New Simplified Tax System), along with payroll tax, fringe benefit tax, superannuation, work cover and insurance made compliance more difficult, not simpler. The global financial crisis in 2008 also took its toll, making people less inclined to take a risk by going into business for themselves or buying a franchise. People sought the security of “permanent” employment rather than contracting. The business prospered for almost 20 years by maintaining the simplest approach possible, and by giving clients and candidates the best possible customer service and value. In 2013, Glen wound the business up and retired. He now seeks satisfaction and fulfillment from art, music and writing in his studio in Strathalbyn, South Australia.