It’s more than 25 years since I’ve had one name, Stilgherrian. That’s plenty of time to get with the program. So from now on I’ll name the businesses and organisations who can’t get it right — starting with the Australian Business Register.
Now I grant you, a single given name with no surname is unusual in Australia. But it’s not unique. Various government agencies have told me there’s a dozen to 20 people with the same set-up — and it’ll probably be more common with further immigration.
And it’s not that hard to deal with either. Just realise that the law allows people to name themselves anything as long it’s not “obscene” or “frivolous” — whatever the hell that might mean! — and design your database appropriately. Don’t make “surname” a required field.
(And while you’re at it, skip “title” as a require field too. Not all of us are status-conscious Victorian-era middle class wankers who need to prefix our names with indicators of gender, marital status and property ownership.)
But somehow this cluefulness didn’t make it across to the Australian Business Register, who informed me today:
Unfortunately our systems must have a surname & not just a given name.
Sorry, not good enough.
Even if a person’s name is “unusual” or even “very rare”, it doesn’t matter. You’re the bloody government, and it’s your job to get it right. For every citizen.
If you can’t even get the basics right, like the business owner’s name, then how can we trust anything else in your database?
So, gentle public servant who shall remain nameless because it’s not your fault, what are we going to do about it?