The Commonwealth government is "in denial" over the performance of its online service portals, with MyGov coming in for savage criticisms from frustrated users of the system.
Centrelink and Medicare clients from around Australia reacted with anger and disbelief after the giant Department of Human Services denied last week that there were any problems with MyGov.
The reactions come as a former DHS worker tells the inside story of their short stint working on the MyGov help desk before resigning in disgust at what they saw there.
The former staffer told of hopeless attempts to help people who had been locked out of the system and of various technical problems that dog the MyGov portal.
"I resigned as I felt I could not provide genuine service," the former public servant wrote.
"In many cases I also felt I could not provide real solutions to callers' problems."
Users of the system reacted with disbelief to the department's insistence last week that there were no systemic problems with MyGov.
"They are in denial," one reader wrote.
"Once you login, throughout the system, there are messages saying some clients will not be able to access, some things cannot be done, full acknowledgement of massive problems....maybe the boss has not been onto the site."
Others told of making their way to Centrelink offices after being locked out or denied access to MyGov, to find the shopfront full of other people saying they could not log on.
"I always seem to get a message that access is unavailable, try again later or words to that effect," one user told The Canberra Times.
"Staff at my GP's practice inform me that I am not alone in having trouble with MyGov.
"Why did they change things when the individual sites were working well?"
Difficulties logging on were widely reported with the MyGov helpdesk often telling users that it was their own technology, and not the portal that was to blame.
"Trying to log into MyGov sent me to drink," one wrote.
"I spent two days fighting it."
Another client wrote on August 7 that they had been locked out of their account for nine days.
"I've been locked out since at least July 29 if not before," the user said.
"I raised the issue at a Centrelink Office that takes me an hour to get to - at least they let me speak to a real person - and was told it was not an issue with everyone else and it was due to my phone reception.
"This was despite showing them screen shots and that I was attempting logins on both wifi and 3 and 4G networks.
"There have been no emails providing any information on the problem or any possible solutions."
Other clients were more blunt.
"The system is a joke," one wrote.
"The MyGov web site has been nothing more than a complete shambles since 01 July 2015," added another.
One frustrated pensioner questioned whether senior DHS public servants were aware of the extent of MyGov's problems.
"One wonders how well they have met their customer service obligations for high availability of the portal," the customer wrote.
"I suspect that it is not being reported or if it is, the truth is being kept from the senior staff in DHS and Centrelink."
The Department of Human Services was contacted for comment on Monday but was unable to respond before deadline.