I get this email every so often... it's worthy, so here it is:
Sensis, as you may or may not know, is a subsidiary of Telstra. The 1234 number is replacing the Telstra 12456 directory assistance number, but this time with outrageous costs attached: 40c to call the number, then 4c A SECOND! With this sort of pricing structure in place, it's no wonder so many Australians hold Telstra in the same regard as the major banks. By law, Telstra have to provide a FREE directory assistance number, because they are still majority owned by the government. They choose however not to pass this number on to the public. What's the number? 1223. Thumbs up to Telstra for finding a way to charge for a service that is supposed to be provided for free.
Being ever-cynical and suspicious about Telstra, I did a quick search to see what more I could find about this (and to check whether it is actually free). According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the 1223 number is free - Telstra admits confusion over directory inquiries - National - www.smh.com.au:
Australian Consumers' Association policy officer Charles Britton said it would be more useful to consumers if Telstra promoted the free directory assistance numbers 12455 and 1223 instead. Telstra is compelled to provide a free directory service to residential phone users.
So. Program it into your phone (note that it's not free on mobile phones, since almost nothing is free on mobile phones). 1223. Note that the 12455 number is NOT NECESSARILY FREE, even if you are an existing Telstra victim.
Be ready to write the number down since it doesn't offer a connection service. Also note that you'll get Telstra's pathetic and useless voice recognition bullshit when you call 1223, so clearly and loudly say "operator" as soon as it picks up (I found that "let me talk to a fucking human" also worked on one occasion). Otherwise you will NOT get what you need, since it only recognises 2500 numbers and if the number you want is at all phonetically similar to a Telstra service... guess which one you'll get.