DHS won’t rule out targeting age pensioners next

Any decision to expand the robo-debt scheme to meet budget targets would happen ‘further down the track’.

DHS won’t rule out targeting age pensioners next

The Department of Human Services (DHS) has not ruled out expanding the robo-debt program to target age pensioners and vulnerable Australians currently on the ‘safe list’.

DHS department secretary Renee Leon said that while the department had no current plans to target age pensioners, any decision to expand the scheme to meet budget targets would happen “further down the track”.

Leaked government documents seen by Guardian Australia revealed how the DHS recommended the cabinet sign on off on 350,000 online debt compliance reviews of older and vulnerable Australians over the next three years in order to meet “estimated savings over the forward estimates [that] cannot be achieved without undertaking sensitive cohort reviews”.

The submission proposed phasing in robo-debt reviews of older Australians, which would have begun with a small number of reviews early next year.

The government appears to have shelved that idea – at least for the short term.

When Greens senator Rachel Siewert asked Ms Leon at senate estimates whether the government would expand the scheme to include older Australians and the vulnerable, Ms Leon replied: “The government has no plans to recommence those.”

When Ms Siewert pressed on, asking “that doesn’t answer my question, have you provided advice?”

Ms Leon replied: “We discuss the operation of the program with government from time to time and in the course of that, the government has indicated that it has no intention to recommence the reviews of those cohorts.”

When asked by Labor’s Claire Moore if the government could make its estimated targets while still excluding sensitive cohorts, Ms Leon said a decision could be made in future, but maintained that there was no “current” proposal or “immediate fiscal need” to make this decision while the scheme was on track to meet its targets.

“Whether we will need to go to government and seek their views about putting them back in is a matter that we’ll come to further down the track depending on the progress of the program,” said Ms Leon.

The robo-debt scheme has been heavily criticised since its inception, with multiple examples of incorrect debt notices and bullying tactics of vulnerable Australians.

During estimates, the department conceded that a “manual staff error” led to 10,000 incorrect debt notices sent in April, and that Centrelink had issued debts to 169 welfare recipients who were already dead, and also approached representatives of “deceased customers” in 515 cases. Almost all the debts were waived.

The scheme is the subject of a second Senate inquiry, a federal court challenge and a potential class action.

Labor’s Kimberley Kitching also questioned Ms Leon on the legality of the scheme, asking if the department had “any concerns about the lack of legal foundation for the scheme, particularly its reverse onus of proof”.

“We don’t accept that there’s a reverse onus of proof, Senator,” said Ms Leon.

Would you be surprised if the scheme was expanded to include older Australians? Do you think age pensioners should be included?

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    COMMENTS

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    Baby Huey
    29th Oct 2019
    10:50am
    Centerlink's conduct is just as criminal as that of the banks.
    Retiring Well
    29th Oct 2019
    11:35am
    Nothing criminal about the banks at all. Thanks to the banks I enjoy the life I do today.
    jackie
    29th Oct 2019
    12:00pm
    VeryCaringBigBear, you obviously are self-funded. I hope your shares didn't support wars, mining, and anything that harmed others for profit.
    Anonymous
    29th Oct 2019
    12:00pm
    .. and that's criminal ...
    Retiring Well
    29th Oct 2019
    12:12pm
    I have no problem with mining shares, oil and coal shares at all. We all use them in our every day lives.
    inextratime
    29th Oct 2019
    12:57pm
    VCBB has $400k in his SMSF. He gloats about it all the time. He has changed his handle from Old Geezer. There is nothing worse than a smug self appraising SA when it comes to discussing the less fortunate people in this world that through no fault of there own, find themselves struggling to make ends meet. But pontificate all you like VCBB, I for one will not be requesting an autograph or joining the "aren't I great" VCCB club.
    Anonymous
    29th Oct 2019
    1:37pm
    jackie - why the hell are you always soooo negative? The Govt is not right, neither is the other mob. Share owners are not OK either as some shares are with companies you don't like. Not everybody wants to go thru life with zilch.
    Retiring Well
    29th Oct 2019
    1:59pm
    Where did you get the idea I have $400,000 in a SMSF? Would I be on the full OAP if I did?
    Sceptic
    29th Oct 2019
    2:45pm
    Her, Here Cowboy Jim. I know that she also benefits from mining, and things that make a profit.
    Retiring Well
    29th Oct 2019
    3:59pm
    If you have an income you make either a profit or collect welfare.
    inextratime
    29th Oct 2019
    4:38pm
    First time you've mentioned being on the OAP.
    Nerk
    2nd Nov 2019
    8:53am
    Verycaring, I too have the same feeling when it comes to shares, love them at dividend time, especially when fully franked, something like xmas every 3 months, I don't receive anything off centrelink.
    Horace Cope
    29th Oct 2019
    11:02am
    This is a futile exercise in scaremongering. The truth is that there is no current plan to increase the robo-debt scheme to target age pensioners nor has a decision been made to expand the scheme. Further, the government has no plans to expand the scheme.

    What we see year after year by government departments is their budget being put to government to justify their spending. Included in these budget plans are methods to either cut costs or increase revenue. Just because a department is putting ideas forward doesn't mean that they will be accepted. Whereas the existing robo-debt can identify those who may be defrauding the system through taxation returns, most age pensioners do not submit a tax return so that avenue is closed.

    Answering questions on current or future plans by politicians are fraught with danger. We can go back and quote politicians who made promises before an election but who later broke them because circumstances changed. There is a saying that may be more applicable and it's the "I never rule anything or out" answer that doesn't answer a direct question but won't get anyone into trouble for lying.
    Batara
    29th Oct 2019
    11:30am
    Horrie, I would not call this "futile scaremongering". Bringing the issue to attention has a clear purpose - to influence the Government to change its mind, or perhaps to not change its mind - either way to influence the Government to not put the robo-debt dogs on to pensioners. BTW I am not a pensioner so no self interest in the matter.

    The tactic you label "scaremongering" works. Remember the Liberals' screaming about Mediscare? Well there is no doubt the Liberals are ideologically opposed to Medicare and they had ideas of making major changes. However, after they labelled the warnings from Labor as "Mediscare" they were politically unable to make the changes that their ideology and their cheer squad, the IPA, wanted to make. So "scaremongering" works. Another example the recent Liberal election campaign based on Death Tax and franking credit distortion. The Libs are skilled in scaremongering and misinformation.
    Batara
    29th Oct 2019
    11:30am
    Horrie, I would not call this "futile scaremongering". Bringing the issue to attention has a clear purpose - to influence the Government to change its mind, or perhaps to not change its mind - either way to influence the Government to not put the robo-debt dogs on to pensioners. BTW I am not a pensioner so no self interest in the matter.

    The tactic you label "scaremongering" works. Remember the Liberals' screaming about Mediscare? Well there is no doubt the Liberals are ideologically opposed to Medicare and they had ideas of making major changes. However, after they labelled the warnings from Labor as "Mediscare" they were politically unable to make the changes that their ideology and their cheer squad, the IPA, wanted to make. So "scaremongering" works. Another example the recent Liberal election campaign based on Death Tax and franking credit distortion. The Libs are skilled in scaremongering and misinformation.
    Sen.Cit.90
    29th Oct 2019
    11:51am
    Horace Cope'
    For your information; when the scheme started and Scomo was the minister, I was hit with a demand for 600plus dollars with the claim I'd ben overpaid on my age pension; I was in my 80's then. I don't use tax returns but the excuse by DSS was information received from the Tax office??? Old trusting fool me, I didn't query and simply paid-up. I cannot find the paper-work relating to the demand; the hullaballoo on the subject matter hadn't then started
    Anonymous
    29th Oct 2019
    12:03pm
    The price of liberty from Centrelink Invasion is Eternal Vigilance.... and the way things look - we sure need a Vigilance Committee right there...

    Never let the bastards sneak up on you - do not Endeavour to Persevere... and while we're at it - what is it they are distracting us from with all this guff about Ayers Rock, Murray Water, and attacks on pensioners and unemployed?
    Horace Cope
    29th Oct 2019
    12:23pm
    Just a minor correction to your post, Sen.Cit.90, the scheme to recover overpayments from welfare recipients was started by Labor and was jointly announced by Plibersek and Shorten so as Morrison was in opposition he couldn't have been the minister.
    Sen.Cit.90
    29th Oct 2019
    6:21pm
    Hi Horace Cope, Thanks for pointing that out; I do believe that Scomo had the job when I was hit with the payment recovery, must have been when the LNP came to power?? and they continued with the scourge.
    thommo
    29th Oct 2019
    11:07am
    Anyone with a sense of fairness condemns this government for using the robodebt system, but rest assured age pensioners will 'revolt' if it used against them...LNP beware..
    Farside
    29th Oct 2019
    2:07pm
    I have a sense of fairness and do not condemn the use of robodebt for recovering overpayments. I do have an issue with the language used in the process of clarifying the debt however that is easily addressed. There is no reason to junk a system that simply automates a manual process that has been in place for more than a decade.
    thommo
    29th Oct 2019
    9:18pm
    You obviously don't know what you're talking about Farside. To issue a ROBODEBT without ensuring the credentials are correct is unethical and unconscionable to say the least. If a business for example issues you with a debt notice with a threat to sue, you are entitled to ask arhat business for "further and better particulars" relating to that debt. But Centrelink doesn't do that. They just say pay up or be damned.
    Procedural fairness is absent in the debt collection process used by Centrelink and it must be forced to change, just like any other business enterprise.
    Antidone
    1st Nov 2019
    2:57pm
    Totally agree thommo
    this ROBODEBT is nothing short of criminal
    But the politicians dont care. Innocent people being issued with false debts and no way of proving that they are innocent. The government is a joke!
    People are dying in the streets, no food, no shelter!
    And this is supposed to be the "lucky" country? yeah maybe once upon a time it was, but not now. People complain about Scumbo and co but they are the idiots who voted for him to win!!! Makes me so angry that people are so goddam stupid
    Golden Oldie
    29th Oct 2019
    11:16am
    The elderly should only be included if they are retired parliamentarians.
    Blinky
    29th Oct 2019
    11:21am
    Hear, hear. Good one!!!
    Why dont they cut the number of pollies and then their fat pensions and perks?
    That would save millions!
    Pisces
    29th Oct 2019
    11:28am
    totally agree Blinky
    Blinky
    29th Oct 2019
    11:32am
    I know an 80 year old who has Alzeimers and his wife, who suffers from osteo arthritis, looks after him.
    When he built his home (he was a construction worker then), the suburb they live in was considered "cheap." The suburb is now seen as a good suburb, therefore, his home would now be worth over a million.
    Do u think it would be fair to take away their pension now, in their old age?
    What's so fair about Australia fair?
    Lookfar
    29th Oct 2019
    2:06pm
    Very Good G O,
    Alexii
    31st Oct 2019
    8:55am
    Excellent point, G.O.
    Blinky
    29th Oct 2019
    11:19am
    The govt is very happy to spend millions on dole bludgers, refugees, migrants, pollies' rich pensions n foreign aid, and do not mind taking money from older aussies to fund the former.
    How does this make sense????
    bobm
    29th Oct 2019
    11:19am
    This is the reason I ask for a copy of any Centre Link correspondence even if I visit them to ensure if they come "A" knocking I have their provided information to answer their question. Do not rely upon your records as C/L will give some other info.
    Have a copy of their info.
    Would you trust a Poly.? If their lips are moving he/she is lying
    sunnyOz
    29th Oct 2019
    12:16pm
    bobm - the same here. I keep record of every single contact with CL. I have been caught out once already when they incorrectly cancelled my Aged Pension when they took my fortnightly pension as my weekly wage. This was despite very clear records provided. Took months to sort out, and their back payment was grossly underpaid. But as usual - they don't have to give a breakdown, or summary of how they reached their figures.
    In the end, the constant mistakes - and ignorance and lies - saw me chuck in the job. I simply don't trust them, and the constant worry of them constantly getting it wrong, made me decide to NOT work in my senior years.
    Very easy to target those in their senior years, not as computer and finance savvy, many still who barely use an ATM, and aren't registered with MyGov. (as my aunt that I helped care for, was). They put her through hell when my uncle went into final care (so both went on the single aged pension). Again, the mistakes CL made were a joke. I spent hours, days - and losing allot of hair - trying to sort it out, No way could my aunt manage this.
    Farside
    29th Oct 2019
    2:09pm
    good tip bobm, though the last comment adds no value to the advice given.
    Wstaton
    29th Oct 2019
    11:26am
    When are they going to rename the Department of Human Services to the Department of Inhuman Services.
    Lookfar
    29th Oct 2019
    2:56pm
    the Department of Inhuman Services.
    file:///var/folders/q4/rjpty2cx2h56zrz407zw_5sc0000gn/T/com.apple.mail/com.apple.mail.drag-T0x60000007e980.tmp.FrUWp4/CENT%20copy.mp4

    This one is inhumane, by the Juice factory, - the Internet seems to have censored that video, not surprising as our rich masters hate humour.
    If this link doesn't open for you look fot CENT4 - I got it but the link above seemed funny, - whatever they claim to be the department of inhumane services and it is a classic.
    With the above link. just copy it and paste or drag it into your browser.
    Please tell me if you were able to get it.
    johnp
    29th Oct 2019
    11:30am
    Get rid of the asset test etc etc and government save millions in costs. just have universal age pension and all aged covered by taxation normal levels
    Retiring Well
    29th Oct 2019
    11:36am
    Good idea as long as it is all paid back from your estate when you die.
    Triss
    29th Oct 2019
    12:50pm
    Oh what a clever bear you are, caring bear. So all the folk who spent, spent, spent all their working lives would go onto the universal pension with no estate to pay back at the end and the folk who have gone without in order to have a bit put by for a few luxuries have the balance of their savings stolen by government at their end. No logic in that.
    Triss
    29th Oct 2019
    12:55pm
    As a matter of interest, carebear, you do realise that as it’s a universal pension your estate will be subject to governmental greedy fingers. After the fiasco of robodebt do you trust them with your estate?
    Eddy
    29th Oct 2019
    12:57pm
    VCBB, nice to welcome a convert. to my view, previously offered to this forum, that all this aggravation could be avoided if any Social Security payments received by individuals should be considered an interest free loan from the Government to be repaid from your estate (with some exceptions). We already have HECS levied on tertiary education, why not extend it to Social Security payments.
    Triss
    29th Oct 2019
    1:24pm
    Surely that would be a violation of their human rights. No other pensioner section in Australia is subject to that. There are politicians who left parliament on a huge pension with perks in their 30’s and couldn’t have couldn’t have amassed anything like enough super for sixty years. Taxpayers will be funding them totally for forty years. Like I’ve pointed out before everyone targets the poorest and sees the biggest rorters as people to look up to.
    Eddy
    29th Oct 2019
    1:45pm
    Oh Triss, how can you be so bitter. Most people who are on the OAP are normal hardworking people who have not had the opportunities that others have had or luck has not smiled on them. True there are those who are spendthrift, but a only a small minority. A few of us who are well off were hardworking and denied themselves a life but most were just plain lucky. In my case I was extremely lucky, I inadvertently chose the right career and in the end it paid off handsomely. I know I was lucky not smart, nor did I deprive myself, or my family, of good times but I do not like to sneer those who have not been as fortunate as myself.
    Farside
    29th Oct 2019
    2:12pm
    what human rights are being violated Triss?
    Triss
    29th Oct 2019
    3:26pm
    I’ve read through my posts again and can’t find anything bitter in them. I assert and always will that, wealthy or not, people should be treated fairly.
    Retiring Well
    29th Oct 2019
    4:01pm
    Triss it is already happening in that those who spend, spend get welfare but those who save get nothing.
    Paddington
    29th Oct 2019
    7:00pm
    VCBB, you said above that you get a full pension. I think you may contradict yourself.
    Eddy
    29th Oct 2019
    9:35pm
    Sorry Triss but you sound bitter to me. Suggesting that anyone who has no estate is because they were spendthrift is not only untrue but it is demeaning to those who ae less fortunate than ourselves. As for politicians, my understanding of the current paliamentry pension scheme (post 2004) is that they have to be at preservation age (ie 60) before they can receive a pension, they cannot get a parliamentary pension in their 30s. Not so in the pre 2004 scheme but few politicians could qualify (ie be elected at 3 elections) in their 30s. This is what conservative governments would call the 'politics of envy".
    johnp
    29th Oct 2019
    11:30am
    Get rid of the asset test etc etc and government save millions in costs. just have universal age pension and all aged covered by taxation normal levels
    GeorgeM
    30th Oct 2019
    1:26pm
    Quite correct, john, and sack Hank Jongen who continues to defend the indefensible, badly designed robo-debt system. We won't need such high-paid, useless, bumbling idiots if we had universal age pension as the Dept will be much smaller and they can pay lesser for running it.
    Jacka
    29th Oct 2019
    11:36am
    Once again, only negative comments, biting the hand that feeds you. I personally am not in favour of the robo system, however if you wrought the system, whatever age you are, you should pay the penalty. Seems only fair to me. Once again it is taxpayers money that supports all the social services. A lot of them I don't agree with but unfortunately that's the way it is in a democracy. It's akin to surveillance cameras and speed cameras. If you don't commit a crime, you don't have anything to worry about. Society these days seems to be so much in favour of the perpetrator and not the everyday Joe doing the right thing or the protectors who oversee the various systems. A time capsule back to the 50s may be the way to go. Cheers Jacka.
    80 plus
    29th Oct 2019
    11:50am
    Not all negative, as to be expected Horace Cope manages to defend the government stance and projected money grab.
    Anonymous
    29th Oct 2019
    12:05pm
    Who says people are rorting, Jacka? Social Security - as opposed to 'welfare' and social services - is paid for via a tax levy unending.... has been since Menzies wore knee pants...
    Triss
    29th Oct 2019
    1:05pm
    I agree with you, Jacks, up to a point, but the first people to be targeted are always at the poor end of town. Politicians who charge the taxpayers $300 a night for staying in a house owned by their spouses or themselves seem to be above reproach...and that’s only one rort, there are dozens of others.
    On the Ball
    29th Oct 2019
    1:36pm
    Jacka.
    We are complaining about the large amount of innocent people who were "targeted", then C/L admitting a mistake and (by the figures above), not all paid back fully. Not to mention the stress and bewilderment unnecessarily inflicted on the very people we have to protect - the aged AND infirm. Why target them? Surely it couldn't be that C/L consider them easy targets could it?
    I am a part time carer and the people I see day to day would all be horrified if they received some of the correspondence that has been sent out - but most of the affected people would just say "Pay it, then its done with". Its the only avenue they have of ridding themselves of the stress. That's the ones that can afford it. Luckily for some that can't a carer will sometimes just quietly pay up, and not mention it.
    Lookfar
    29th Oct 2019
    4:09pm
    Jacka, again we come up against this lie that pensioners, etc do not 'deserve' whatever, yet there was a (8%?) tax on all workers way back when, the which is still being levied, to pay for our old age.
    You did not pay that money only if you have cheated your Tax, and there it lies, the ordinary folk have been paying that "age tax' for all their lives, the rich almost never pay tax so feel that everyone else is stupid to have paid that tax, so we are not entitled to our old age pension because we were so stupid we paid for it.
    That attitude is sick and wrong, and there has got to be an accounting for that thieving deceit.
    GeorgeM
    30th Oct 2019
    1:35pm
    It was, and is, 7.5% of tax rate still included in Individual tax rates which pays for this. Nonsensical comment from ignorant Jacka as the key issue is that the robo-debt software is badly designed and produces incorrect results which are used to hound vulnerable people, many of whom cannot fight back, without even giving the details how they arrived at the so-called debt.
    Any system which is 100% accurate (as technology can ensure it) is welcome to stop rorts, not this garbage of a system.
    Why doesn't the ATO use it instead to rake in Billions from tax evaders instead? Because those tax evaders WILL fight back, and politicians will lose their jobs!
    Ducky
    29th Oct 2019
    11:51am
    Labor Premier Weatherill gave himself a $70,000 pay rise in his last year and Morrisson was only in for 5 minutes and he helped himself to a pay rise of around $10,000. All of that extreme income and they can't even spend a dollar on their disgusting looking teeth.
    Maybe the Dept in Inhuman Services could have a Robodebt scheme for our overpaid politicians.
    Anonymous
    29th Oct 2019
    2:06pm
    Let the Dentists Association shame them into shaping up their teeth, Ducky. Maybe that is a cost they may have to pay for themselves.
    patti
    29th Oct 2019
    11:52am
    They can do what they like I guess, I know I have no debts so if they send me a notice I will not be paying it. If they decide to jail me for non-compliance, at least I will have meals and a bed, and the press would have a field day. Go your hardest- mean-spirited money grubbing politicians
    jackie
    29th Oct 2019
    12:04pm
    patti, prisoners get fed better than aged care residents. This is just another ploy to kill off pensioners. Stress will play on their illnesses.
    johnp
    29th Oct 2019
    1:44pm
    agree with jackie.
    aged care homes had an allowance of $6- per day for meals !!
    Pollies have an allowance of $180- per day for meals !!
    the head of the association of aged care said the elderly only need a fraction of the daily nutrition of rest of community !!
    Starting to feel quite nauseous from all of this. Think I will go and have a vomit !!
    Anonymous
    29th Oct 2019
    1:57pm
    In that case, jackie, go out and rob someone. Must be with a bit of violence so your good feed will last longer. If they wanted to kill off oldies they would have allowed voluntary assistance suicide long ago. Maybe some are afraid once it's in they might go a step further and make it compulsory.
    Jem
    29th Oct 2019
    11:54am
    Yes, they rang me earlier this year, completely out of the blue, wanting to know what we're a few items of income $10, $20 etc my Wife had received in her tax return! They were out of pocket expenses paid to her by her work! She is not even on the pension but I get a part pension and declare her income of course...I was pretty shocked and mightily frightened by their questions...All good in the end, but very scary and I was very upset by them.
    jackie
    29th Oct 2019
    12:06pm
    Jem, this Government is a Neo-Liberal dictatorship
    Anonymous
    29th Oct 2019
    2:11pm
    Jem - I had to go thru the same for 4 years. I answered their questions and filled in forms to get some dough. Not complaining, they have a job to do. I long for the days of cash-in-hand work but, alas, that has gone and some of us here on these pages welcome the cashless economy. Soon the Govt will know what you are buying and think it a luxury -
    just have a look at the cashless welfare card!
    Farside
    29th Oct 2019
    2:16pm
    unfortunately not much you can do to relax people frightened by questions to clarify information provided.

    29th Oct 2019
    12:00pm
    Bring it on - I've still got all my pay slips from my past two jobs... bring it on - and I'll make a splash in the media about it and make it a cause celebre`.
    Farside
    29th Oct 2019
    2:17pm
    are you concerned?
    MICK
    29th Oct 2019
    12:01pm
    No surprise. I'm waiting for robo debt to coma after politicians who have abused their entitlements. When will that be?
    Anonymous
    29th Oct 2019
    12:06pm
    **coughs** you what?
    jackie
    29th Oct 2019
    12:06pm
    MICK, keep on dreaming. You know that will never happen unless the people stop voting the crooks in.
    MICK
    29th Oct 2019
    3:47pm
    It was a rhetorical question. As with all things there are rules for the bottom end of society and (different) rules for the top end of society. The courts also work on the same model.
    Yes I agree with you both.
    roy
    29th Oct 2019
    7:06pm
    If only Shifty Shorten were our PM!
    roy
    29th Oct 2019
    8:15pm
    Shifty Shorten has never done a thing wrong in his life MICK, check him out on Google.
    Karl Marx
    29th Oct 2019
    8:43pm
    What's Shorten got to do with it. What's Shorten got to do with anything these days. What's even Labor got to do with government legislation over the past 7 years. Some people need to read the news & get themselves up to date with the times.
    roy
    29th Oct 2019
    8:52pm
    Hey Skid Marks, I wondered where you got to today, good evening, how goes it Comrade?
    MICK
    29th Oct 2019
    8:53pm
    Your ongoing Shorten attack is sad roy. Its THIS GOVERNMENT which has caused us all pain and which will bankrupt our country. Who you gonna blame then?
    Retiring Well
    29th Oct 2019
    12:11pm
    With suck large Centrelink debts they must be an awful lot of people rorting the system so I have no problem with robo debt at all.
    Triss
    29th Oct 2019
    1:14pm
    Providing CentreLink has its facts correct. The people who have refused to be downtrodden and taken their so called CentreLink debts to the tribunal have had them waived by CentreLink.
    Retiring Well
    29th Oct 2019
    2:00pm
    With only about 20,000 out of about a million wrong then it's definitely doing what it should in catching out all the rorters.
    Karl Marx
    31st Oct 2019
    1:55pm
    It's way over 20% VCBB which is over 200,000 which doesn't include those that went unchallenged for whatever reason. Even the Senate recommended it cease operating until fixed.
    KSS
    29th Oct 2019
    12:17pm
    There is no end to YLC and its ability to drum up fear among its readership with the resulting predictable vitriol from that readership towards the Government, justified or not.

    The Senate Committee got its answer: there are no current plans to introduce or roll out Robodebt to pensioners.

    Having said that, I do think that anyone who takes money from the Government in any form of welfare support should not be on a 'set and forget' payment system. It is reasonable to expect to be checked to make sure that personal circumstances have not changed payment eligibility. Strange as it may seem to many here, not everyone on an aged pension (or any other payment) is sweet little old lady or man who wouldn't dream of lying, hiding assets, misrepresenting relationships or any other nefarious actions to gain more money.

    And frankly raising this now means that every single peron reading this article is now forewarned and can take action now to have ttheir documents in order in case they are called to account.
    johnp
    29th Oct 2019
    1:37pm
    all very good in regard to :
    ""anyone who takes money from the Government in any form of welfare support should not be on a 'set and forget' payment system""
    however the pollies all enjoy this sort of continual ongoing largesse; so one rule for them and everyone else has to go with their begging bowl.
    Anonymous
    29th Oct 2019
    2:15pm
    johnp - that is the way it has always been and it will never change. Lenin did not change it, neither did Hitler, Mussolini, Franco. If you have the opportunity to join them you should grab it.
    Misks
    29th Oct 2019
    1:40pm
    Simple just refuse to pay and clog up the court and penal system with lots of old farts you will be treated there better than in a old folks home
    Chris B T
    29th Oct 2019
    2:11pm
    You can add free medical, 3 decent meals, roof over your head and not a cent of out of pocket costs.
    Would be luxury for some.
    Anonymous
    29th Oct 2019
    2:19pm
    Chris B T - but where is my Gin 'n' Tonic before the meals and the bottle of claret with the steak and veggies? In my area just sit under the trees with the homeless and the church do-gooders come feeding them a good meal. Dentist and doctor sometimes roll up too as do the people with the used paper backs.
    BillF2
    29th Oct 2019
    2:13pm
    It's interesting that all the decisions about aged people and pensioners are made by younger people who have no idea of what it is like to be old. Happily, their time will come, and in their poverty, they can reflect on what they have done to this generation.
    Unfortunately, in Australia, money reigns supreme and governments have abandoned their social and moral responsibilities in the desperate pursuit of it. So, is it any wonder that they, and their minions are planning to waylay and rob as many unemployed and pensioners as they can. Soft targets first, mates in big business last.
    Who benefits? In the long run, nobody. But then, you can't legislate against stupidity.
    Farside
    29th Oct 2019
    2:20pm
    this generation made its own choices. Consider this an early preview of what is to come as the millenials move into management and executive positions in the years ahead.
    KSS
    29th Oct 2019
    2:49pm
    "Happily their time will come".

    Don't you mean "Hopefully their time will come"?
    Anonymous
    29th Oct 2019
    4:23pm
    There is a difference between the two for sure, thanks KSS
    floss
    29th Oct 2019
    3:17pm
    Perhaps Slow Mo. should attack the tax dodging big end of town they can afford it.This will never happen it is not what the Liberal party is all about.
    roy
    29th Oct 2019
    7:50pm
    If only Shifty Shorten were our PM.
    Paddington
    29th Oct 2019
    9:55pm
    roy, Labor did it lol! Bill Shorten did it lol. Now, some facts
    older&wiser
    29th Oct 2019
    10:09pm
    Agree floss. Heard today that Netflix paid less than 1% Australian tax. Don't hear the govt chasing them with robo debts....
    inextratime
    29th Oct 2019
    4:36pm
    Lets be honest. The country is massively over governed. In the days of Federation there was no internet, mobile phones, aircraft, cars, computers etc. So an system that was invented over 100 years ago is still in place today. It means massive duplication of services and PS departments and different laws from state to state within a population of 25 million people. The differing laws in each state causes huge complications and an associated rise in costs. The size of the PS is way out of kilter because of the duplicated services. But what pollie has the honesty and conviction to change the gravy train ? If these guys were serious about the future of the country they would have worked out a political system for the current circumstances and saved the country a fortune. On the other hand pigs may fly and the fairies at the bottom of the garden are still there.
    Red 13
    29th Oct 2019
    5:06pm
    Already told you all what has happened to my University son. Still no resolution to this government inspired Centrelink lunacy.
    Any smartarse Liberal lover on this forum be careful commenting about that. I await.....
    roy
    29th Oct 2019
    7:52pm
    If only Shifty Shorten were our PM, there Red 13 , how's that?
    ceejay
    29th Oct 2019
    5:44pm
    My husband is 73 and on an aged pension. He received a robo-debt advice for $10,000, more than 12 months ago, stating he had been overpaid for failure to declare our marriage 7 1/2 years ago. We know this is untrue as we advised the department prior to the impending marriage. Then. we asked for time to produce further paperwork, due to a messy professional partnership resolution. So, a few months later we provided over a ream of paperwork to an officer at a regional office validating. Then to be slapped with a robo-debt my husband does not agree with. Despite requesting a statement of reasons from Centrelink to no avail, he was repeatedly phoned by the debt recovery agency, and bullied into agreeing to a repayment schedule. That was tantamount to pleading guilty! Even now, my husband believes he was treated unfairly and provided Centrelink with all the necessary paperwork and personal attendance at that regional office in accordance with Centrelink's policy.
    Farside
    29th Oct 2019
    7:24pm
    I don't wish to be preachy but there is a lesson here about taking responsibility for your own records. Don't leave it to Centrelink to prove they have something you provided. Many folk have found themselves in similar circumstances and the problems when asked to provide evidence of records provided. I am still trying to work through this with my mother (who is ticking four-score plus in years) as she has had to redo this exercise twice previously. This time she listed the documents provided, kept a copy and had the Centrelink officer date and initial each copy received.
    ceejay
    29th Oct 2019
    5:44pm
    My husband is 73 and on an aged pension. He received a robo-debt advice for $10,000, more than 12 months ago, stating he had been overpaid for failure to declare our marriage 7 1/2 years ago. We know this is untrue as we advised the department prior to the impending marriage. Then. we asked for time to produce further paperwork, due to a messy professional partnership resolution. So, a few months later we provided over a ream of paperwork to an officer at a regional office validating. Then to be slapped with a robo-debt my husband does not agree with. Despite requesting a statement of reasons from Centrelink to no avail, he was repeatedly phoned by the debt recovery agency, and bullied into agreeing to a repayment schedule. That was tantamount to pleading guilty! Even now, my husband believes he was treated unfairly and provided Centrelink with all the necessary paperwork and personal attendance at that regional office in accordance with Centrelink's policy.
    leek
    29th Oct 2019
    5:58pm
    ceejay, even if you are on the replayment plan, you can still ask to be reviewed, and go through this process. if you need help with doing the review process go and see Legal Aid, they are helping many many people with this issue. Fight it, don't sit back and pay it because you don't thik you can fight it.
    Another problem might be you did indeed handed over everything. BUT did you get a receipt for it? did you see them copy it and return you the papers?. It is quite possible that the information is not there. You have to take names, get receipts etc. the amount of information that centrelink has conveniently lost is crazy. Oh I just remembered, if they did lose the information, you can have a go at them through the term "mismanagement", or Human error, I cannot remember the exact terms to be used, but legal aid will know. Fight it!!!! It is not too late to fight it!
    leek
    29th Oct 2019
    5:51pm
    And I thought OldGeezer had dropped off his perch. So he just renamed himself. As my father told me when I was little girl in the 1960's- a leopard doesn't change his spots.
    roy
    29th Oct 2019
    8:49pm
    Hey leek, I'm waiting for Shifty to fall off his perch, I'll will get so drunk that night, wow, can't wait.
    Paddington
    29th Oct 2019
    9:56pm
    roy, your record is stuck lol
    Mike Omment
    29th Oct 2019
    9:26pm
    Leek
    and now youve grown into a loverly man
    Cheezil61
    29th Oct 2019
    9:57pm
    Pensioners & Centrelink recipients need an independent (& free) body to recover any debt owed tocthem from Ventrelink in all fairness!
    Billv
    30th Oct 2019
    9:10am
    Ok, fellow "COHORTS" the Government will be at it again. It isn't enough to rip us off on our so called twilight years of happiness, they need to further shorten our lives of the "so called good life" by adding scare tactics which will for some lead to stress, depression, and some suicides.
    But hey it called the lucky country for a reason, isn't it? I think not for the non politician retiree. It leaves you with the question is it worth going on, but they way the Government wins. Be a bear claw in their sides fight to the end.
    JoJozep
    30th Oct 2019
    9:44am
    So what's up doc?. These days people in work are looking dark at pensioners receiving the old age pension because they think they are paying someone else from their wages/taxes for their existence. Bullshit! Bullshit! Bullshit!

    We paid our taxes even before compulsory super came in. What's happened is, successive governments have plundered the money supposedly set aside for taxpayer's retirements in the form of the OAP. Why?

    Because it's always a good look to balance the books and come out with a surplus, especially around election time. One easy way to do this is to rob the ATO Tax Bank, i.e. the money put away for future retiree pensions. No one knows how much is saved each year and how much is diverted to pay pensions. I even doubt if such a fund exists.

    At a rough guess, a worker averaging an income of $100,000 and paying tax for 45 years, would have paid in almost $1,500,000 tax plus compound interest over 45 years of 7% or about a total of $36,068,561. (That’s right, $36 Million)

    Now take 10% of this for pensions, and $3.6 Million would be available to pay that person’s pension. At this rate, a pension of $100,000 would pay for 36 years after retirement.
    What! Have we been robbed? You bet we have.

    So again, where has the money gone Mr. Government? Remember, It’s tax payer money not Centrelink, DHS or any other pompous Government Department’s. So cut the bullshit, and pay us our due share. For the unbelievers and government supporters, have no fear, no government will admit to this rort, it’s too lucrative.

    It's not brain twisting science, just simple maths I learned in 4th form at school 60 years ago. Sorry to say, they don't teach maths like they used to. Pity, people these days don't even understand the rip off.
    Billv
    30th Oct 2019
    1:27pm
    Yep, very true. What's more upsetting is that I started my own super fund which would have left me rather self sufficient in my retirement but then came along a fellow named Keating who decided we need a depression. My Superfund went up in smoke.
    JoJozep
    30th Oct 2019
    9:44am
    So what's up doc?. These days people in work are looking dark at pensioners receiving the old age pension because they think they are paying someone else from their wages/taxes for their existence. Bullshit! Bullshit! Bullshit!

    We paid our taxes even before compulsory super came in. What's happened is, successive governments have plundered the money supposedly set aside for taxpayer's retirements in the form of the OAP. Why?

    Because it's always a good look to balance the books and come out with a surplus, especially around election time. One easy way to do this is to rob the ATO Tax Bank, i.e. the money put away for future retiree pensions. No one knows how much is saved each year and how much is diverted to pay pensions. I even doubt if such a fund exists.

    At a rough guess, a worker averaging an income of $100,000 and paying tax for 45 years, would have paid in almost $1,500,000 tax plus compound interest over 45 years of 7% or about a total of $36,068,561. (That’s right, $36 Million)

    Now take 10% of this for pensions, and $3.6 Million would be available to pay that person’s pension. At this rate, a pension of $100,000 would pay for 36 years after retirement.
    What! Have we been robbed? You bet we have.

    So again, where has the money gone Mr. Government? Remember, It’s tax payer money not Centrelink, DHS or any other pompous Government Department’s. So cut the bullshit, and pay us our due share. For the unbelievers and government supporters, have no fear, no government will admit to this rort, it’s too lucrative.

    It's not brain twisting science, just simple maths I learned in 4th form at school 60 years ago. Sorry to say, they don't teach maths like they used to. Pity, people these days don't even understand the rip off.
    JoJozep
    31st Oct 2019
    1:33pm
    Hi Billy,

    Let me apologise for the post appearing twice, this is beyond my control, as far as I know.

    Yes, I suffered immensely in late 1989-1992 in the "Depression we had to have". I lost my job just as I decided to go it alone. Luckily my wife was still working and brought in a living wage as she worked two jobs day and night. I had three children in Uni, paying all fees and living expenses. I think what saved us then was that we had paid off all our debts and mortgages, so our expenses where current ones.

    IN 1992-1993 I managed a job building the new Ford Broadmeadows New Paint Factory, as Project manager, Document Controller and Safety Officer, (all three aspects in one job).

    This brought us out of the doldrums.

    At that time, my concentration was to make up for the depression, never a thought about putting something extra away in super or for retirement. I was at peak of my career. Although I was good at maths and excellent in economics generally, day to day issues predominated the scene, so no thought was given to retirement.

    I believed there would be a pension to live on and live happily ever after.

    Boy did I misjudge reality when the time came. I didn't think about the following:

    One of us would become drastically ill, needing nursing home care
    The government would rob us of $2,220 per month to wards nursing care plus another $1880 odd to the home itself /month. That's $3,880 odd per month.
    The government with their snout (should be pretty bruised by now) in my pocket, cancelled our part pension, something Abbot and ScoMo had no right to do and rob us of a meager income. So please don't try and tell me Labour was doing a bad thing in the past. You have to thank Julia Gillard for raising the tax free threshold.

    The only way under this government to stay afloat is to seek all the loop holes in the system , like so many smart arses are doing, and put the blame on everyone else, and if possible make the "innocents - the taxpayer" pay for it.

    So in my view the LNP is a spokesman for the smart cheats, and unless you cheat like the rest of them, you sink.

    What a bloody disgrace.

    What about my bloody money, not the government's nor the taxpayer, that I tried to accumulate over 50 years??

    No hope then of even thinking about old age pensions and the like.
    JoJozep
    31st Oct 2019
    1:33pm
    Hi Billy,

    Let me apologise for the post appearing twice, this is beyond my control, as far as I know.

    Yes, I suffered immensely in late 1989-1992 in the "Depression we had to have". I lost my job just as I decided to go it alone. Luckily my wife was still working and brought in a living wage as she worked two jobs day and night. I had three children in Uni, paying all fees and living expenses. I think what saved us then was that we had paid off all our debts and mortgages, so our expenses where current ones.

    IN 1992-1993 I managed a job building the new Ford Broadmeadows New Paint Factory, as Project manager, Document Controller and Safety Officer, (all three aspects in one job).

    This brought us out of the doldrums.

    At that time, my concentration was to make up for the depression, never a thought about putting something extra away in super or for retirement. I was at peak of my career. Although I was good at maths and excellent in economics generally, day to day issues predominated the scene, so no thought was given to retirement.

    I believed there would be a pension to live on and live happily ever after.

    Boy did I misjudge reality when the time came. I didn't think about the following:

    One of us would become drastically ill, needing nursing home care
    The government would rob us of $2,220 per month to wards nursing care plus another $1880 odd to the home itself /month. That's $3,880 odd per month.
    The government with their snout (should be pretty bruised by now) in my pocket, cancelled our part pension, something Abbot and ScoMo had no right to do and rob us of a meager income. So please don't try and tell me Labour was doing a bad thing in the past. You have to thank Julia Gillard for raising the tax free threshold.

    The only way under this government to stay afloat is to seek all the loop holes in the system , like so many smart arses are doing, and put the blame on everyone else, and if possible make the "innocents - the taxpayer" pay for it.

    So in my view the LNP is a spokesman for the smart cheats, and unless you cheat like the rest of them, you sink.

    What a bloody disgrace.

    What about my bloody money, not the government's nor the taxpayer, that I tried to accumulate over 50 years??

    No hope then of even thinking about old age pensions and the like.
    Mariner
    1st Nov 2019
    3:51pm
    Never had a problem with Centrelink after all this form filling at age 65. Afterwards all my dealings were smooth; occasionally they would ask me to up-date my accounts.
    Nerk
    2nd Nov 2019
    9:04am
    The minister in charge of centrelink will change portfolios before the next election and reappear squeeky clean and doing a great job, this to help the government in the next election.
    Realist
    2nd Nov 2019
    12:09pm
    As a 71 yr old - OAP. I was hit with the "Robo Debt" letter and the associated threats.

    They said "Data Matching" with the ATO was the issue - They were WRONG on EVERY POINT and profusely apologised.

    As I was guilty until proven innocent (Which is the premise of Robo Debt), fortunately, I had EVERY piece of information - verifiable - at my fingertips. (My condolences to those that don't - YOU ARE GUILTY)

    WE ARE """"NOT SAFE FOR NOW!!!"""
    James@
    6th Dec 2019
    11:06am
    Mr Jongen talked a lot and said very little. He will be a big help to our equally evasive PM


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