Opinion: Welfare fraud whistle-blowers raise $40 million in Centrelink debts

Centrelink snitches raise nearly $40 million in welfare debt.

There isn't much Australians dislike more than being ripped off, especially when it comes to people nicking our hard-earned tax dollars for their own benefit.

This is apparent by the fact that in 2016-17, nearly $40 million in Centrelink debt has been raised through the Government’s Report Fraud program.

Last year, the Department of Human Services received 108,798 tip-offs of welfare fraud. That’s a 10 per cent increase in reports received over the past four years.

Only 118 of those cases were referred to the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions.

Some may question the efficacy of such a program, and wonder how much it is used as a platform for making trouble for annoying neighbours or anyone who doesn’t quite ‘fit’ in the community.

Still, the Government proudly proclaims that it’s doing all it can to recoup wrongful payments, claiming that prosecutions save taxpayers around $1.4 million a fortnight.

It would interesting to see how much it costs to ‘recoup’ that $1.4 million per fortnight.

Reports are received through a system of phone, email, online forms and direct contact with a Centrelink officer. It may also be fair to assume that, if Centrelink actually answered phone calls, there could be a much higher number of tip-offs in the system.

The Government seems intent on taking debt recovery to the next level. The robo-debt program has been a debacle (at best), so now our esteemed leaders are turning to the people to do their job for them, asking them to turn on those doing it toughest. Sure, there are welfare frauds out there, and they should be brought down. But the figures prove how few are taking us for a ride.

So, why not focus on the tax-evading transgressors that we do know about.

You know, those high rollers evading tax at an astronomical rate? How about the multinationals, the local and foreign property investors abusing negative gearing, those taking advantage of a generous superannuation system (those who can afford it) and big business that somehow manages to evade tax each year to the tune of hundreds of millions?

“Nothing annoys the taxpayer more than others ripping them off,” said Minister for Human Services Alan Tudge.

Well, Alan, what about our own politicians who are constantly abusing parliamentary privilege, blowing taxpayer funds on football grand finals, helicopter rides, limousines and other publicly funded travel? Not to mention the food, alcohol and entertainment for political party parties and the resulting bills that can run into the tens of thousands …

That’s kind of annoying, too.

But Mr Tudge and his money-managing cronies seem happy to “turn a blind eye to fraud” when it comes to his colleagues in government using taxpayer money however they see fit.

“Taxpayers are happy to support those who are down on their luck but they expect integrity in the system,” said Mr Tudge.

That integrity, Alan, extends to those in power who are boasting about getting other people to do their work for them. It extends to those who are managing our taxpayer funds.

So, how about throwing your line into the deep water and snagging some of those big fish instead of chasing the small fry?

Do you think it’s right for the Government to turn the people against each other? Is the Report Fraud program the answer to the failed robo-debt recovery scheme? Are you happy with how your taxes are being spent by our politicians?

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    COMMENTS

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    BrianP
    2nd Nov 2017
    10:31am
    No point in saying anything unless you have an effective means of stopping the corruption.
    leonYLC
    2nd Nov 2017
    10:53am
    Good point Brian. What do you suggest?
    TREBOR
    2nd Nov 2017
    11:24am
    Bind the accused, all of them, and expose them on a hillside in a snow storm...
    TREBOR
    2nd Nov 2017
    11:30am
    Allah will sort it out for them if they've been wronged... but they will already be in a better place than this vale of tears.... or they will have died for the better cause of the nation/party/revolution....

    (funny that - that's what John Howard said when asked about the civilian casualties in the first days of the invasion phase of Desert Storm.... they died in a good cause) ......

    I wonder if some of you think for a second how close your thinking is to that of an Ayatollah or any similar despot........
    Julian
    2nd Nov 2017
    1:20pm
    As trump has attemped, drain the swamp.
    TREBOR
    2nd Nov 2017
    8:12pm
    .. watch out for the alligators..... the small fish are just a lure to get you in .....
    MICK
    2nd Nov 2017
    10:33am
    Leon. Really.
    Sure our pollies need ongoing pressure to pull their grubby snouts out of the publicly funded feeding trough but dobbing in people who disrupt decent society and increase our taxes should be encouraged.

    I don't understand that you can't get it through your head that workers are the rowers in the boat and the more passengers you put in the harder the rowers have to row to make any headway. Dobbing in crooked people of all manner is a no brainer! This is not to be discouraged.
    Anonymous
    2nd Nov 2017
    10:39am
    I agree MICK. There seems to be this theory that Australians don't like "dobbers" but we also like "a fair go" which is quite the opposite in this case. I would suggest that Centrelink should take a leaf out of the NSW Police method of following up anonymous tips. No action is taken unless a person is mentioned twice which takes away the disgruntled neighbour who just wants to make trouble. This would save Centrelink time in investigating anonymous calls. The theory behind this is that if one person knows about dodgy dealings then others do as well.
    leonYLC
    2nd Nov 2017
    10:52am
    MICK:
    Quote: Sure, there are welfare frauds out there, and they should be brought down.

    Old Man:
    Great idea!
    john
    2nd Nov 2017
    11:57am
    Yes it is Leon , it is to be discouraged vigorously mate. We would be talking about a tiny minority that rort the system , the rest wouldn't even know they were a couple of dollars over. The national welfare system is not particularly a generous one either, considering the job market and the closing of business' and the lifting of gas prices and energy prices and the expensive nation we live in, we the lucky country were supposed to have a retirement pension plan for just one purpose, welfare in old age or sickness or unemployment.
    You simply have no argument , because the row boat analogy just doesn't work. You see the recipients of welfare about 99% of them would rather be well off and not on welfare but they can't , in this day and age.
    Why would you encourage a set up to make life harder for a pensioner or a single mother who struggles any way when maybe they got 5 dollars o fortnight over. And that's about what we are talking on. The tiny minority that really rort the system , well they get caught mate, and to the tune of thousands.
    But mate they are NOT welfare recipients, those few , they are CRIMINALS!
    I doubt Leon that the welfare crack down will help your pocket mate, get of the wagon and think sensibly, why do we always want to kick the welfare section . Lets kick crims the real ones and a few have been caught!
    KSS
    2nd Nov 2017
    1:05pm
    So its fraud only if you are rich then John? And criminal only if you are not on welfare?
    GeorgeM
    2nd Nov 2017
    1:07pm
    Let's keep the perspective as described by Leon - 0.11% cases were referred on for prosecution, with no indication how many were actually guilty.

    I support OM's suggestion that they should not even look at it until there is more than one complaint, however add to that, if the additional complaints are from the same person, e.g. nasty neighbour, then that neighbour needs to be investigated as well.
    MICK
    2nd Nov 2017
    1:18pm
    I like your take OM. Doing nothing is the reason our laws keep being watered now. Now shoplifting has become a non punishable event and victims are expected to claim on their insurances.
    I don't like 'dobbing' unless it is warranted. The flip side is your taxes keep going up and the rats keep getting worse so lets not take the side of the poor little princesses who have rights.
    Wstaton
    2nd Nov 2017
    2:14pm
    Lets look at this in a pure business sense. Businesses allow for wastage. With that wastage thet ussually recon unless it is above a certain level it is not worth trying to reduce it or chase it. Usually cost more than its worth.

    True the wastage can vary between types of business usually more prominent in manufacturing In some cases as high as 10%.

    Banking wastage is in bad debts, credit cards etc.

    So what is the wastage level for centrelink who give out money when some of it should not be given out.

    Well I don't know what the total giving but lets say $50 billion.

    If they can only recover $40million in bad ones this equates to 0.08% of bad giving. Lets say $10 billion (and I would say its a lot more than this) then its still only 0.4%

    Yep, how much did it cost to recover this $40m and on top of this was it worth it. And while doing this not giving their clients good service because of the wastage of time and resources in doing so.

    But Polies don't care really, they only want to make political points and this is easy especially when people are fooled as well because they don't like cheats.

    True we should minimize cheats but there has to be a time when you have got it down to a certain level when you should be calling it business wastage because it is not worth taking it any further.
    Hoppy
    2nd Nov 2017
    10:54am
    Spot on Leon
    john
    2nd Nov 2017
    12:01pm
    Hope you've fed Topper?
    elephants
    2nd Nov 2017
    11:09am
    We & others kept reporting someone for yrs. .Nothing ever got done.Giving them where they worked rego numbers everything they asked for .Still to lazy to get them. Its a disgrace...Same as the housing commision they distroy homes & they don't give a fig. TOTAL WAS OF TAX PAYERS MONIES. 1 pass at stopping what they are doing or out. STOP GIVING THEM SO MANY CHANCES OR DOING NOTHING
    TREBOR
    2nd Nov 2017
    11:26am
    Were you stealing those people's mail to see what they were getting?

    Shame on you... you have zero 'right' or 'entitlement' to assume anything, and obviously Colonel C'Link didn't agree with you....
    Lookfar
    2nd Nov 2017
    12:07pm
    Horses for courses and there are different levels of poverty, being poor, feeling you are poor, and pretending you are poor to rip off the Govt. - People who have very little resources other than crime are a waste of time to target, they will just commit more crime, hopefully some sort of balance will be reached when they are caught enough times.
    Others, who refuse to commit crime, but make a little bit on the side selling roadside vegies or the like, are making a statement on the paucity of the pension, - no point in targeting them either, you can't get blood from a stone.
    People who spend their entire income on drinking and gambling, - often whilst their families almost starve, are a community problem and need to have their expenditure controlled, - if so proved.
    Then there is the (much smaller) group that had plenty of money when they retired but had hidden it, - some way or another, and they probably should not be on the pension, but on the other hand the pension is so mean..
    Then there are the very rich, they may not be on the pension, but they have the Neo-Liberal attitude that rich is best so anything you do to get richer, makes you better, morals don't make you richer.
    These are the real rorters, using every trick in the book to evade any expense, pay no tax, or any other expenses you can evade, - these are the Parasites of our modern age, but they have a lot of money so a lot of power so they want the rest of us to turn on each other, not look at their selfish and extremely destructive, ( to anyone else) practices. That they will destroy our society, - as they destroyed Rome, is only a matter of time unless we all stop fighting each other and start looking closely at them.
    KSS
    2nd Nov 2017
    1:17pm
    "Others, who refuse to commit crime, but make a little bit on the side selling roadside vegies or the like, are making a statement on the paucity of the pension,"

    If they are receiving money by selling anything anywhere and are not declaring it to Centrelink, they are in fact committing a crime! Its called 'Fraud'.

    Using the law to reduce the amount of tax paid is NOT a crime. I suggest every single taxpayer does exactly that every year on their tax return. That does not make them a criminal.

    The fact you think rich people are 'immoral', 'selfish', 'destructive' 'parasites' and 'rorters' does not make it so.
    Tib
    2nd Nov 2017
    11:17am
    I agree we need to go after Centrelink frauds. But the big thieves and money is closing some of the loopholes and tax evasion by big multinational corporations. With the money our healthcare system could afford to deliver us to the hospital in a stretch limo and we would get two doctors each when we get there. I've worked for multinational companies all my life I know what they get up to. It's mostly legal but immoral and most definitely should not be allowed.
    Tib
    2nd Nov 2017
    11:27am
    For multinationals 40million is small change.
    Anonymous
    2nd Nov 2017
    11:56am
    Tib, the correct word for multinationals as regards tax is avoidance, not evasion. If the law allows them to minimise their tax legally then you should complain about the lawmakers, not those obeying the tax laws.
    TREBOR
    2nd Nov 2017
    12:01pm
    As before many times - time for the law to be changed when it is obviously wrong.
    Tib
    2nd Nov 2017
    12:31pm
    I suspect that multinational companies have too much influence on our lawmakers. While dole cheats are easy pickings and it looks good in the papers but may not always be fair.
    Tib
    2nd Nov 2017
    12:36pm
    OM you might be right about the tax avoidance or tax evasion but the difference might have to be argued in court. But definitely immoral.
    GeorgeM
    2nd Nov 2017
    1:13pm
    Agree, Tib, but need to expand the scope to include the large number of local large companies who also severely minimise tax with many paying Nil tax or very small percentage as tax. ATO will definitely know the large number of loopholes being exploited, so it is seriously intriguing why they haven't given a big list of tax rule changes to the Govt to fix - suspect the Politicians don't encourage their donors being affected.

    Time to have a MINIMUM TAX for all without Deductions. That would fix a lot of problems in one hit.

    Also, need a Federal ICAC immediately to investigate all Politicians getting benefits during or after their terms, with strong penalties.
    TREBOR
    2nd Nov 2017
    8:25pm
    Good on you, George - I've been kicking around the idea of a minimum tax for a while now on another forum. Trump had/has the idea of a 30% - the US tax system for companies is not like ours - they actually have a tax-free window of two years after start-up to get going (reasonable when you consider that 2/3 or more of new business fail in the first two years) - - but his concern was the long-established empires and the Outlanders that persistently pay little to no tax, while pretending to pay tax in some tax haven.

    My view is that such Offshore/Outlander corporations should front up a 'surety' to pay tax on their earnings or a form of deposit in order to set up and trade here, pay a minimum tax, have a few changes set in place to get rid of 'sibling loans' etc as deductions, and be billed a minimum every year and then have to claim it back, with the books being reviewed by ATO.

    The 'global economy' has not kept pace in the tax arena (and a few other things such as the value of labour in a single market) - there was a meeting in Paris some months ago of around eighty nations who sat down to work out what to do about 'tax havening' profits and paying no tax in the nations where companies operate...

    Maybe another approach is to look at the return in Taxhaven, and then apply OUR level of taxation to that net income and send a 'please return your cheque' letter for the difference.... e.g. if you pay 5% in your haven and would have paid 30% here - you owe us that 30% as tax.

    Just working with a few ideas here.

    Haven't heard any more since..... probably just lip service and nothing of value done.
    TREBOR
    2nd Nov 2017
    8:27pm
    Sorry - I meant that 25%.... would hate to double dip... (snuckles)....
    Waiting to retire at 70
    2nd Nov 2017
    11:23am
    I found some 'cheats'. I found some 'cheats' !!!!!

    Barnaby Joyce
    Fiona Nash
    Malcolm Roberts
    Larissa Waters
    Scott Ludlam and
    Stephen Parry.

    A defense of "I didn't know" or I "accidently filled in the form incorrectly, I'm sorry" has never been accepted by CentreLink in its hounding of the poor and disadvantaged.

    WILL CENTRELINK (or any other government agency) USE THE SAME VIGOR WITH THESE AFFLUENT AND ENTITLED 'cheats' TO RECOVER TAXPAYERS MONEYS PAID TO THEM WHEN THEY WERE NOT ENTITLED TO IT?
    TREBOR
    2nd Nov 2017
    11:27am
    What about Grand Final Julie?
    GeorgeM
    2nd Nov 2017
    1:18pm
    Exactly, W-to-R.

    Time for the Centrelink's Rob-debt recovery system to be used against these invalidly elected Politicians to recover all entitlements paid since they were FIRST ELECTED. Add to that the other cases, such as the 2 Bishops, etc.
    Wstaton
    2nd Nov 2017
    2:20pm
    I find this amazing with these polies. If you our I break a law that we were not aware of what are we told.

    "ignorance of the law is no excuse"
    cupoftea
    2nd Nov 2017
    3:35pm
    Wtr you are so right make them pay back the wages they got from the time the first walked in to Parliament house and all there perks the got as well
    TREBOR
    2nd Nov 2017
    11:23am
    It's really all smoke and mirrors to create an image in the public mind that 'welfare' (read Social Security) recipients are a pack of thieving bludgers and should be bound and cast on the hillside in the middle of a snow storm.

    118 referals from 108,000 dob-ins?

    The problem seems to be that there are too many people who imagine that all these 'dole bludgers' sit around sucking bourbon and coke all day and playing pokies and thus they must be bludgers...and too many people seem to imagine that people receiving their Entitlements from Centrelink are cheating.

    Obviously that is not the case.
    GeorgeM
    2nd Nov 2017
    1:21pm
    0.11% as noted above - what a pathetic strike rate!

    Wonder they have such methods and statistics for actions against the rich tax-avoiders and Companies? They might recover Billions, rather than Millions!!!
    KSS
    2nd Nov 2017
    1:25pm
    Well that is your interpretation TREBOR. 118 referals are those that may proceed to court action. If that were all that resulted in a refunding of welfare, it would amount to $338983.05 each! Clearly preposterous.

    What we don't know are is how many people were caught and who repaid the money therefore avoiding prosecution. Nor do we know how many 'strikes' a given individual received, or how many complaints were made by the same individual.

    The important bit is the $40 million returned to the welfare bucket.
    TREBOR
    2nd Nov 2017
    8:32pm
    Correct KSS - something is rotten in the Staat off Denmark...

    I think I did some similar figures once before to point out the absurdity of the amounts being claimed as 'recovered'. Depends which way you look at it - either AusGov is lying about the amount or there are many more 'referrals' than are being published....

    Somedink iss definitely wrrong in Der Staat off Denmark.... dis iss vhat happens vhen you haff der government vor der self-interested und not vor der people....
    Alky
    2nd Nov 2017
    11:33am
    Politicians claim approx $274 per night to stay overnight in Canberra IN THEIR OWN HOUSE. One night is more than a week's worth of Centrelink payments. They get away with it because they put the house in their spouses name. This is on top of their salary exceeding $100,000 - more if you're a minister. This is just the tip of the iceberg. There are thousands of other ways politicians "supplement" their income.

    My point is that sure there are some Centrelink cheats, but if they cracked down on the politicians rorting the system with the same diligence, the country would be saving millions of dollars and the country could afford a better standard of living for all Australians. eg: lower taxes, better healthcare etc etc

    Also, we should get rid of the biggest bludgers on govt money.... retired politicians and PM's. They don't need free airline tickets and an office and staff when they're retired. Let them live of their super like they expect the rest of us to do
    Triss
    2nd Nov 2017
    12:37pm
    I really agree with you, Alky. There are retired politicians who retired over 20 years ago after spending eight years in parliament, they couldn’t have amassed any kind of super in that time so they have bludged off the taxpayer most of that time. Get them first.
    KSS
    2nd Nov 2017
    1:30pm
    The difference Alky is that no laws are being broken claiming the overnight allowance, but in defrauding Centrelink there are!


    I do agree about continuing to fund ex politicians on top of their pensions and I agree this is unnecessary and should stop.
    Nan Norma
    2nd Nov 2017
    3:01pm
    BUT, KSS, Who makes the laws that allow the politicians to claim all this money and their super inflated pensions etc ?????? The politicians!
    Triss
    2nd Nov 2017
    3:28pm
    Spot on, Nan Norma, it was a corrupt entitlement rule made by politicians who have clung like limpets to that slice of taxpayers money ever since.
    Retired Knowall
    2nd Nov 2017
    5:21pm
    Don't get MAd - Get Even...Vote for anyone but the Major Parties,
    Lobby your Local Independent and let them know what you expect from your sitting member, if they agree, canvas the neighborhood for them and get them elected. It's called Democracy, your chance is coming at the next election, don't waste it or you will be in the same situation for ever.
    TREBOR
    2nd Nov 2017
    8:36pm
    I believe there is a principle here and precedent.....

    You wish to enter a competition on a Lekkogs Forn Clakes packet - and the rules say that workers for Lekkogs and family members may not participate.... clear and simple.

    Ergo - you wife may not participate in giving you free rent while you collect overnight cash from the AusGov equal to more than a week's Unemployment Benefit.

    It is frankly disgusting, and another example of where the 'rules' (Rules? In a Knife Fight?) NEED to be changed, so that it is NOT within the rules any more.

    This nation and its people are not in the business of enriching their elected representatives for life.
    Rosret
    2nd Nov 2017
    11:34am
    Now would this be by making a phone call to Centrelink???
    Anonymous
    3rd Nov 2017
    5:59pm
    Good luck getting them to answer!
    john
    2nd Nov 2017
    11:48am
    Who are welfare whistle blowers? Actually they in the main are people with a grudge or nothing better to do.
    The only definite whistleblower would be some one who actually knows about a rorter, and that rorter is someone committing serious offences against the welfare set up , and therefore against other recipients.
    But if encouraging the local sticky beak to put people in is when no prosecutions happen and it can lead to civil payback by some.
    In fact its a dangerous precedent to set and Centrelink must have, paid investigators, but hell, this type of thing leads to nobody trusting anybody, and you all know what that reminds you of.
    Triss
    2nd Nov 2017
    12:44pm
    Well I suppose CentreLink ended up with egg on their faces when they sent out all those debt letters and wasted taxpayers money so the next con is to try to whip up taxpayers ire and get them to do CentreLink’s dirty work for free.
    Wstaton
    2nd Nov 2017
    2:24pm
    Gee! what would have happened if Centrelink offered to pay these Dobbers.

    Damn, My spell checker recons there is no word such as dobbers
    TREBOR
    2nd Nov 2017
    8:37pm
    You will not harm Harry Potter!

    Oh.. sorry - that was Dobby........
    Alexii
    2nd Nov 2017
    11:48am
    If only they would put the same efforts into ensuring that big businesses paid their fair share of the taxes and the same with the wealthiest Aussies and of course get rid of all those lurks and perks the pollies have.
    Travellersjoy
    2nd Nov 2017
    12:05pm
    I am with the writer.

    So much moral outrage about little people when their rich mates are wheeling our national wealth away in barrows, carts trucks and even Bdoubles.

    The government should be husbanding our tax take, not trousering it for themselves or shipping it overseas.

    Chinese government funds Adani in Queensland and city councils and governments hand them millions of OUR dollars. Trudge is worried about a small batch of losers. Give me a break.
    Retired Knowall
    2nd Nov 2017
    5:22pm
    ADANI is an Indian company.
    musicveg
    2nd Nov 2017
    6:31pm
    The fight is still on to stop Adani, Townsville Council promised the money for the airport with a condition they pay it back if the mine does not go ahead, like sure, Adani never sticks by the law.

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-11-01/adani-coal-mine-townsville-city-council-under-fire-over-airstrip/9103492

    Sign the petition while you are there. This money could be going to encourage more Tourism which is much more sustainable, creates more long term jobs and does not contribute to CO2 emissions.
    4b2
    2nd Nov 2017
    12:17pm
    Cant agree more with the comments in regard to Members abusing the system, members not checking their eligibility to stand (dual citizenship). Go after the big tax avoiders and the waste spending by Government (the non compulsory survey, members taking seperate trips overseas to attend the same event, staying at 4 star accomodation rather than 5 star, etc.,etc. Always painting the most vunerable as the bad guys, look in the mirror and at the person next to you.
    Kathleen
    2nd Nov 2017
    12:28pm
    Yeah I agree with hunting down these terrible cheaters but only after getting money from big corporations who pay no tax and making sure the banks stop ripping money from people and paying next to no interest on bank accounts. Our pension account attracted 0.04 cents this month.
    Get the big ones first not desperate little people!

    2nd Nov 2017
    12:50pm
    A number of posts gives the impression that the government should back off welfare cheats and chase bigger fish. I disagree. The bigger fish that are given as an example are, in the main, meeting their obligations under the existing laws. It's not them doing the wrong thing, it's successive governments who won't change the law to ensure that a fair tax is paid.

    When ensuring that our tax dollar is being spent prudently, it is necessary to crack down on those who abuse the system. Suggestions that there are little fish who don't matter are wrong because a lot of "small fish" will eventually add up to a significant amount. If any of us has a cash flow problem, the experts always point to the small items of spending that can add up which can go a long way to solving the big problem. It's the same with recovering a lot of small amounts, they will add up.
    Tib
    2nd Nov 2017
    1:01pm
    Yes OM and when these big Mulinationals and businesses give the liberal party massive donations it's because they're nice guys , nothing illegal there. It's just lucky that big loopholes just appear. If you want to stay within the law it's important you buy the right laws.
    Anonymous
    2nd Nov 2017
    3:24pm
    Thanks Tib, I agree that massive donations are given to political parties. Just to bring a bit of balance to the discussion, I have added a link which shows all the donations showing who gave them and who received them. Seems a lot of your multinationals and business are taking an each-way bet.

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-02-01/australian-political-donations-searchable-database-2015-2016/8208090
    Tib
    2nd Nov 2017
    3:52pm
    OM if your trying to tell me the other parties except money as well, I already knew that. But it seems to me the Libs always get the most money , is that because labor politicians are cheaper or do they do them smaller favours. I'm going with option 2. The Liberals always seem to be bending over backwards to help big business as well, I can only imagine there is more to it than the donations you see.
    Anonymous
    2nd Nov 2017
    4:54pm
    You see Tib, whilst you "suspect that multinational companies have too much influence on our lawmakers" and you say "it seems to me the Libs always get the most money", those are merely suspicions. The link I gave you is a list of factual payments, given by various entities to all of the political parties. May I respectfully suggest that you draw up a list of your own to confirm your suspicions and feelings? I am a lover of facts, especially when a biased opinion without proof is on offer.
    Tib
    2nd Nov 2017
    8:48pm
    OM perhaps you should read your own facts, then you wouldn't make such an idiot of yourself. If you look at your own list you will see that the labor party is mostly funded by unions and the liberal party is funded by businesses.
    From what I've seen of you OM you wouldn't know a fact if it bit you on the backside. Ha ha
    Anonymous
    2nd Nov 2017
    9:03pm
    Thanks Tib, so you're now saying that big business doesn't donate to Labor? If Labor is mostly funded by unions then who makes up the balance? Oh, that's right, big business. The other side also gets private donations, it's not all big business. Did you read the list fully?
    Tib
    2nd Nov 2017
    9:34pm
    OM ha ha don't try any straw man arguments with me. You didn't read your own facts and you've been caught out. It's exactly as I said and you know it. Does the Liberal party get Private donations yes it does from people like Paul Marks .....mining magnate the second biggest donor on the whole list at 1.3 million, who happens to be the owner of Nimrod Resources. So you don't even understand your own facts. Do a Google search and you'll find him front page staring into Tony Abbotts eyes. Don't bother OM your just embarrassing yourself.
    Hobbit
    2nd Nov 2017
    12:54pm
    I know of a house that has a whole group of people bludging off the taxpayers. It's costing us millions a year. It's located in central Canberra. They even get free meals.
    Misty
    2nd Nov 2017
    3:55pm
    Never was a truer word said Hobbit.
    musicveg
    2nd Nov 2017
    6:35pm
    How do you work out that it is millions? Have you checked them personally where they are getting their money from? Do you know them personally or are you just assuming. How do you know they get free meals?
    niemakawa
    2nd Nov 2017
    9:07pm
    Needs to be destroyed along with the inhabitants. A new beginning is the only way to get this Country back on an even keel.
    TREBOR
    2nd Nov 2017
    9:20pm
    The average figure for running a politician is about $2.5M annually.

    2nd Nov 2017
    12:58pm
    That article is 100% SPOT ON!!!!!!

    So, in 2016/17 under $40 million in Centrelink debt was raised. Ummm to all you far right whingers out there complaining about all those disgraceful single mothers, bludger age pensioners and lazy Newstart recipients .... that mere $40 million dollars is equal to about 1 week's extra profit for just ONE of the many THOUSANDS of mega rich companies who cheat Australia with their tax/money laundering schemes.

    In other words the money taken from Australia's wealth by typical Centrelink fraudsters is close to **NOTHING** compared to the money taken from Australia by dodgy schemes used by corporate Australia.

    The Liberal govt. (Labor's no different) is going after the ant hill when it should be going after the mountain. But they won't. Why? Because politicians rely on the BIG BOYS for their very survival, and also because it's very right wing politically correct to demonise single mothers, age pensioners and Newstart recipients. For decades now both Labor and Liberal have been right wing governments.
    KSS
    2nd Nov 2017
    1:33pm
    Oh! Well that's alright then!
    floss
    2nd Nov 2017
    12:58pm
    Pray tell how does one contact C.Link to dob in these rorters .If our stupid Federal Government had not put off so many C.Link staff we would not have this problem, they just stagger from one disaster to another.
    Julian
    2nd Nov 2017
    1:07pm
    $300000 is spent per second on welfare.

    $1.4 M is saved per fortnight.

    Why not dob in a cheat!?
    MD
    2nd Nov 2017
    1:49pm
    Yep Julian, although you're on the money, what costs are the results ?
    musicveg
    2nd Nov 2017
    6:36pm
    And how much does it cost to retrieve this money?
    Julian
    3rd Nov 2017
    8:56am
    Surely it would be cost effective to employ people to crack down on welfare cheats...you'd think?
    floss
    2nd Nov 2017
    1:23pm
    Yes dob in a rorter by all means they do deserve it but are you going to spend a hour or so on the phone to do their dirty work. The government has really lost the plot.
    musicveg
    2nd Nov 2017
    6:39pm
    Yep they want us to concentrate on dobbing in our neighbour's and creating more division in the community,instead of worrying about their own wasting of money, it is a diversion, always has been.
    anonysubscribe
    2nd Nov 2017
    1:28pm
    we should dob in cheats. with that in mind I wonder if those who suspect they have been falsely elected to parliament are cheating the public purse? do we excuse them as the constitution is something ridiculous and maybe these are the best people to lead us, regardless how they got there? that seems to be the message I am reading in the responses to the high court decision. given that I wonder again how fair it is to dob in 'cheats'. I find that even centrelink staff do not know more than their narrow area of 'expertise' if they get it right anyway. I suspect that there have been decisions made against 'customers' who don't know the decisions were wrong. I have won a few on dogged 2 year appeals. Who is cheating whom?

    2nd Nov 2017
    1:37pm
    The pittance paid by Centrelink for its various welfare programmes simply tempts recipients to cheat, simply to survive. Yes, it's legally and morally wrong, but understandable.
    Reagan
    2nd Nov 2017
    7:07pm
    So you condone stealing??? Stunning revelation for a Polyfilla, I must say.
    TREBOR
    2nd Nov 2017
    9:22pm
    He said 'understand' not 'condone.

    Tim O'Brien said the same thing about My Lai - he understood but could not condone.
    Anonymous
    3rd Nov 2017
    4:20pm
    Hey Raygun, you're obviously too thick to appreciate the distinction between "understanding" something and "condoning" it.
    Reagan
    3rd Nov 2017
    8:37pm
    Hey polyfila, if you think thievery is understandable, that means you are willing to excuse it and if you are willing to excuse it then you are condoning it. As a polyfila you should know that. Didn't they teach you ethics at polyfila school???
    Anonymous
    4th Nov 2017
    10:30am
    You're just spouting more crap Raygun. You wouldn't know about ethics if it bit you on the arse. I've read Spinoza's "Ethics" and Aristotle's too. But they'd be way above your head, dummy. Raygun - a creature who doesn't understand that understanding something does not imply condoning it.
    Reagan
    6th Nov 2017
    6:53pm
    Well Polyfila, one can read and not comprehend. Spinoza and Aristotle did nothing for your ethics. Should have read Enid Blyton, you would have learnt more.
    Anonymous
    7th Nov 2017
    9:49am
    Well, Raygun, you are clearly an example of an uncomprehending reader - one too dumb to appreciate an obvious distinction.

    Example: I fully understand the mechanisms and forces that led to the Third Reich; but according to you (idiot that you are!) that necessarily entails that I condone it! You really are a moron!!!

    As I said, you wouldn't know about ethics if it bit you on the arse. Indeed, you have displayed unethical behaviour right here.

    And, as a child, I read and understood Enid Blyton. What a pity you haven't read more, but reading deep things is self-evidently beyond you.

    I'll waste no more time on you, Raygun. You're nothing but a fool.
    Puglet
    2nd Nov 2017
    1:45pm
    The average amount CentreLink recipients have to pay back after a Robodebt investigation is about 2000.00. Barnaby Joyce has never been entitled to be a politician. He currently earns over 400,000 a year. Stephen Parry is not entitled to be a politician and he currently earns over 350,000.00. I think Joyce has been in parliament since about 2004. Joyce, Nash, Roberts, Waters, Ludlum and now Parry signed documents that they were not dual citizens. Some would say this is fraud/false pretences. There is no suggestion that any of them repay the money they weren’t entitled to. An OAP who tried a similar trick would be tried in court, shamed in the media and if convicted punished. And, politicians wonder why we hold them in contempt.
    Triss
    2nd Nov 2017
    3:42pm
    Yes, Puglet, from now on if anyone on any kind of benefit is accused of cheating they need to insist cheating pollies go first. Politicians perks and pensions are welfare payments even if they are called by another name.
    musicveg
    2nd Nov 2017
    6:41pm
    And the welfare recipient has to pay back every single cent that is overpaid, so why not politicians.
    Anonymous
    3rd Nov 2017
    8:49am
    Because the politicians - and the rich tax cheats, for that matter - can afford to pay fancy lawyers to drag out expensive and disruptive legal battles for years. And they have money and power to engage in bribery and corruption (Hey, buddy, just stick up for me on this and I'll make sure your grant request gets through... or I'll dump another million into your campaign fund!)

    It wouldn't matter if 100% of alleged Centrelink cheats actually were innocent. How they hell are they going to battle the giant?

    I don't condone any dishonesty, and there ARE some Centrelink cheats who need to be brought to justice. I know one whose been living it up dishonestly on taxpayer dollars for over 40 years - and I do mean living it up! But Centrelink rules are so complicated and illogical that even their own lawyers don't understand them half the time. And the administration is a disaster. I reckon we'd save thousands of times more and reduce dishonesty to minimal numbers if we focused on fixing the system instead of hounding those who rely on it for their bread and butter.
    MD
    2nd Nov 2017
    1:46pm
    That's the spirit, like a good cocky turn the same old sod again in the hope of exposing a few more grubs for the crows to pick over. Don't begrudge those diligent crows the opportunity to clean up the environment by scoring at the expense of a few worms or some vermin.
    The spirit du jour currently being - every man for himself. The same old sod being the fertile ground of the welfare state, grubs the recipients thereof and crows the dobbers/opportunists who resent anybody else scoring a little something that they seem to think could/should be better spent elsewhere, eg, an increase to the age pension or a more generous rental assistance subsidy.
    History (if we're to believe the record) has it that this is the way of civilization, ie, winner takes all and thereby helps explain why the winners are grinners.
    Wasn't it Baroness Thatcher that made the comment - "A crime is a crime is a crime" ? or something to that effect, ergo, the insignificant worm is no less guilty than is the pompous polly for their respective indulgences. Pollies make all the rules, both those that allow their peccadilloes and yet others that ensure grubs get fed to the crows. Whilst one party indulges themselves legally (although morally/ethically corrupt) the other parties are strung up and further disadvantaged for (often) minor transgressions.
    No prize for guessing which of the two parties are the winners.

    Everyone, but everyone will maximize their situation when opportunity presents and any sanctimonious soul that denies this is a dirty rotten liar, liar, liar. That's been the way of mankind since time immemorial and those that think otherwise; regardless of race, colour or creed are little more than downright bloody fools.

    Correct it ? You're dreamin - c'mon fess up, you are aren't you, surely ? It's probably apparent that I'm considered to be something of a cynic, but hey, at least I'm not kidding myself. IF - an almighty bloody BIG 'IF' at that - any measure of righting the inherent wrongs were to be addressed then look no further than Joe Stalins' system of control. Well at least it worked for Joe and most of his henchmen but at what cost of complete and utter misery for millions of worms, grubs and vermin.
    Short of painting a bullseye on the front of any grubbing elected extortionist, nailing their feet to the macadam on a main highway, filling a bus with select grubs and worms (by drawn lot) that have unanimously elected a driver from within their ranks and running the bastard down is highly unlikely to produce anything of consequence other than some small degree of havoc. Maybe then we'd see the crows fly backwards and the worms turn.
    And hell'd freeze up and pigs'd fly overhead !
    maelcolium
    2nd Nov 2017
    2:13pm
    Pffft!

    It doesn't cost taxpayers anything. Taxes simply drain the fiat from circulation to give it value. It's the allocation of real economic resources wasted to hunt down these shysters that's the bug bear and the cost benefit analysis doesn't stack up - a sheer waste of effort.

    Government would be better looking at the corporate parasites enjoying corporate welfare such as the billions given to the coal and mining industries. And let's not talk about the millions give to Murdoch to keep his outdated Foxtel cabling in place.
    musicveg
    2nd Nov 2017
    6:47pm
    So true, Murdoch has too much money and power, controls the media so we only know what he wants us to know and spreads lies about everything else. And people believe it.
    I agree it costs the Government more money than what they recover that is why they want us to do the chasing up and dobbing in.
    Just finished reading Bernie Sanders book 'Our revolution' was mind blowing how our world is run, true most of the book is about the USA but we do a lot of the same here.
    Rubicon
    2nd Nov 2017
    3:05pm
    You remark on how few prosecutions. Unless the Public Servie has changed its policy, it will only prosecute if it can recover the costs of sending lawyers ( often a QC) to the hearing. Often the welfare recipients do not have assets from which they can recover the costs. So officers do not get their prosecution cases referred to court.
    johnp
    2nd Nov 2017
    3:16pm
    Actually I would put Alan Tudge and most of the other pollies into the category of legalised, institutionalised, entrenched and organised fraud on the taxpayer
    Where it was said :
    - abusing parliamentary privilege,
    - football grand finals, helicopter rides, limousines and other publicly funded travel
    - alcohol and entertainment for political party parties
    - taking advantage of a generous superannuation system
    - unlimited wage rises approved by committee

    2nd Nov 2017
    4:03pm
    Welfare thieves should be penalized. claw back the amount they stole and reduce their entitlements after that including their pension
    Anonymous
    3rd Nov 2017
    8:39am
    I agree, Raphael, and tax cheats should be taxed 150% for the next ten years and politicians and bureaucrats who cheat should have to pay back their entire salary and allowances since the day they were elected and forego all future pensions and benefits.

    Let's at least be a little consistent here! If you are going to be self-righteous and harsh, make sure you don't just pick on the little guy who can't defend himself. This is the problem in our society. The little guy is easy pickings, so he cops it at every turn. The powerful abuse their power to get away with crimes that cost the nation hundreds of times more, and those who enjoy comfort and aren't threatened by social cruelty and injustice celebrate the double-standard, because it's kinder to the people they like and admire.

    I don't condone dishonesty at any level. But the double-standards in this country need to be addressed first and foremost. And we'd be far better off if the big fish were caught and punished.
    Old Geezer
    3rd Nov 2017
    9:16pm
    Ha ha Rainey they will just declare themselves bankrupt and no one gets anything then.
    Anonymous
    4th Nov 2017
    10:48am
    Precisely, OG. The system is designed to ensure the sharks do as they please. And they are ripping us off for billions. A few paupers getting a little more than they should from Centrelink is a drop in the bucket - but let's keep attacking them anyway. It makes the rich pigs happy to see the poor persecuted.
    Old Geezer
    7th Nov 2017
    6:31pm
    And what do you think those debt agreements are that are so heavily promoted to the ordinary person?
    trevden
    2nd Nov 2017
    4:47pm
    Why don't we out source our government, pay a private enterprise to run the country or better yet sell the bloody lot , divide the money equally among all citizens , then we can all go and live somewhere else. NO GOVERNMENT OR STATE POLITICIAN PAST OR PRESENT TO RECIEVE ANY MONEY FROM SALE
    niemakawa
    2nd Nov 2017
    4:48pm
    Has Centrelink revealed a breakdown of the amount recovered. Unemployed/disability pensioners /Age pensioners. ?
    musicveg
    2nd Nov 2017
    7:10pm
    Wasting more money to recover the money. Another Government diversion of what is really happening behind closed doors, deals are made with multi- national corporations to make laws for them to make more profit and avoid paying tax while the poor and desperate struggle
    to pay their bills, get decent housing and buy food for their kids. Maybe there are a few cheats but how much money per person are we talking about? I want to know the figures before I make judgement. Welfare recipients caught have to pay it back by deduction of their payments but politicians who have illegally been in parliament most likely won't be paying their wages and entitlements back.
    ray from Bondi
    2nd Nov 2017
    8:12pm
    I posted this to facebook with this link.
    though people who abuse the system are despicable, though I imagine there are some that are only trying to live, though I think there would not be that many in that class, this article highlights the real problem of where we are losing tax money through the right wing Orwellian liberal government is trying to social engineer peoples conception to believe that the poor are the real problem. I sincerely hope dear reader you are not believing this, or at least have considered just what we are being asked to believe.
    musicveg
    2nd Nov 2017
    8:16pm
    I agree Ray, they always blame the poor, how could it be the rich that are ruining the country? All a diversion to keep us busy so they can do their back door deals with their rich mates. An oglichary society.
    David
    2nd Nov 2017
    8:46pm
    I don't see it as 'snitching' if you advise Centrelink about someone claiming benefits when they should not be.
    Would you have a problem in telling the police or a business owner if you see someone stealing from that business? If so, what is the problem with telling Centrelink if you know someone that is wrongly claiming benefits from them?
    I see stealing from the Government worse than stealing from a business as you are ripping off millions of honest taxpayers in the former and just one person in the latter.
    niemakawa
    2nd Nov 2017
    8:58pm
    Did you pay for that lobster?!?!
    David
    2nd Nov 2017
    9:34pm
    No.........it was gifted to me.......by my wife.......for my 50th ;-)
    niemakawa
    2nd Nov 2017
    9:02pm
    How many over-payments were because of oversights or failings by Centrelink to update records in a reasonable time. Not enough detail is provided in this article.
    Triss
    2nd Nov 2017
    11:46pm
    Another thing, niemakawa, Centrelink is authorised to go back 50 years to claw back any mistakes it thinks a recipient has made but if Centrelink makes a mistake the victims only have two weeks to get their money back.
    And none of the folk at Centrelink see this as wrong!!
    niemakawa
    2nd Nov 2017
    11:57pm
    Trish 50 years or 5 years?
    Yes everything in their favour. Centrelink is very slow in updating changes, I know from personal experiencies. Yet they expect recipients to notify them within 14 days. Centrelink should be bound by the same rules. If they delay in updating then that change should only be applied 14 days before.
    niemakawa
    2nd Nov 2017
    11:58pm
    Trish 50 years or 5 years?
    Yes everything in their favour. Centrelink is very slow in updating changes, I know from personal experiencies. Yet they expect recipients to notify them within 14 days. Centrelink should be bound by the same rules. If they delay in updating then that change should only be applied 14 days before.

    2nd Nov 2017
    9:11pm
    Well well. We have the rich and privileged rorting the system at every turn and to hell with rules. They rip off the taxpayer to the tune of billions, collectively, then make self-righteous squawks about a few million overpaid to battlers who tell a furphy or two. It's not like the powers-that-be set a good example or anything, but I guess they think we should do as they SAY, not as they DO.

    Personally, I'd like to see the REAL Centrelink cheats caught - you know, the lifetime bludgers who figure out how to live it up on taxpayer benefits and never seem to be held to account no matter how badly they defraud. But I suspect there's not many of them in the overall scheme of things, and they are probably far too clever to ever be caught. I know one and for sure she knows ever trick in the book - and she's living in luxury, ''confined to a wheelchair and needing a paid carer at state expense'', but dancing every night and running in gay marathons! Yes, truly! Million dollar ocean-view mansion with the rates and energy bills paid by the carer pension and allowance paid to her gay lover. Overseas bank accounts in a different name. Oh, she's got the system sussed that's for sure!

    But back to those they boast about catching. I don't condone dishonesty on any level, but I think the power brokers would do far better focusing on fixing the massive problems in society, like solving the poverty and unemployment problems and fixing the unbelievably complex, illogical and unfair welfare rules.

    6000 NAB workers sacked. 6000 more on job hunting queues, desperate and frightened, while NAB boasts record profits. Our society can't go on like this, surely? Technology leaders have declared that we are facing a major crisis, and probably the only remedy will be a universal wage and acceptance that the idea of a 38 hour working week and a 40+ year working life is out of date and irrelevant to today's world. Yet the morons in parliament rant on about pushing up the retirement age. What for, if there are no jobs for all the extra workers? Just so thousands can struggle on Newstart instead of the aged pension and be a lot poorer and more dependant in their later years as a result? Makes no sense to me!

    The greed disease has a firm grip now, and I fear it's too late to save ourselves, but I'd sure like to find a way to hold the snout-in-the-trough thieving politicians to account and make them answerable under the same rules they apply to battlers struggling to survive on what Centrelink doles out to them each fortnight. Wasn't there some $9 million taken under false pretences by law-breaking pollies? When can we expect repayment, with interest? How long will the prison terms be? Oh, that's right. The rules don't apply to THOSE cheats. It's only us poor mortals who have to abide by the rules.

    It's a pity this dual citizenship thing didn't result in the whole damned lot being thrown out unceremoniously. But their over-indulged super-rich mates would just elect another lot of thieving cheating SCUMBAGS. And that lot would stand up and sanctimoniously gloat about their great achievement persecuting yet another 118 beggars. Sick bastards - all of them.
    musicveg
    2nd Nov 2017
    9:43pm
    Once again I agree with you Rainey, well said. I recently signed a petition for Streets workers who were fighting massive pay cuts.
    LiveItUp
    3rd Nov 2017
    8:51am
    Well the blame has to be squarely in the governments court with NAB job losses. So predictable now they have an extra tax on the big 5 banks.

    I've lost count of number of times I have been put into Centrelink for rorting the system. Only last week I got a phonecall from them teling me what benefits were available. Seems I am one of odd ones out living in retirement without welfare.

    Only the other day I thought about my heritage and I worked out I have citizenship myself now in atleast 3 countries maybe more. So I think that citizenship part of the constitution needs to amended and back dated so all our parliamentarians are allowed to stay. It is just so stupid.

    If the wealthy are rorting the system why haven't we seen evidence of it through the courts? Courts are full of people being tried for rorting welfare now. Just because someone does well then then it is not a given they are rirting the system. Just because others don't put in the hard work required to do well they then say people can only do well if they rort the system. Most wealthy people are honest people who give a lot more than they receive.
    Anonymous
    3rd Nov 2017
    5:57pm
    No Bonny. Wealthy people rort without getting caught because they can afford fancy accountants and lawyers who show them how to get around the rules - which were made FOR wealthy people, to ensure those in the know CAN rort safely. If wealthy people are caught, the cost of prosecution is usually too high for the government to bother because they pay fancy lawyers to appeal and appeal and appeal again.

    Poor people are easy pickin's. That's why they are bullied and badgered and persecuted.

    And the government tax had NOTHIG AT ALL TO DO WITH NAB sacking 6000 workers. Their profits are at record high. They can well afford to keep that staff on AND pay their taxes. It's called GREED AND SELFISHNESS and it's running rampant in our society today.
    musicveg
    3rd Nov 2017
    9:01pm
    Just today I read about a little town in USA fighting Nestle who wants to sue them for not letting them take their water! Read these two articles about corporate greed at it's finest and stop buying bottle water and Nestle products. Buy a filter jug or other filters system for your tap water. They are profiting from the town of Flint who has their water contaminated and have to purchase bottled water for years now.

    http://www.mlive.com/news/index.ssf/2017/10/nestle_zoning_appeal_hearing.html

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2017-09-21/nestl-makes-billions-bottling-water-it-pays-nearly-nothing-for
    GeorgeM
    4th Nov 2017
    1:53pm
    I still remember in 1990 - Westpac led the way and made a large number off staff redundant, which set in motion the recession in full gear with tens of thousands of jobs lost thereafter. But, that was because Banks' profitability was reduced, NOT INCREASING as is happening now.

    If people have any sense, all NAB customers should switch Banks right now and stop this cancer spreading (a lot of people are up to their necks with big mortgages, including among those in the 6,000, and are going to get badly hurt)!
    Old Geezer
    7th Nov 2017
    6:30pm
    Rainey 3000 people resign from NAB each year so all they will do is not recruit for 2 years.
    SuziJ
    3rd Nov 2017
    8:42am
    It's interesting that in 2000 I was contacted by Centrelink when someone - who will remain nameless (my ex, also called 'twitbrain'), claimed that I was still claiming the Sole Parent Payment when I was married.

    Yes, I had just married, but 'twitbrain' didn't know that I had been on the Disability Support Payment for over 12 months before I'd married (as it was none of his concern).

    I'd 'done the right thing' and made an appointment with Centrelink for the day after we'd arrived home from our honeymoon. During this appointment, they requested hubby's file from archives and during the time it took to 'marry the files' my payment was reduced manually as he was working.

    If Centrelink had reviewed my file they would have seen all this and wouldn't have contacted me to accuse me of rorting the system.

    They received a blast from me when they rang, as I asked them if they'd reviewed my file, and they said they hadn't. I advised that they do, and to tell the idiot who reported me that it's none of their business as to what I was or wasn't receiving from Centrelink.

    It's just as interesting that 'twitbrain' claimed to Child Support that my new hubby was working and that my child support debt to him should be reassessed on my hubby's income. 'Twitbrain' was told in no uncertain terms that it's not the income of the step-parent that is assessable for child support, just the 'natural' parents. As it was, I was assessed as 'Nil' to pay, as I was on the DSP, which is a 'restricted' payment under child support rules. So, in the end, his liability to pay me for child support remained - suffer is all I had to say. Jealousy? Of course it was :)
    ex PS
    3rd Nov 2017
    9:13am
    Much better system having a person accused and investigated, than just letting the Department pick out random People and scaring the life out of them by sending them bogus invoices for debts they have not icured.
    Reporting people who are breaking the law is providing a public service, not the act of a Dobber.

    3rd Nov 2017
    9:24am
    I'd like to make a confession that hopefully might make some folk who are quick to judge harshly think. Now, I'm not for an instant suggesting we shouldn't seek out and punish dishonest people. We should try to minimize the abuse of the welfare system, otherwise it can't serve it's intended function, BUT...

    A very long time ago, I sort of cheated Centrelink. Sort of! I found an obscure loophole that allowed my partner and I to start a business and draw income and still collect unemployment. The loophole wasn't meant to exist, and I had to research extensively and use a lot of savvy to figure out how to exploit it, and then to educate the Centrelink staff to understand that what we were doing wasn't against the rules. It WAS against the spirit of the rules.

    Until that time, my family had suffered poverty and extreme hardship. Two orphans, uneducated, no skills, no support, poor health due to childhood neglect, a child with a disability who cost a fortune, then a serious work accident. Life was tough. After a period legitimately on sickness benefits - during which Centrelink overpaid me and I tried valiantly to refund the overpayment but they refused to take it back ''because it was OUR mistake, not yours'' - we tried and tried to find work, but every time we did a little casual or part-time work we lost out financially and went through hell getting back on benefits. We applied for a government-funded program that gave grants to start businesses (NEIS) but we were knocked back because we hadn't been 100% reliant on benefits for two years. Earning even $1 in that two years made you ineligible!!!! So we found this obscure loophole and we exploited it. We got benefits for 18 months that under the strict application of the rules we would not have received. They were desperately needed. The business wasn't generating enough to pay us anything. We had kids to support.

    Now, under the standards some of you would apply, we should have been prosecuted and denied further benefits. Fair enough! And our kids would have starved and we'd have to resort to crime to survive. (Oh, you think we WERE committing a crime, eh? Well read on.)

    18 months down the track, we were self-supporting and generating income for businesses that supplied ours. 3 years down the track we were hiring a helper. Within 8 years, we were paying 19 staff and a whopping tax bill every year. Thanks to the business income, we were able to put all our kids through university and get them into professional careers. My partner is now retired. I'm past retirement age but still working at a job I never could have secured but for my demonstrated experience and achievements in the business. I do not have the formal qualifications required. If I ever stop working, we'll be self-supporting due to our assets.

    If we hadn't done what some would call ''abusing the system'', we'd be poor aged pensioners today. We'd have potentially been on unemployment/sickness/disability benefits for 25 years. Our kids may have had to quit school at 16 and work in dead-end jobs, or start that inter-generational welfare reliance trend that is so common in certain sections of our society. Some 30 people, over the course of the years, wouldn't have had the jobs they had. The ATO wouldn't have collected tens of thousands of dollars in tax from us. And there's a good chance depression would have resulted in us being a huge drain on the health system.

    I do not say this to try to condone cheating, but rather to make the point that we have a bad system, and it's just possible that SOME of those who cheat do so out of desperation, or because doing so enables them to actually climb out of the welfare trap.

    Sadly, the system is designed to keep people down - not to help them up. It's a system designed to oppress, and it does so very effectively.

    We might save the taxpayer a few million here and there by chasing and punishing Centrelink cheats. We'd save a whole lot more by fixing the flaws in a stuffed system.

    What I would do, if I had the power, is get all get all those cheats to tell me their stories, in detail. I'd ask them probing questions about why they felt the need, why they needed welfare to start with, how it changed their lives, how the rules impact on them, what struggles they face if they choose to obey the rules...

    I'd probably discover that some people are just, by nature, lazy, selfish, greedy, dishonest, and thoroughly without conscience. There's a lot in parliament that fit that description - and running big corporations!) But I reckon I'd find countless thousands who've been screwed over in life, suffered injustice and hardship many could never imagine, and cheated out of desperation. I also think I might find quite a few who had figured that if they could just get together a few thousand dollars to invest in an enterprise, or to fund some travel to where there was more opportunity, or to cover the cost of relocation, or to take a training course that the government won't subsidize... they could escape the welfare trap and make a life for themselves.

    In my story, there would have also been a comment about how, back when I was abiding strictly by the rules and being a perfect citizen, a dopey bureaucrat made a mistake that took two years to sort out and caused my family endless pain and suffering, and under the rules at the time there was no compensation. So yes, forgive me, but I thought a little payback was fair! There might be many who have been done over by the system who are just really trying to even the score a little - get the justice the rich folk get in the courtroom and the poor folk haven't a prayer of seeking.

    I know my comment raises more questions than answers, and I know fixing the system is a huge challenge. But I wish people could understand that things are not always what they appear.
    musicveg
    3rd Nov 2017
    9:15pm
    Thanks for sharing, it is very difficult for someone to get out of the welfare trap and a lot feel there is no hope so resort to crimes and drugs out of desperation. They need a helping hand not a forced hand that waves at them for every little thing they do wrong. If they do try to do right no one is there to support them, whether it is financially, emotional or mentally. We do need a better system, we need more Tafe, we need more assistance when someone does have skills and wants to start a business. Apparently there is a guy that helps out refugees start businesses but this is a private enterprise. If you are struggling to make ends meet, worried about bills, undernourished because you can only buy crap cheap food, and have rotten teeth, bad haircut and old clothes, no body wants to know you, so how the hell can you get work when those who are not so much in a bad way cannot even get work.
    Eddy
    3rd Nov 2017
    9:36am
    There is a catch here, how am I to know if someone is 'rorting' Centrelink? How am I to be aware of other persons financial affairs (I have enough difficulty with my own)? Unless they 'confess' to me is unfounded suspicion enough? No thanks, unless I know it for a fact I will retreat into my shell and say nothing.
    I had a neighbour (now deceased) who suspected I had 'dobbed' him into council (which I hadn't). It poisoned our relationship but I could not convince him I was not involved and the council would not divulge who had, or who had not, been the dobber. I won't go through that again.
    Old Geezer
    3rd Nov 2017
    10:47am
    No doubt I have been put into Centrelink for rorting the system myself by those who are jealous of those who seem to have more than they do. I've lost count of the number of people who have put me in because I have broken one of their rules whatever they may be. Fortunately I have had the last laugh on most occasions. Yes the tall poppy syndrome is alive and well today.

    Unfortunately it is so easy to pick out those on welfare and those who are not. People on welfare behave etc differently to those who are not. All it then takes is someone a little jealous and you will be under investigation.
    Anonymous
    4th Nov 2017
    10:43am
    Easy to pick those on welfare? Yet you claim you've been reported to Centrelink and elsewhere you claim your not on welfare. Big contradiction there, OG.

    No, I don't think it's jealousy that motivates a report to Centrelink. Not at all. It's called SUSPICION. And people usually take care to ensure their suspicion is well-founded before wasting time reporting. After all, they know the report will not yield any result if there's no substance to it. You must think everyone except you is stupid, OG. I've got news for you. Most are way smarter than you. That's readily apparent from the comments here.
    Old Geezer
    7th Nov 2017
    6:28pm
    Rubbish Rainey it is so easy to work out who is on welfare and who is not. Who cares if people are smarter than me? I certainly don't.
    Roller53
    3rd Nov 2017
    2:54pm
    When the government straightens its own act out and stops wasting money in other areas, then, and only then should it go after small amounts or accidental over payments. I think it should only prosecute people who had an "intention" to defraud the system. The government wastes so much money with every thing it tries, why? Maybe the public service union is too strong. I also thing that politicians and public servants should be held accountable for their incompetence just like the private sector.

    "The more corrupt the state: the more numerous the laws." - Tacitus
    niemakawa
    3rd Nov 2017
    4:26pm
    Dobbers should be named if their allegations are unfounded.
    Old Geezer
    7th Nov 2017
    6:25pm
    They should pay people for such information.
    Anonymous
    7th Nov 2017
    7:37pm
    Yes - a %age of the amount clawed back
    Batta
    4th Nov 2017
    7:59am
    Just visit the Dandenong market to see how and who are the welfare cheats are.Instead of getting rid off staff employ more staff and we would that would be able to save Centrelink more money and give more employment.Grant incentives to catch these thieves.
    Old Geezer
    7th Nov 2017
    6:26pm
    I agree. A bounty on welfare cheats.
    Anne Ozzie
    30th Jan 2018
    9:00pm
    That works out at 0.1% of complains are correct, so that is a lot of bad blood as citizens are pitted against each other. Sounds a lot like NAZI Germany or communist Russia to me. $40,000,000 - only 8% of the 50,000,000,000 tax cut the Government gave big business. Only $10m more than the unexplained $30m they gave to the Murdoch! Puts it in perspective really!
    Besides which I only find those who are all too ready to throw stones at the poor have some little money laundering sideline of their own - there is a whole cash economy out there people!
    musicveg
    30th Jan 2018
    10:06pm
    Yes the money that is being siphoned off the the already rich is mind boggling. These stories about welfare are always about diversion from the real truth and the deals done behind closed doors.
    froggy
    22nd Feb 2018
    3:47pm
    How about we ALL report a fraud and let Centre Link sort that million plus calls out and keep on reporting till other government departments have the same system of reporting fraud.