5th Jun 2018

Tribunal upholds one-third of robo-debt appeals

Robo-debt appeals success
Janelle Ward

Have you received a debt recovery notice from Centrelink in recent months? Did you doubt its accuracy? You may wish to consider an appeal.

One-third of appeals relating to Centrelink’s contentious robo-debts scheme have resulted in the debts being set aside by a federal tribunal.

More than 400 robo-debt cases have been decided by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) since July 2016, a Senate estimates committee has been told, with just under two-thirds of debts upheld, a small number varied, and one third set aside.

From 1 July 2016 to 31 March 2018, of 450 customers who did first appeals with the AAT, 416 cases have been decided, with:

  • 64 per cent (265) unchanged
  • 2.4 per cent (10) varied
  • 34 per cent (141) set aside.


 

Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert labelled Centrelink’s robo-debt program as highly controversial and said concerns remained that it regularly issued incorrect or false debts.

“This has caused immense stress to Australians who have accessed the social safety net and had to go back and prove a debt was not owed,” she said. “It often (involved) having to find paperwork from years ago to prove innocence.

“For a third of debts to be set aside for those who had the courage to actually appeal should raise concerns about other debts. One in three is a significant amount to overturn.

“I, for one, have not forgotten that there are many Australians still receiving incorrect or false debts to their detriment, and urge those who receive debt notices to interrogate and challenge the debt.”

Ms Siewert called on the Government to abandon the automated debt recovery program and “reinstate human oversight when it comes to checking debts potentially owed to Centrelink”.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Human Services said people had ample opportunity to explain their circumstances.

"The reviews set aside by the AAT make up less than 0.1 per cent of reviews that have been completed with a debt," the spokeswoman said.

"The parties to such proceedings are able to provide the AAT with fresh evidence. That fresh evidence may lead to the original decision being set aside or varied."

A former member of the AAT said the program involved enforcement of “illegal” debts that were sometimes inflated or non-existent.

Professor Terry Carney also accused Centrelink of failing to defend the legality of debts in the AAT and suggested the tribunal should set aside debts until the agency had proved the amounts were correct.

Professor Carney explains in an academic paper that the program calculates welfare recipients’ income, and averages it over fortnightly periods rather than discovering their actual income for each and every fortnightly period. The latter, he says, is the proper basis for calculating the debt.

He says when Centrelink asks for payment of alleged debts or evidence to disprove them, “most vulnerable alleged debtors will simply throw up their hands, assume Centrelink knows that there really is a debt, and seek to pay it off as quickly as possible”.

The welfare agency did this even though a report by the commonwealth ombudsman in April 2017 “demonstrated that most debts calculated this way were greatly inflated, and that some were false (zero debts)”, he says.

Have you fallen foul of Centrelink’s robo-debt collection scheme? Have you had success with an appeal?

Related articles:
Debt program expanded
Senate inquiry into program
Ombudsman slams scheme





COMMENTS

To make a comment, please register or login
Nerk
5th Jun 2018
10:25am
Everyone should challenge and it will make a proper mess.
Rae
5th Jun 2018
12:45pm
It's a real pity we can't use the power of "everybody".

When a majority believe something and act on that it is incredibly powerful.
OnlyGenuineRainey
5th Jun 2018
2:42pm
It's a real pity many are not able to challenge, and for those that do, many incur heavy costs to locate or obtain records, photocopy or print, and sometimes obtain professional advice. Of course it's the most vulnerable - the less literate, disabled, sick, very old, etc. - who are most likely to be ''done over'' and unable to defend themselves. But who cares about them? Certainly none of the self-righteous privileged who carry on a treat accusing people of defrauding the taxpayer.
TREBOR
5th Jun 2018
3:05pm
Yup - had a rellie done over by The Good Colonel when she was in hospital and non compos with drugs. No amount of discussion or negotiation would convince them - at that time they were doing their first Night Of the Long Knives (Night of the Long Connivers?) over 'rorters' - that being drugged up in hospital made it impossible to report income for that fortnight..... estimated anyway, so they went with 'false estimates'...

Had a similar problem years ago with the ATO over a play production company I had for one year - tax details went in etc - tax man 'lost' thousands of such and demanded I give them another - took me to the courts to get it - and I still didn't cough up... you lost it - you find it.

If you want estimates on income in advance of payment - you figure it out later yourself without recriminations on those you demand advise in advance.

Told you I never forget....
Old Geezer
5th Jun 2018
3:05pm
OGR More excuses for not doing what is required. It is actually quite easy to challenge such debts. Learn the rules and paly the game.
OnlyGenuineRainey
5th Jun 2018
3:18pm
I don't need to, OG. I don't deal with Colonel C/Link. But I know of many people for whom dealing with them is seriously challenging - people who are made ill and suffer heavy costs having to justify themselves when they have done nothing wrong.

A mother with a newborn child on oxygen and tube fed sat in a C/link office for 5 hours before being told to go home and come back next day. She didn't. She never got her entitlements.

The world is all peaches and cream for the privileged. They are just too opinionated and intolerant to care a damn for the disadvantaged. It's so much easier to blame and accuse. Of course, it suits them to pretend people are rorting, because that gives the greedy scum grounds to whinge about their tiny little tax bills. Pity the ATO wouldn't investigate as diligently as Centrelink. But then, the stinking rorts of the stinking rich are all ''legal''. Unlike the down-trodden they condemn, THEY have the funds to pay experts to dot i's and cross t's and make theft and fraud LOOK legal.
Old Geezer
5th Jun 2018
3:26pm
More fairy stories.
Knows-a-lot
5th Jun 2018
3:55pm
Bravo Rainey! That's all so true.
Old Geezer
5th Jun 2018
5:48pm
ROFL
George
6th Jun 2018
12:03am
Agree, Nerk, all affected MUST take it up - maybe an agency is needed to support all who want to take it up. Guilty until proved innocent seems to be the approach - is this why we have this Govt?

Good comments, OGR, the ATO must seriously use this tool - at least their targets would have the ability to fight back if they are innocent.
Rae
6th Jun 2018
7:47am
The Salvation Army tend to help people unable to help themselves and have legal teams.

As to the ATO I love the story of the Italian tax office. They stopped everyone driving very expensive cars and boats and investigated their tax returns and incomes to see where the money came from.

It was very interesting indeed.

Easy to buy expensive leased cars and boats if you don't pay the taxes forced on PAYG earners and your business picks up the tab.
sandymg
5th Jun 2018
11:20am
My advice is to persevere if you know you aren't in the wrong. I was given a debt a couple of years ago which dated back another couple of years while I was still working. At the time of the so called debt I was only working as a casual and sometimes didn't get more than a shift a fortnight so went onto New Start (at the recommendation of Centrelink staff at the time). I kept meticulous records of when I worked/volunteered which was difficult because of penalties and the difference in pay fortnights between my employer and Centrelink. I was only on New Start for 3 or 4 pays which meant my "debt", deemed to be around $1200, was virtually the entire amount they'd paid me. I immediately challenged it. After a month or so they decided that I only owed $750 but that I would have to start paying that back even though I submitted another request for reassessment. I spoke to people on the phone and after the last call waited another 2 months before ringing back to find out that the last person hadn't passed on the information and my request was sitting somewhere gathering dust! I received a call back from a woman who said she concluded I actually owed more than the 2nd amount of $750 but offered to forget about it if I just let it go. WTF??? In hindsight I should have reported her. Once I explained AGAIN about the difference in pay fortnights and the fact that I was paid in arrears for any shifts worked, I asked if she was actually looking at the DATES in question. Long silence and then I heard the penny drop. Duh! Both my requests were eloquently worded and set out, there should have been no confusion to any normal person. I had the amount I'd already paid back in my account eventually. Took a couple of weeks. There will be many people out there in the same boat. So keep meticulous records. I'm so glad that I hadn't thrown my workings out.
Rae
5th Jun 2018
1:06pm
This indicates a total failure in the equations used for the new IT programs. I'm not surprised. It seems whoever is being contracted, at huge amounts, to sort the IT out isn't up to the task.

So it then falls back on less than numerate staff to try to sort it out.

Meticulous record keeping pays off. I also found contemporaneous notes do to. They stand up in court every time when the opposition is purely trying to remember what happened.
Misty
5th Jun 2018
1:20pm
I received one of these notices a couple of years ago, apparently I was overpaid as they said I had not notified Centrelink of my changed circumstances after my husband died but I had told them but they said they had no record of it and I had to pay it back. I asked for a review and they decided to halve the repayments which was better then nothing I suppose.
Old Geezer
5th Jun 2018
1:51pm
Write everything down and keep copies of everything even screen prints.
OnlyGenuineRainey
5th Jun 2018
3:09pm
What a sad world when an honest person who just lost their husband has to prove they notified Centrelink and is accused of rorting. Anyone applauding, or even justifying, this is SICK. Doesn't a widow have enough to deal with? It's disgusting!

And what of all the cases of UNDERPAYMENT. We never seem to hear about them, do we?
Old Geezer
5th Jun 2018
3:19pm
OGR if Shorten and his mob get in that widow will probably lose her OAP and the franking credit refund as well. Jut a little more for that widow to deal with.
OnlyGenuineRainey
5th Jun 2018
3:24pm
Crap, OG. Shorten is a scumbag, but he is focused on looking after pensioners. It's the battlers just above pension level he will screw. He hates the middle class.
Old Geezer
5th Jun 2018
3:34pm
Your widow will have just enough not to get the OAP when her husband dies and not only that she will lose her franking credits too.
OnlyGenuineRainey
5th Jun 2018
5:35pm
When the widow's husband dies? Are you so ignorant you don't even know what a widow is, OG???? And someone who lived their whole life on a widow's pension doesn't have franking credits.

Just shows how ignorant and out of touch you are! Not a clue how things are in the real world.
TREBOR
5th Jun 2018
5:47pm
(Effective) Revolution traditionally begins with the middle class, so it is in the best interests of Labor to replace that middle class with those of their own choosing.... so as to preclude just revolution while they are carrying on their 'bloodless coup' of 'equalising' us all by reducing us all to the lowest common denominators (apart from themselves, of course - they are as destined to rule as the LNP)...

As for Shorten personally - the phrase 'unburdened by charisma' seems appropriate.

Billy-Boy and Fat Joe (and countless others in politics) have similarities - both had a privileged upbringing, a privileged education, and learned their 'politics' in the uni quadrangle.... from there it was simply a matter of choice in working out which 'direction' in politics secured the best business prospects.

Never be fooled by sidewalk cafe uni quadrangle Labor.... they are just as elitist as the others....

SS - DD.
TREBOR
5th Jun 2018
11:45am
I'm surprised it's only one third. I'd like to see a breakdown of what is upheld and what is not and the amounts involved.

If - for example - one case worth $10,000 is overturned, that goes a long way to resolving the overall claimed 'debt' - by removing $10,000 from the stated 'cost'.

If 1000 $10 'debts are not upheld - that means that $10,000 remains in the 'pool' of 'debt'.... and who challenges a $10 debt at a cost of - what is it? $40-50? All right - let's make it a $100 debt and 100 thereof.... gain most people are unlikely to challenge that due to cost and time involved, let alone stress.

So we'll make it 10 x $1000 - how many people REALLY can get to owe Colonel C'Link $1000? I continue to smell rats here.... zomedink iss rotten in dar schtaat off Denmark..
Rae
5th Jun 2018
1:08pm
Yes TREBOR and I suspect it is the dismantling of the Public Service because "private" is better. Obviously the private IT providers aren't up to scratch for all those hundreds of millions paid to their owning Corporations.
TREBOR
5th Jun 2018
5:47pm
'private' haven't done too well with their 'consulting' on the software, have they....
Rae
6th Jun 2018
7:53am
No they haven't TREBOR and not just at Centrelink. It seems whole departments are compromised now through IT failures that good programming with a deep knowledge of the department organisation would have prevented.
Misty
5th Jun 2018
1:15pm
Today Minister Keenan spoke about Force Integrity which is targetting welfare cheats in various locations, this force incles the police, how would you feel answering a knock on the door to find a Police Officer there asking you questions about your name, marital status, income etc to see if you are cheating?, a bit daunting I would think even if you had nothing to hide. Reminds me of the Gestapo during the 2nd world war, didn't think we had that sort of thing in Australia in this day and age only in Communist and Dictator run countries.
Old Geezer
5th Jun 2018
1:22pm
That is the price you pay for collecting welfare. Don't collect welfare and you wont have a problem.
KSS
5th Jun 2018
1:40pm
An one person in this latest exercise has been identified as having obtained over $100,000 in wrongly claimed benefits. We'll just let that one go shall we?
Old Geezer
5th Jun 2018
1:48pm
I sat on a jury on case involving Centrelink fraud of over $250,000 and the lengths people go to to defraud Centrelink is truly amazing. The lady certainly had it all worked out until she deposited money into a bank account and a teller was suspicious and contacted Centrelink.
Misty
5th Jun 2018
2:00pm
No KSS definately NOT, but there are better uses for our police other then this.
TREBOR
5th Jun 2018
2:10pm
Nobody said that, KSS - so far here everyone has said they are quite happy to see genuine (sic) cheats caught and punished... never yet heard on person say anything else.

The concern of the majority is that too many are being labeled 'cheats' when they are not.

Citing extremes is not positing a case.....

Anyone got details of the $100,000 person? I'm genuinely interested in how someone can get that out of The Good Colonel.

Same with your $250,000, OG - I'm interested in the details.
Old Geezer
5th Jun 2018
2:11pm
Are there Misty? After all it is fraud and police deal with fraud.
Misty
5th Jun 2018
2:39pm
I can think of many better things the police could be doing OG, the Govt can send their Centrelink Inspectors to do this job and leave the police to do other things that they are trained especially for.
OnlyGenuineRainey
5th Jun 2018
2:46pm
Anyone else noticed how many very convenient but totally unbelievable situations OG claims to have been in seeing evidence to support his bigoted BS comments?

I don't believe one word of this crap. If a lady was tried for defrauding C/link of $250,000, it would have been all over the news.
Old Geezer
5th Jun 2018
2:47pm
OGR you can check out how much people get caught stealing form Centrelink by checking through the court records. $250,000 is one of the smaller cases.
Misty
5th Jun 2018
2:54pm
You have liitle to do OG if you spend your time going through court records checking for Centrelink fraud.
Old Geezer
5th Jun 2018
3:01pm
Here is one that might interest you OGR.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2005-12-16/nurse-jailed-for-massive-centrelink-fraud/763254

Misty I don't have to go through court records thanks to online search.
TREBOR
5th Jun 2018
3:08pm
" $250,000 is one of the smaller cases. "

Now I know you're dreaming.

That nurse one is a beauty... but it's rare and big - not just 'one of the smaller ones' - I'm surprised it wasn't a Colonel C'Link employee...
TREBOR
5th Jun 2018
3:10pm
OG spends a lot of time going through people's personal mail, internet records and telephone records, so he can spot all those bludgers sucking down quarts of rum and coke at the pub every day while on the dole.

$40 a day will buy you one hell of a lot of bourbon and cokes.... but the only way he could know what their income is from is by going through their personal details.

Must be the FBI.... you work out what that stands for....
Old Geezer
5th Jun 2018
3:18pm
Trebor obviously you have not heard of statistics then.
OnlyGenuineRainey
5th Jun 2018
3:20pm
We've all heard of lies, damned lies, and statistics. Most of us are smart enough to know what that saying means, OG.
Old Geezer
5th Jun 2018
3:27pm
OGR statistics show what is really happening and are more reliable than surveys.
Misty
5th Jun 2018
3:44pm
OG make up your mind, you were the one said to find out about fraud check through the court records.
OnlyGenuineRainey
5th Jun 2018
4:25pm
Statistics are manipulated to deliver the wanted result. Like unemployment figures that don't count anyone who is employed for 1 hour per week or more as unemployed - even though they are.

A former NSW Chief of Police told me that when the government wanted to implement tougher drink driving laws, and needed statistics to back up their lies about the causes of accidents, he was instructed that he was to find any way he could to declare an accident ''alcohol related'', even if it was only that the driver was heading to the bottle shop but hadn't yet made a purchase and was stone cold sober.
TREBOR
5th Jun 2018
5:51pm
Of course not - I used to work for the ABS and even designed a system or two for them ........ know nothing about 'statistics'.

Your 'issue' of an apparent predominance of $100,000 + 'rorts' is focusing on the extreme - not the norm. takes one hell of a lot of work to get $100,000 out of The Good Colonel, and most 'rorts' are in the minor dollar range.
TREBOR
5th Jun 2018
5:52pm
You haven't produced any statistics - you produced a bald statement and a single example of one mega-rorter.
TREBOR
5th Jun 2018
5:53pm
Statistics are calculated estimates, OG - not reality.

If you want real figures you look at accumulated figures.... not a 'statistical analysis'.
OnlyGenuineRainey
5th Jun 2018
9:59pm
A relative told me today she is included in those ''statistics'' - a ''rorter'', caught and made to repay $8000. Well, she had it put aside to repay because... you see... she had tried repeatedly to tell C/link that they were overpaying her and to point out the repeated advice of change of circumstances that they persistently ignored. She asked them again and again and again and again to STOP OVERPAYING, but they ignored her. Guess they are now gloating about the $8000 they recovered through their wonderful ''Robo-debt'' program. Only if they had just done their job, there would have been nothing to recover and she would have been saved hours of trying to communicate and the cost of countless phone calls and letters, not to mention stress.

I would be willing to be there are thousands of such cases. I would be willing to bet because I've seen first hand how damned INEPT and negligent many C/link employees are, and I read every day of the difficulties communicating with them and their repeated failures to acknowledge advice that IS provided to them.
Old Geezer
6th Jun 2018
11:51am
More fairy tales OGR.
Misty
6th Jun 2018
12:31pm
Don't think so OG after all they keep coming after you don't they, if what you say is to be believed.
Old Geezer
5th Jun 2018
1:23pm
With only 2.4% varied the system is working very well and catching lots of cheats. Keep it up Centrelink.
TREBOR
5th Jun 2018
3:12pm
What happened to the 34% SET ASIDE?

Marital Memory?
Old Geezer
5th Jun 2018
3:28pm
35% set aside because they couldn't be shown to be wrong.
OnlyGenuineRainey
5th Jun 2018
5:33pm
35% set aside because Centrelink WAS WRONG. And almost certainly wrong in thousands of other instances but either voluntarily withdrew demands or accepted payment of money that wasn't owing because the victim couldn't stand the stress and cost of fighting.
Old Geezer
5th Jun 2018
5:50pm
They would not have been set aside if Centrelink was wrong. Wrong again OGR.
TREBOR
5th Jun 2018
5:55pm
So now the defence to favour the accuser is that is that it can't be shown that the accusation was wrong, even though it was not upheld?

Which Star Chamber do you live in? You'd be a prize in Iran as a Mullah or similar.... guilty.. guilty... guilty...guilty ....
TREBOR
5th Jun 2018
5:57pm
Do you understand what 'set aside' means? They were not allowed through - i.e. the verdict went in favour of the accused... that's the person accused of rorting Colonel C'Link ......... (right for the able-bodied - all others including kinder to the left..... showers are ready)...
TREBOR
5th Jun 2018
9:44pm
They were set aside because the appellant was RIGHT.

Let's get that perfectly clear.

That means Colonel C'Link was WRONG.....

Not hard really.....
KSS
5th Jun 2018
1:37pm
This wouldn't be the same AAT that overturns the deportation of murderers, peadophiles, drug dealers, sex abusers and other criminal or violent offenders now would it?

And in any case, it still means that two thirds of those taking action were judged to be guilty of receiving more welfare than they were eligible to receive.

In legal circles, the AAT has long been known as the 'have a go court'. Meaning those with no options left were encouraged to 'have a go' in the AAT because you never know your luck in the big city! Not much of an endorsement really now is it?
TREBOR
5th Jun 2018
2:13pm
Hmm - yes - but they are obliged to render a decision on the facts available - all of the facts available... they sometimes make mistakes, in which case, how many wrongful** Colonel C'Link claims got through that shouldn't? Stands to reason, by the same reckoning, at least twice as many...

** be wary of that word and how you may interpret it - I run Australia's Wrongfully Convicted and let me assure you the definitions of wrongful and false are very strictly defined - more so than in certain similar movements.
OnlyGenuineRainey
5th Jun 2018
4:30pm
The 1/3rd who were found to be victims of errors are only 1/3rd of those who were sufficiently confident and capable of taking the matter to the AAT. Of course vast numbers were victims of wrong and either got it fixed without going to the AAT, didn't have the capacity to prove their claim, or found it just too hard to be bothered fighting (perhaps because the amount in question was small).

I think the fact that 1/3rd of those who went to the AAT were vindicated likely suggests a huge number were persecuted wrongfully. Not too many take things that far!
Raphael
5th Jun 2018
4:50pm
OGR - please stop spreading lies

Set aside does not mean they were charged incorrectly.

The article does not state on what grounds the 1/3rd were "set-aside"

Perhaps in those cases, the fraudsters were given the benefit of the doubt
OnlyGenuineRainey
5th Jun 2018
5:32pm
Raphael, please stop defending the indefensible. You are the one spreading lies. Nobody would be given 'the benefit of the doubt' if they were committing fraud. Either they were wrongly accused and not overpaid, as the decision suggests, or Centrelink acted improperly in some manner.
TREBOR
5th Jun 2018
5:58pm
Jesus - another one. Do you seriously think that an accusation of rorting in the current climate would simply be pushed aside without reference to the facts?

God spare us from the rule of emotion replacing sense and law.
Not a Bludger
5th Jun 2018
2:14pm
On the money, OG.
This is we, the taxpayers, coin.
The more agressive the checks, then more rorters will be found - and the more money available for those in genuine need.
Old Geezer
5th Jun 2018
3:08pm
I get phone calls from Centrelink telling me what people can claim. The only explanation I can work out why I get those calls is that I am being dobbed into Centrelink otherwise why would they ring me.
OnlyGenuineRainey
5th Jun 2018
3:12pm
Not a Bludger - there is plenty available for people in genuine need if this stinking inept government managed correctly. They took some $3.5 billion off people who had modest savings, and they gave it to people who had NO NEED AT ALL - whose incomes were higher than those they took from. But NOT ONE CENT TO THE NEEDY. The problem is INCOMPETENCE. There are C/link fraudsters out there, but trust me, THEY are not being caught. Those being attacked are either innocent or made a simple mistake. Nobody touches the crooks.
Old Geezer
5th Jun 2018
3:16pm
OGR the government has not taken any money off anybody so stop telling lies.
OnlyGenuineRainey
5th Jun 2018
3:19pm
They took $3.5 billion, and they boast about it.

STOP TELLING LIES, OG. Everyone knows what they did, and they are certainly not pretending they didn't, so why should you lie for them?
Old Geezer
5th Jun 2018
3:23pm
Rubbish OGR they didn't take anything at all.
Misty
5th Jun 2018
3:47pm
Why would Centrelink be contacting you OG?, I thought you said previously you had nothing to do with Centrelink.
Old Geezer
5th Jun 2018
3:55pm
I don't get anything from Centrelink but someone obviously thinks I am rorting Centrelink and dobbing me into them. I suppose they have to follow them all up just to make sure.
OnlyGenuineRainey
5th Jun 2018
4:27pm
Nobody makes accusations without cause, OG. You keep saying that yourself when justifying Centrelink's conduct. So obviously you ARE rorting. Another of those who know how to rort without being caught! (You are always boasting about knowing the rules)
Misty
5th Jun 2018
5:09pm
Got him OGR.
Misty
5th Jun 2018
5:09pm
Got him OGR.
Misty
5th Jun 2018
5:09pm
Got him OGR.
Old Geezer
5th Jun 2018
5:51pm
Catch me if you can then.
TREBOR
5th Jun 2018
6:01pm
Give us your name and address - we wouldn't want your personal dobbers to feel lonely...

If you're not receiving anything from Centrelink, why would anyone dob you in to Centrelink and why would Centrelink follow it up?

Helllllo - Paradise..... OG outed..... he IS the Centrelink Messiah!! Only the True Messiah on Centrelink would deny his own divinity!

I doubt anyone here wants to catch you, OG - you do a good job of that already....
Misty
5th Jun 2018
7:22pm
Don't know why this came up 3 times, usually it may double up and you have the option of deleting one, do you think someoneis playing silly bug---s?, or maybe the computer knows better.
TREBOR
5th Jun 2018
9:45pm
Tell that to the couple I know who lost $12,000 when the 'assets test' goal posts were shifted....
Raphael
5th Jun 2018
3:18pm
The robo debt program has been a resounding success bringing in billions from fraudsters
Let that be a lesson to those who steal or are thinking of stealing from us honest hard working taxpayers
Shame we dont throw them in jail and /or hand them huge fines as well
Old Geezer
5th Jun 2018
3:20pm
I agree. If it wasn't good then they would of got rid of it ages ago. Yes we hear stories of people who got caught and now looking for scrap goats but a very low percentage are actually wrong.
OnlyGenuineRainey
5th Jun 2018
3:22pm
Be better if we threw the tax rorters in jail and took back their ill-gotten gains. But there is one rule for the rich and another for the poor. The poor have been ripped off, cheated, exploited and conned for generations, and it will go on for generations. But the magnanimous stinking privileged will carry on with the whining and lies and vicious attacks. Anything to justify their whinging about having to pay tax.
Old Geezer
5th Jun 2018
3:25pm
OGR there is nothing wrong with minimising your tax and it is entirely legal to do so. These people defrauding Centrelink as doing so illegally. The poor are not being exploited or ripped off at all. They have the same rights as everyone else in this country.
Raphael
5th Jun 2018
3:47pm
OGR - do you claim any deductions against your taxable income or you happy to give the ATO more than they are legally entitled to?
Old Geezer
5th Jun 2018
3:50pm
OGR probably has so many coffee cups they give them away for presents.
Misty
5th Jun 2018
3:51pm
Rubbish Raphael, watch SKY NEWS and you will find since 2015 it has only claimed back I think it is $40 Million, at least that is what Minister Keenan told Laura Jayes it certainly was not billions as she was quering the small amount and asked him if it was worth it.
Misty
5th Jun 2018
3:55pm
Should be querying, sorry for that spelling mistake.
Raphael
5th Jun 2018
3:59pm
Misty - thats $40 Million back to the taxpayer from rorters

Of course its worth taking money back from thieves.
OnlyGenuineRainey
5th Jun 2018
4:21pm
Legal doesn't mean ''right'', OG. The laws are made for the rich. ''Legal'' just means endorsed by the privileged to benefit the privileged.
Raphael
5th Jun 2018
4:45pm
Which legal tax minimization schemes are you against OGR.
Most are for the benefit of the poor and middle class AND to reduce the burden on the taxpayer by encouraging investment and savings
OnlyGenuineRainey
5th Jun 2018
5:29pm
What utter GARBAGE, Raphael. The poor can't invest to claim capital gains tax concessions or negative gearing concessions. Superannuation tax concessions benefit higher income earners most and low income earners hardly at all or not at all - even in some instances taxing them higher on their super contribution than wages. And why encourage savings when the saver is going to be harshly punished in retirement - oh, unless they are rich, of course!
Old Geezer
5th Jun 2018
5:39pm
OGR if you don't earn enough to pay tax then any tax paid on your super contributions is reimbursed back to your super fund therefore they pay no tax on their super contribution. Yet the rich pay 30% on their super contributions. Seems to me like that benefits the poor instead of the wealthy.
TREBOR
5th Jun 2018
6:05pm
"The department also refused to provide numbers on how much money had been paid back to date"

"Only about $84m in Centrelink debts have been recovered in 14 months, "

and:-

" in the first six months of the 2016–17 financial year, the department had sought repayment of $300 million worth of purported debts and actually recovered $24 million"

https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Community_Affairs/SocialWelfareSystem/Report/c01
TREBOR
5th Jun 2018
9:50pm
Sounds more like $40m Colonel C'Link claimed before further action by appellants.....

You just have to understand spin....

'Claimed' is not the same as 'Recovered' - unless you are in politicianspeak mode....
OnlyGenuineRainey
5th Jun 2018
10:02pm
More lies, OG. The MAXIMUM tax rate on superannuation contributions and income is 15% - NOT 30%. And the poor do NOT get their tax on super contributions reimbursed. That is crap. They pay 15% regardless of their marginal tax rate.
Rae
6th Jun 2018
8:21am
Pity they don't extend it to business claims and politicians claims on the taxpayer. Then we would see revenue flowing back into the treasury.
Old Geezer
6th Jun 2018
11:56am
Wrong OGR the maximum rate on super contributions is 30% if you exceed $300,000 in income and super contributions per year.
OnlyGenuineRainey
5th Jun 2018
4:19pm
Isn't it great how the law is being enforced and all the bank chiefs who committed crimes are being jailed and fined and made to pay back overpaid salaries and benefits?

Oh... wait! They are NOT! Ah.. that's right. They are wealthy and privileged so above the law. Law only applies to the poor battlers who struggle to get enough of their Centrelink entitlements to pay their bills and keep food on the table. Can't have the privileged held accountable.
Raphael
5th Jun 2018
4:47pm
DIrectors and officers can be personally liable and criminally charged for certain offences.

Pity centerlink fraudsters are not similarly criminally charged for theft
Misty
5th Jun 2018
5:12pm
Well senior executors from ANZ, DEUTCHE BANK and CITIGROUP have been charged this afternoon, wonder how senior they are.
OnlyGenuineRainey
5th Jun 2018
5:27pm
Pity Centre link and government employees are not charged for bullying, abuse, and denial of rights.
Old Geezer
5th Jun 2018
5:42pm
If people abuse the system then they pay the consequences and deserve whatever they get.
TREBOR
5th Jun 2018
6:07pm
When do the trials begin of these corporate criminals? Why not just robo-debt them and run them through the wringer..... shake them upside down and collect what falls out....
OnlyGenuineRainey
5th Jun 2018
9:50pm
''People'' means poor, defenceless people, Trebor. Rich bastards aren't ''people''. They are little tin gods with no accountability, much less decency.
TREBOR
5th Jun 2018
9:51pm
Better still - RICO the bastards.
OnlyGenuineRainey
5th Jun 2018
9:51pm
OG, the abusers are the government and C/link employees. And they don't EVER get what they deserve.
TREBOR
5th Jun 2018
9:56pm
I often draw comparison, Rainey, with the pre-revolution 'Communists'/Marxists - their basic assumption was that 'the people' was their social group - the middle class - and the common herd were but serfs and as cattle in the fields with no rights other than those handed to them on whim.

I agree with you that 'the people' here and now are ordinary people fighting for a little bit of air and sun - but the prevailing attitude in our 'government' and its mates is that they, and they alone, are the people who require to be satisfied by our 'democratic' system.

The same applies today in China and Russia and the US.. and pretty much everywhere else where 'democracy' holds sway, and has been suborned to the whim and will of a self-appointed elite.

That is why I favour neither LNP nor Labor, nor even Greens... but call for a genuine government of the people, by the people, and for the people ... all current parties and some Independents are bitten with the elitist bug.
Rae
6th Jun 2018
8:30am
Yes Misty but they have been diddling the ASX where the wealthy sometimes invest. Can't have that and there is a collaborator dobbing them in for immunity so that helps the case. You'd be stupid to do deals with JPMorgan anyway.

It is very bad to manipulate the markets.

Pity the LIBOR scandal was swept under the carpet as ordinary borrowers might have got money back but breaking the banks was a bridge too far it seems and the Government doesn't care about us.

Neither the LNP or Labor can be trusted. The 2014/15 budget proves that.
GregH
5th Jun 2018
4:28pm
I am on the Disability Support Pension and for 7 years, I was working part-time as a telephone counsellor paid under the Social Welfare Award. In about 2005, the Government introduced a scheme called Salary Packaging (NOT Salary Sacrifice) which sought to increase the take-home pay of low paid workers in the welfare field. (eg. getting paid $21.00 an hour for a Not For Profit agency where equivalent workers in Government Departments and Private Companies were getting $38 to $120 an hour!) In short, we were not taxed on our first $540 a fortnight pay. This was deemed to not be Taxable Income. I spoke to Centrelink 5 times to see if I needed to include this amount in my fortnightly report. Each time I was told that it was not Taxable Income therefore I did not need to report it. I was to only report Taxable Income. Well, you guessed it - 1. They would not give me that advice in writing and 2. Five years later, they said I had under reported and owed them $7,000. I appealed and they got the same guy who made that initial decision to review his own decision (which is SO wrong!) and then just withheld a repayment amount out of my pension each fortnight. They did not consult me to see what I could afford to pay. They just took it. At the time that the review was done, Salary Sacrifice had come into being and Salary Packaging in the working world had changed in what it meant. No amount of arguing achieved anything with Centrelink. The worst part was that they have a rule that you can only appeal within 13 weeks and they took 11 weeks to reply to my appeal and then once the 13 weeks was up, they said the time had run out and that was the end to it. SO VERY WRONG ON SO MANY COUNTS. I tried to take them to VCAT but Centrelink refused to participate because the 13 weeks time had run out. I could really use that $7,000 now. I need surgery and new glasses and have $7 in the bank to last me the next 10 days until my next pension payment.
OnlyGenuineRainey
5th Jun 2018
5:26pm
But C/link is ALWAYS right and only bothers cheats, GregH. Just ask OG and Raphael. They will tell you!

So sorry to hear of your experience. Disgraceful, but not surprising.

Many years ago I had an experience a bit like this with the ATO. Running a business, I asked for advice on sales tax law. They refused to put it in writing but quoted a clause in the Act and said the product I was manufacturing was tax exempt. Two years later they said it did not fit Category X, but was actually covered in Category Y and I was required to pay $11,000 back taxes. When I objected, they told me (unbelievably!) to write to all my past customers and tell them I had undercharged them and ask them to pay the difference. Yeah, right! Imagine the laughs!

Anyway, I told them I would have to close down so expect to see me on national TV tonight because I would ask TV journalists to meet me at Centrelink and film me in the queue applying for the dole, and let me tell the whole nation why I was now out of business and out of work. They withdrew their demand immediately, stating that they would waive all debt if I started paying the sales tax from that point on.

Another instance - a gentleman who had tried to obtain information about an incident in his past for over 50 years finally succeeded in getting files under FOI at age 60. There was evidence to justify a major law suit against the State, but his lawyer told him he would lose because ''the effluxion of time would compromise the State's defence'' and he should have sued within 7 years of it happening - WITHOUT the evidence the law allowed the State to withhold, and as an orphan aged just 14!

The law is made by the rich, for the rich. The disadvantaged are just fodder.
Old Geezer
5th Jun 2018
5:47pm
Well what can I say get it in writing, take screen prints etc. It all sounds a bit iffy to me too.
GregH
5th Jun 2018
6:49pm
It is a bit hard to get screen shots of phone calls. And recording them is illegal. The whole bit of an appeal being reviewed by the same guy who made the initial decision is the thing that is "iffy". He gets to make the same mistake twice and ruin someone's life. GregH.
Raphael
5th Jun 2018
7:02pm
GregH - if you've been around this site for a while, you will notice that Rainey tells very tall tales.
She often contradicts herself and what's really fascinating is that she has thousand of real life examples of tales of woe both from her personal experiences and those of close family and firends

One suspects she lives in Misery Bay just east of Little Hope, Tasmania
Misty
5th Jun 2018
7:29pm
I don't think so Rapheal, OGR lives in the real world but if she did live in Misery Bay the OG would be a neighbour of hers.
OnlyGenuineRainey
5th Jun 2018
9:47pm
No misery in my life. I happen to know a lot of people who have suffered major injustice, because I suffered it in earlier life. I have great empathy for the disadvantages. But I've overcome handicaps and made a good life for myself. It doesn't stop me paying attention to the problems others face and trying to help them. Nor does it stop me supporting calls for a fairer and more decent society. But I am lucky that I can go home smiling and sleep well knowing that I have enough savings to be moderately secure and comfortable, and currently still some income. I am very grateful for the ability and guidance to conquer the demons that haunted me, and I'm deeply grateful for the understanding to feel compassion for those who didn't.

Call me whatever you like, Raphael. All you do is show your ignorance and lack of culture.
OnlyGenuineRainey
5th Jun 2018
9:49pm
OG, you can't get it in writing if government officials tell you they are not allowed to put it in writing. And in some states it's actually illegal to tape record a phone call. The law is made to disadvantage the disadvantaged. Rich men make it to serve rich men. You know that, of course. It just suits your bigoted objectives to deny it.
TREBOR
5th Jun 2018
10:03pm
Rainey - that is precisely why I came up with the catch phrase:- "There is NO time limit on justice".

If a government cannot mount an adequate defence against accusation of wrong-doing within the life span of the individual - when that government retains all records and claims therefore that it is omniscient and legally unassailable (read my personal partial auto-bio) - then that government fails the test of a civil action - balance of probabilities.

I could tell you some very dark stories over my military records.... and have done in my partial auto-bio .... but my point is that in that case the government said its currently held records were unassailable (though I have a letter that says perhaps my records were held by 'the unit' - an impossibility in the military records system) .. therefore, if its records are unassailable, it is always in the position to offer an adequate defence from held records.

If it can not - it fails in court, and no statue of limitations can help it out.

All well and good when it suits them - not when it doesn't.

No wonder some say I should have been a judge.
heemskerk99
5th Jun 2018
8:32pm
hm, no post of our beloved labor micky, must be in the sinbin after his performance on the previous item and where his backup voice tremor and ogre geriatic rain had to come to his rescue might it have been a day too late, yet here in these columns it shows again that these so called laborites, even labor has a more decent attitude, are encouraging people to cheat the system at every opportunity, it realy galls me that one of them professes to be an nationalist socialist and even stated having high regard for the geheime politie, with other words the sicherheitspolitzei so hated by the people under the nazi heel during world war 2, to me it shows the lack of integrity these people show and should receive in these columns.
Misty
5th Jun 2018
9:41pm
Well Liberal Lover what else would one expect from you, just your usual Labor hatred, and what on earth are you going on about?, no one on this site is encouraging people to cheat and who is supposed to be a nationalist socialist posting here, if you are making accusations have the guts to name the person or persons you are commenting about here or keep quiet.
TREBOR
5th Jun 2018
10:13pm
Suffer the little minded ones to come after me.... let alone Mick.

I've never encouraged anyone to cheat, nor has Mick, and nor has any fair minded person here - but we can't expect you to know or understand that... kid, since you have no grasp on the issues.

You are so dumb you cannot see that when a person discusses certain issues - such as socialist approach to many things and putting his/her nation first - they fall into a category of some kind of 'national socialist'.

Doesn't mean they are a NAZI, dumbie, but then, you wouldn't know.

EVERY government in this nation since Federation, and governments in many other nations including the United States - are a mixture of nationalism and socialism and capitalism - thus they are ALL national socialist to some degree - Trump is one such more than many others, since he puts America first and offers socialist solutions to social issues.

You simply are incapable of understanding the difference between a national socialist and a National Socialist.

Must be because you can't even use capitals (not Das Kapitals), let alone understand what they can mean in a sentence.

**eyes rolling emoticon required and implied**

Why don't you just toddle back to school and leave the adults to talk while you play games with yourself?
Rae
6th Jun 2018
8:45am
You should read some Australian History if fascism worries you.

Old Guard, New Guard, Eric Campbell, IPA, Liberal Party.

Just calling Fascists by the tern Conservative doesn't't fool a historian.

Do you have an opinion or just a hatred of others here?
George
5th Jun 2018
11:57pm
One third of the cases appealed set aside, with many not appealed by the weak and the sick, and the methodology used i.e. averaging described by "a report by the commonwealth ombudsman in April 2017 “demonstrated that most debts calculated this way were greatly inflated, and that some were false (zero debts)”, he says."

What a disgusting Gestapo attitude by the Govt to use a silly software tool to attack the weak and treat them as Guilty Until Proved Innocent?

WHY, WHY DO THEY NOT INSTEAD USE THIS TOOL IN THE ATO TO CATCH THE ACTUAL BIG FRAUDSTERS EVADING INCOME TAXES???

WHICH MORONS ELECTED THIS GOVT?
Misty
6th Jun 2018
1:04am
Careful George you will upset OG, Raphael and heemskerk99 if you make disparaging remarks about this govt.
Rae
6th Jun 2018
8:48am
Ys George and it would not be hard to ask owners of high value assets to explain how they got them and compare the tax returns.
Old Geezer
6th Jun 2018
11:49am
Those cases were set aside because they couldn't be proven to be completely wrong but money is still owed.
George
6th Jun 2018
1:06pm
So Centrelink decided they were Guilty until proved Innocent even though they did not have proof? Do you work for Centrelink, OG?

ATO must go after the tax evaders - there is much more for the Govt to recover there - use this tool and every other tool.
Misty
6th Jun 2018
1:35pm
George OG seems to have contacts in the banks, govt, ATO and Centrelink judging from what he comments here.
heemskerk99
6th Jun 2018
4:55pm
misty you are an absolute dork, by you and others attacking the government for stopping the welfare cheats and making them pay back the money they rorted and then to state you are not promoting or encouraging people to cheat, hey pull the other leg.
tremor all your attempted explaining only showed that the arrow has hit the target
Misty
6th Jun 2018
8:15pm
Heemskerk 99 I don't know where you get the idea that I and others commenting here want the govt to stop going after those who are rorting the system, no body in their right mind wants that we just want it done fairly, don't read things into these comments that are not there.
heemskerk99
6th Jun 2018
8:43pm
misty, just open your eyes and read your own comments and a blind man can see you are encouraging rorting the system, it is people the likes of you who are promoting the lawless society we now live in and your excuses don't hold any water, you either accept the law of the land voted in by the majority of the people, go and live somewhere else or hope the next election will change the direction this country has taken, however you got no right to actively advise people to break the law as it is now
Misty
9th Jun 2018
4:55pm
Heemskerk you are a nasty piece of work your last statement about m comments confirm that, NO WHERE HAVE I ADVISED ANYONE TO BREAK THE LAW ON THIS SITE PLEASE POINT TO THE COMMENTS WHERE YOU SAY I HAVE DONE THIS. Please, does anyone else commenting here agree with heemskerks assesment of my comments?, if so please let me know and what it is I have said.
GrayComputing
6th Jun 2018
8:01pm
It is time for all of us to rant at our MPs and Senators to take action for human decency and a huge stress reduction for pensioners

NO ASSET TEST FOR A PENSION EVER AGAIN!
A pension is not welfare.

Most economist say we will save taxpayers money by dropping asset testing because of the massive overheads cost in running Centrelink and the 10,000 conflicting rules.

Hiring more Centrelink staff will only increase taxpayer’s costs for processing the creeping insane red tape monster system politicians and well paid bureaucrats have created.

Help scrap it now. Become a hero.

Even poorer New Zealand has a NO ASSET pension so it is cheaper and user friendly.

Why worry that few million$ earners get it too. That is peanuts to them, not enough for a good vintage champagne.

Do retired and retiring people really look forward and want 100++ visits to/from Centrelink and be part of 3 million waiting queues and lost calls?

Does your MP really like being part of the system that allows this indirect abuse of the elderly?

This abuse is actually sponsored by our government and forced down to Centrelink and borders on a criminal act.

Why do MPs normally compassionate persons let this Centrelink abuse happen at taxpayers’ expense?

Some opposition and independent MPs stand to lose their chance at being part of the needed government changes

We need to tell our MP and senators that these criminal asset tests for a pension must be dropped now.

NO ASSET TEST FOR A PENSION EVER AGAIN!
Old Geezer
9th Jun 2018
4:35pm
It is truly amazing the lies people tell when they stuff up or get caught out.


Join YOURLifeChoices, it’s free

  • Receive our daily enewsletter
  • Enter competitions
  • Comment on articles
you might also be interested in...

Is Centrelink checking your bank account?

Does Centrelink have the power to check your bank account? The answer may surprise you.

Income test limits for pensions

The CPI rise in pension payments is also reflected by an increase in the amount of income you can receive before you lose your pension completely.

Utility bills are on the rise

YOURLifeChoices shows how to reduce your power costs and make your life that little bit easier.

Increased asset test limits

Asset limits have been reviewed and increased in line with recent CPI pension increases.

Guide to Centrelink

YOURLifeChoices answer your questions on the Age Pension, Starting retirement and using Centrelink Online Services.