Centrelink’s controversial robo-debt scheme hits new low

Centrelink’s robo-debt scheme has ramped up a notch: QC.

Centrelink’s controversial robo-debt scheme hits new low

Centrelink’s controversial robo-debt scheme has been ramped up a notch, according to a top QC.

Former Victorian chief crown prosecutor and QC Gavin Silbert says that social security law changes made in January 2017 – six months after robo-debt was introduced – had removed a previous seven-year time limit on recovering debts and that Centrelink is chasing debt beyond that period.

It was also recently revealed that age pensioners could be robo-debt’s next target in order for the Morrison Government to achieve its promised $2.1 billion in budget savings.

Mr Silbert told nine.com.au that information from Human Services Minister Stuart Robert about the time limit had been “misleading”.

Mr Robert recently said: “Bank records, of course, are always available for seven years. The department (of human services) won't be going back after seven years in terms of recovering (debts) because there is no way for people to actually have the records they need for it.”

However, after it was revealed that some debt cases dated back to 2010 and 2011, the department sought to clarify the minister's comments, saying that the seven-year timeline referred to by the minister did not begin when a debt was raised, but when a customer's income review was triggered by the Australian Tax Office (ATO) data matching program.

“Online compliance reviews extend back seven years from the date we initiate the review, Department of Human Services (DHS) general manager Hank Jongen said in a statement.

Mr Silbert, who has a pro-bono robo-debt case before the Federal Court, said: “I thought (Mr Robert) meant that if someone was going to get a debt letter that the debt would not go back beyond seven years.

“They are dissembling and it’s quite deceptive.

“Any ordinary member of the public listening to the minister's remarks would think that a debt wouldn't be claimed beyond the seven years from when the letter of demand went out.

“What they are doing is completely unfair.”

Centrelink has denied it is breaking its own guidelines by chasing older debts. However, Nine News reports that distraught recipients of Centrelink allowances are being told they owe money from as far back as nine years ago “and are now facing the near-impossible task of trying to prove the debt is incorrect”.

Nine News gave the example of a Sydney woman who said she had no idea Centrelink was claiming she owed them money until her 2018-19 tax return vanished.

“They took the whole lot, it was $840. I didn't even know anything about it. I had to ring the ATO who told me to ring Centrelink,” she said.

“I was gutted. I was expecting that money, and I needed that money. At no time was there any inkling that I wasn't going to get that tax back.”

The DHS alleges that between 2010 and 2013, the woman reported income from her part-time job incorrectly while she was looking after her dying mother and receiving a carer’s allowance.

Nine News reported other instances of debt recovery dating back nine years, with the ‘offenders’ claiming they had no knowledge of the action earlier and no way to refute the claims because of their age.

Under Centrelink's robo-debt system, yearly income data from the ATO is matched with welfare payments. The onus of proof is on the recipients to show they don’t owe the debt.

About 850,000 Centrelink compliance reviews have been finalised since July 2015, with 20 per cent fully waived after the recipient proved he or she did not have a debt.

The DHS says the system is “working as it should”.

Do you keep records beyond seven years? Could you disprove a robo-debt from 2010 or 2011?

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    COMMENTS

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    McDaddy
    6th Sep 2019
    9:17am
    Carer Allowance is not means tested, so the Nine News story is BS.
    gravy
    6th Sep 2019
    11:41am
    Carer Allowance is indeed Income tested. You got that one wrong. The 9 News story therefore is correct.

    From Human Services site (https://www.humanservices.gov.au/individuals/services/centrelink/carer-allowance/eligibility/payment-rates):

    "Payment rates

    There's no assets test for Carer Allowance but there is an income test.

    If you meet the Carer Allowance income test, your income doesn’t affect how much Carer Allowance you can get."
    TREBOR
    6th Sep 2019
    1:30pm
    Income tested, McDaddy - income tested....
    marls
    6th Sep 2019
    2:59pm
    Mcdaddy
    Carers allowance is non meanstested as I was receiving it for a short time when my brother was terminally ill
    And was fully employed but on paid leave
    Hoohoo
    6th Sep 2019
    5:12pm
    Besides which, the article says that the DHS alleged the woman reported income from her part-time job incorrectly. THAT was the reason for the robodebt - incorrect reporting of income. It is very difficult or impossible to predict in advance how much one is going to be paid when you are working part-time, especially if you are on call or working different shifts where penalty rates may apply.
    McDaddy
    7th Sep 2019
    1:02pm
    Thanks, Trebor, income test only kicks in when your income is greater than $250k PA
    jaycee1
    8th Sep 2019
    9:34am
    McDaddy, Carers allowance is means tested. I know as was refused due to earning too much - even though the tax office used to add a 'low income allowance' to my tax return each year.

    We were always told to keep records for 7 years and 1 day. After that they were not needed as no debt could be claimed. Now suddenly they are changing the rules. I doubt that anyone has records older than 7 years, I know I don't.
    Nika
    6th Sep 2019
    10:51am
    How can the system be working properly when 20% fully waived after the recipient proved he or she did not have a debt? Then why were they targeted in the first place? And how many innocents couldn't show they were right? I agree to hound the guilty but this system has been proven bad all along.
    Rosret
    6th Sep 2019
    12:50pm
    Many years before Robo-debt my elderly mother put an extra zero on her income when submitting a tax return.
    She was sent a huge tax bill. She phoned and told them the error however they kept hounding her month after month and she became very distressed. In the end she employed a tax agent to help and no more nasty letters arrived in the mail. After that she never did her own income tax again.

    What I don't understand in this case was why wasn't the person in the case above notified of the debt supposedly owed back in 2010 and 2013 so she too could have rectified the error at the time. The government knows exactly how much each individual earns in this computerised age so I would say its a software issue yet again.
    VeryCaringBigBear
    6th Sep 2019
    1:45pm
    It's only 20% of the reviews not 20% of all the debts raised.
    TREBOR
    8th Sep 2019
    4:04pm
    What percentage are required to be reviewed? How many people in an emotionally battered state or with mental insufficiency are caught up with a demand for payment without having any idea what to do?
    pedro the swift
    6th Sep 2019
    11:16am
    Why don't they go after companies who are not paying their way tax wise. Maybe cos it would show how many have not been paying taxes for years. Easier to just look a older pensioners who probably dont have records going back that far. And how accurate are the ATO and centrelink records?
    older&wiser
    6th Sep 2019
    1:16pm
    WHY? - the answer is easy. The little people are an easy target. Big companies have a bank of legal experts to call on, and then the luxury of claiming the costs as a business expense. So it's much easier to go after those who have the least chance to fight back. So many seniors don't keep paperwork - after all, they encourage people to not hoard, and to cut down on things.
    My elderly aunt gets a bill, pays it, then throws it out. That is what she has always done. She too got hit with a so-called robodebt and it was a nightmare to try and resolve. Made it hard as they will not give you a summary or breakdown, but I worked it out that It had to do with her husband having moved into an aged care facility where he subsequently died 8 months later. Letter was 3.5years after he passed away, and she had not kept one single bit of paperwork as she had downsized from a 3BR house, to an Aged Care place. It was almost a full time job for me to try and resolve this, but finally did so, and the so-called debt was found to be false and totally wiped.
    As for accuracy of centrelink records? - I personally have experience where they got my information TOTALLY wrong! On aged pension, I started a casual 2 day a week job. I told CL that I would be working full time for training for the first week only - and the idiots stupidly assumed that this was to be my every week pay, so they cancelled my part pension. I only found out when my local Council contacted me to sat that my Council rates rebate was cancelled. CL did not even bother to contact me. It took weeks to sort out, and even then their calculation for back pay was totally wrong. In the end, I chucked in the part time job, as I simply could not trust them to come back in years to come, with some fake Robodebt, saying I owed money. If you have experienced their incompetence, believe me, you do not want to have anything to do with them.
    libsareliars
    6th Sep 2019
    1:47pm
    "Why don't they go after companies who are not paying their way tax wise"

    Spot on Pedro.
    Paddington
    6th Sep 2019
    8:01pm
    And that amount owed by companies and the elite wealthy would cover all pensions, the NDIS, new start, etc. It is about values and morals, this mob have no compassion as illustrated by the Biloela family languishing on Christmas Island.
    Poor people have no defence so are an easy mark to extract money from, much easier than where the big money is!
    MICK
    6th Sep 2019
    11:53am
    For the life of me I just cannot understand that people do as they are told. Saying you owe without proof/facts and figures is a nonsense and I'd be taking threats from Centrelink to The Ombudsman's Office or looking for a Class Action from one of the ambulance chaser lawyers who'l do the work for a percentage of the payout. There's little belief that Centrelink could win such an action.
    sunnyOz
    6th Sep 2019
    1:33pm
    Totally agree mick! Look at it this way...you get a letter from Company A in the mail, saying "you owe $X and have to pay it all back within 28 days". That's all - doesn't say what the amount is for, or give any breakdown, and says was due to error made 5/7/9/15 years ago. You would laugh, and throw it in the bin where it belongs.
    WHY is Dept of Human Services (Centrelink) the exception to this? Having experienced this farce, I am sure, absolutely positive that these robodebts are deliberately targeted at the poor, vulnerable, not so educated and disadvantaged. Those that cannot fight back, don't keep every little scrap of paper. The onus is on people to prove they do NOT owe a debt - how on earth are you supposed to prove a negative?
    Tanker
    6th Sep 2019
    2:25pm
    It all depends upon the law. If the government have written a law, or similar, then ordinary people are helpless.
    It is all part of how right wingers balance their budget, or get a surplus, is by cutting back on things like welfare and pensions to those who can least afford it. In the UK they call it "austerity" and there people with a job are having to go to food banks to get enough food for the week. The U.S. is similar and coming to a town near you is ---------- How good is a food bank?
    Tanker
    6th Sep 2019
    2:25pm
    It all depends upon the law. If the government have written a law, or similar, then ordinary people are helpless.
    It is all part of how right wingers balance their budget, or get a surplus, is by cutting back on things like welfare and pensions to those who can least afford it. In the UK they call it "austerity" and there people with a job are having to go to food banks to get enough food for the week. The U.S. is similar and coming to a town near you is ---------- How good is a food bank?
    Hoohoo
    6th Sep 2019
    5:22pm
    Apparently a lot of desperate people have paid the debt, even if they think it is incorrect, simply because they are dependent on Centelink for their meagre income. They are afraid they'll be cut off all together if they make a fuss. The letters are very threatening, I've heard.
    TREBOR
    8th Sep 2019
    4:07pm
    Climate of Fear of City Hall - been going for a long time in this country with all sorts of rules and 'laws' that impose on the ordinary citizen without valid reason... I said years ago the plan was to instill compliance in the community in that climate of fear... step out of line or even be accused of stepping out of line, and you'll cop it.

    Always been a serious fault with Australian society and has gotten worse under the tutelage of the social scientists with their cold-hearted theories.

    Feminist rules - is no man - is no problem!
    Hoohoo
    9th Sep 2019
    4:03pm
    Oh TREBOR, you were sounding so much like a sensible person until your last paragraph. Do you really believe sexism has any part in the rolling out of Robodebt? It's these type of throwaway comments that only serve to diffuse the issue of BIg Brother governments & rule of tyranny by the elite over poorer people - an issue I'm fairly sure we both agree on wholeheartedly.

    If you want to talk about sexism & poor people, let's start with this question: Which gender, on average, is clearly the poorest in terms of wealth & superannuation?

    You're a bit crazy when it comes to feminist conspiracy theories. I understand you have legitimate personal reasons for having a negative attitude towards a woman or two. Stop bundling all females up together by your generalising from isolated experiences. It's like some radical feminists (women who were raped by their fathers & brothers when they were children) saying all men are rapists - it's clearly not true but their emotions & thoughts are coloured by their very negative experiences.

    Today is a new day. We only truly have this moment in time to be free of the past.
    TREBOR
    11th Sep 2019
    10:20pm
    Not at all, Hoohoo - it was a comparison with the style... not an inclusion of feminism as a root cause of all evils - just some... just draw the comparison with the reduction in real rights of any 'accused' ....

    I am very careful to keep separate my issues - feminism is but one salient example of the program to install a Climate Of Fear in dealing with city hall - first remove any right to innocence..... (fill in the rest)......... and all of hell followed after it....
    professori_au
    6th Sep 2019
    12:05pm
    The robotdebt collection ddoes not rely onvalid lawss but an arrogant philosophy of "Don't do as I do; do as I say. This corporation believes it is above any laws that apply to others.
    inextratime
    6th Sep 2019
    12:19pm
    With regards to OAP debt, if we had a system that paid a set pension to everyone over 65 regardless of their financial wealth and ongoing employment as they do in most countries in the world it would be interesting to know the difference in costs compared with the current system that racks up millions in admin and overheads and incurs a huge peripheral cost in legal involvement etc.
    The possible reason we don't is that the CL is a great way of keeping unemployment stats down.
    libsareliars
    6th Sep 2019
    1:48pm
    Agreed
    johnp
    6th Sep 2019
    12:37pm
    In the meantime this is going on !!
    scott morrison on about $1700- per day !!
    musicveg
    6th Sep 2019
    8:20pm
    yep he is a compassionate guy, or so he says.
    McDaddy
    6th Sep 2019
    12:40pm
    Thanks Gravy, they did introduce an Income test recently.....you are not eligible to receive Carer Allowance if your income is greater than $250k PA, so either the 9 news story is wrong or she earned more than $250k PA.
    Ted Wards
    6th Sep 2019
    12:43pm
    Maybe its time for a royal commission on Centrelink and the way the Government is managing or mis-managing (depending on your view) how Centrelink works. Myself I feel it should be run by an independent company so there is no conflict of interest. How can the government set policy and run this department without bias? This article highlighted Centrelink management are targeting some of the most vulnerable to ensure a budget surplus. That is a conflict of interest in any book. Why focus on the vulnerable when the big companies pay no tax or very little tax?
    This is a sad sad day when those on welfare payments are being targeted to create a budget surplus, why not make the commonwealth gov smaller in size with less perks, how much money would that save us taxpayers?
    TREBOR
    6th Sep 2019
    1:35pm
    You're asking the guard to guard the guard who guards you, while one guard is kicking the shot out of you? Asking for a Royal Commission is like asking a football referee to make up the rules as he goes along and for the Referees committee to ensure they put 'the right kind' into the job .....

    Hmmm ..
    libsareliars
    6th Sep 2019
    1:49pm
    Well said Ted, agree entirely.
    On the Ball
    6th Sep 2019
    4:23pm
    Ted. I dont like to be a negative, but which particular company would have the ability to conduct such an inquiry, and not be either one of the big 4 consulting companies, stacked with ex-right wing hacks, or be loaded with Scomo's advertising mates?
    musicveg
    6th Sep 2019
    8:21pm
    Yes won't be long now, they are outsourcing everything. But would it improve anything?
    jaycee1
    8th Sep 2019
    9:48am
    Ted Wards, You have an independent company [French] dealing with welfare in Britain and it has lead to over 250,000 deaths.
    You have people having payments suspended because they were 1 minute late for an interview. And it is not just one payment but ALL future payments!
    People have been told they are fit for work while in hospital with cancer.
    One woman attended an interview while having a heart attack because she knew if she didn't show, for ANY reason, they cut your payment.
    Is THIS the kind of people you want in charge of paying people their pensions, unemployment etc.
    Sorry, but I don't!
    Karl Marx
    6th Sep 2019
    1:29pm
    Big Brother with a bigger stick against those who are most vulnerable & unable to have the emotional & financial resources to contest.
    Lets see if the ATO go after big business with an 8-9-10 year prove or else claim after their records have been shredded after 7.
    If Morrison was a true compassionate christian as he claims he would stop the tax cuts for his rich mates which would save far more then the 2 billion the government claim they'll save by attacking the most vulnerable in society.
    musicveg
    6th Sep 2019
    8:22pm
    He is not compassionate, he could not care less, he lies and lies just to make himself look good.
    TREBOR
    6th Sep 2019
    1:30pm
    a. Social Security payments are not welfare, regardless of how easily that single word rolls off the tongue... don't be lazy.
    b. as always - demanding an accurate estimate before payment of income will always ensure that many do not get it right...
    c. overall income for a time period is not the same as fortnightly income, as is required for calculation of social security payment for the fortnight - not for a year.
    d. this is looking more and more like a very scary over-use and abuse of Big Brother type powers...
    e. in the same vein, that of the ATO covering every transaction, thee is nothing to prevent politicians etc from being refunded proper remuneration for genuine costs. One rule for the master and one for the knave... and one for the little boy who can only rave ... (apologies to the autistic kids out there)...
    VeryCaringBigBear
    6th Sep 2019
    1:43pm
    Social security payments are welfare.

    It doesn't matter how much you earn when it is still income.

    Many of us have no idea what we will earn in the next year so it is difficult to give an accurate estimate of our income. The sooner these people get caught the better.

    Robodebt is a great idea as way too many people think it is Ok to defraud the taxpayers of their hard earner income.
    Ahjay
    6th Sep 2019
    2:00pm
    They are like a huge predatory beast waiting for the heard to pass and then springing upon the most vulnerable. They are controlled by elitist politicians without a sniff of empathy for the rest of humanity.
    Arvo
    6th Sep 2019
    3:08pm
    Welfare is a type of government support for the citizens of that society. Welfare may be provided to people of any income level, as with social security (and is then often called a social safety net), but it is usually intended to ensure that people can meet their basic human needs such as food and shelter.
    Welfare - Wikipedia

    https://en.wikipedia.org › wiki › Welfare
    Hoohoo
    6th Sep 2019
    5:48pm
    Great points TREBOR. Robodebt is not only overkill by Big Brother, it's positively & perhaps deliberately designed to punish people on low incomes.

    Not VeryCaringBigBear, did you know that of the 300,000 Robodebt letters sent out, nearly 100,000 are incorrect because the information/data entered into the system has been proven to be incorrect?
    Did you know many people on very low incomes have paid the debt, knowing it's not correct, but they are frightened they'll be kicked off their benefit if they don't pay up?
    Did you know some people have sold their homes so they can pay the debt?
    Sure, no-one wants cheats to get away with it, but in this case it's the Government who is also cheating.
    Is a welfare cheat worse than a tax cheat? Obviously so, as this government backs up a system that allows large corporations to negotiate with the ATO to make a deal on how much tax they're prepared to pay. Expensive lawyers help with these negotiations and, their huge bills are yet another tax deduction! Winning all the way to the bank!
    TREBOR
    11th Sep 2019
    10:25pm
    Welfare is when you go to Vinnies for help with your lecco bill... Social Security is a basic paid for right in this nation.....

    Learn the difference - Wikipedia? (ho-ho-ho)....

    Welfare is the intent to bring security and basics to those in need - social security is the way in which it can be delivered and in Australia is a right paid for by generations of tax contributions ... (but not in all cases or in all ways - see above about visiting Vinnie's to seek welfare by other means) ....

    Semantics 101 - learn or fail.... I'm a hard marker.....
    Red 13
    6th Sep 2019
    1:51pm
    Liberal liars what a surprise, but guess what folks, we voted for it.
    How good is this robo-debt mess.
    Another thing we voted for, thinking it would never touch us.
    Now it looks like it will. How good is it now?
    Hoohoo
    6th Sep 2019
    6:11pm
    I will never vote for them, & especially not in the current climate with the world shifting so fast to the Nazi Right.

    NZ are on the right track & protecting their sovereignty in the process. On the other hand, Australia seems hell-bent on sucking up to China & the USA, like pathetic little lackeys. Our sovereignty is in tatters because 1)Our Head of State is a foreigner (the Queen) & 2)Sovereignty was never ceded from the original inhabitants (because they weren't considered as being human beings).

    It's no wonder our country is floundering.
    TREBOR
    11th Sep 2019
    10:33pm
    I responded to a questioner from Britain (who I respect) - when he asked if National Socialism was again on the rise - I said yes - but that's not the whole answer.... National Socialism is the way most nations actually function when they function correctly - and all it means is putting your own people's best overall interests first...

    Pity that the Hitler regime had first crack at it in a totally amateur way.... and dirtied the name in doing so ...

    It is Inevitable (TM Fraser Anning) that as the globalised economy falters, and the petroleum supply progressively dries up - that nations will once again shrink from the international stage and international capitalism/socialism, and will return to the foundation of nation and of putting their own people first...

    Hence national socialism (not necesarily National Socialism as practiced by the NAZIs) will re-emerge and become the dominant force in nations and internationally...

    All it means, put simply, is putting the interests of your own people first and ensuring some measure of equal treatment for all in the nation.... as I said - nations do it as a matter of course - it is only the 'label' that has been sullied.

    And NO - that does not make me a NAZI..... it makes me a realist....
    Aussie
    6th Sep 2019
    1:57pm
    I wonder if the work bonus is included on the calculations ???? or they just forgot that we can reduce over $6,000 using the work bonus ??? ....just wonder
    bandy
    6th Sep 2019
    2:43pm
    I can remember when I first started receiving the pension I was over paid cant remember now how much it was but centrelink was repaid in monthly repayments instead of claiming it all in one payment although it want my fault for the over payment which made life a little less stressful.If you do owe money why cant they do that system
    Intellego
    6th Sep 2019
    3:50pm
    The ever-growing extent of Centrelink robo-debt bastardry knows no bounds. This could occur only under a heartless, stinking LNP government.
    Hoohoo
    6th Sep 2019
    6:14pm
    It truly stinks & it's un-Australian!
    Lozenges
    6th Sep 2019
    8:05pm
    Is great to grow old in Australia, I am 64 years old been working for 48 years paying taxes , hardly any super because it was a dirty word that and the banks, no safety, no ppe ,no counseling services , poor wages . And know I am made to feel guilty for applying for the pension when I am 66 ..... That’s fair...
    musicveg
    6th Sep 2019
    8:29pm
    This whole robot debt scheme will mean less people will take up part time or temporary work and more people on welfare. Universal base wage is what is needed, less paperwork, less confusion and would not need to have all this money going into chasing people. You wonder if it all works out with someone getting paid to chase the debts and with the cost of running the office they sit in etc, why continue chasing measly amounts of money. But what gets me most is why weren't the mistakes found when first reported, instead of waiting up to 10 years to find out they may have been overpaid. Just another way of bringing the poor further down. In the meantime I saw on Current Affair tonight the lady who ripped off the Government for over 20 years gets 5 years jail with 3 non-parole. Why did it take so long to find out about what she was doing?
    jaycee1
    8th Sep 2019
    9:58am
    musicveg, she was also teaching other people how to defraud the system. She held classes to show them how to fill out centrelink forms and even supplied doctors who would turn a blind eye when filling out your forms.
    My question is - what happened to these doctors? Why were they not struck off. They were all breaking the law so why weren't they sent to jail as well?
    Sunflower
    6th Sep 2019
    11:44pm
    This is not Seniors related, it is my daughter - she is a single parent - RoboDebt just hit her with a massive debt saying she'd been overpaid almost $9000 - totally laughable if it wasn't so distressing. You have to prove them wrong - not the other way around - meantime given 4 weeks to pay or handed to an external debt collector. Thank goodness there is #NotMyDebt# helping people with resources, but I am having to do this for her. She has no computer and is suffering a medical condition - this does not help. I hear of all these cases now and my heart breaks for each and every one - this is hitting the people who can least afford it and it is SO VERY VERY WRONG!!!! Sooo many suicides, but you don't hear about that do you - nor do those who caused the "last straw" have any conscience.
    musicveg
    6th Sep 2019
    11:52pm
    Yes it is so disgusting what this Government is doing to our most vunerable people while the upper tax bracket is doing very well thank you. MP's would never be accused of being over paid even if they do not do their job properly either. The whole system is crook.

    I can't believe they only give you 4 weeks to pay, and why should you have to prove them wrong, why have they not picked it up when it happened rather than let it accumulate.
    I heard about NotMyDebt and this is what is needed people banding together to help others through this situation.
    You wonder why people are turning to crime instead of welfare, carjacking and house invasions are increasing because people are getting desperate and losing faith in the system.
    Hoohoo
    8th Sep 2019
    11:40am
    Sunflower, that is such an awful story & I'm so sorry to hear about the stress this must be putting on your whole family. I hope your daughter's health improves & you all have a good outcome.

    Can you sue the government for false accusation if you win?
    TREBOR
    11th Sep 2019
    10:43pm
    Unfortunately, Hoohoo, like any self-appointed autocracy, the government has laid it down that it cannot be sued for its mistakes or wrongdoings - it is, indeed, above the law. all they might do is give an ex gratia payment for suffering and injury etc.. but don't hold your breath...

    Consider this in connection with what I've posted above about Hitler etc.... EVERY despotic government safeguards its own arse, and uses its own self-appointed power to do so...

    BTW - we did not vote for such powers.... or such exemptions from Law.... politicians did that.... on the advice of public servants..... all money and kudos accepted but no responsibility... not for nothing has the West been written up in books outlining power without responsibility... like true feudal lords, our government does as it chooses... and they know it full well..... and no party is exempt, since each views 'gaining power in the house' as the road to absolute power...

    That is what we need to put a stop to ....
    McDaddy
    7th Sep 2019
    1:00pm
    Hi Lozenges, I am not sure why you feel guilty about applying for the Pension when you turn 66. As for your comment about Super, it has been around awhile, probably since you were 34.
    Lozenges
    7th Sep 2019
    4:04pm
    Hi mate , I am not guilty about the pension, is just the way the Gov treat pensioners, I had super since 89 an extra 18 years of it would have been handy
    Cheers
    TREBOR
    11th Sep 2019
    10:46pm
    If everyone had super for an entire working life, the only outcome would have been inflation, hidden and acknowledged, both ...

    EVERY outcome that might benefit the peasants is merely another avenue for profit for their over-masters ......
    Cat
    7th Sep 2019
    3:14pm
    My father died in July 2012. I handled all the notifications required for Mum at the time as she had mild dementia. They were receiving Dad's super plus a small part pension. I let CL know Dad had died and they said Mum could get a bereavement payment for 14 weeks. I told them she was getting super and would also get whatever they decided she was eligible for in CL part pension. It took a few months of back and forth sending them paperwork they wanted about her super pension. Some of what was sent wasn't enough info so it dragged on a bit until they were satisfied in Jan. '13. All good.
    Jump to 2017, I received a call and mail that Mum had a $9,000+ Debt courtesy of robo
    debt. They told me she shouldn't have received the bereavement pension for 14 weeks as she was getting super. I told them they knew about it but that wasn't good enough as I couldn't prove it. After numerous calls they said they had the paperwork showing that I was trying to advise them of it from Dec. 12 so they dropped some of the debt as a courtesy! So it meant she had to pay back around $6,700. I kept trying to fight it as I had notified them from the start. A bit more to it than this, but to keep this short I'll jump to to her death in Oct. 2018. She had paid it back by way of CL taking nearly all her pension each week for 2 years. So I thought as she paid tax for 2012 on the overpaid $6,700, then this year we should be able to claim it back as she overpaid her tax. NOT SO! As you can only go back 2 years and this happened in 2012 so it can't be claimed! Even though we didn't find out about it 'til 2017! So once again the government got a few thousand dollars bonus courtesy of my Mum! I still don't know if she even owed the money in the first place as at the time they said she should get it.
    So a warning to all, if you have any doubts you are being overpaid get everything in writing and keep it. Though that isn't that easy as these days CL often won't give it to you in writing... funny about that!!
    musicveg
    7th Sep 2019
    3:21pm
    So even though you did the right thing you still get punished. What a rort.
    Sounds like you have to engrave it in stone, take photos, record everything, and always double check. What a complete mess this system is, we need universal pension and fast.
    TREBOR
    11th Sep 2019
    10:53pm
    Il faut faire un demonstration ... It is necessary to make a demonstration - as a French General said at the Battle of Inkerman..... the point was that Russian troops were advancing, and the 'demonstration' was for the \smaller number of British troops to raise their bayonets and let them glint in the sunlight.... the Russians withdrew....

    Sometimes it is necessary to let them know that if they come on - they will be opposed by a mighty force - or at least what looks like a mighty force...

    With RoboDebt, they need to know that if they attack people, those people will counter-attack... and in sufficient numbers too make it not worth their while...

    Class action if you think you are right, and refer it to the proper tribunals and courts if necessary... let them know you are coming if they come on .....
    Karl Marx
    7th Sep 2019
    3:40pm
    Maybe everyone on YLC should send a robodebt to Morrison, Human Services Minister Stuart Robert, Department of Human Services (DHS) general manager Hank Jongen & their sitting member & senator & threaten them with legal action through a debt collector within 5 working days if not paid in full.
    No details or relevant information apart from they have been overpaid by the taxpayers of Australia for the last 15 years & have incurred a debt of $257,522.53 which must be paid within 5 working days.
    Wonder if the AFP will be knocking on your door arresting you for sending threatening messages via an electronic media platform to political representatives of the Australian government
    johnp
    7th Sep 2019
    3:43pm
    Agree with you 100% Karl
    johnp
    7th Sep 2019
    3:47pm
    Both LNP and Labor are like the nazis. LNP got into power by lying, cheating, bullying, conniving !! Labor is like the guards in hogans heroes; bumbling idiots who lost the election by not being able to explain their objectives clearly etc.
    musicveg
    7th Sep 2019
    3:49pm
    What worries me is that as minor parties and independants get more votes who is really making the decisions, look at Jackie Lambie apparently she has the last say in deciding if drug testing welfare recipients (including all those older people waiting to get on the pension mind you).
    DeepBlue
    7th Sep 2019
    11:16pm
    Oh dear. Another case of abuse of power by faceless bureaucrats for their personal empire building and ladder climbing/salary increasing benefit, at taxpayer expense. How strange for that to happen!

    The taxation system - and obviously the CL system - is a corrupted government institution that benefits principally those working there. For example:

    1. When working at a not-for profit, I signed letters so my staff could make their legitimate claims for protective clothing deduction when submitting their tax return. But when I submitted claims for the exact same items they were rejected.

    2. Thinking this must be an honest mistake I submitted a request for review. After about six months the letter arrived saying the review was conducted and my claim was rejected. I managed to phone and asked how this review was conducted, because from my knowledge no enquiry had been made to my office, or the honorary treasurer, auditor etc. No-one from the tax office had come to investigate if I was telling the truth, or not. The answer was it was conducted - in ignorance - by them at the tax office without stepping outside or going to check.

    3. My response was to say how could they have possibly reached an accurate or honest conclusion if their decision making was based only on their accumulated ignorance. That was not well received. I asked what was the next step and they said take us to court. I said that's a very good technique to eliminate democratic processes and bureaucratic accountability when it was well known - from my tax returns - that I could not afford to do that.

    4. I wrote to them to explain all this and said 1. I expect a letter of apology and a proper review and re-imbursement of all my claims and 2. that until I get it I have no intention of communicating with them again or responding to further communication since they have demonstrated they are biased, stupid and totally inequitable and thoughtless in their decision making and 3. until they demonstrate a reversal of this proven unethical and anti-democratic behaviour I would not be putting in a tax return again as I have better and more useful tasks than to interact with and be brought down by such self-serving scum.

    5. I did not hear a squeek out of them. They knew I held the high moral ground and they would get crucified if they gave me half an opportunity. Nevertheless, about ten years later, under family pressure, I did submit all those returns. But this time I used a tax agent. Wonder of wonders, I got back all the claims for protective clothing and not a peak out of these low-life parasites.

    6. So what did I learn. That the low-life accountants in the tax department are supporting their accountant mates that work in conjunction with them in the private sector. And of course making sure they have setup for a cosy job when they retire.

    7. What did I do after that? I found what had to be a close to the bottom of the pit accountant who had good connections inside the tax department and got him to do my tax returns. I got absolutely everything I thought was legitimate and a lot more than that back. It was a shining example of how corrupt and inequitable this institution is.

    The problem is:

    1. Most people are afraid of these faceless bureaucrats who hide inside the tax department walls and treat the people who pay their salaries as herds of sheep to be grazed on and fleeced. We know they have the power to do horrible things to us and never have to answer for it. So we are afraid.

    2. They get away with it because they have power which they abuse, and threats and institutional protection they also abuse. We have mostly been cowered into submission.

    Why should we need to be afraid of the people who we pay to help administer our democracy? What has happened to the values upon which society is supposed to be based?

    There is only one solution. Close the entire pantomime. Tip all the scumbags who live off this system out on the street so they have to get a real job, be productive, and answerable to the people who pay their salaries. Get another system to gather government funding that is not subject to so much inequitable and corruptible exploitation by the scumbags who graze on us from inside their protected invisibility, in co-operation with their partners in crime on the outside.

    This is an institution that has no legitimate reason to exist in a nation where we are supposed to be equitable, honest and respectful of others. These words do not apply to the tax department. And it seems the people who want to exploit others from within the invisibility of CL.

    What a mess we have allowed ourselves to be sucked into.

    Time to stand up and do what we did during the Vietnam war; protest till the people grazing off us realise we will not stand for it anymore and their comfortable positions of exploitation are under threat. Then maybe they will listen. When your back is against the wall there is nothing further to lose if you come out fighting.
    Karl Marx
    8th Sep 2019
    6:56am
    Spot on DeepBlue.
    Hoohoo
    9th Sep 2019
    5:15pm
    I sincerely applaud your courage, DeepBlue. Our so-called democracy is now based on fear & the less money you have the more fearful you become because money buys "justice" in our legal system.

    Look how fear worked for the LNP in the last federal election? That's why it was a 'surprise' win - the fear campaign of Death Duties struck into the hearts of everyone who has worked hard all their lives, but only those who were uninformed enough to believe Frydenberg's lie. Revenge for Labor's Mediscare, they say.

    Whereas if you have money, you can pay for that expensive tax accountant & that expensive lawyer, if things don't go your way. AND IT'S A COMPANY TAX DEDUCTION!!! Hahahahaha. Winning!

    As my old Economics teacher taught me in school : "MONEY BEGETS MONEY. If you want to make money, use someone else's." Tax accountants, lawyers, Family Trusts & shelf Companies are the conduits to the veins of gold. It's a private club for the rich.
    TREBOR
    11th Sep 2019
    10:59pm
    Know the story - got an accountant way back when I was contracting, and he knew the ropes ... my first tax refund after I engaged him was around ten times more and all legit.... previous clowns had worked on the idea that contracting was wages.... if only! Try supplying two commercial vehicles, all insurances, equipment and labour ... and having some clown figure that was all direct income....
    DeepBlue
    8th Sep 2019
    11:16am
    In case it's not obvious:

    1. Some comments, claims and corrections amongst contributors here confirm that the CL system is confusing and convoluted. This is the bread and butter of faceless, empire building bureaucrats and helps keep their fatcat bums in their progressively larger chairs in larger offices. Remember when we first got the "plain English" insurance policies for car and home insurance. It stopped a lot of that deliberately convoluted and confusing rubbish which had created opportunities to exploit us for the benefit of the parasitic scum running those scams.

    2. In a democracy underpinned by a capitalist economic paradigm, we get choices. If the coffee, home renovation or car from one provider is poor quality or overpriced we can choose another option. But there is only one CL or tax department. They have an absolute monopoly on the service - or otherwise - they provide. And we have no other option to choose. This makes them an absolute breeding ground for corruption along with manipulation and exploitation of the customers they as supposed to serve; not exploit. There is no alternate service provider. The fundamental principals of what should be an effective and egalitarian social and economic distribution system are totally absent in these "public services".

    3. They have absolute power and we know that while power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely. So that's what exists in these institutions.

    My wife reminds me routinely of the story of the frog in a pot that is slowly warming. It adapts and adapts until it is too late to get out. The parasites running these so-called public institutions have been turning up the heat in the form of scams, rip-offs and incomprehensibly convoluted regulations backed by punitive threats. Most people feel too afraid to make a fuss or question their decisions. (Or perhaps too many have skeletons in the closet they do not want exposed?)

    It's already too late to hop out of the pot. The only option is to use our numbers to break down the walls so the water spills out, the fire is extinguished and we can start again.
    McDaddy
    8th Sep 2019
    1:09pm
    You're boring everyone to sleep with your essay about what essentially adds up to carrying a grudge about not being able to claim some work-related expenses on your Tax Return.
    Hoohoo
    9th Sep 2019
    5:38pm
    Not boring me at all, DeepBlue.

    However, I think you should aim your sights at the government, rather than their lackeys in the Public Service. After all, public servants must do what their superiors direct them to do & the government of the day is at the top of that food chain. (In truth, big business tells the Govt what to do, especially THIS govt.)

    These days much of Public Service work is now outsourced to private consultants, or palmed off to computers via Robodebt. Yes it's cheap, but very unfair.
    The nett result is that the Govt of the day can report how little they are spending on Centrelink, for example, by sacking front desk staff & using Robodebt & private debt-collectors. On paper, they can then claim a budget surplus. Liar upon liar, layer upon layer. "Smaller government" they cry. "We're cutting red tape". Trouble is, voters fall for it hook, line & sinker.

    And now they're talking about drug-testing welfare recipients on NewStart. Poor people are such an easy target for this type of regime. I hope they make ALL politicians & government employees take the same drug test. All it will do is drive people to alcohol instead of their drug of choice.

    I've lost all faith in either major party to significantly mend or change these public institutions like CL & ATO. Independents are the only politicians capable of shrinking away from the hands of corruption.
    professori_au
    8th Sep 2019
    11:45pm
    You cannot expect justice when the government has outsourced work to commercial corporation frequently are foreign owned and or in other countries.
    Logically government services should be cost negative. The corporations are revenue motivated as they must show a profit to shareholders.
    With Centrelink it is easy to show profit because you are dealing with the most vulnerable people in our society and can be bullied, harassed and intimidated by these organisations because our government has unlawfully handed power to them. The shareholders are too remote from the victims to care.
    It would be interesting to discover how many politicians or family, or friends hold shares. If there are any, then it would not be in their interest to change for a caring service provider.
    It matters little today of what political persuasion the government belongs, they are still corporations (political corporations registered usually I believe in foreign countries or hold moneys offshore.
    The political parties have high jacked lawful government (the people are the supreme authority and Parliament its servant).
    We have not had a democratically elected government because of a corrupt electoral system that allows political parties to choose preselected candidates from their parties to stand for parliament. It is further corrupted due to a preselection system that favours the strong and denies those who would run for the people.
    What is being done to the vulnerable would not be tolerated by the rich and powerful.
    “After all we donated large sums to ensure you govern in our favour. In return for looking after us we will donate to your party”.
    Look at the donations that come from foreign countries or from large multinationals to the political system.
    Look at how politicalises and senior bureaucrats set up a system that allows them to dip deeply into the pig trough yet ensures little from our taxes go to the weak. The government donates and supports wars run by other countries and donates to help the poor of other countries, whilst denying our own people.
    It looks good on the international stage, “oh what wonderful people we are”. However, look at how our international standing is dropping.
    Oh! it looks good to read that such and such corporation has been fined hundreds of thousands of dollars and leads to a public believing the government is doing a good job dealing with these dole bludgers, while it is victimising many. In the commercial world if you were sent a letter of demand, you would request details of the alleged debt. It would be up to the commercial business to prove the debt. Why should government protect itself from such a responsibility? Those who do the wrong thing I do not have sympathy but this is not what Robodebt is about. It is about generating revenue without needing to prove its legitimacy.
    Banking and financial industry. Really???? If a corporation makes a profit from exploiting the poor, e.g. $40M. The government holds a Royal Commission to investigate and finds they are naughty and fines them e.g. $1M. Do you believe that is consistent with the crime?
    Personally, I do not!
    If they make $40M from misbehaviour then the punishment should be $40M, plus, I also believe perhaps goal term for the architects of such crimes. If that was done it would be a greater deterrent than what happens now. If they were only fined $1M then the corporation still makes $39m PROFIT. The small fine is worth paying to ensure the large profit for the corporation and its shareholders.
    However, and this is unfortunate, but the brainwashing of many are then convinced the "government" behaviour has handled the misbehaviour well. We can see how the rich are protected at the expense of the poor. The government must reduce its extravagant and arrogant behaviour, including a system that allows so many of the rich to pay little or no tax and make little contribution to the country it gains its revenue.
    Revenue has to be raised from somewhere and the only source available if the rich do not pay taxes, then all that left is to exploit the poor left without the knowledge or funds to fight back, hence you see the development of such rackets such as the Robodebt given lawful status.
    Until people speak out in large numbers this will continue. The voting box is one place. Another place is to advise your local politician they will not be voted for if they do not act on behalf of their constituents.
    At the moment they only need the constituents’ vote to get only into parliament. Once in parliament their allegiance reverts to the party and not the interests of those who elected them. This has to change.
    The government has handed power to the banks, etc. and in return support them with large borrowing that put the country into debt. Banks do not create money; they create debt from which the banking system makes its money. Most of the world debt has been created by the banks who do not create money, only debt.
    The Revenue department; the tax department, the banking system etc, were once owned by the people and our servant (the parliament) created the money to run the country using the gold reserves we held, and the people's bank administered this.
    Our politicians sold the gold and put the financial management into the hands of the banks and other financial organisations owned and controlled by foreign powers, in return for large loans using the assets of the people as security and that includes using the people as an asset.
    Gradually all of your rights are being eroded, discarded in favour of the rich. I am not against gaining wealth but am against exploitation of the weak and favouring the greed of unscrupulous corporation individuals. Just how much wealth do you need for a comfortable life. More than that it nothing more than greed and a grab for power and control.
    I am now fast approaching 87-year-old and have watched this happen. I have also dedicated much of my life fighting on behalf of the weak, the injustices of corrupt systems. I have seen how the public has been dumbed down, not for the lack of intelligence, but by denial of knowledge of their rights, e.g. removing the Constitution from school curriculum, or being provided with misinformation, etc.
    Victoria appears to be the only state with a Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act. However, like the other states, does not administer it how it should be administered, while other states and the Federal government fight against legislating these rights, (it is against the interest of the parties).
    Had it not been for the Corrine Horvath case hitting the international scene, Victoria would not had this Act implemented. It took, I understand, from 19993 or 19996 until 2013 for the laws to be changed and her Human Rights was recognised.
    You can look up the case by research as it has been well publicised. It is interesting to read how authority given to those allegeably to protect the people can be abused and supported by government.
    The denial of those rights I speak about, is shown by government examples as Robodebt, welfare credit cards nicely sugar coated to appear to protect the weak. The government addresses a solution but not the problems, hence the problem do not go away and the weaker parties are still exploited.
    Herein, in the parlance of our new "Christian government, endeth the sermon. While broadening the scope I hope it gives some thoughts to ponder and consider changes for the better. Regards to all.
    musicveg
    9th Sep 2019
    12:40am
    good reading Professor, I had recently read a book called Fake Money https://www.richdad.com/fake-money
    In it he explains how the Governments of the world encourage rich people to use debt so they do not pay taxes. We have not hope unless the whole system is changed, I worry we are heading towards an undemocratic society
    Karl Marx
    9th Sep 2019
    6:51am
    Musicveg, true democracy is already dead in the western world including Australia. Our rights of freedom are stripped from us daily. Even our freedom of speech is constantly being attached as has been the issue recently with the AFP raiding journalists & Australia's silence against Julian Assange.
    Hoohoo
    10th Sep 2019
    3:11pm
    Thanks, Professor, for your considered words.

    When I think of our rights & freedoms, I can't help thinking about the frog in cold water in the pot when the heat gets turned on, with the increasing heat too gradual for the frog to notice it is being boiled to death.

    Much like all those good German citizens patriotically standing up for their country while Hitler's mob tortured & murdered 6 million Jews.

    The line in the sand has been crossed long ago but people fail to recognise it. By the way, Australia's on fire in the first fortnight of Spring while our Govt diverts attention by talking of nuclear power plants & drug-testing welfare recipients. Open your eyes, people! This Govt is not competent to govern or serve for the people's future.
    Farside
    11th Sep 2019
    3:58pm
    the fable of the boiling frog is BS ... if you put a frog into a pot of tepid water and then turn on the heat, it will scramble out as soon as it gets uncomfortably warm. Perhaps our rights and freedoms are like the frog myth afterall.
    Hoohoo
    11th Sep 2019
    6:03pm
    Well I'm not going to test the frog theory, as I've been a frog-lover since I was two years old.

    So I'll use an analogy more readily at hand: Presently, Australian farmers & scientists are telling us we are burning the planet & we will run out of fresh water for people & crops unless we make dramatic changes, yet even while we're in one of the worst droughts on record, with "unprecedented" fire seasons happening all around us, PM Morrison & his (our) government are completely ignoring the experts & are hellbent on Australia continuing to dig up, export & burn fossil fuels.

    Now they're sitting again in Parliament, I hope Canberra cops the dust & smoke we've all been suffering from these past 5-6 days, & makes their noses run, dries their throats & makes their eyes red. But will that open their eyes? Do they even care about Australia?
    musicveg
    11th Sep 2019
    8:59pm
    HooHoo, they will not even notice the smoke and dust because they live in their air-conditioned bubble, buildings and cars. They also can afford to fly to another location and make an excuse to take a working holiday. They don't worry because they think God will solve everything.
    DeepBlue
    9th Sep 2019
    12:41pm
    Excellent summary of the broader picture, Professor. And for McDaddy, and anyone else struggling to reconcile the truth with their lifelong beliefs:

    “One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.” – Carl Sagan

    “It also gives us a very special, secret pleasure to see how unaware the people around us are of what is really happening to them. … “What good fortune for those in power that the people do not think.” — Adolf Hitler

    “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State. … Propaganda must always be essentially simple and repetitious. The most brilliant propagandist technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is borne in mind constantly… it must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over.”– Joseph Goebbels, German Nazi “Minister of Propaganda and Public Enlightenment”

    “We’ll know that our disinformation campaign has worked when everything the American public believes is false.” — William Casey, Ronald Reagan’s CIA Director at his first staff meeting, 1981
    johnp
    10th Sep 2019
    7:19am
    Good quotes deepblue and they apply to the currrent LNP !!
    Hoohoo
    10th Sep 2019
    3:21pm
    Those are chilling quotes DeepBlue.

    Is it not ironic that Trump invented "Fake News" AND the term "Fake News"?

    So now many people don't know what to believe or who to trust. Their social media threads are the only things that inform (or in so many cases, misinform) them. Trump reminds me of Goebbels.
    professori_au
    9th Sep 2019
    1:19pm
    I see arguments for and against a cashless card. Personally I do not agree with it as I believe it will reduce human dignity and not solve the problems of those who are claimed to abuse the system.
    I have seen situations where the social security system cannot support a family, especially where the parent is a sole parent. Some of my comments might be argued to be outside of this forum but I raise them because we need to know and understand the wider issues.
    Rents are getting so high that to pay the rent and provide food for the family mothers are forced to cut down the food they need to survive. When disabled children get to the age where the mother has been receiving various disability support, this is taken away from them.
    One case, two of the children are expected to sign on for job placement. One cannot read or write or communicate, yet government assistance was taken away that enabled him to go to a special school to learn basic skills such as cooking, cleaning, hygiene, etc.
    He was re assessed by an overseas psychiatric company contracted to reassess those on disability.
    He was reassessed one point higher and as he was autistic but also suffered ADHD, they could not accurately assess him but concluded he could go into mainstream and finish his education.
    This company representative saw him for 20 minutes yet appeared (by the government) to have more knowledge and skills than the paediatricians and psychiatrists, etc. who had case managed him most of his life.
    Now we have a situation where a child who cannot read, write or communicate and failed primary school is now supposed to enter mainstream secondary school and do the studies expected of a e.g. high school aged student.
    The mother lost most of the support she was receiving. The boy could not have youth allowance for whatever reason and hence the mother has to support him from her own pension.
    He attended high school and the school tried to help but there was no funding available to give the support he needed to develop a programme to help. At school the students bullied him, calling him spasso or spastic and other derogatory names and generally intimidated him.
    His other sibling is also autistic but has other psychological problems and also has anxiety attacks if forced to leave the safety of the home.
    This is the situation created by our highly intelligent government who knows what you need, along with the specialist corporation who can accurately diagnose the needs of a disabled child better than those who have known him from childbirth. The mother will likely look after them throughout their adult life as they cannot understand or undertake a job.
    The worry for the mother is what will happen to her children should anything happen to her. These are a group of disabled that receives the least support and has the lowest priority of government funding. While I cannot prove this but I suspect that our compassionate fewer governments realise they may never work and will rely on social security all of their life, hence will not pay directly into the tax system. These are not rich people, so unlike the rich, are unlikely to make great donations, etc.
    The media supports these government policies adding to the misinformation and promotes attacks against the vulnerable in society, convincing the public they are rorting the system. After all, bad news is good news for the media.
    I have volunteered and lobbied on behalf of he disabled, (physically and mental) most of my adult life, besides being in business and later working as a public servant and still later as a volunteer community adult.
    I noted a comment somewhere that claimed most of those on social security in any form were rorting the system.
    As I stated above I have been involved with many on benefits and am a researcher and have tried and am still trying to get accurate information supporting claims of rorting the system, so I would ask of those who make such a claim, please provide the evidence and where do you get this information, not the evidence from media beat up but real researched evidence not constrained by narrow parameters to lead to a certain conclusion. I have been unable to access such accurate information as many researchers work on flawed material.
    Unemployment and other pensions are insufficient or barely enable people to survive, why would they want to stay on it if there was work available. Please do not allow governments to dumb you down if you cannot think or reason for yourselves.
    Some of you will have done well through your working life, accrued sufficient assets to enable them to retire and remain independent. Some will have done similar yet lost it due to circumstances beyond their control. Some have lost their super due to bad investments by fund managers, government and many other reasons.
    Think that it might easily have been you in similar situations.
    I often wonder whether government policy, unofficially, is to wish these disabled people would get sick, die or whatever and go away.
    Our governments are willing to fund people in other countries millions of dollars but are unwilling to support those of our own people or at best are reluctance and to provide adequate support to those who willingly devote their lives to looking after them. In comparison government contribution pales in comparison to their contribution.
    Sadly, they did not choose to be born and I believe as a caring race we should do what we can. After all the value of any pension does not equate to the value of the parent/s who look after these children, sometimes all of their life.
    They also suffer, losing friends who do not understand and as a result any friends come from those with children suffering the same condition. They are on duty 24 hours a day. There are no holidays, no parties or special treats to cinemas or theatre and should they too become ill, there can be much trauma resulting.
    There are volunteer support groups where people offer to come into the home and aid.
    The problem with this it requires the volunteer to get to know the children to the extent they can trust the person and are comfortable before the parent can accept relief.
    Otherwise the family environment is upset, and it can take a week or more before things settle down. It can be a lonely life, yet these parents will devote their lives to looking after them. Often, one partner cannot cope and leave the family home, leaving it to the remaining one to fill the gap left by that parent.
    Mostly it appears that the mother if the one, although that is a general comment as there are many fathers who are left to care. Males sometimes face additional issues, where some members of society believe as a male they should be out in the workforce instead of staying home looking after the children.
    At one time I was asked if I would attend a grandparent’s group to assist grandparents understand intellectual disability.
    I agreed and came to a meeting but sat back to allow parents and grandparents to raise their concerns. Their concerns were important they were not addressing some of the real long term problems, whether from fear or not knowing I am not sure, so I spoke. I spoke for some 20 minutes.
    After the meeting I was approached by a well-dressed couple, who obviously would be considered reasonably well off.
    The man said he was so glad I attended the meeting as they were now facing the same problems and were at a loss as to what to do and they felt my contribution was very helpful. I will not cover the topics in this forum but use it to bring to light how careful we must be before making judgement on others.
    I conclude with is request. Before making critical statements, know what you are talking about and to make sure you evidence supports your claim, otherwise your discriminatory claims can hurt and damage very vulnerable people.
    I and my late wife reared a family with similar views and often looked after young people going through a crisis as they are reaching adulthood. It may have been broken marriages, illness in the family, drug and alcohol or just plain unable to cope for the moment of growing up. These became members of our extended family.
    TREBOR
    11th Sep 2019
    11:07pm
    Warms the cockles of me old heart to see the people starting to wake from their slumber.. many outstanding commentaries here....

    Pay attention, YLC - and those who monitor these sites...


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