Centrelink ‘robo-debt’ system to target pensioners and disabled

Parliamentary memos show that the ‘robo-debt’ system will target pensioners next.

Centrelink ‘robo-debt’ system to target pensioners and disabled

Parliamentary memos show that the Coalition will use its Centrelink ‘robo-debt’ system to target families, age pensioners and the disabled in order to recover a further $2.2 billion.

Despite thousands of complaints about the accuracy of Centrelink’s debt-recovery program, MYEFO papers published last week reveal that the Government still intends to take aim at the Age Pensions of older Australians. Along with the $1.5 it expects to retrieve from pensioners and disabled Australians, the Coalition believes it will recoup another $700 million from families who are receiving parenting payments or who have received them in the past.

The new campaign will put around 4 million Australians in the ATO’s sights, including 2.5 million age pensioners and around 800,000 disability support recipients.

The Department of Human Services has confirmed the plan, saying its data-matching technology will scour through annual tax returns to hunt down anyone receiving suspect income from investments, businesses and real estate interests.

Should any suspicious information be found, Australians should expect to receive a notice to explain, followed by debt notices, a visit from debt collectors or criminal prosecution.

Centrelink’s debt-recovery system has been the focus of much controversy after many Australians received what they believed to be incorrect requests for further information and, in some instances, have been harassed by debt collectors or threatened with jail time.

After thousands complained about the inaccuracy of the system, Human Services Minister Alan Tudge finally acknowledged that the system was flawed, even though reports show that the Government knew about the problems prior to the program’s launch.

Earlier this week, Mr Tudge said that some modifications would be made to the letters, but is sticking with the campaign despite investigations by the Commonwealth Ombudsman.

Labor is calling for the program to be suspended until the issues are sorted.

Read more at The Guardian
Read about Centrelink's data-matching program
Read Balancing the Budget

Should the Government fix its flawed system before it begins to target pensioners? Have you received a debt notice? How have you handled it?

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    COMMENTS

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    Not Senile Yet!
    18th Jan 2017
    9:59am
    Sack this Government!
    Targeting aged Pensioners and Disabled while giving our tax dollars to Corporations is as Low as a Government can get!
    Fredklaus
    18th Jan 2017
    10:12am
    LIKE
    Fredklaus
    18th Jan 2017
    10:12am
    LIKE
    jackie
    18th Jan 2017
    2:33pm
    AGREE
    disillusioned
    18th Jan 2017
    3:25pm
    Totally agree! Why don't they cut back on their own lurks and perks, which last year cost taxpayers almost half a BILLION dollars, and stop trying to gouge money from the vulnerable in our society!
    disillusioned
    18th Jan 2017
    3:25pm
    Totally agree! Why don't they cut back on their own lurks and perks, which last year cost taxpayers almost half a BILLION dollars, and stop trying to gouge money from the vulnerable in our society!
    Bes
    18th Jan 2017
    5:51pm
    HYPOCROSY
    It is hypocritical that the politicians who have been responsible/irresponsible in the past, of allowing and/or lobbying for huge intakes of (illegal) immigrants and refugees now call out our ailing and overloaded welfare services.
    They now pick the easiest target…the one’s who worked and saved and were able to pay off a mortgage….sometimes on only one wage.
    The Pensioners of Australia.
    Of course this was a time when a 3 x 1 and one car sufficed.
    The concept of a Welfare System was firstly envisaged to being viable based upon the population and the tax paying electorate.
    The numbers of aged and retiring number of ex taxpayers were replaced by new young people working and paying tax.
    Over the years, we have seen a steady influx of non-taxpaying people allowed into our country.
    Higher numbers of which, were introduced under the persuasion of certain governments.
    We are now facing the consequences of those decisions.
    The government of the day and our welfare system is now faced with the burden of the number of taxpaying people who work being almost equalled by those who do not pay tax.
    Border controls and the steady hand of economics are essential.
    Because we have a Welfare System it is wrong to fantasise under a cloud of sentiment, that a country can open its doors without facing the cost based upon the future.
    As the saying goes the chickens (baby boomers) are coming home to roost. Unfortunately along with them are MANY others.
    The welfare landscape has now changed.
    (One could call it Cuckoo Land I suppose, based upon natures phenomenon, a bird that expects others to raise their young.)
    But many remain to be Cuckoos and live in YOUR nest!
    Farside
    18th Jan 2017
    11:52pm
    Why sack the government when it was only elected months ago and is trying to do no more than it promised to do? Nobody should be surprised.

    We might not like it but should have acted when we had the chance, now we pay the piper.
    Anonymous
    20th Jan 2017
    12:48pm
    Because it is not delivering on its promises. It is certainly NOT doing what it promised to do, and it is NOT governing for the benefit of the nation and its people, but rather for the exclusive benefit of the well to do and privileged, cruelly and unjustly attacking the disadvantaged.

    Your last statement is rubbish. The people who are being hurt in this country have NEVER had the power to stop a series of corrupt and inept governments pursuing policies designed to benefit the privileged and to incur massive national debt. We have never been able to dictate policy nor to substantially influence government due to the disgusting 2-party system.
    Old Geezer
    22nd Jan 2017
    12:30pm
    How many governments do what they promise? Not too many if any.

    This government has the guts to rein in spending and it doing a great job at it. All the previous one did was spend and mortgage our future. It takes time to unravel the mess they left behind but thankfully this government is doing something and not just sitting on their hands and doing nothing.

    I'm actually looking foreword to the May budget because from what I am hearing it will go much further in reigning in spending and put the dollars where they are needed not where they are nice to have.
    Rae
    23rd Jan 2017
    9:19am
    Yes OG as much as I supported Labor especially Whitlam that horse has truly bolted. We don't own anything that makes income anymore. Pity the country didn't own those mines, gas wells, ports, train lines, electricity grids, water supplies and various services but people did not really protest the sales and I remember the fuss when Whitlam wanted to nationalise for the benefit of the people against the multinationals.

    We have an ageing population, outrageous private debt levels and most Australians living way beyond their means and unfortunately the figures just don't stack up. Welfare is simply unsustainable going forward. The current taxpayers are all there is now to pay for the benefits and they are not getting wage increases so tax revenues are also falling.

    Almost like the Elite planned to destroy the welfare state.

    Best bet is to save, invest and try to increase income while possible being aware that markets are in need of correction.
    And try to pay yourself not rely on a government with no compassion or morals or concern for existing citizens.

    Forget the promises made because you believe politicians at great risk. They all seem to say the expected and then do what they must depending on the instructions of those in control.
    dweezy2176
    18th Jan 2017
    10:17am
    "mal-odious" never misses a chance to display his charismatic appeal to the older generation .. agile & innovative .. without a doubt!
    Anonymous
    18th Jan 2017
    10:57am
    MALicious.
    Farside
    18th Jan 2017
    1:53pm
    Turnbull's charismatic appeal is why the older generation returned him and his LNP mates at the last election and Abbott the election before that. At last he seems to be on the nose however I wonder how many oldies will change their voting habits of a lifetime.
    Farside
    18th Jan 2017
    1:53pm
    Turnbull's charismatic appeal is why the older generation returned him and his LNP mates at the last election and Abbott the election before that. At last he seems to be on the nose however I wonder how many oldies will change their voting habits of a lifetime.
    Pendrey
    18th Jan 2017
    5:48pm
    There is not much doubt that pensioners are better off with a Labour government
    Renny
    18th Jan 2017
    7:29pm
    Exactly. I'm sick of the lies and hatred. And few of these bigots are Aboriginal so also migrants or descendents of.
    Old Geezer
    22nd Jan 2017
    5:07pm
    It is great to see Centrelink is checking on everyone including are old people. Some of them are real rogues.
    Anonymous
    28th Jan 2017
    7:57pm
    Centrelink isn't ''checking on everyone'', Old Goat. It's victimizing honest people and leaving the cheats and bludgers well alone.
    dougie
    18th Jan 2017
    10:37am
    Again we see this column being used to put fear into the elderly who do not quite understand what is happening or is to happen.
    Sure the matching will take place and those who have anything to fear are those who have been rorting the system. It will have no effect on most of we pensioners who have a little put aside for funerals and or urgent expenses. It will target those who have "forgotten" to declare income which has of course been declared to the taxman. It will of course target those who have more than there place of residence in real estate, that they have forgotten to declare. It will probably also target those who seem to travel overseas for lengthy holidays but who "forget" to declare where the money for this travel comes from.
    The 99% of Old Age Pensioners will not be affected so why not indicate this more readily, why not include it in your article lead in.
    Just do not frighten those who do not need such scare tactics, people who have served this country well but who have reaped little reward other than the humble family home and a few dollars for those emergencies which arise.
    Be a responsible site and you will be respected, be scaremongering political bloggers and people will stay away in droves.
    iamnotold
    18th Jan 2017
    10:45am
    Agree, people whose only income is the age pension will not be affected at all.
    Tom Tank
    18th Jan 2017
    11:49am
    What has been said here is correct provided the system being used is accurate and the evidence to date indicates that it is not.
    Pensioners who are able to earn a modest amount and declare it should not have cause for concern but again that is provided Centrelink's system is accurate.
    It is a pity the Government puts so much effort into chasing the ordinary person while doing nothing about the big end of town.
    Rae
    18th Jan 2017
    12:54pm
    Yes dougie and bit by bit, 2.2 billion by 2.2 billion this government will get the $50 billion they need to give to Gina and Frank and all those other really rich people.

    Then those wealthy will spend it all around our towns and local businesses and it will be fantastic. You wait and see.
    Farside
    18th Jan 2017
    2:11pm
    well said Dougie. Only those who have unlawfully received benefits will targetted, perhaps some inconsistencies will be explained.

    The difference at the big end of town is that most of them have structured their affairs lawfully to minimise tax expense and it is the laws that need reform. Henry recommended a bunch of changes but the LNP and ALP will understandably drag their heels since the status quo suits their agendas.
    Placido
    18th Jan 2017
    3:00pm
    Dougie,
    Nothing wrong with data matching, Tax office and centrelink have been doing it for twenty years without the current problems.

    What is DIFFERENT is that with previous data matching, the last stage where the system produces names that required further investigation that investigation was done manually with proper checks and balances, the new system uses flawed algorithms that make assumptions and does averaging over a full financial year. This traps people who have moved on and off welfare legitimately but are shown by this mickey mouse software to owe the "Government" money. DISGUSTINGLY INCOMPETENT!
    Placido
    18th Jan 2017
    3:00pm
    Dougie,
    Nothing wrong with data matching, Tax office and centrelink have been doing it for twenty years without the current problems.

    What is DIFFERENT is that with previous data matching, the last stage where the system produces names that required further investigation that investigation was done manually with proper checks and balances, the new system uses flawed algorithms that make assumptions and does averaging over a full financial year. This traps people who have moved on and off welfare legitimately but are shown by this mickey mouse software to owe the "Government" money. DISGUSTINGLY INCOMPETENT!
    Renny
    18th Jan 2017
    7:36pm
    Not idiots. I understand completely. They are using a flawed algorithm that accuses people of fraud. I bet many scared people being hit with debt notices are paying up if it's only a small amount because they are intimidated. And there are lots of us on more than the age pension, or who had money in the bank, as i did, to build a new house, or who worked a few months part time and so on. In my case I don't think I have anything to fear. But I have an anxiety condition and this is making me really anxious. Notbjyst for me but for family on disability pensions. At least 20% of the notices are wrong. That means just about anyone can be targeted. Glad you feel fine about it.
    Anonymous
    20th Jan 2017
    1:04pm
    Exactly, Renny. A flawed system is targeting people unfairly, and many will be simply too old, too stressed, too ill, or to uneducated and frightened to know how to defend themselves.

    I know a lady who passed away recently after receiving a large amount in payment of a very, very old debt. She declared it correctly, but given Centrelink's flawed system, there is every chance Centrelink could target her with a letter. Thank goodness she's dead, because the stress of receiving a letter would kill her for sure.

    The government's conduct in this matter is inexcusable, and only the very ignorant and arrogant will condone it.
    Bonny
    21st Jan 2017
    10:54pm
    It is an audit and is not flawed. One system does not fit all so they have to do these audits to check that you have not committed fraud. Great idea.
    Bonny
    21st Jan 2017
    10:54pm
    It is an audit and is not flawed. One system does not fit all so they have to do these audits to check that you have not committed fraud. Great idea.
    Old Geezer
    22nd Jan 2017
    5:10pm
    So Rainey Centrelink should not upset those old rogues that are doing the wrong thing? Good on them for doing so I say.
    Anonymous
    27th Jan 2017
    8:50am
    Can't you read, OLD GOAT. I said ''she declared it correctly''. She was NOT an ''old rogue'', nor did she do ''the wrong thing''. You are a vile, judgmental creep who can't accept that the government can be wrong and the people might actually be honest, innocent victims of a GOVERNMENT SCAM. The evidence is plain. You are just a stubborn old fart who can't admit to being WRONG WRONG WRONG.
    neil
    18th Jan 2017
    10:38am
    Casting the net as wide as you can without a care for the consequences to us O.A.P.s (death, upset,) is what this government is all about; this is but the latest in the war against the poorest of the populace. The total destruction of the public health system by salami slicing type tactics is but another aspect of the deviousness of this foul bunch we seem to have voted into power.
    fedup
    18th Jan 2017
    10:52am
    I can understand targeting the young lazy dole bludgers as it is their choice to be on the dole and collect our money but targeting the aged and the disabled AUSTRALIANS that is the lowest when the government is basically throwing money at illegal immigrants and to all other countries this kind of behaviour makes me ashamed.
    KSS
    18th Jan 2017
    5:50pm
    I know it is hard to hear fedup, but not all little old ladies are sweet and not all little old men honest. Likewise there are some claiming disability who are nothing but malingerers. And not all immigrants are illegal!
    Farside
    19th Jan 2017
    12:02am
    KSS is right. There are no doubt plenty of genuine welfare recipients but there are also many whose eligibility could and should be reviewed.
    Anonymous
    20th Jan 2017
    1:13pm
    But they won't be caught, Farside. The malingerers don't work or lodge tax returns and neither do the cash-in-hand cheats. Most who file tax returns are honest - other wise they wouldn't bother if they can qualify for a pension.

    KSS, I'd love to see malingerers targeted, but they are safe for now!
    Old Geezer
    22nd Jan 2017
    5:09pm
    Rainey a great reason to move to a cashless society. India is going that way and we should too.
    Rae
    23rd Jan 2017
    9:27am
    OG you do realise that once in a cashless society the reserve bank will have complete control over your money and how you spend it.

    In Greece and in Cyprus the ATMs were frozen, accounts shut and you could not pay bills, buy food etc. Fortunately foraging is good in the islands so the people went home. 70 000 shops just shut the doors.

    In Cyprus the same situation plus a 10% negative rate confiscation of all funds. The only people who avoided it had cash or could get it in other neighbouring countries.

    I certainly don't trust either the banks or the government to be the minders of all my money. They simply are not good enough money managers.

    I also do not want my purchases to be all monitored and then to be told I don't need those organics or vitamin supplements etc. It is a total loss of our freedoms.
    Young
    18th Jan 2017
    10:59am
    I agree with Dougies post.The media causes a lot of the problems that we have today.There are a lot if people getting Centrelink benefits who need to be checked out.Some people even brag about beating the system.Of course the check on people must be done properly, but mistakes will also be made.
    Rae
    18th Jan 2017
    12:56pm
    Not only those getting benefits.

    Pull over the luxury car owners and luxury boat owners and do an ATO check on them. Italy found much more than 2.2 billion when it did that recently.
    Anonymous
    20th Jan 2017
    1:29pm
    The cheats won't be caught by the flawed ''Robo-system''. Nor are they likely to be caught by any other method. But there will be a lot of honest, innocent aged and disabled persecuted, made ill, and possibly even dying of stress as a result of errors by Centrelink.
    Old Geezer
    22nd Jan 2017
    12:32pm
    Rae they have already asked for data from insurance companies for luxury cars, boats, caravans, art and collectables. So they are already working on that data and how they will use it.
    Rae
    23rd Jan 2017
    9:33am
    Good OG. In our current computer age it should be almost impossible to spend black money on anything other than fripperies and meals out.

    It has always been hard to launder illegal funds but today it should be nigh on impossible short of running a high turnover business and fudging the books.
    And you'd have to be pretty clever to pull that wool over anyone really investigating properly.
    Old Man
    18th Jan 2017
    11:03am
    Ah well, YLC has manged to stir up the natives with the article on Centrelink asking for overpayments to be refunded from those who weren't entitled to them in the first place. Now, it seems, that YLC has decided to make more people upset by trying to make those pensioners who are rorting the system to be painted as saints who have done no wrong.

    Please, YLC, when you publish this rubbish can you clarify it a little bit more by explaining that there will be very few pensioners who will be involved in this and how the 95% of pensioners who will lose nothing should rest easy.
    Farside
    18th Jan 2017
    2:14pm
    well said Old Man
    Anonymous
    20th Jan 2017
    1:31pm
    With a 20%+ error rate, there will be a lot of honest, innocent aged and disabled subjected to intolerable stress, Old Man. And the real cheats won't be touched.
    Bonny
    21st Jan 2017
    11:03pm
    With only a 15% error rate there are an awful lot doing the wrong thing. No wonder the media is running hot on this. Too many poor me i owe money becuase I did wrong thing.
    Old Geezer
    22nd Jan 2017
    12:34pm
    The success of their system speaks for itself.

    18th Jan 2017
    11:05am
    Bring it on, you tossers, as long as MALinger firstly takes to task Bishop, Cormann, Ciobo, etc, etc first, together with "Technologist" Tudge, for all their travel and entertainment torts and incompetence in office.
    Lookfar
    18th Jan 2017
    11:32am
    Dougie, Young and Old man, I can't believe you guys can be so Naive, we have a govt that has publically acknowledged (boasted) that it follows the Neo-Liberal philosophy, - which argues there should be no Old age pensions, social security, health benefits etc, so now they are trying to put that philosophy into action, you ostriches stick you head into the sand and blame YLC.
    Streuth if you want to die, just do it, don't drag the rest of down into your melancholic pit, or, if you think from some fantasy that they will exclude you, or leave you to last, just consider the stories people have shared about this rogue computer program and the impossibility of dealing with it.
    Shame on you, and also Iamnotoid, who gives the classic German People response when the Nazis were killing the Jews before WW2, a total cowardice response, but one that will not save you because of the randomness of these programmes.
    Old age pensioners are about to be gutted again, and all you 4 can do is lie down and say yes master. ****
    Snowwhite
    18th Jan 2017
    12:48pm
    Totally agree Lookfar. Dougie, Young and Old man in particular who always supports the far right philosophy of the born to rule class but I do wish he would realise we're all not in his privileged position. Most of us have worked as hard and gone without as much as he is fond of telling us! What he fails to understand is that people's lives do change and hit crisis points at times. For instance marriage break ups, unemployment, looking after elderly parents and disabled children,fighting illness e.g. cancer just to name a few. So my point is don't belittle and condemn welfare recipients. They are not all bludgers as this current Fascist Govt would have us believe.
    Old Man
    18th Jan 2017
    5:11pm
    Wow Lookfar, forget your medication this morning? Please provide your proof that any member of any political party in Australia wants to argue that there should be no old age pensions. What a load of crap! And I subscribe to the theory that anyone who brings Hitler or the Nazis into a discussion has automatically lost the argument.

    Snowwhite, I wish I was in a privileged position. I worked for bosses all of my working life, was a member of a union all of my working life and was fortunate in being able to buy a home, raise a family and retire with the help of the Gillard government which granted me a pension. Thankfully, her successors have also agreed to let me continue having a bit of government money to help me eke out my final years. I suppose I am privileged in that I live in Australia, a country that allows a reward for hard work and the freedoms to openly abuse strangers on the internet.
    Anonymous
    20th Jan 2017
    1:37pm
    Old Man, the problem in Australia today is that the current government is destroying the society in which you are rewarded for hard work. Now, you are harshly punished. Save enough to be partly self-sufficient in old age and you are punished to the tune of 7.8% while your savings earn maybe 3%. Work part time or casual and declare income during hard times and you are attacked by Centrelink for declaring taxable income that their flawed computer system assesses incorrectly.

    The complaints here are valid. This government is stuffing up the nation with its ''indulge the rich'' policies and bashing the hard workers. Bludgers have nothing to fear because they don't lodge tax returns. The rich are being grossly overindulged. The poor are being bashed to death for having a go and trying to contribute to the nation.
    Bonny
    21st Jan 2017
    7:36pm
    Well Rainey nothing has chnaged for me for years. I just spend less than I earn and get rewarded by the government because I am retired. Anyone affected by the changes is a blugger as they didn't save enough for thier retirement.
    Rae
    23rd Jan 2017
    10:22am
    Yes Bonny the idea of living within your means and not spending every cent is rare indeed but certainly makes life less stressful.
    Anonymous
    27th Jan 2017
    8:54am
    ''Anyone affected by the changes is a blugger as they didn't save enough for thier retirement.''

    What a vile monster you are, Bonny! Those affected DID SAVE for their retirement - as best they were able against the odds and despite massive challenges in many cases. They have been screwed over unfairly because they weren't born rich and privileged and they didn't engage in tax manipulation, cheating, dishonesty, rip-offs or exploitation to get rich at the expense of honest hard workers.
    Disenchanted
    18th Jan 2017
    11:36am
    MAL FUNCTION
    Lookfar
    19th Jan 2017
    3:45pm
    Replying to Old Man, here is a good and widely accepted article by Monbiot on Neo-Liberalism, the avowed philosophy of Malcolm Turnbull and Tony Abbott, and all the right wing of the Liberal party, I think you now have the proof you asked me for yesterday arvo.
    https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/apr/15/neoliberalism-ideology-problem-george-monbiot
    Anonymous
    20th Jan 2017
    1:40pm
    Yep, and read Bonny's crap below. She is a mouthpiece for the LNP and is continually demanding that the OAP be scrapped in favour of a ''cashless welfare card'' and that pensions be a loan against the deceased estate. Never a suggesting that superannuation tax concessions should be a loan against the estate though. Typical of the arrogant privileged, she just wants to see the working class bashed to death. And then she wonders why we have a ''welfare mentality''. DUMB DUMB DUMB!
    Bonny
    21st Jan 2017
    7:39pm
    Super tax concessions are already a debt against one's estate. So it is only fair that all pension payments are also a debt against one's estate.
    Anonymous
    27th Jan 2017
    8:57am
    CRAP, Bonny. Super tax concessions are MOST CERTAINLY NOT A DEBT AGAINST ONE'S ESTATE. There is NOTHING in legislation preventing a rich superannuant leaving millions to his chosen heirs. You spread LIES.
    gonebush
    18th Jan 2017
    11:40am
    No good saying Sack this Government we had our change last election and look what happened old Teflon Turnball slide back in again will have to wait till the next one until then soldier on
    Rae
    18th Jan 2017
    1:01pm
    Yes and start saving every cent not needed to be spent because it will get much worse towards the end I suspect. Health costs will go up, energy costs and food. There may even be a land tax.

    The government is broke but needs $50 billion for the corporations who actually do pay tax to keep them paying those lobby fees and charges to the Party.
    Mad as Hell
    18th Jan 2017
    11:42am
    Robo-debt system needs to be expanded to politicians expenses, go back seven years or more.
    Let's Get The Politicians
    Wendy HK
    18th Jan 2017
    5:39pm
    Absolutely they could recoup millions $$$$$
    Farside
    18th Jan 2017
    7:02pm
    might make you feel better but pollies perks are irrelevant when considered in terms of the national economy.
    Mad as Hell
    18th Jan 2017
    8:11pm
    I'd feel better if the LNP would keep election promises " ..... no changes to pensions...."
    I'd feel better if LNP would get the Australian get a fair return on the Petrolium Resource Rent Tax.
    I'd feel better if the LNP would address Climate Change.
    I'd feel better if pollies would lift their heads out of the trough.
    Farside
    19th Jan 2017
    12:15am
    I guess there are at least 50,000 more Australians receiving the full Age Pension that support the Jan 2017 changes. Meanwhile, roughly 300,000 retirees on the part pension had their entitlements reduced, with about 100,000 losing all entitlements resulting in them having to make some lifestyle changes.
    Bonny
    21st Jan 2017
    11:06pm
    What about all the self funded retirees who support the changes? There is going to more and more as super starts to kick in.

    I also know many people who have lost their OAP who think it is a good idea too.
    Rae
    23rd Jan 2017
    10:27am
    I imagine it would be a great relief not to have to deal with Centrelink.

    I simply stopped spending and started saving again to earn the income I'd been promised that was never delivered. And realised you can't trust the LNP, ALP or the Greens. Betrayers all and liars too.
    Supernan
    18th Jan 2017
    11:52am
    What do you mean WILL target ??? People severely disabled from birth have been told to prove they still need the disability Pension. By supplying letters from Specialists, getting certificates, etc. So hard for some of them to get about, let alone run around seeing multiple Specialists. And paying Specialist fees.
    Lookfar
    18th Jan 2017
    12:20pm
    Right on Superman, some people react to everything the govt says without a moments thought to question is it right, these lickspittles just lie down bare their necks and say yes sir, but that is not appropriate nor Australian, - what if we had done that in ww2, we would all be speaking Japanese now, and would be the total bottom rung in Australian society.
    We are faced with a philosophy that wants to remove us, most of us do not want to be removed, nor feel we deserve such after a life mainly working hard to raise family etc, those who feel we mature folk should be removed should lead by example, remove your self, not try and take the rest of us with you.
    Lookfar
    18th Jan 2017
    12:23pm
    Oops, Supernan, not superman, apologies.
    Geoff.
    Tom Tank
    18th Jan 2017
    12:41pm
    Spot on Supernan.
    I think a lot of contributors to this have no idea as what has been happening and the distress it has been causing people who are blameless.
    rtrish
    18th Jan 2017
    12:23pm
    If they take on Age Pensioners, they will find they have taken on one of the strongest, potentially angriest, groups in the community.
    Farside
    18th Jan 2017
    2:20pm
    unlikely rtrish. The LNP have form when it comes to tackling the excesses at the pov end of town and still the oldies vote for them again and again.
    Linda
    18th Jan 2017
    12:36pm
    It is fair for the government to audit various recipients to determine if there is fraud. What is not fair is to use a flawed instrument to bring up a red flag with many false positives and then due to lack of expertise and personnel, not offer folks a chance to discover if the problem is a false positive. When pensioners and those with disabilities are involved life may already be quite difficult to manage and without some kind of chance to easily contact and confer with Centrelink staff to find the truth is pain cruel.
    Most Australians want to see a fair government. Some may be gaming the system however most do not. Aging and illness are very stressful anxiety provoking circumstances. Several years ago there was an entire department in a separate location that managed pensioner queries. That was cut and pensioners were asked to join those on other allowances. Over the last 15 years or so there have been continuous cuts, and now they are at it again with an aggressive and flawed program to recoup what may or may not be owed. We have lost a lot over these years, and both governments have make the cuts. Some were sensible, some are not. This current government seems the very worst and most heartless yet, meanwhile they help themselves to overgenerous salaries and benefits with no real performance assessment against the very things they are paid to do capably. If at the same time they were chasing the corporate tax fraud, and reducing the handhouts to certain industries, and taking some cuts to their own income and perks, then perhaps our view of these lizards would be different. This is a low down and mean government that is not working for the benefit of this country but instead the benefit of themselves and their rich mates. No! It does not trickle down!!!
    Tom Tank
    18th Jan 2017
    12:44pm
    Well said Linda.
    It was once said that "the trickle down effect is the rich pi**ing on the poor".
    Crude but true.
    Farside
    18th Jan 2017
    2:27pm
    Well argued Linda however I understand it is a minority of pensioners that have been contacted and only a small fraction of those that have been asked to repay overpayments.
    Renny
    18th Jan 2017
    7:50pm
    Farside. They haven't really started yet. We'll see because bash the pensioner tends to get the media attention that the young don't get.
    Farside
    19th Jan 2017
    12:19am
    Renny, the young represent the potential to influence government policy. If they feel aggrieved then I am sure the LNP and ALP will feel it in the next elections.
    Bonny
    21st Jan 2017
    8:18pm
    If you apply for welfare then you can be audited. If you are audited it is not a false positive but is just part of the audit process. Anyone can get audited. It is more than fair that this happens to protect the taxpayer's money. If you get stressed out then why? If you have done the right thing then you will have no problem. I have seen may cases of people doing the wrong thing stressed out which is a good thing not a bad one. So of the worst are those who rely on the poor me excuse to get out of jail.

    Great job being done by Centrelink.
    Mad as Hell
    21st Jan 2017
    8:34pm
    Bonny you are correct.

    Could you please explain Tony Abbott saying on the eve of the election "...no cuts to pensions..." and now we have the most savage cut to pensioners in the last decade.

    This is fraud by the LNP.
    Bonny
    21st Jan 2017
    10:48pm
    Election promises expire once they are elected. I see worse to come in the May budget for pensioners.
    Anonymous
    27th Jan 2017
    9:02am
    Breaking election promises is FRAUD. It's buying votes with outright LIES. All who do it should be jailed.
    Rae
    18th Jan 2017
    12:50pm
    What is with the 2.2 billion every time. Are they so inept they can't imagine some other number?

    It was 2.2 from the self funded, 2.2 from the asset changes etc. In fact 2,.2 bill seems THE MAGIC AMOUNT.

    And they expect us to believe them? Honestly!!
    Eddy
    18th Jan 2017
    12:53pm
    It is not the recouping of Social Security overpayments that repels me, it is the draconian method used to accomplish it. The first thing anyone, including Government departments, need to do is prove that a debt exists, this part seems to be missing from the Centrelink methodology. If, as reported, they are taking reportable taxable annual income, dividing by 26 to get a fortnightly figure without determining if there are periods of no income smacks of incompetence on the part of the data matching program's makers (I doubt Centrelink, or any other Government department, has the skills necessary to author such a computer program). To keep denying anything may be wrong smacks of arrogance in indifference to the anguish caused.
    I suspect there would be many more billions of revenue recouped if they put a similar effort into checking to where and how big business profits evaporated or how high wealth individuals minimised taxable income and closed the loopholes.
    Canman
    18th Jan 2017
    1:07pm
    Look out Bonnie!
    Bonny
    21st Jan 2017
    8:22pm
    What for? I know I wont get audited because they have no reason to audit anyone who has never received any welfare. I don't even have a welfare number. I have been audit by the ATO a number of times and have been more than willling to provide the information they require.
    thommo
    18th Jan 2017
    1:09pm
    This is disgraceful conduct by this LNP government. This is blatant victimisation of age and disability pensioners, who are among the poorest in our society.
    This discrimination and victimisation is akin, in principle, to what the Nazis did to the Jews.
    This sort of behaviour can start revolutions. It is political targeting of a vulnerable group, and the age pensioners won't tolerate this sort of treatment and they are in a position to do something about this mob at the next election.
    Just get your own political representatives in parliament and kick this LNP
    Rae
    23rd Jan 2017
    10:36am
    It is an audit pure and simple. Keep receipts and payslips. I've had an ATO audit and could again. I don't do anything incorrect so have no fear but I keep all the paperwork just in case. Helps the accountant too.

    If the boss won't supply the paperwork then ring Fairwork.

    Too many people are claiming welfare illegally. Welfare is becoming unaffordable already with lack of tax revenues and privatisation ripping off tax receipts. That 15% of overpayments has to be clawed back.

    The government has got us into this mess but mess it is and we will all pay for it as time goes on.

    We should have rioted way back when the people's bank was sold and all that gold at the bottom of the market.

    Looks like our governments are deliberately ruining the country and selling us out and we blithely accept it.

    Bugger the grandkids I'm alright Jack.
    Golfer
    18th Jan 2017
    1:20pm
    Much ADO about nothing.

    If I was a recipient of a letter from Centrelink asking for explanation of government monies I received do you know what I would do?
    I wouldn't panic, I wouldn't fret, I wouldn't be angry. I would respond to the best of my ability and be satisfied that my honesty will be acknowledged.

    If however I had something to hide then I would be concerned, worried, panic and get angry. It could mean the government has caught up with me. Isn't that a good thing?
    Placido
    18th Jan 2017
    3:10pm
    Golfer,

    And when you have spent 40 hours or more of your time convincing the Government that you are indeed honest and there is no debt, will the government pay the invoice for your time that you as a fair minded person would undoubtedly have sent them.

    The Government must get it right and not put the onus on you to prove your honesty.
    Triss
    18th Jan 2017
    3:48pm
    Of course your honesty would be acknowledged, Golfer, and then it would be ignored with a "pay or else" notice.
    Anonymous
    20th Jan 2017
    1:45pm
    Ever actually had to deal with Centelink after a dim-witted incompetent stuffed up an assessment, Golfer? I'll bet not. I know folk who fought for 18 months before their claim was properly processed, only to find 6 months later that some incompetent overpaid idiot had entered wrong data resulting in their pension being slashed. God help anyone who has to prove anything to Centerlink!
    Bonny
    21st Jan 2017
    8:29pm
    I agree Golfer. It is simply a matter of providing the information they require. I really can't see it taking lots of time but if it does then tbis is tbe price you oay for collecting welfare.

    Rainey I think we have heard enough of your stories as anyone silly enough to let it go on for so long only makes a great story nothing more.
    Lookfar
    21st Jan 2017
    11:17pm
    Golfer, I think your calm would become troubled as many of the threatening letters have no basis in reality, nor can you access anyone to reply to, - so sitting imperturbably will only get you debt collectors banging on your door, cessation of payment, inability to borrow because you now have a bad credit record, and loss of all ancillery benefits like health care, etc.
    Fine if you have an entirely independant source of income, but then why are you on this site?
    Old Geezer
    22nd Jan 2017
    12:37pm
    I've seen some of those review letters and there is nothing threatening in them at all. Just follow their instructions and if you have done the right thing you have nothing to worry about.

    I think it is good that Centrelink does this to check up on people. I'd be happy to get one of these review letters myself.
    Dot
    18th Jan 2017
    1:22pm
    Should I receive one of those letters from Centrelink will ignore it and should my pension be cut off will take my life outside a centrelink office, know it'll be a benefit to the Government but enough is enough we have been screwed and targeted enough and to think being a law abiding citizen was of benefit to this country, what a waste of time.
    Lookfar
    21st Jan 2017
    11:38pm
    Hi Dot I respect your decision, and hope it would wake people up, - it is pretty bloody bad when our people get to feel like you do, this country is going in a very bad direction, hope you don't get one of those letters, - we need people like you.
    sirrom
    18th Jan 2017
    1:45pm
    You are scaremongers and like to sensationalise things. For goodness sake just report things not make assumptions- Tax payers are entitled to know that people are not mis leading the Government by misrepresenating what they earn or own in assets and therefore receiving "handouts" from Centrelink and taxpayers that they are not entitled to. If they are doing the right thing they have nothing to worry about. Yes Centrelink may make a mistake and so might pensioners but contact with Centrelink should rectify this
    Lookfar
    18th Jan 2017
    2:47pm
    Sirrom, you are forgetting that contacting centrelink about this problem, hard at the best of times, is usually imposible with this one as centrelink branches know nothing and can't access that area, do you think for a moment that all this problem would be happening if people could contact centrelink, are you sure you are on a pension?
    Bonny
    21st Jan 2017
    8:31pm
    If you can contact Centrelink to apply for welfare then you can contact them to sort out a review letter.
    Billy
    18th Jan 2017
    2:05pm
    You should continue investigating your own back yard thoroughly, I'm sure you will collect large amounts of debts from your members - then put the bastards in prison. How low and desperate can you get - what's next, get rid of child allowance - how low can you go. I've had enough of the lot of you, it's all doom and gloom and we are suppose to be enjoying retirement, I don't think so.
    Anonymous
    18th Jan 2017
    2:18pm
    Does Hunt have to pay back the $20,000 of taxpayers' money he used for 12 family holidays over the past 10 years before he takes over his new portfolio which the OTHER thief Ley had. Weak-as-Water Turncoat has probably forgotten about it already, along with the monetary indiscretions of Bishop, Ciobo, Cormann, etc, etc. Does this weak, pathetic shell of a person measure up to PM material? NOT BY A LONG SHOT!
    whatsupdok
    18th Jan 2017
    2:38pm
    Compliance is one thing, being old and forgetful is another. I say be forgetful and let Centrelinks computers work overtime to fin( what they want. Most of us will be dead before they do.
    Mazza
    18th Jan 2017
    2:45pm
    I've already been targeted by Centrelink in this way. I'm on a disability pension. Centrelink wrote saying ATO records indicated I'd earned money from work while claiming disability. It turns out it was straightforward problem caused when my employer (who forced me to take medical retirement) had mistakenly put employment period as a full financial year on my PAYG tax summary that went to ATO, but I'd only worked part of the year before being forced to depart. All I had to do was get a document confirming actual final pay date. But it was time consuming as Centrelink are so difficult to contact and their online process is inadequate for compliance purposes. Also because the letter came from their Compliance dept which is completely different from day-to-day inquiries, so normal staff cannot/will not help. Problem solved, but a bit painful and frustrating to fix.
    Farside
    19th Jan 2017
    12:24am
    thanks for telling your story Mazza. Not really the apocalyptic disaster that could have been expected if the level of keyboard rage was anything to go by.
    Anonymous
    20th Jan 2017
    1:48pm
    I know an accountant who had major heart surgery who was subjected to terrible torment at a time when he was supposed to be avoiding stress. All is not what some want to pretend, Farside, and while it's great that Mazza could sort his issue without too much trauma, one swallow doesn't make a summer.
    Bonny
    21st Jan 2017
    8:34pm
    Rainey we all have stressful times in our lives and they usually come at the most inconvenient times.
    Anonymous
    28th Jan 2017
    8:00pm
    Nothing justifies persecuting a sick man based on errors, Bonny. Centrelink should get it right. Mistakes like that, that have potentially devastating consequences, are INEXCUSABLE (except by vile creeps with no morals or integrity!)
    Chrissy L
    18th Jan 2017
    3:30pm
    I do not have an issue with checking out people committing fraud but shouldn't they start in their own backyard, particularly the Ministry, seems like another of them A.S. has been tripping around Queensland looking at Historic Sites and checking out his family history with his son. Apparently relating it to an official opening, but apparently he was only invited when they knew he would be visiting the area....co-incidence?
    Farside
    19th Jan 2017
    12:27am
    Fraud is fraud and there is no right or wrong place to start. There is no reason why there cannot be many taskforces running concurrently. Perhaps these investigations should be taken out of the departmental hands and taskforces established under the Auditor General or a federal ICAC.
    disillusioned
    18th Jan 2017
    3:32pm
    Disgusted with this greedy, rapacious government, who squander millions of taxpayers' dollars on their own lurks and perks, then tries to gouge money from the most vulnerable in our society to cover their extravagance and lack of gumption to tax large multi-national corporations!! The Age of Entitlement is over, except if you're a politician!! How did this mob EVER get back in? I sure didn't vote for them, nor will I ever do so again!!
    Farside
    19th Jan 2017
    12:29am
    Disillusioned, you ask "How did this mob EVER get back in? I sure didn't vote for them, nor will I ever do so again!!". Simply your vote on its own was not enough to swing the outcome and there were sufficient voters out there who disagree with your political views. Welcome to the minority.
    disillusioned
    18th Jan 2017
    3:32pm
    Disgusted with this greedy, rapacious government, who squander millions of taxpayers' dollars on their own lurks and perks, then tries to gouge money from the most vulnerable in our society to cover their extravagance and lack of gumption to tax large multi-national corporations!! The Age of Entitlement is over, except if you're a politician!! How did this mob EVER get back in? I sure didn't vote for them, nor will I ever do so again!!
    disillusioned
    18th Jan 2017
    3:32pm
    Disgusted with this greedy, rapacious government, who squander millions of taxpayers' dollars on their own lurks and perks, then tries to gouge money from the most vulnerable in our society to cover their extravagance and lack of gumption to tax large multi-national corporations!! The Age of Entitlement is over, except if you're a politician!! How did this mob EVER get back in? I sure didn't vote for them, nor will I ever do so again!!
    disillusioned
    18th Jan 2017
    3:32pm
    Disgusted with this greedy, rapacious government, who squander millions of taxpayers' dollars on their own lurks and perks, then tries to gouge money from the most vulnerable in our society to cover their extravagance and lack of gumption to tax large multi-national corporations!! The Age of Entitlement is over, except if you're a politician!! How did this mob EVER get back in? I sure didn't vote for them, nor will I ever do so again!!
    crazypete
    18th Jan 2017
    3:38pm
    Who does he think he is targeting these people if he needs to target someone go for these so call Government people that are robbing the system and he is one off them getting high pay for nothing, so it is about time he is kicked out and the same goes for his so call party members as they are the biggest rip of artist around and Labor is just as bad.
    Farside
    19th Jan 2017
    12:34am
    So months after an election you think it is time who is kicked out, Turnbull or the Government? If Turnbull goes then you just get another flavour of icecream from the same shop.
    Baby Huey
    18th Jan 2017
    4:10pm
    The coalition has sealed it own fate. Gestapo methods by Centrelink is not the way to treat older Australians. Turnbull and his SS have forgotten what happened in the US with the grey power movement. They will live to rue the day. I totally agree with what they are trying to achieve: save taxpayers money. It is the fascist methods they are using. Remember Hitler had a policy to euthanise anyone over 70. Now that would save the government more than what they are trying to recover! What the people receiving the incorrect debt notices should do is to refuse to pay, clog up the courts and offer to go to jail or do community service. Or better yet get together in a class action against the Commonwealth and seek injunctive relief until the class action finalised.
    inextratime
    18th Jan 2017
    4:19pm
    When I was working a tax agent dudded me out of $55k as part of a total misappropriation of clients funds of amounting to $570,000. He received a 15 month suspended sentence. Talking to another accountant recently he told me that my story was not uncommon. White collar crime. I was told that it would cost me as much in legal costs to recover my money if there was any left at all. How about the government tackling white collar crime before it starts attacking the most vunerable section of society. Grey army unite and vote this lot out.
    Linda
    18th Jan 2017
    7:01pm
    Indeed!
    Anonymous
    20th Jan 2017
    1:28pm
    Yes please! It's prolific. And the victims simply can't afford to defend their rights.
    Bonny
    21st Jan 2017
    8:37pm
    One can only wonder why you gave a tax agent this money in the first place?
    Pendrey
    18th Jan 2017
    4:22pm
    Problem seems to be that the results obtained by data matching are not always accurate, and it becomes a devil of a job to get Centrelink to acknowledge this.
    The outcome for many pensioners could be disastrous, those without financial resources to fall back on, will be unable to pay, and will have subsequent pension payments reduced to pay the debt.
    It is a great pity that Coalition members of parliament are so disinterested in this matter. It is a bad look when they are so enthusiastic in making expense claims, and are enjoying massive benefits from a gold plated super system not available to others in the community.
    I think in general that the community is sick and tired of these politicians from the major parties. Be careful who you vote for next time.
    BillF2
    18th Jan 2017
    5:18pm
    It is hardly surprising that pensioners and the disabled should be targeted in Centrelink's 'clawback', as, like all bullies, the government goes for the weakest. Robotic data matching has nothing to do with honesty, it is all about reducing the welfare bill by unscrupulous, faceless, mechanical methods and disguising the fact that the Treasurer and the government are totally incompetent as financial managers. The changes on 1st. January saw a reduction in the number of eligible claimants, and this will most likely continue until all pensions are eliminated, especially under an LNP government. But given its record of perfidy, Labor may continue the programme. They certainly haven't said they will scrap it. So don't think a change of government will improve things.
    One biblical verse seems to describe our 'leaders' very well.
    "As for my people, children are their oppressors and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead you cause you to err, and destroy the way of your paths" (Isaiah 3:12)
    andromeda143
    18th Jan 2017
    5:18pm
    Give them more rope and let them hang themselves. Many of my retiree friends are liberal voters and even they are getting fed up with this governments hypocrisy and cruelty. I am just waiting for the day when they are thrown out on their ears and their right wing, capitalist supporting, big business loving and antisocial behaviour is fully recognised for what it is.
    Rae
    18th Jan 2017
    6:17pm
    I thought that when they got back in. It was their chance to either do the right thing or blow it for a long time indeed.

    18th Jan 2017
    5:55pm
    Turncoat handled the NBN better than he's "Trudging" and fudging this robo-debt collection mess. MALinger would stuff up a junkyard. A real great PM!
    MITZY
    18th Jan 2017
    6:33pm
    2017 looks like the year of "Mal"-content!
    MITZY
    18th Jan 2017
    6:32pm
    The Media reports what the government leaks out. The government leaks out to get a response to see what reaction they get from the general public. If the government put the facts out properly in the first place, there wouldn't be all these comments.
    The point is they shouldn't be targeting age pensioners and disability support pensioners until they get the current "Robo" to work properly. It is stated there are around 2,000 or more people currently who the government says have a debt owing to them, but who don't actually have a debt at all. How incompetent to target another group when they can't get the Robo to work correctly on the current programme. Seems to be we have a whole bunch of politicians who are ROBO's themselves.
    jonty
    18th Jan 2017
    6:40pm
    Hey people don't forget that if Labor had been elected at the last election at least two policies would have been introduced;
    1. Negative gearing would have been abolished and,
    2. Multi-nationals and the mega-rich would have been made to pay what they should, according to their obscene wealth.
    These measures alone would have made all this present rubbish being discussed obsolete.
    Too many people keep suggesting that all political parties are the same; Well they are not.
    The only party with a conscience is Labor as is born out by the healthy debate that ensues with any issue. Discussing issues is extremely important, to arrive at the best fiscally responsible solution, so all views are considered and understood by all.
    This is the only way forward for a nation to grow and all pull in the same direction.
    The present LNP Government is divisive and a pack of Bullies. And as it is with all Bullies they always attack the most weak and vulnerable.
    It's about time ordinary people stopped voting ideologically and according to peer pressure and looked at the policies of each party. And if nothing else look at the party that will share the wealth of the nation more fairly.
    After all if everyone has at least a dignified income more will be spent even if it is only on the essentials so everyone, even business will be better of; instead of what is happening at the moment where the conservatives, including Pauline Hansen who is of the far right, cant bear anyone who has worked hard all their lives to have a reasonable retirement or anything else for that matter.
    Don't be fooled because any Right Wing party will have a look at what little you have and because you don't share their values, it will be taken away. No decent person should ever consider voting for them.
    Renny
    18th Jan 2017
    7:39pm
    Totally agree. People vote against their own best interests
    Farside
    19th Jan 2017
    12:43am
    Agreed. Democracy can be a bitch when people vote along traditional lines or aspirationally but it is their right to make those choices, even if I think their politics confused.
    Bonny
    21st Jan 2017
    7:32pm
    I hope you don't rent jonty as with no negative gearing rents will skyrocket as investors invest elsewhere.
    Rae
    23rd Jan 2017
    10:52am
    No they won't Bonny. Vacancy rates are already high with hundreds of new apartments being built. Wages and incomes are stagnant. It is a fallacy that rents rise due to landowner demands because rents will only meet the market. People will not pay more than they can afford for rent.

    Already yields are as low as 3% after costs on positively geared rentals. It's a mug punt. The collapse in prices and the dollar will wipe out a lot of gains.

    There are empty houses and apartments all over hoping for a capital gain, bought at excessive prices to yield.

    I recently drove through town after town, in rural nSW and Queensland, with affordable houses for sale and supposedly reasonable rental yields. Prices around $150 000 to $225 000 for a three bedroom and decent sized yard.

    Negative gearing is an idiot play unless you pay the 46% tax rate anyway. It still costs and your paying the bank instead of the taxman.

    No wonder welfare is unaffordable when this nutty attitude to paying tax exists.
    Old Geezer
    23rd Jan 2017
    11:22am
    Rae you can have positive cash flow with negative gearing and that is what most investors are after. Only mug investors lose money by negatively gearing.

    Take away this positive cash flow negative gearing and no one will want to buy investment properties, so the building industry will dry up and the demand for rentals will keep increasing. So up goes the rents. It is that simple.
    Babs
    18th Jan 2017
    7:43pm
    My grandson had surgery for a very serious leg injury and was put on Youth Allowance. He had a job at the time of the injury and was not able to work. After 2 weeks on the allowance he was sent an email telling him "he was required to attend a work interview or his allowance would be cancelled". He needed physio 2-3 times a week to be able to get full use of his leg back. He was not able to take public transport or drive how was he supposed to attend job interviews. The whole Centrelink program is a total scam against genuine people and this includes pensioners. Babs
    Rae
    19th Jan 2017
    11:08am
    Shouldn't he have been on disability pension. Youth Allowance is not to cover ill health and inability to work.

    This is another example of Centrelink making essential mistakes.

    They need to simplify the rules and train staff correctly.
    Renny
    18th Jan 2017
    7:43pm
    The algorithm they're using divides non Centrelink income by 26. Then uses that to work out if overpayment has occurred. Benefits are paid based on fortnightly(generally) income not annual. So if I was on Newstart for six months, then got a job paying $80,000, so $40,000 for the next six months, the system is raising a debt notice. That's patently and obviously wrong and not how our system works.
    Farside
    19th Jan 2017
    12:45am
    And those types of inconsistencies are easily explained. Move on.
    Bonny
    21st Jan 2017
    8:42pm
    Sounds like a good way to audit to me. If you earnt that much over 6 months then wht shouldn't they question your Newstart? I would if I was doing the audit. It is not wrong at all.
    Jtee
    18th Jan 2017
    9:57pm
    Agree with Bes, 18/1/17. Have been saying for years "aren't the refugees, immigrants, etc. going to get old?" Why couldn't the policy-makers see what was going to happen?
    Rae
    23rd Jan 2017
    10:55am
    What makes you think they didn't see it or that it wasn't deliberately planned. LNP policy is anti welfare and always has been. It is a pre business party.
    Chrissy L
    19th Jan 2017
    12:46am
    This Government is totally Pensioner Phobic. Maybe their next move will be the Oxygen we breathe? Have we ever had a Government that has hit Pensioners so hard, maybe Abbot? Turnbull and Morrison are the most heartless politicians we have ever had. I hope none of us ever forget this penny pinching, greedy money grabbing government, whilst eating Quail at New Years Eve Parties. Did any of you have quail for New Years Eve Supper? Have you used Taxpayers money to attend Weddings, Polo Matches, buy Gold Coast Units, visit your Ancestors homes, AFL matches and who know what else? I don't think so. Remember all this followers and stand up and vote for Pensioners equality at the next election, whichever party offers us some hope of stranding up for what we have done for this fine Country.
    PIXAPD
    19th Jan 2017
    9:28am
    GOOD IDEA, target those ripping off the taxpayer...those not declaring..those who should NOT be on the DSP....'oh me bad back, but I still play lawn bowls' or work part time doing furniture removal....... etc etc

    Target those bludgers..the normal OAP has nothing to fear, not even by those seeking to generate fear on this page..
    Lookfar
    19th Jan 2017
    9:38pm
    PIXADP, how can you say an OAP is ripping off the Taxpayer, the OAp in his/her working life has contributed many more times his pension to our economy, even those who have a bad back. There seems a mean ness there.
    Anonymous
    20th Jan 2017
    1:25pm
    Maybe target folk like you, Pixapd, who gloat about getting a full pension and obviously bludged and overspent in working life and didn't bother to try to be self-supporting?

    You are DEAD WRONG in your nasty assumptions. Many '''normal'' OAPs who, UNLIKE YOU, worked hard and saved to have additional income and assets in retirement, ARE AT HUGE RISK DESPITE THEIR HONESTY, because the C/Link system is known to be seriously flawed. And many will not have the education, confidence or health to fight for their rights.
    Bonny
    21st Jan 2017
    7:28pm
    Centrelink's system is only flawed if you have done the wrong thing. Just like the ATO one. It has been used for years now. OAP is welfare and if you put your hand out for it then this is just one of the requirements of getting welfare. It's called protecting the taxpayer's money.

    If you don't want tbe resposibility that comez with welfare then don't apply for it.
    PIXAPD
    24th Jan 2017
    7:27pm
    Maybe you folks need SPECSAVERS then read what I said again

    'GOOD IDEA, target those ripping off the taxpayer...those not declaring..those who should NOT be on the DSP....'oh me bad back, but I still play lawn bowls' or work part time doing furniture removal....... etc etc

    Target those bludgers..the normal OAP has nothing to fear,'
    Anonymous
    28th Jan 2017
    7:56pm
    Maybe you should stop living in la-la land, Pixapd, and wake up to reality. The HONEST DO HAVE SOMETHING TO FEAR. They FEAR the MISTAKES Centrelink computers are making. Nobody is targeting bludgers - especially arrogant bludgers like you. Nobody is targeting cheats. They are only targeting honest taxpayers, based on computer ERRORS by Centerlink.
    KB
    19th Jan 2017
    10:04am
    I agree with Supernan. Also some aged people have dementia so who will be able to conand correct their details if they have no one to help??
    Lookfar
    21st Jan 2017
    9:26pm
    Bonny, what a silly thing to say, 'that the centrelink system is only flawed if you have done the wrong thing', how can a computer program know if you have done the wrong thing? - it is told to calculate annual income and divide by fortnightly income, a computer is not GOD, it is as silly or as malevolent as the person who programmed it, no more no less, it is just a machine, sure a complex machine, but it doesn't believe or disbelieve in your Neo-liberal madness, that is your choice, and may you roast in hell for helping bring that evil on to Humankind.
    Old Geezer
    22nd Jan 2017
    5:05pm
    What a silly thing to say Lookfar.

    Of course it is only flawed if you have done the wrong thing. Only those who haven't done the right thing have anything to worry about.

    Get used to it as it is now a part of the process of receiving welfare.
    Rae
    23rd Jan 2017
    10:59am
    There are not for profit organisations with advisors to help. Go find one.
    KB
    19th Jan 2017
    10:04am
    I agree with Supernan. Also some aged people have dementia so who will be able to conand correct their details if they have no one to help??
    Polly Esther
    19th Jan 2017
    10:21am
    There's a lot of people in 'repeat, or say it again mode' today. :)
    Rae
    19th Jan 2017
    11:12am
    The website server was particularly slow. When that happens people often double or triple click.
    Lookfar
    19th Jan 2017
    3:30pm
    An interesting addition to the mix,
    https://getup.org.au/debt-letter-fraud?t=yqbG9hKb1&utm_content=16515&utm_campaign=_Smoking_gun__revealed_by_Centrelink_whistleblower&utm_source=blast&utm_medium=email
    Lookfar
    19th Jan 2017
    4:05pm
    "A message from Centrelink"
    don't know if this will get you there, otherwise just do a search on Google, https://thejuicemedia.com
    or https://img.youtube.com/vi/eoD0efoHzeA/maxresdefault.jpg
    Ya gotta laugh...
    Fair Go
    19th Jan 2017
    8:08pm
    Time this govt fixed the system instead of targeting pensioners. I know of people who have never worked in their entire lives but have lived on welfare year after year without ever having to get off their bums and get a job. The whole system is wrong, when we have kids leaving school just to lounge around on the dole. I know there are not many jobs around, especially for the untrained and uneducated. They should not be able to just leave school, to live off the govt for the rest of their lives. More training, more jobs are needed in this country. If only they would take a leaf out of the books of countries in Europe, who have a vastly different welfare system than we do, but are very successful countries when compared to what is going on here at present;
    Lookfar
    19th Jan 2017
    9:44pm
    'Fair go, So how would you train young adults so as they are happy with no jobs, no prospects, and awareness that it is their goverment who has put them in that situation?
    Anonymous
    20th Jan 2017
    1:21pm
    Fair Go, try reading the unemployment figures (the number seeking work or increased work hours) and then look at the number of job vacancies. Then please talk sense based on fact instead of wild BS Assumptions based on who you THINK you know.

    We have a massive shortage of jobs in this country. And many of the ''untrained and uneducated'' would love an opportunity to present so that they actually COULD get skilled and find work. They are suffering, and your vile and unjust condemnation increases their pain.

    Yes, we need to fix the system - but not by blaming the victims.
    Retired Knowall
    20th Jan 2017
    3:54pm
    Why do need to import 457 visa workers?
    Bonny
    21st Jan 2017
    7:22pm
    What about all tbose foreign workers in our factorues and farms? Aussies are way too picky to do these jobs.
    Anonymous
    27th Jan 2017
    9:09am
    Most are working under illegal conditions. Aussies rightly object to rich employers breaking the law. They exploit workers and then dodge tax. SCUM! And then they import workers who will suffer illegal conditions and exploitation and lie about Aussie workers being ''too picky''.

    Tell it like it is, Bonny, and stop with the Neoliberal LIES.
    Bonny
    19th Jan 2017
    8:49pm
    I think it is a great idea. Next they need to target those OAPs working for cash. I know an awful lot of them.
    Lookfar
    19th Jan 2017
    9:29pm
    So Bonny, how would you fix it, give the OAP's enough to live on?- yes I know you are a Neo-Liberal so that wouldn't work for you, so just how would you fix the current system?
    Bonny
    20th Jan 2017
    7:21am
    Simply give all those om welfare a card instead of cash. Ask them declare all money that goes into their bank accouns and investment. Add the house to the assets test and make all welfare a debt on thier estate when they die. Penalise all payments made by cash with a tax.
    Anonymous
    20th Jan 2017
    1:17pm
    Yep, Bonny. True to form. Steal everything the battlers work and earn to gift it to the rich in obscene tax concessions. What about taking back the massive superannuation tax concessions that are costing the country far more than the aged pension? Oh no! don't touch the privileged bastards. Just attack the poor hard worker who is exploited for minimal wages all his life. What a vile SCUMBAG thing to suggest. You are DISGUSTING!
    Bonny
    21st Jan 2017
    7:29pm
    Rainey you really have no idea of the resposibilities of welfare.
    Anonymous
    27th Jan 2017
    9:00am
    I have a very sound idea of the workings of a WORKING ECONOMY AND SOCIETY, Bonny. The rich pay tax at fair rates and the battlers are allowed to live in dignity and enjoy a reward for tolerating EXPLOITATION and ABUSE for decades during their working lives so that the fat RICH ARSEHOLES can continue to prosper. Your problem is you - like the rest of the privileged - want it ALL. The right to pillage and plunder and exploit and abuse to make your money, and then the right to keep every last cent and kick those who funded your rise to riches in the guts when they are old and sick. Neoliberalism at its finest! DISGUSTING!
    johnp
    20th Jan 2017
    1:08pm
    I agree with most everyone here, but how to raise the profile of this publicly; needs to be discussed; as the pollies etc are only concerned about ripping off the pensioner to bolster their own perks etc
    Lookfar
    20th Jan 2017
    2:25pm
    Hi Johnp, I can't imagine you supporting Boony's crazy cash Tax or that other evil she spouts, but if you get a chance to view that Honest Government ad on https://thejuicemedia.com
    about Centrelink, I reckon that passing that on will help raise the profile, it pretty well covers all the bases, is hard hitting and amusing as well.
    Anonymous
    20th Jan 2017
    9:25pm
    Thanks for that link, Lookfar. Classic!
    Old Geezer
    22nd Jan 2017
    12:24pm
    Ha ha someone has been caught red handed by the robo system.

    Just shows how well it is working.
    floss
    20th Jan 2017
    2:44pm
    Will the global companies be subjected to a robo debt system, not till Turnbull is booted out at the next election.
    Old Geezer
    22nd Jan 2017
    12:22pm
    Global companies are operating within the law. Most welfare people with a review are not.
    Lookfar
    22nd Jan 2017
    4:48pm
    Hi Looney, I am replying to the Robo Geezer, who has posted before and after you, and has trotted out his robo interpretations, one that because we don't appreciate Centrelink's callous disregard of common human decency, their robo system is working, and the second that his robotic interpretation that the global companies by avoiding paying tax are fine but people incorrectly accused by centrelink are illegal.
    In reply to you comment, I think we need fairly draconian measures for the global companies, - some thing very simple, like 30% of turnover, pay in advance.
    But I like your robo debt system for the tax cheats, and it also fits beautifully for the Robo Geezer, who seems to walk around in a (small) cloud of cliches provided to him by the Neo-Liberals, which he robotically utters at every issue. - Ha, Robo Geezer!
    Old Geezer
    22nd Jan 2017
    5:02pm
    Awesome Lookfar I now know that I am right in saying that the Centrelink is doing a great job with their review letters.
    Seenitall
    23rd Jan 2017
    5:51am
    I'm new to this webpage but Leon Della Bosca's story is interesting giving detail that mainstream media don't supply. I'm on a single part aged pension which Mr Morrison cut off at the knees about six months ago when he revised the defined benefits situation so that a very modest amount of Victorian state govt. super is now almost totally counted as income against my Centrelink pension. Thankfully the new assets test didn't affect me.It's alarming to think that the shark is now going to swing around and come back for a third bite flushed with success after using ATO data and "Robo-Debt" to target the semi employed.
    If Mr Morrison really does see the Age Pension as a sort of safety net, soup kitchen type of welfare payment how would he reconcile this view with the current age pension situation in New Zealand. The Kiwis have had to live on their wits (not being able to simply dig up large parts of the country to generate export income) to have their economy in surplus and at the same time have a non means tested age pension which is almost as much as the full age pension here - I get the impression they pay a bit more tax to do this but it is a much more dignified process than having to scrape away at the bottom of the barrel clawing money off people who can ill afford it and have no real way of defending themselves when accused of allegedly cheating the system.Perhaps Mr John Key is looking for a little work in his retirement as our present Govt. could do a lot worse than hire him in an advisory capacity.
    Bonny
    23rd Jan 2017
    8:33am
    So what is your problem? If you have done tne right thing then you have nothing to worry about. Also if you already have your state pension then you already have a means of support in your old age so don't need the OAP.

    The NZ system may seem more generous but I looked at my situation under their system and after their tax I woukd be behind by a long way. So you need to look at the whole picture not the chimney in the background.
    Seenitall
    23rd Jan 2017
    5:58pm
    I don't have a problem Bonny but the Govt might next election. The age pension used to be regarded as a means for those who had contributed to society and the tax system over their working lives to retire and live with some dignity in their final years. It was thought to be OK that to provide for yourself to some extent wouldn't exclude you from the OAP that you had funded through your taxes over the years. If Mr Morrison now regards the OAP as only for those who are one step away from sleeping in a cardboard box under a bridge he may later regret his decision to demand money with menaces from some of the most vulnerable in our society. Perhaps he should grow some testicular tissue and tax those who can really afford to pay like the mega rich who get obscene tax breaks on their super contributions or those who are negatively gearing their ninth or tenth properties pushing first home buyers almost out of the market.
    Mad as Hell
    23rd Jan 2017
    8:02pm
    Agree with you Seenitall.
    I will never vote Liberal or Greens in any election be it federal state or local.
    Anonymous
    27th Jan 2017
    8:43am
    Agree 100%. I was a Lib voter for decades. They've certainly lost me, and I can point to hundreds of devout LNP followers who have migrated since Morrison began his attack on pensioners. Most of the young don't approve either. They have aging parents and grandparents they care about, and they know they will be old one day.
    Anonymous
    27th Jan 2017
    8:46am
    I note Bonny, as usual, only cares about Bonny and her rich mates. Their priority is low taxes, achieved by kicking battlers in the guts and forcing the disadvantaged to scrape crumbs from garbage bins. True Neo-Liberal LNP-lovers. SELFISH SCUMBAGS!
    Rodent
    23rd Jan 2017
    8:31am
    For those of you , Bonny, Old Geezer, who believe all is well at Centrelink re the Robo Debt process, I have this question
    Have you read the Centrelink Whistleblower account -8 pages -of what that person says is wrong with the PROCESS, inside Centrelink
    If you haven't then I suggest you do, you just might have a different perspective on the issue, instead of the blind blinkered views you have- BUT I doubt it.
    Bonny
    23rd Jan 2017
    8:39am
    Yes I have read it and came to the conclusion that it was nothing but a gripe from a disgruntled Centrelink ex employee.

    It certainly didn't give me a different prespective at all.

    Centrelink and the ATO have been doing this for years. Only difference is that we have a few poor me people whinging to the media trying to cover up the fact they have done the wrong thing.
    Lookfar
    23rd Jan 2017
    10:08am
    Hi Rodent, I think you have the right of it, Bonny posted right after your article claiming she has read it but she claims she somehow phsychically knows it is written by an ex Centrelink whistleblower, - maybe she just assumes that they will 'get' the whistleblower, so will shortly be ex, but the lie is given when she then claims centrelink has been doing it for years, - maybe she has absolutely no idea about computer programmes, but she earlier says says 'if you have done nothing wrong, you have nothing to worry about' when if she had read the report she would know that umpteen thousands have not done the wrong thing but are presumed guilty, so lose their benefit because they can't get through to the naughty centrelink department who they are supposed to contact to fix the mistakes.
    Of course she is just trying to hide under the shadow of guilt casting, as the Neo-Liberals don't believe there should be any money wasted on the old, infirm, unemployed, etc asall money should go to the rich, and you might have noticed if you watched that Centrelink fail, at www.thejuicemedia.com. click on no my debt, they start off by saying 'ifyou have committd the crime of accessing social security', - straight down the line neo liberal idiocy, so if Bonny did not see any neo liberal argument in the report, her mind would have just closed down and she fooled herself she has read it, sad really, the walking dead.
    Lookfar
    23rd Jan 2017
    10:10am
    oops sorry that should be not my debt
    www.thejuicemedia.com. click on not my debt,
    Old Geezer
    23rd Jan 2017
    11:16am
    Lookfar what a lot of rubbish!

    All Centrelink have done is replaced a manual system with a computer system. Less staff to do all the boring hack work.

    It also looks to me like it was written by an ex Centrelink staff member who has issues. All this neo-liberal stuff is BS.

    That BS report has been circulating for a couple of weeks now.

    Here is a decent one instread.

    http://www.hendersonmaxwell.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Centrelink-Statement.pdf

    If you read that you will see Centrelink are actually being more than fair as they realise that a small number of people may be picked up by the system who have done the right thing. This is what audits are designed to do...pick up the exceptions to identify fraud.

    So get used to it as it will be the norm form now on.
    Lookfar
    23rd Jan 2017
    1:03pm
    The centrelink position
    Lookfar
    23rd Jan 2017
    1:12pm
    Yes I read your link, Old, (Robo) Geezer, it is a statement of the centrelink position, and certainly at odds to what people have been posting, - who should we believe? - unfortunately Govt departments have lost a lot of credibility over the years, so the court is still out, in my opinion.
    What is for sure is that if folk are still being mistreated then we will hear about it, gone are the days when this sort of error could just be hushed up.
    With your statement that Neo-Liberalism is rubbish and BS, it is good that you agree, just because a person has more money, that does not make him/her better, and indeed our politicians should not hold such rubbish opinions.
    Rodent
    23rd Jan 2017
    1:53pm
    Lookfar

    I am surprised that OG and Bonny, same person, especially OG didn't tell me to look at the Centrelink Media Website where they repudiate these claims by what OG/Bonny now claim (without proof) is an CL employee, which is not correct)

    The best that OG can do is repost the same HM link he has posted B4
    Old Geezer
    23rd Jan 2017
    1:55pm
    It makes a lot more sense than that other rubbish!
    Rodent
    23rd Jan 2017
    1:59pm
    Just for the True Believers Bonny and OG

    Centrelink has admitted its review system to dispute debts is too slow to save people from false debts, taking an average of 49 days to resolve despite debts being due within 28 days.
    Now, in response to questions from The Huffington Post Australia, the Department of Human Services admitted Centrelink's dispute process takes a full three weeks longer than the time limit to pay back that debt.
    "The time taken to finalise a formal review depends on the complexity of the individual case. For the financial year to date, the average time to finalise a review in relation debt decision was 49 days," Department of Human Services general manager Hank Jongen said in a statement.
    Old Geezer
    23rd Jan 2017
    2:25pm
    So what is the problem?
    Rae
    23rd Jan 2017
    5:24pm
    Just make a $5 payment each fortnight until sorted along with a letter denying liability but stating you are paying only to keep the private debt collectors off the case. Insist on a receipt.
    Fairness
    6th Feb 2017
    1:06am
    An enquiry into the Centrelink So Called Debt is never going to be enough to comfort all the numerous persons who have been accused,particularly older Australians who will all hopefully be then beneficiaries of a correctly functioning system. I wouldn't hold my breath though for any significant compensation!!
    Maybe by next Christmas for those who have survived Christmas just gone!!
    Fred Neate
    7th Feb 2017
    12:34pm
    If the Centre link staff are at odds with the Government why are they penalizing the public? Why not take it up to your employer who pays you for your so called hard work.

    I know. Unions at work.
    Argydubbaya
    1st Mar 2017
    4:15pm
    A self funded retiree with two teenage children on 20k a year and all my credit cards "maxed" out, they have stopped my pension. I believed they would back date the pension and pay a lump sum upon receipt of my belated tax return. WRONG! I am sick to death of the dishonesty in government, the behind your back approach to stealing what little we have. They tricked me into buying solar panels saying I would get 44c a kilowatt only to find now that any replacement in the system forfeits the 44c reducing it to 6c. They said my business could spend $20k on equipment and as it turns out it was just a credit on tax paid. They owe me money for tax paid in years gone by but guess what? I have to be paying tax to get it back! Paid tax all my life with the 7% going into pension "consolidated revenue". Why is it when I owe them they send the mafia around to collect but when the owe me they weasel out of payment in some underhanded way? I also add I am fearful of what the missive may do as they have the guns on their side.
    Joy Anne
    13th Jun 2017
    11:23am
    Sack the Government. WHY do they have to target Pensioners and Disabled. They give Millions to Foreign Aid and sell everything off from behind the peoples back. What about Muslims with more then 1 wife, are they going to change that as this is Australia and they have to abide by our laws and rules not have more then 1 wife and many many children from each wife. Centrelink are you going to attack them as well. Your a disgrace and our Government for attacking the people who need it the most. Wait for next election???
    Libby
    15th Jun 2017
    10:39pm
    If you have nothing to hide then don't worry unnecessarily, just go with the flow and see what happens. If they find any flaws in my pension and very small superannuation which I kept to a minimum then I'll just go and see them face to face even if I have to wait. Phones won't get you anywhere, best they visualise all your paperwork against theirs and a hopeful solution made. At least some "rogues" have been caught out. There have been cases when a relative dies then the family member deliberately not notify Centrelink therefore stealing the deceased's pension. Guess who? Baby Boomers! Not all of them though. I do feel dread receiving a letter but what can we do when that stupid stubborn Tudge who won't budge!

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