DHS using strong-arm tactics to recover debt

DHS debt-recovery tactics reignite a fiery debate about robodebt.

DHS using strong-arm tactics to recover debt

The Department of Human Services’ (DHS) strong-arm tactics in the form of threats to charge daily compound interest, seize funds from bank accounts and garnishee wages have relit a fiery debate about the legality and morality of Centrelink’s robodebt program.

DHS general manager Hank Jongen said the interest charge measure, which includes compound interest charged daily, was introduced in April 2018 but only applied to former welfare recipients who owed debts to the DHS.

DHS letters sent earlier this month also contained warnings of withholding tax returns, potentially banning overseas travel and taking legal action if payment of welfare debts weren’t received within 14 days.

The warnings come in spite of social services advocates and legal experts planning to challenge the controversial robodebt program in the Federal Court.

Retired chief crown prosecutor Gavin Silbert QC says that by threatening some of the nation's most vulnerable people the DHS is breaching legal obligations to act as a model litigant. He also claims the threats are most likely not enforceable without a court order.

“They know their methodology will not stand up to legal scrutiny and these amounts are nothing more than ambit claims,” he said.

However, DHS insists its enforcement activities comply with all relevant legislation.

Robodebt has faced scrutiny over how the program calculates welfare recipients’ debts. The DHS has already conceded to a Senate Estimates inquiry that over 70,000 robodebts had been reduced or erased due to incorrect assessments. Despite this, the DHS denies there are any flaws in its system. The Senate committee also recommended that the program be suspended until it could be proven fair and effective.

Last month, Victorian Legal Aid launched a Federal Court action against Centrelink and now Mr Silbert also says he would be keen to test the legality of the robodebt program.

“I would love to cross-examine someone from Centrelink and go through this line by line with them,” Mr Silbert said.

According to The Age, the DHS is trying to settle the Victorian case before a trial, so as to avoid legal scrutiny of the program.

Mr Jongen said all debt-recovery activities are legal and that he would not comment further while the matter was before court. He also said the department would consider a person's financial and personal situation when working out a repayment plan to ensure they did not experience hardship.

“While we can authorise the garnishee of tax returns, wages and bank accounts to recover social welfare debts, we only take this action when other attempts to recover money owed have failed,” he said.

Do you think robodebt should be suspended until its ‘flaws’ are fixed?

RELATED ARTICLES





    COMMENTS

    To make a comment, please register or login
    Not a Bludger
    25th Mar 2019
    10:15am
    Certainly not - these people are rorting the public purse (ie my taxpayer coin) and must be held to account - and repay what they have pinched.
    Simple.
    Cowboy Jim
    25th Mar 2019
    10:49am
    Not wrong there - if you have money to travel overseas you also have money to pay your debts first. If I do not pay my rates on time they charge me 10% interest on the outstanding amount. Cannot really see why it should not work the same with DHS. If they get away without paying we all might do it.
    TREBOR
    25th Mar 2019
    11:28am
    IF they have a genuine debt.... IF .... and that is the question here.....

    No proof - no debt... end of story.
    Karl Marx
    25th Mar 2019
    1:25pm
    from my understanding of how the DHS works, they don't have to give a breakdown or reasons of how they came to the conclusion that a debt is owed. Big brother big stick.
    As Trebor said IF the debt is genuine, in well over 25% of cases it's not.
    Returned Serviceman..
    25th Mar 2019
    2:36pm
    You are not the only one who pays taxes I paid the for 50 years while working and part of that was to go into a pension fund but the government transferred it to consolidated revenue. If it had been used properly I would now be drawing my pension from the pension fund. As for robodebt if someone sent yo a bill with no proof of why you owe it would you happily pay it or question it.
    GeorgeM
    27th Mar 2019
    7:33pm
    Govt has no business to waste taxpayer's money on funding defective software development, administered by incompetent Govt staff, and managed by the incompetent Hank who keeps defending such gross incompetence! All involved MUST be sacked, starting from the top. The system must be shut down until they figure out what they are trying to do and what is the fair way to go about it.

    As it stands, the above article suggests the robo-debt victims are being treated the same way as terrorists & criminals - in not being allowed to travel, and are also being denied basic justice (offered to criminals) by being declared guilty until proved innocent!
    What the hell is the use of the Senate, or the Governor General for that matter, if this Nazi type of behaviour is not shut down?
    cupoftea
    25th Mar 2019
    10:16am
    yes
    TREBOR
    25th Mar 2019
    11:29am
    Yees, what, Greenbottle?
    cupoftea
    25th Mar 2019
    10:16am
    yes
    Possum
    25th Mar 2019
    10:27am
    My daughter has been waiting 4 months for documents of proof for her "robot debt" so yes it should be suspended
    sunnyOz
    25th Mar 2019
    10:53am
    Possom- been through similar. Doubt very much you will get anywhere. They totally stuffed up my payments when I started a casual job. Took weeks to reinstate, and then just got a considerably small lump sum back payment amount. I asked for a breakdown of the payment - which was refused. I was told they don't have to provide one. So it appears that we just have to take their word as gospel.
    I wish I could just tell someone 'you owe me X amount and I don't have to prove it'. Firstly, you can't prove a negative, and secondly, you are absolutely judged guilty right from the start, and have to prove your innocence.
    I actually chucked on my job as I simply could not trust them to calculate my payments correctly, and also don't trust that they won't send me a letter in 5/6/7 years time telling me I owe them something. Do not trust them.
    TREBOR
    25th Mar 2019
    11:34am
    "I asked for a breakdown of the payment - which was refused. I was told they don't have to provide one."

    That's exactly the kind of attitude I'm alluding to, sunnyoz - with Colonel C'Link and their insolence of office..... and it is behaving, as I said, above the Law, and is utterly reprehensible...

    Somebody cue me an apologist to state 'not according to the Social Security Act'... well - the Social Security Act is then in breach of the rule of Law, innit?

    No government has any right to create a law that operates outside Law.
    Anonymous
    25th Mar 2019
    12:06pm
    Interesting Bob, I wonder how a court case would go? All you asked for was proof of debt, a simple but basic request, and Centrelink would need to provide such a document to prove their case. If they are allowed to get away with that then, old friend, you owe me nearly $500,000. I don't have anything to support that claim but, hey, Centrelink can do it then so can I.
    Triss
    25th Mar 2019
    12:12pm
    Time to complain to the Human Rights and Anti-discrimination dept, Trebor...and everyone on this list. It’s not only about actual debt but the fact that Centrelink, without any checks in place for accountability, wants to get Into people’s bank accounts.
    As we found out the last time there were people who were hounded for a non existent debt and were put into serious financial distress. If Centrelink is allowed to extract money from people’s banks without proof of debt the victims could find themselves penniless, tossed out of their rental accommodation, hit with bank penalties and empty pantries.
    TREBOR
    25th Mar 2019
    12:36pm
    I'll have a cheque cut immediately, OM.... can't argue there.... (snuckles evilly)
    TREBOR
    25th Mar 2019
    12:37pm
    Thing is, Triss - I don't have a claim against me... but I stand four square for the rights of others to fair dealing.

    If they did ever bite me - unlikely - they'd have a fight on their hands...
    Triss
    25th Mar 2019
    12:50pm
    A better place for your $500,000 invoice would be to Centrelink,OM, after all, they believe in paying accounts with no proof of a debt.
    TREBOR
    25th Mar 2019
    12:54pm
    Hmm - Reverse RoboDebt - that could work...

    Bill 'em, Danno!
    Triss
    25th Mar 2019
    1:23pm
    Sorry, Trebor, my post could have been put better. It wasn"t directed at you it was for everyone, with or without a debt letter from Centrelink to dig heels in and be a combatant.
    TREBOR
    25th Mar 2019
    2:44pm
    Yes, Triss - I understand. This kind of handling by Centrelink first and foremost has crept in - it was always there but in recent years has been cemented in place.

    Unlike any private group, they feel no obligation to even attempt to justify their claims to 'debt' or whatever. Easy to see who is the master and who the servant there!
    Tom Tank
    25th Mar 2019
    10:34am
    This is heavy handed treatment expected in dictatorships not here in Australia. Maybe if Centrelink was adequately funded this sort of program would ne be implemented.
    Its a pity they don't treat big business tax avoiders with the same degree of recovery
    TREBOR
    25th Mar 2019
    2:57pm
    In Austrareich your rights are upheld by your having no rights.. is no right, is no problem!! Complaints cannot therefore be entertained and thus Kentrelink can proceed to give full service without hindrance or distraction for the full benefit of all citizens!! All Hail Big Brother!
    Tom Tank
    25th Mar 2019
    10:34am
    This is heavy handed treatment expected in dictatorships not here in Australia. Maybe if Centrelink was adequately funded this sort of program would ne be implemented.
    Its a pity they don't treat big business tax avoiders with the same degree of recovery
    TREBOR
    25th Mar 2019
    11:28am
    The burden of proof lies with the accuser. Under no circumstances should any government body behave as if it is above the law.

    It is therefore incumbent upon Fat Hank's New Age Centrelink to provide proof chapter and verse as to how they have determined a 'debt' BEFORE any action can be contemplated.

    This means that a clear case has been provided on FACT, and not just on assumption, and then the 'accused' may dispute the case in its entirety or portions of it - so as to arrive at a just conclusion.

    It is not good enough to arbitrarily accuse without offering evidence, and to then proceed as if by some Divine Right.

    Repeats:- Government may NOT act as if it is above the Law.
    Farside
    25th Mar 2019
    11:36pm
    "The burden of proof lies with the accuser." Absolutely correct so if the accused is confident no debt is due then he should invite Centrelink to proceed with charges and give one of the ambulance chasing firms a call to represent him ... money for jam. On the other hand if accused is not confident a debt is due then sit down with Centrelink and have a conversation rather than become indignant and precious about the matter. Overpayments should be repaid.
    Pnina
    25th Mar 2019
    11:40am
    Yes, it should absolutely be abolished.
    As to Not a Bludger's hateful/vile comment, I am not a bludger either!!! I paid my taxes during my working life and I expect to be able to live my retirement years in peace. Not being targeted by the DHS for doubtful debts. I also expect that for as long as I declare what needs to be declared, I should be able to travel overseas, sell and buy real estate and be free to live where I chose around Australia without fear of losing my age pension and constant DHS investigations into my everyday life's affairs.
    greenie
    25th Mar 2019
    11:54am
    Have no idea what you are talking about. Are you commenting on another article or what?
    Triss
    25th Mar 2019
    12:16pm
    I understood Pnina’s post, Greenie, perhaps it was you who read a different article.
    Hawkeye
    25th Mar 2019
    12:55pm
    Why am I not surprised?
    Most greenies have no idea what anyone else is talking about.
    inextratime
    25th Mar 2019
    12:59pm
    What part or parts of Pnina's post do have no idea about greenie ? Happy to explain for you.
    inextratime
    25th Mar 2019
    12:59pm
    What part or parts of Pnina's post do have no idea about greenie ? Happy to explain for you.
    KSS
    25th Mar 2019
    1:03pm
    If you are living on your own self financed retirement funds Pnina, then you are correct. If you are living on a tax payer funded pension of any sort, then there are restrictions and accountability that are required. Fair enough too.
    Triss
    25th Mar 2019
    1:40pm
    So, KSS, what about the ex politicians who have been fleecing taxpayers for decades? Agreed they don't take holidays out of their taxpayer-funded pension, no, they gave themselves a separate perk of multi business class airfares for themselves along with their families. Nobody seems to be concerned over that.
    What about judges? They receive a pension of 60 per cent of a sitting judge's income for the rest of their lives - one which they can access at age 60 and on which they pay no tax.
    If restrictions and accountablility are necessary on pensions then let it be democratic and applied to all pensions. The list will be a long one.
    Pnina
    25th Mar 2019
    1:53pm
    I find the Means Test grossly mean and unjust. I am on a partial age pension and find the DHS rules and regulations akin to a life imprisonment. I recently sold one house and bought another in an area my husband and I dreamed we'd live when we retire. Even though the transactions did NOT increase our assets, my pension was immediately halved. Six months later my appeal is yet to be assessed. In addition, am dealing with an unexplained 18K debt imposed last October. All this has been happening while I was caring for my dying daughter(who passed on last October) and a husband placed in 24 hour care due to Alzheimer's dementia. None of my Freedom of Information documents mention these circumstances. I pray that the Federal Court will take the entire Centrelink system to task.
    TREBOR
    25th Mar 2019
    2:45pm
    A shocking case, Pnina. I trust there is a decent lawyer out there who will run a class action.
    KSS
    25th Mar 2019
    4:10pm
    Triss, you are comparing apples and oranges.

    Both Judges and MPs have a pension as part of their position çontract as indeed do many other people. This is not the same as other people I grant you, but they are also not the same as pensions provided as safety nets for those who have little to no other means of support i.e. welfare payments.
    TREBOR
    25th Mar 2019
    5:30pm
    Given their salary range, there is little to no reason for a preferential and massive super system.
    Triss
    25th Mar 2019
    7:12pm
    I can't agree with you, KSS. There are lots of ex pollies who left parliament 30 years ago whilst still in their 30's and would have had little or no means of support with no job at that age. Also the so called contract just had to be corrupt. Politicians getting together in a back room somewhere and deciding how to cream off the taxes to give themselves a gold plated safety net. Indexed lifetime, huge pension after 8 years in parliament, a clutch of business class, taxpayer-funded airfares and the list goes on. If that was in a third world country it would be called corrupt...why isn't it called that in Australia?
    Judges receive a pension of 60 per cent of a sitting judge's income at 60 for the rest of their lives on which they pay no tax...and one other thing - they didn't have to contribute towards it.
    Also, up to a couple of years ago retired public servants were pulling in incomes of up to $120,000 and were still allowed to claim the age pension.
    Age pensioners are the only group which is getting the jackboot treatment.
    KSS
    25th Mar 2019
    8:19pm
    No corruption Triss. And just so you know, the rules were changed a few years ago to prevent ex politicians from accessing their pension when they leave parliament. So now they wait like the rest of us.

    Whilst agree ex politicians gain access to payments I don't think they should (like offices, travel for themselves and their partners etc) but the pension is not one of them.

    I do not begrudge the judges their pensions either nor anyone else who has a different arrangement than I do as part of their contracts. Good luck to them.

    Yes we will have to agree to disagree.

    However, when money is taken from the public purse whether as welfare, as medicare, as education or childcare grants - whatever it is, there absolutely must be restrictions on what those funds can be used for and accountability for it. You don't pay childcare subsidies for it to be spent on mobile phones or giant TVs, nor do you expect a government pension to be spent on overseas travel (whilst the traveller is crying poor).
    Triss
    25th Mar 2019
    10:23pm
    Politicians making a decision that will line their own pockets and pensions is corruption.
    Yes, I know the Parliamentary Contributory Superannuation Scheme was repealed by John Howard in 2004...but only for new politicians, the scheme will remain the same for sitting members like himself. They don't have to wait like us, retired pollies will receive their pension for life from the age of 60.
    Turnbull scrapped the gold pass except for former PMs, of which he is one. All former PMs are multi millionaires and should not expect money taken from the public purse to pay for holidays when they are well able to pay their own fares.
    Like statistics, KSS, you can manipulate the information any way you like but I believe the end result is corruption by members of government.
    Karl Marx
    25th Mar 2019
    10:41pm
    KSS, all the more reason for a universal pension for ALL, that would then eliminate 99.99% of pension rorting so no robo dedt & save billions on admin wages.
    Retirees & pensioners would then only be accountable to the ATO.
    What a simple system we had & the politicians have complicated it to such a point that they have made the same system unaccountable for their actions simply because it's to complex.
    Farside
    25th Mar 2019
    11:41pm
    @Pnina, so long as there is no debt from overpayment of benefits then you can expect to live your retirement years in peace. On the other hand if you do owe Centrelink or ATO money then you should kick the tin and pay your bills before travelling overseas, buying properties, live where you like etc.
    Misty
    26th Mar 2019
    9:53am
    Maybe you should read the original article from YLC'S greenie and then you might understand.
    Dave R
    25th Mar 2019
    11:52am
    A Universal Basic Income would remove all this. It will come eventually because with increasing automation there will be fewer and fewer jobs for humans to do. By the end of this century the socio-economic system will be unrecognizable from todays.
    TREBOR
    25th Mar 2019
    12:46pm
    Then begins the argument about how to raise tax revenue to fund a UBI, Dave.. which really renders all this super-automation meaningless in terms of profitability and productivity. They can produce more and more cheaply - but somebody has to pay the taxes for the nation or it will descend into anarchy - and once those taxes are levied, the profitability goes down per item produced, and as I said, makes the whole venture superfluous.

    Just engaging someone elsewhere over the virtues of the global economy - he states categorically that it generates overall wealth for the planet and all of its people. What then - after all this Offshoring of industry etc - happens when the Rise Of The Machines takes place and all those now 'rich' workers in Thirdworldia are thrown on the street again while being mortgaged to the hilt etc and having grown accustmed to the 'high life' of increased wages (The Chinese Industrial/Manufacturing Person - the CHIMP) earns seven times the average income in China.... seven times.... when the machines take over...... many such will bite the dust financially and what then??

    (welcome to Around the Globe with Trebor.. a daily program brought to you by The Voice Of Reason Radio)...

    Boom and bust for them like a mining town - buy a house there, the project folds after fifteen years leaving you with an unsaleable home and a mortgage still going... many go bust that way, think they will enjoy riches for life out of a boom....
    gerry
    25th Mar 2019
    11:58am
    I know a man who runs a brickie gang ,he has a large fishing boat all mod cons and a 4 bedroom house and a girlfriend,he boasts that he has never paid any child support for 10 years and doesn't plan to go overseas...He said every time his wife pleaded with Centrelink they told her that they didn't have the resources to chase brickies as they move on so quickly
    TREBOR
    25th Mar 2019
    12:48pm
    Yes - that is the kind of operation that needs to be closely looked at by the ATO...
    TREBOR
    25th Mar 2019
    12:53pm
    Somebody mooted here somewhere like Belgium (or something) having a sort of look at your lifestyle and such, and determine your real income or deeming it from what you seem able to enjoy.

    Must have been here, since the discussion was about RICOing some kinds in society... those with amazing assets that never held a real job.... etc...

    This will come some time, too, I suggest.

    "large fishing boat all mod cons and a 4 bedroom house and a girlfriend,he boasts that he has never paid any child support for 10 years"

    Fits the bill admirably. RICOTAX.... coming to an ATO near you!!
    gerry
    25th Mar 2019
    11:58am
    I know a man who runs a brickie gang ,he has a large fishing boat all mod cons and a 4 bedroom house and a girlfriend,he boasts that he has never paid any child support for 10 years and doesn't plan to go overseas...He said every time his wife pleaded with Centrelink they told her that they didn't have the resources to chase brickies as they move on so quickly
    HDRider
    25th Mar 2019
    1:04pm
    If you owe it then pay it. But if they made the mistake at centrelink, then it's a different matter.
    Karl Marx
    25th Mar 2019
    1:21pm
    Unless Robo debt is flawless & a full breakdown of how the debt was incurred with a full breakdown of calculated costs then it should not be used.
    Rorters should be made to pay in full any money owing but only when it's proven they're rorting the system.
    Most robo debt from what's been reported has been the DHS stuffing up & not anyone intentionally trying to be dishonest.
    TREBOR
    25th Mar 2019
    2:48pm
    It should be a simple matter to give a full breakdown on what the 'debt' is all about. They have all the 'working' there to generate it in the first place, so why do they hide the full breakdown and refuse to give it?

    Even the ATO - if seeking to levy a charge against a person, details what it all is.
    Karl Marx
    25th Mar 2019
    10:51pm
    Trebor, the pension system has become too complex so the government have legislation so they don't have to be accountable for their discission.
    It can't be that difficult to supply a computer generated detailed summary of the calculations but that would only highlight incompetence within a very comlex system & how it's administered.
    It's called covering their butts in layman terms.
    Farside
    25th Mar 2019
    11:58pm
    @SFR "Most robo debt from what's been reported has been the DHS stuffing up" - this is BS. The senate inquiry was told "About 29,000 of the 165,000 debts raised against welfare recipients were either wiped to zero, reduced partially, or revised upward in the 14 months between July 2016 and September last year (2017)". There were issues with the data matching, mostly due to recipients not maintaining records, and oversight resulting in 10,560 debt requests being cancelled. In other words only 6.4%, which is a long way from "most".
    Karl Marx
    26th Mar 2019
    1:48am
    over 30% of robo debt is incorrect, even 3% is way to much.
    https://www.yourlifechoices.com.au/government/centrelink/robodebt-appeals-success
    Farside
    26th Mar 2019
    10:31am
    @SFR, you continue to misunderstand the facts. The article you refer states "One-third of appeals relating to Centrelink’s contentious robo-debts scheme have resulted in the debts being set aside by a federal tribunal." ... the key word is appeals. It relates to 450 appeals arising from the 165,000 debt notices. In other words, still a long way from "most".
    GeorgeM
    27th Mar 2019
    7:37pm
    SFR, your comments are spot-on - any system MUST not assume people are guilty and force them to prove themselves innocent. Defective systems must not be allowed to harass citizens - mark of an authoritarian state, not a democracy. DHS must pay for their stuff-ups with people losing their jobs.
    Triss
    25th Mar 2019
    1:24pm
    The thing that concerns me is Centrelink’s treatment of anyone they want to accuse, rightly or wrongly, of a debt…it borders on dehumanization.
    Group Centrelink considers itself elite therefore Group Welfare is inferior, obs elite. That being so, Group Centrelink does not have to work under any kind of moral or ethical standards because Group Welfare is not entitled to have their rights under law respected. Not many steps from there to genocide. If you think I’m being dramatic go back to Hitler’s Germany.
    TREBOR
    25th Mar 2019
    2:52pm
    Yes, Triss - clearly those on Centrelink are Untermenschen and unworthy of a reply ...

    Raus, RAUS, Untermensch! Onto der Robodebt trains for der re-settlement off your finances! RAUS - or ve send in der dogs!!

    (this site needs some format stuff so we can do funny things like that... laughing, ha, ha ... der Obersturmmbahnfuhrer Centrelink has a sense of humour surgically installed after being removed from the mind of a still living comedian... Das Reich Befehlen!!)
    KSS
    25th Mar 2019
    4:11pm
    Except you are just not funny TREBOR!
    TREBOR
    25th Mar 2019
    5:31pm
    You think I was being funny? Where you bin, Laden?
    TREBOR
    25th Mar 2019
    5:33pm
    You are perhaps vanting to go on zer list for der sense off humour transplant, Mein Herr? Ve haff plenty off fine comedians chust schtanding by for zer operation! Und ve vill zoon be receivink zome fine brains vrom der ABC.... after zer night off Der Long Knives...
    Returned Serviceman..
    25th Mar 2019
    2:10pm
    I send you a debt under a flawed system which you don't owe are you going to pay it no a bludger.
    Farside
    26th Mar 2019
    12:00am
    if you don't owe the debt then no problem, those who feel a debt is owed will either give up or take action to recover.
    TREBOR
    25th Mar 2019
    2:41pm
    Department of Human Services v.1984.. we ensure human services are supplied by robot ... thus all citizens will receive humane and personal treatment of grievances .. The Ministry is dedicated to serving people by utilising fewer people in the network thus generating a lower proportion of complaints and difficulties.. is no contact, is no complaint - citizens unable to make complaint contribute to the glorious lack of complaints. Work hard and prosper for all!! All Hail big Brother!
    Adrianus
    25th Mar 2019
    3:17pm
    How does one get all this money from Centrelink? Do they tell a lot of porkies? Is that how it works? I know that in the case of a Centrelink customer who may have a few wives he is entitled to a lot more, but who is checking on the number of wives and children? Do they have a regular muster?
    Karl Marx
    25th Mar 2019
    10:58pm
    I think sometimes maybe centerlink themselves may get it wrong & years down tne track they realise they have miscalculed an overpayment unbeknownst to the recipient. Their mistake but you have to wear their incompetence. But I doubt if it works the other way around.
    cupoftea
    25th Mar 2019
    11:07pm
    each so called wife gets a single persons newstart so I believe centrelink says it makes it easier
    cupoftea
    25th Mar 2019
    11:07pm
    each so called wife gets a single persons newstart so I believe centrelink says it makes it easier
    andromeda143
    25th Mar 2019
    4:22pm
    The use of intimidatory tactics of any kind by government departments is reprehensible. Centrelink should be forced to use best practice and sit down with its clients, using good manners to enquire of each person's circumstances before making any judgements. If after proceeding in a courteous and friendly manner it is decided that the client does owe money then Centrelink should consult with the client to allow repayment on terms which cause the minimum of hardship. Prosecution or debt collection should be last resorts only.

    25th Mar 2019
    4:43pm
    This Robodebt fiasco is driven entirely by those heartless, incompetent Lieberal-Nazional Primadonnas in Canberra.
    Farside
    26th Mar 2019
    12:02am
    rubbish, the pollies are a long way removed from the day to day actions of the permanent public service.
    Karl Marx
    26th Mar 2019
    1:55am
    Farside, it's the politicians who set the legislation in place. It's the politicians who rejected the senate inquiry recommendations into robo debt.
    Centrelink is a government department & at the top of the department is a government minister, elected by the people. If politicians are a long way removed from the day to day actions of the permanent public service then they aren't doing what they have been elected to do, they aren't doing their job.
    Farside
    26th Mar 2019
    10:36am
    @SFR, agreed the politicians legislate to support policy however implementation of policy is responsibility of the public service. The public service developed the process to do data matching and robocalls without adequate oversight. None of this is enshrined in legislation. It's a matter of opinion if you think the minister is across everything that happens in a government department; that's what the head of department and bureaucracy is for.
    TREBOR
    26th Mar 2019
    5:25pm
    Hmm - not when they own the senior management body and soul via 'contracted employee status'... toe the line Hankie Boy or it's adios, muchacho...

    Such distinctly one-sided to political party actions by a government department can be no accident, any more than raids on Union offices at the behest of the Bogan Shrike were accidents...
    Cheezil61
    25th Mar 2019
    7:11pm
    Agree debts need to be paid but what about when the boot is on the other foot & Centrelink owe you the money..can take forever to receive payment more times than not I'm betting! Recipients owed should be able to take similar course of action as DHS!
    Karl Marx
    25th Mar 2019
    10:06pm
    About time a universal pension is introduce, that would then eliminate 99.99% of pension rorting so no robo dedt & save billions on admin wages
    GeorgeM
    27th Mar 2019
    7:39pm
    Absolutely! No need for these Centrelink clowns to administer Age Pensions if we have Universal Age Pension, maybe only the ones who don't qualify for Universal Pension based on Age or Residency and still need a subsistence allowance.
    Thoughtful
    25th Mar 2019
    11:29pm
    I have no personal experience with robodebt but can see that if you are on a pension and have a casual job with pay varying each fortnight ( and reporting periods differing to pension periods ) an end of year summary of how much pension you should have been paid could be for the entire year could be inaccurate. So.............do we employ humans who can actually manually do the calculations (at great cost ), employ humans to write better programs which cover every scenario ( at great cost ) or simplify the whole system ( at one-off cost )?
    Farside
    26th Mar 2019
    12:08am
    people just need to mellow. There were matching errors resulting in issues in a minority of cases, remember there was no issue for five in six cases of the 165,000 letters sent in the 14 month period at the Senate inquiry. Much of the unpleasantness around the contested debts could have been avoided if there had been case management oversight to invite the recipient in for a conversation before going straight to demands and threats.
    Thoughtful
    26th Mar 2019
    12:37am
    They call him mellow yellow
    Karl Marx
    26th Mar 2019
    1:56am
    Farside, over 30% incorrect isn't a minority

    https://www.yourlifechoices.com.au/government/centrelink/robodebt-appeals-success
    KSS
    26th Mar 2019
    7:12am
    Anything less than 50% IS a minority! At least when I learned maths it was.

    Anything more than 50% is a majority!
    Farside
    26th Mar 2019
    10:48am
    @SFR, 30% were not incorrect. It was reported there were issues related to 1 in 6, not 1 in 3, however you have misunderstood your reference, which relates to the 416 decided cases arising from the 450 customers who appealed debts with the AAT between 1 July 2016 and 31 March 2018. There were 165,000 debts raised so to put it in context you are referring to 30% of 0.25% i.e. less than 0.1% ... a minority in any one's language.
    TREBOR
    26th Mar 2019
    5:31pm
    That leaves the question open about how many did not defend the issue, since they are either not up to the task or have not kept careful records. Some people with mental issues can be easily over-ridden and will just bow down, and those who are intellectually disadvantaged without being in full care can be stood over as well. Then there are those who don't understand English, or who feel they cannot fight city hall and win...

    That last has been a long-entrenched reality in this nation, given the propensity of government bodies to set in place zero genuine rights for any accused...

    I have a sister who was lumbered with one of those things - she was in hospital at the time and under serious medication, and she comes from a background that leaves her, to say the least, less than willing to confront 'city hall'.... (unlike her brother who refuses to back down).. even getting sense and figures out of here is impossible... so she paid up and shut up. If she were willing to accept that she has some serious 'issues' she could get a walk every time.... but instead she just refuses to mentally engage with problems like this and shrugs it off and pays up.
    Farside
    26th Mar 2019
    8:27pm
    @Trebor, no doubt there will be some in the 165,000 that were stooged however it should be remembered the data matching was objective. The problems resulted in 1/6th of cases where recipients did not keep information up to date, but when only 450 cases go to the AAT then it becomes more problematic to assert the government has orchestrated some systematic abuse of the mentally feeble and submissive.

    Do you think the overpayment of welfare should be ignored and public money written off?
    Older lady
    26th Mar 2019
    1:58am
    No travel overseas until paid. Garnish tax returns. Enforce payment plans. Everything should be done to ensure debts paid. I’m all for it.
    It is owed after all because they got it in the first place.
    Farside
    26th Mar 2019
    10:49am
    succinctly put. Agreed.
    Karl Marx
    26th Mar 2019
    11:14am
    only if the debt is 100% genuine. The issue here is how centrelink go about accusing people of debt & demanding payment without the need to supply any supporting evidence to their claim.
    over 30% of robo debt is incorrect.
    https://www.yourlifechoices.com.au/government/centrelink/robodebt-appeals-success
    TREBOR
    26th Mar 2019
    5:32pm
    Agreed, SFR. Is no proof - is no debt...
    Farside
    26th Mar 2019
    8:29pm
    @SFR, you keep asserting 30% of robodebt is incorrect. It is not. Your 30% is 30% of the 416 claims decided by the AAT, which is a long way from the 165,000 debt requests issued.
    Ducky
    26th Mar 2019
    6:32am
    The Department of INhuman Services should be closed down until they can become Human Services.
    ex PS
    26th Mar 2019
    9:18am
    Is this the same system that misdirected payments to people who were not supposed to receive them? Funny how this error was shrugged off as being just a glitch, but an error by a recipient is regarded as a major crime.
    Seems only Government Departments are capable of making honest mistakes, mistakes it seems that have no repercussions.
    TREBOR
    26th Mar 2019
    5:32pm
    That's the one........ paid dead people...
    TREBOR
    26th Mar 2019
    5:34pm
    I am aware of 172 veterans of a specific conflict who are not listed as veterans..... records were digitalised and medicals separated from service records ... many disappeared.... including of sailors involved in atomic tests.

    Just one example of the utter lack of faith due to government filing etc.
    ex PS
    27th Mar 2019
    9:36am
    Yep TREBOR, just an honest mistake, just a little cynical that most of these little mistakes end up in the governments favor.
    The government is so lucky that most Australians ares complacent, but they are not all that way.
    Misty
    26th Mar 2019
    9:57am
    iI read an article recently that said the ATO is targetting vulnerable people this year, looks like this Govt has it's claws out for those least able to fight back, says a lot about them doesn't it.
    TREBOR
    26th Mar 2019
    5:35pm
    No bucks - no Buck Rogers in court (sorry to The Right Stuff)...
    ex PS
    27th Mar 2019
    9:38am
    They have to take from the poor in order to give to the rich, who in turn will give to them.