Liberal Senators speak out against Centrelink robo-debt system

Liberal Senator Eric Abetz says Centrelink system has “let down the Australian people”.

Liberal Senators speak out against Centrelink robo-debt system

Liberal Senator Eric Abetz is the latest in the line of MPs to admit that Centrelink’s debt recovery system is flawed, saying it has “let down the Australian people”.

The Senator has also refused to rule out support for Labor’s proposed Senate inquiry into the ‘robo-debt’ debacle.

Speaking on behalf of his home state, Tasmania, which has the highest number of age and disability support pensioners, and female single parents in the country, Senator Abetz again voiced his concerns over the way in which the debt-recovery system has been rolled out. However, he steered away from direct criticism of the system itself and of Human Services Minister Alan Tudge.

Speaking to ABC Radio in Tasmania on Thursday, Mr Abetz said: “The policy and the principle is right, to ensure that payments are correct, but the computer program does make errors or doesn’t take into account, for example, business names has been an issue.

“You want to limit the garbage that goes in [to the data-matching program], or the incorrect information, and that is where Centrelink, I think, has let down the Australian people.”

A fellow Liberal Senator, Jonathon Duniam, has joined Mr Abetz in criticising the failure of the debt-recovery program.

The comments made by Mr Abetz and Mr Duniam oppose the Liberal party line. And although, next week, Labor may try to instigate a Senate inquiry, it already has the support of The Greens, One Nation and Nick Xenophon Team, so, it would seem, it doesn’t need Liberal backing to hold whomever is responsible for the failed system.

“Even Liberal senators know there is a problem with the robo-debt system, if the minister won’t own up and fix these issues then the Parliament will hold him to account,” said Labor MP Linda Burney.

“Alan Tudge is the minister overseeing Centrelink, if Centrelink is failing the Australian people then that responsibility lies at his feet.”

Read more at The Guardian

Whose fault is it? What are your thoughts about the robo-debt debacle?

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    COMMENTS

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    Not Senile Yet!
    3rd Feb 2017
    10:50am
    And the Party Puppets are now in FEAR of being Turfed out by unhappy Seniors and Voters in General....so they now Pull their heads outa the sand (like ostriches)....and find their voice.....so they don't look as Stupid as their Party!
    But hey....they Voted for it....and they haven't Stopped it either!
    mickeymac
    3rd Feb 2017
    11:01am
    It's certainly a good thing that MPs are questioning this administrative débacle.

    I'm curious, NSY: what's with all the random capital letters in your post?
    Janus
    3rd Feb 2017
    5:49pm
    Using random capital Letters is the First sign of seNility...
    TREBOR
    4th Feb 2017
    2:05am
    CeRtunLy....
    Old Geezer
    3rd Feb 2017
    11:06am
    Easy fixed have everything linked our tax file number and Centrelink number if you have one.
    Rae
    3rd Feb 2017
    2:13pm
    My accountant sent me an email a few days ago saying I needed to set up a mygov account to receive messages from the ATO.

    I'm a bit nervous about doing this as these stories seem to indicate the system if pretty flawed.

    I've heard you talk about it Old Geezer.

    Seeing I don't trust this government , Labor or the Greens is it worth having a mygov account?
    Old Man
    3rd Feb 2017
    2:32pm
    Rae, I am signed in with mygov to allow access to the ATO and Centrelink. I have specifically requested that I not receive emails but get my information posted by snail mail. It works for me. Could you ask your accountant the reason he/she wants you to receive emails?
    Old Geezer
    3rd Feb 2017
    3:32pm
    I have been using mygov for a few years now and have set it up for a lot of other people. It is great for submitting tax returns, Centrelink documents etc. It also has a record of all your medicare claims and records of all the doctors and pathology tests etc that have been bulk billed. I have not heard anyone complain about it.

    It makes it easy for those people who may in the future have to submit tax returns but don't now. Much quicker than filling out that old form. Franking credits can be claimed too if you don't have to fill out a tax return.

    I can't understand why anyone would not use it. A lot safer than using snail mail with all the mail theft that is happening today.

    The only issue I have is that if you access letters from a tablet or mobile phone you can't print them. However I have been told a solution to this will be available soon.

    I will say something though. It has those silly questions as security so I usually write down the questions and answers for people as that can be a problem for some people remembering them.

    ATO do send your assessment notices through your mygov account so maybe that's why your account wants you to set it up.

    Mygov is probably safer than accessing your bank account online as it has more layers of security. So if you use online banking then it should not be a concern.
    TREBOR
    3rd Feb 2017
    5:39pm
    I've been using MyGov fora coupla years for tax until I retired. My only real issue with it is having to get a code from the mobile every time. I've already passworded in - no need to be paranoid.

    Nothing of interest in my accounts anyway.
    Old Geezer
    3rd Feb 2017
    6:37pm
    I don't have to get a code from my mobile phone as I didn't worry about setting that bit up. Way too much security already.
    Rae
    4th Feb 2017
    10:46am
    Thank you. This is the first year the agent has not been able to send details of the tax return as the government is directly depositing it into my account. I have no idea of how it would work if I owed extra tax. I imagine the ATO would write me.

    I will set up a mygov next week but I still have doubts about security and the governments ability to manage these things. So far the results are not so good are they?
    Bonny
    5th Feb 2017
    6:52am
    I did my tax through mygov and they set me a bill in a letter which I paid by bPay.
    Old Geezer
    3rd Feb 2017
    11:07am
    Just another MP be noting himself over a current issue.
    Pete
    3rd Feb 2017
    11:37am
    I have caught Centrelink lying ang fabricating evidence (ie. Forgery) so why cant I have them charged like ordinary Australian citizens, as they are demanding repayment for a non-existant debt? IT IS TIME TO "DRAIN THE SWAMP."
    Rae
    3rd Feb 2017
    2:15pm
    I imagine there is nothing stopping you reporting to the Ombudsman or the Federal Police for that matter.
    Bonny
    5th Feb 2017
    6:53am
    Centrelink have caught 85% of those people they have audited doing the same so from a taxpayer's point of view theg are doing a great job.
    TREBOR
    5th Feb 2017
    12:26pm
    They identified, using a wrong paradigm, 85% of issues that may need a review .. they did not 'catch' 85% doing the wrong thing.

    Keep banging that empty drum - someone might hear you...
    HDRider
    3rd Feb 2017
    11:43am
    What a laugh, we have Turnbull, the unelected PM, Trudge who denies any problems, Jongen the Centrelink head honcho who gets on the TV ads telling centrelink recipients that 'we will get you' and threatening all sorts and so far his name has eluded the press.
    This crap has gone on long enough, it seems that this Goverment and the Minister for Centrelink is/are out of control, roll on Tuesday, let them be found out and pay for this nonsense....maybe Turnbull can throw another couple of million at whoever to retain the priministership!
    Old Geezer
    3rd Feb 2017
    12:04pm
    So people should be allowed to steal form the taxpayers by giving Centrelink false information? I don't think so.
    TREBOR
    3rd Feb 2017
    5:41pm
    The usual level of assumption from you, OG - that is most emphatically NOT the case in the majority of cases.

    Never assume - you make an Ass of U and Me....
    Bonny
    5th Feb 2017
    6:55am
    I'm hearing that over 85% of those they contact actually owe money due to providing false information. So this is not stealing?
    TREBOR
    5th Feb 2017
    12:27pm
    No false information - averaging out annual income in relation to a period of unemployment is a meaningless exercise in relation to benefits.
    john
    3rd Feb 2017
    12:07pm
    That headline should read.

    ABETZ FINALLY SPEAKS SENSE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    HDRider
    3rd Feb 2017
    1:37pm
    Old Geezer, NO ONE suggested that people should be allowed to steal taxpayers money, I suggested that the Govt and Centrelink SORT IT, maybe you are Old and misread things eh?
    I'm all for those ripping the tax payer off getting hammered, what I am not for is seeing innocent people who do the right thing, being hounded and threatened by The Govt and Centrelink.
    If you are NOT up to date with the facts and figures then go take a look at them, the Govt have admitted that this debt recovery system is a shambles and have released the percentage of incorrect debts to customers! ie NOT EVERYONE is GUILTY Old Geezer and ONE incorrect accusation is too many, we do not pay people to make mistakes at this level, think about it eh!
    Old Geezer
    3rd Feb 2017
    3:37pm
    I have seen those letters and all they are asking is for you to do certain things. Surely that is not so hard if you have done the right thing all along. If you do nothing then they have every right to assume you are guilty and send you a bill.

    However I can see why some people would be annoyed because they now have been caught out and are looking for someone other than themselves to blame.

    No I don't misread things but read many things with a scepticism. Many things re not what they seem. With old age comes wisdom.
    Rae
    4th Feb 2017
    10:57am
    Keeping all paperwork and hassling employers for a paper trail is now needed. Far too many employers are paying cash in hand or cheques and not recording the details.

    I know of one case where a cheque was sort out every fortnight, the super was paid but the employer failed to do the paperwork. The employee has details in a book they kept of hours worked and jobs done and that will have to satisfy the ATO and super fund.

    Obviously no one is chasing employers to do the right thing.

    Everyone needs to keep contemporaneous notes of all work and details of pay whether it is cash or not.
    Also for longer than 7 years by the looks of it. I keep a diary and a plastic folder of all relevant paperwork. It is a pain these days as you have to print out most of the stuff yourself.

    I pity those not good at organising working for unorganised employers because it must be a nightmare trying to prove anything.

    Those working for the fly by night employers that go into administration and pop up elsewhere under another name must be finding it hard as well.
    Bonny
    5th Feb 2017
    6:59am
    I'd just fill in a stat dec with the information they require and they would have to either believe it or take me to court to prove me wrong. No paperwork hunting for me.
    Rae
    5th Feb 2017
    12:31pm
    Well Bonny some people are lucky and earn a set amount each pay. Makes it damn easy. My last ten years has been working casual or contracts and every pay period was different. At least I got a fortnightly payslip and an annual statement for tax purposes unlike a lot of workers these days with hopelessly run management or employers.

    No use filling in a stat dec if the info isn't correct and modern work practices makes keeping a log of hours, jobs and pay essential.
    Polly Esther
    3rd Feb 2017
    2:16pm
    I've suspected for a while now that Eric Abetz is another slow Liberal Party member, he has just made a statement that proves me correct.
    Old Man
    3rd Feb 2017
    2:28pm
    Apart from The Guardian I can find no record of Abetz claiming that the debt recovery system has “let down the Australian people”. He has claimed that he also raised concerns about the controversial Centrelink debt recovery system, but insists problems have now been resolved. Can a link (other than The Guardian) be supplied to support the claim that the system has “let down the Australian people”.

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/eric-abetz-concerns-over-centrelink-debt-recovery-program-allayed/news-story/20d4df917f52562ede6f3614e0ea365b

    http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2017/01/20/abetz-insists-centrelink-problems-resolved
    Old Geezer
    3rd Feb 2017
    3:38pm
    I agree one needs to take some of this information with a grain of salt nothing more.
    TREBOR
    3rd Feb 2017
    5:44pm
    Now is the time for damage control - now we speak up and mealy-mouthed say the system is/was flawed, but it's all right not.

    That's like saying the Titanic is no longer in trouble because it is resting safely on the bottom of the Atlantic... no longer sinking (phew)....
    TREBOR
    3rd Feb 2017
    5:45pm
    Damn - that was 'all right NOW' - not NOT... do not get your nighties in a knot.... it's not a knotty issue...
    Janus
    3rd Feb 2017
    5:51pm
    It's alright for most of you, us Taswegians have to put up with this ultra rightwing politico.

    It is so upsetting when he gets voted in, makes us all wonder how many people there are out there who do not think before they vote.
    TREBOR
    4th Feb 2017
    2:05am
    Most of them.....


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