Centrelink is monitoring social media accounts to catch fraudsters

Centrelink is monitoring social media accounts to catch welfare cheats.

Magnifying glass held over computer screen displaying Facebook logo

Department of Human Services’ (DHS) investigators are monitoring the online activities of welfare recipients, scanning their social media accounts in an effort to trap welfare cheats.

And the efforts are paying off, as contractors employed by the Department to trawl though recipients’ Facebook and Twitter accounts have so far recouped $2 million in welfare fraud. Investigators have also recovered a further $1.7 million by targeting eBay sellers who have not declared their online earnings.

A person receiving unemployment benefits who posts a simple ‘drinks after work with friends’ message on Facebook, or a couple claiming individual benefits who proudly proclaim an anniversary on Twitter could now face major repercussions if caught.

Launched in August 2015, DHS's ‘Taskforce Integrity’ has simple a simple goal: crackdown on welfare fraud and recoup around $3 billion in overpayments made to welfare cheats.

"While most people receiving welfare payments are honest and do the right thing, there is a small segment of the community who still think it is okay to cheat the system," said Minister for Human Services Stuart Robert. "Taskforce Integrity will continue to collaborate with its partner agencies to meet the challenges posed by welfare fraud and ensure those individuals who deliberately defraud the system are caught."

This type of reconnaissance, called "optical surveillance", focuses on anyone who is suspicious of fraudulent activity. However, at this stage, investigators are restricted to scanning only the social media profiles that are publicly available, with no judicial warrant required.

So far, taskforce operations have lead to 3072 compliance reviews, 1888 cases of overpayment and five arrests for those failing to attend court for welfare fraud offences.

Read more at The Sydney Morning Herald

Do you think this is a good idea?

RELATED ARTICLES





    COMMENTS

    To make a comment, please register or login
    bartpcb
    5th Feb 2016
    10:16am
    It does seem like a good idea, but it's a bit like 'saving a cent but spending dollars'. Even if they were to recover 10, 20 million, it's a drop in the ocean compared to the billions or even trillions the big companies and social elite are getting away with.
    roy
    5th Feb 2016
    1:25pm
    It's always worse under Labor.
    LiveItUp
    5th Feb 2016
    3:45pm
    Sounds like a media beat up to me. Social media is just the new version of the gossip grapevine.

    I just can't believe that some people put their whole lives on Facebook. If nothing else they are exposing themselves to identity fraud. I am forever asking my kids to delete or amend stuff for their own protection. Fine post some holiday photos but don't have enough information online that burglars know where you live and now know you are on holidays.
    Anonymous
    5th Feb 2016
    3:53pm
    You're right bartpcb but savings have to start somewhere. If your household budget is getting a bit tight and you give up a coffee a day, it isn't much but it's a start.
    Gra
    5th Feb 2016
    4:27pm
    But still people do it Bonny. I don't know how many times I have seen people post holiday snaps on FB while they are away. To me that is an open invitation to unscrupulous people to visit their home and help themselves. My holiday pics get posted when I get home.
    Pablo
    5th Feb 2016
    10:27am
    Great idea, and it couldn't come soon enough. There are too many young people rorting the dole system by working and not disclosing their income, and many on single parent's benefit who are in live-in relationships and not declaring that. These people need to realize that welfare is NOT a right, it is a privilege and they should treat it accordingly.
    Lookfar
    5th Feb 2016
    10:36am
    Pablo, are you sure you aren't pushing some small internal judgement thing, perhaps from your parents etc, but is it still relevant today?
    Pablo
    5th Feb 2016
    10:43am
    Lookfar, I am amazed by your totally inappropriate comment! I know of so many people like the ones I have described, and I am really angry that my taxes are being wasted on this lot. Get real pal and look past the end of your socialist nose at what is happening around you. It is not just the "big end of town" ripping off the system!
    Mygasheater
    5th Feb 2016
    11:16am
    I know a few oldies living together with each collecting the single age pension.
    Pablo
    5th Feb 2016
    11:19am
    These sort of people are the ones ruining it for everyone else. Here's a novel thought - wouldn't it be a better country if we knew that there was no-one rorting our generous welfare systems?
    Mygasheater
    5th Feb 2016
    11:37am
    Pablo, here's a even more novel thought, it would be an even better country if we're knew that the big end of town was not rorting our extremely generous corporate welfare system.

    You know the ones, the multinationals who move profits off shore to minimise and avoid paying tax, stopping those very generous subsides to the extractive industries, taxpayer funding to a range of private education companies at the detriment of universities, etc, etc.

    These are the ones ruining it for Australians.
    Pablo
    5th Feb 2016
    11:41am
    Well Mygasheater, you go after the "big end of town", the ones who create the jobs for Australians, while I'll go after the lowlifes who will never ever contribute anything to Australia!
    Anonymous
    5th Feb 2016
    12:05pm
    Pablo, jobs for Australians will be created when the ''big end of town'' starts paying its way, enabling tax cuts and welfare that enable consumption to rise. There will ALWAYS be ''low lifes'' never contributing anything - at every level of society. There will be poor cheating to survive, lazy cheating to avoid work, and well-to-do cheating and rorting because they are greedy. The latter group is costing us a thousand times more than the other two combined.

    Personally, I don't want to attack those who HAVE to cheat to survive. I would love to stop cheats who are just lazy, but it will never realistically happen, and we have to accept that any system that designed to reflect compassion will have loopholes that can be exploited - but given the low benefit, it's not a big deal. What IS a big deal is the massive handouts and rorts exploited by the ''big end of town'' to no public benefit, and that's where we should be focusing our efforts. By all means, let's support sensible measures designed to stop cheats, provided they are economical and realistic. But let's focus first and foremost on where the high costs are incurred - and that's handouts to and rorts by the well-to-do.
    roy
    5th Feb 2016
    1:30pm
    Mygasheater, if you know of oldies doing that, dob them in.
    Mygasheater
    5th Feb 2016
    2:10pm
    Pablo, the argument that it is OK for the big end of town not to pay tax because they create jobs and if they had to pay tax they would go to another country to do business is nonsense. These non payers would go to Sudan, Burkina Faso or similar places, I don't think so?

    Tax evasion by the corporate sector is thieft perpetrated all Australians on a grand scale. Failure by governments to even attempt to stop this rorting is stealing from health, education etc, and the future of this country.

    It will eventually effect you as the pressure grows to dump the private health insurance rebate, negative gearing, tax breaks on super contributions and as the economy continues to slow, dividends from shares that will reduce your superannuation.

    So continue to demonise the weak, the vulnerable, those less fortunate than yourself, under the belief it's "them" not you that's rorting the system, that fairness and decency are just social constructs that have no relevance in today's world.

    Sweetie, you have fallen for the biggest rort of all, it's called "wedge politics". Find a target, usually those who have no voice or power, blame them for all that is wrong, while the attention is diverted away from the real issue.
    Anonymous
    5th Feb 2016
    3:55pm
    OMG, I'm agreeing with mick again. This has to stop! Yes Mygasheater, name names and stop the rorts. You too Pablo, you know many who are doing it, name names. A penny saved is a penny earned.
    Mygasheater
    5th Feb 2016
    4:08pm
    Mick,

    What's your last name? I know about your secret, undeclared stash. I've got Centrelink on speed dial.
    roy
    5th Feb 2016
    6:18pm
    Mygasheater, it's Smith.
    Mygasheater
    5th Feb 2016
    6:21pm
    Mick, I reckon it's Furphy.
    ex PS
    7th Feb 2016
    7:45pm
    Mygasheater, have you considered that people living together may be just living together, in other words just sharing a house? Doesn't it make sense for pe to share accomodation in order to reduce costs. I know of many young people who share accommodation and nothing is said if one or more need to access welfare payments.
    Lookfar
    5th Feb 2016
    10:33am
    Well, it would be great if they were chasing the big end of town, where all the money is going, the 1%, the multinationals, the super rich,- even nailing one of those would give more than the 4 millions yet another expensive bureaucracy has 'gained'.
    The Neo Liberals, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neoliberalism
    - Fuelled by the psychotic Ayn Rand, do not have any morals except ME ME ME, and will happily receive their payments from their investments whilst the Titanic sinks beneath them, only in this situation, the Titanic is the planet Earth.
    We need to change the rules, the current rules lead to destruction.
    Lookfar
    5th Feb 2016
    11:02am
    If you look at Pablo, below, you will get sidelined to see the miniscule so-called ripoffs, poor people trying to make ends meet despite a very difficult social/economic situation, I would suggest you look at the bible, Matthew 7.5 You hypocrite! First take the beam out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye.
    This issue is not about allowing the big end of town to turn each of us against each other, unless we allow it, we need to change these ridiculous rules which are based on a predatory society of hundreds (thousands) of years ago, - totally in-appropriate to today's world, and will, if allowed, destroy us and our descendants, - is this what you want Pablo? Have you any Grand children? if not do you have the right to destroy our grandchildren?
    Pablo
    5th Feb 2016
    11:09am
    You're a religious weirdo Lookfar who lives in la la land, go and preach elsewhere, I'm sure there are religious nuts like you around!
    Anonymous
    5th Feb 2016
    11:42am
    Lookfar is right, Pablo. Not a religious weirdo - but a compassionate realist. We have countless hundreds of thousands more unemployed people than jobs. We have a ''welfare'' system that renders many ''beneficiaries'' poverty-stricken and that excludes people with genuine needs. And we have middle-class welfare and handouts to the wealthy that cost countless billions.

    There are some welfare cheats, but the portion of national expenditure that goes on welfare - in total - is very small by world standards, so clearly the cheats aren't costing us much at all. Conversely, tax cheats and unfair tax rorts and concessions and benefits to the rich are costing billions. It would be far more economically beneficial to target that waste.
    Hawkeye
    5th Feb 2016
    12:55pm
    Pablo, I think you're the one in la la land mate.
    I'm an outright atheist, but I agree 100% with Lookfar's comment.

    Although I'm an atheist, I've probably read more of the bible than most people, and if you look past the "magical mythical hocus-pocus god stuff" and the "numerous acts of vengeful and wanton violence", the bible does contain many important life lessons.
    TwainAndHume
    5th Feb 2016
    1:07pm
    Rainey and Lookfar .... agree with you completely. And this discussion also equates with the current debate over whether or not to raise the GST rate in Australia. The current Lib/Nats are finally, finally coming around to be honest and admit that there IS a revenue problem, and that government revenue is currently at a lower rate historically than it has been (thanks to the Howard/Costello lost years). So, the country has a revenue problem. The first possible idea for a fix should not be to raise the cost of basic living expenses for all (which means both for those who can and those who can't afford it). That should be the last resort, after the revenue being lost by ineffective corporate tax collection, subsidies to profitable international (and national) corporations, and the loopholes in the superannuation system which allows those with more to squirrel away more are reined in and rectified. IF those with the least can see that everyone is being called upon to "equitably" contribute to the good of us all, then anything like the GST increase (if still needed) is more acceptable .....
    Mygasheater
    5th Feb 2016
    2:20pm
    There is a very good article in today's Guardian that talks about public (government) debt and private debt. The article provides facts and figures about the levels of those debts and the impact it has on the country.

    It also debunks the lies put about by the government to legitimise their argument about the "spending crisis".
    Paddles
    5th Feb 2016
    2:25pm
    TwainAndHume

    Those old ideological opponents Paul Keating and Peter Costello who, incidentally were both outstanding Treasurers , have written recently that Australia does NOT have a revenue problem but, rather, a spending problem.

    In one of my daydreams, I envisaged the Govt releasing a detailed list of expenditure from each Dept and a note justifying that outlay. It would necessarily be the size of a Sunday Supplement but it would make for interesting reading and would, I suspect, create a public outrage.

    Personally, I have a very sketchy knowledge of Govt spending but I do remember from years ago, a Govt grant to fund a "Poet in Residence" at the Port Kembla steelworks. Now, you may think that it could not get more absurd than that but I think that you may be surprised if my dream became a reality.
    Anonymous
    5th Feb 2016
    3:59pm
    It gets worse Paddles, a guy at Newcastle University was granted $35,000 to work out which was the best way to chill beer. He spent the money on a fridge, dry ice, ice and bottles and cans of beer. He published a paper to justify the grant. Incidentally, cans in ice produces the quickest result.
    Yutcha
    5th Feb 2016
    11:03am
    Spot on bartpcb! Whilst fraud of any kind is not to be tolerated, this exercise seems to reek of spending a dollar to save a cent! Seems to be about catching 'small fry' rather than appropriately taxing the 'big fish'. No mention is made of how much this exercise is costing tax payers in order to recoup the amount estimated!
    Mygasheater
    5th Feb 2016
    11:27am
    Yep, collect $2 million by paying contractors $5 million. Collect $3 billion but let corporate tax evaders get away with even more billions. More "expert" money management from the LNP.

    If the government was serious about collecting overpayments from Centrelink recipients perhaps they could employ a few people to answer the phones at Centrelink.

    If the government was serious about tax evasion by the corporate sector, they should stop citing staff at the ATO. And as the government they can close the tax loop holes. But they would have to really, really, want too.
    TwainAndHume
    5th Feb 2016
    1:09pm
    Exactly! Well put ....
    Rae
    5th Feb 2016
    1:57pm
    Certainly. Italy had a successful campaign recently by simply instructing police to pull over all luxury vehicles and boats. The Tax officials then investigated the returns of all these people to see if they could legitimately explain the ownership.

    I know of a few business owners who live very well indeed with expensive cars and boats but manage to only earn the minimum wage paying very little tax. This is also cheating.
    Mygasheater
    5th Feb 2016
    2:12pm
    That should have been "reducing" staff at the ATO.
    ex PS
    7th Feb 2016
    7:53pm
    Seen this time and time again, quite often the government turns over its core business to the private sector, it almost always costs more but it allows the government to shift responsability for outcomes to the second party. It also allows Policy to be circumvented as the private sector can claim ignorance of government policy if they are caught.
    Of course they are seldom held accountable, because its the government that monitors them.
    Lookfar
    5th Feb 2016
    11:27am
    Hi Pablo, so any body with "religious" as opposed to "materialist" ideas has got to be wrong, - I would suggest you go and preach your hateful destructive materialist views somewhere else, but I don't believe you should be allowed to vote on anything that concerns our grandchildren.
    Pablo
    5th Feb 2016
    11:32am
    As I said weirdo, go elsewhere and preach to the other religious nuts!
    Anonymous
    5th Feb 2016
    11:45am
    Pablo, it's you who should go elsewhere preaching your selfish, self-serving materialistic ideals. Most members of our society have a social conscience and a realistic view of the current comparative benefits for the disadvantaged vs. handouts to the rich. Heaven help our grandchildren if people like you are allowed to influence the future of this nation.
    Anonymous
    5th Feb 2016
    11:45am
    Pablo, it's you who should go elsewhere preaching your selfish, self-serving materialistic ideals. Most members of our society have a social conscience and a realistic view of the current comparative benefits for the disadvantaged vs. handouts to the rich. Heaven help our grandchildren if people like you are allowed to influence the future of this nation.
    Adrianus
    5th Feb 2016
    12:06pm
    Our gaols must be filling up with welfare cheats? One way or another we have to support them. Sometimes I just hate having a social conscience.
    Mygasheater
    5th Feb 2016
    2:14pm
    Frank, having a social conscience is a burden I am happy to have.
    Adrianus
    5th Feb 2016
    6:31pm
    And how far does it go before you become unhappy? Or are you the virtue of altruism? Can people demand of you what they will?
    Lookfar
    5th Feb 2016
    6:55pm
    Hi Frank, how far you can go depends on the facts you are given, - if you believe the people on welfare are taking from you, then it is incumbent on you to find out the actual figures, and I expect you will find the bureaucrats take most of the money, - where does that leave you?
    Rosret
    8th Feb 2016
    7:19am
    They aren't put in gaol - what little money they have to live on is taken from them.
    I have absolutely no idea how someone lives on the pension.
    I am all for catching people making false claims - especially when they have a job etc. - but facebook?
    maelcolium
    5th Feb 2016
    12:24pm
    I guess if a cost benefit analysis was done then the cost would outweigh the benefit. However, I imagine the purpose is not to recover incorrect payments, but to dissuade sytem rorting.
    I wonder if the Government has considered a similar approach to the billions of unpaid tax by global corporates in this country? This is where it loses me and seems to be more of an exercise in hitting easy targets.
    No doubt the baying hounds will applaud the news, but it's all a bit meh really. I wonder if the comments made on this site are being recorded and reviewed as well? Governments spying on citizens is a bit beyond the pale don't you think? It opens in crack in what could be a gaping hole if zealots are put in charge.
    I guess what I'm trying to express is that when you add up that Government is monitoring our social media, emails, blog pages, telephone conversations ......... um, we are in a democracy , aren't we?
    Rae
    5th Feb 2016
    2:06pm
    I read a blog today that mentioned The Property council lobby threatening the government against messing with negative gearing.

    What we need is a powerful and visibly active Association for Pensioners and Retirees. A lobby group. I know there are such groups but they don't appear to have any meaningful power at influencing government decisions. The attack on SF retirees just went blithely ahead with all three major parties thinking it was a fine idea and not a single mention that real returns on savings, after inflation, are at an all time low around 0.2%. The deeming rate is a joke.
    ACOSS is a joke too.
    don
    5th Feb 2016
    12:34pm
    So they get people for selling on E Bay.?? Sounds rediculous, if something eg stamps that you have collected over the years, how can they tax that.??
    Sundays
    5th Feb 2016
    12:49pm
    Don, I think they mean those people with online businesses who buy from garage sales etc, and resell for profit on eBay, or at markets, but of course that's not working, so why not claim the dole as well. Yes, of course we should chase the big end of town, but to ignore welfare cheats is not right and a slap in the face for those on welfare doing the right thing.
    Mygasheater
    5th Feb 2016
    2:24pm
    There a whole range of businesses selling goods on eBay and gumtree. Some have bricks and mortar shops and many trade under different names. It's not all second hand goods.
    Sundays
    5th Feb 2016
    8:11pm
    The point is if you are selling goods on eBay etc. as a business, you should disclose the income if you are also claiming welfare. If Centrelink catch you out, then good
    Rosret
    8th Feb 2016
    7:21am
    I think you will find there is a check on the big Ebay sellers. Its a good way to find thieves who are on selling stolen goods as well.
    nena
    5th Feb 2016
    12:47pm
    Well, when I have got a few tasks to do I always star by doing the smaller and easier then, with my mind at clear y satisfied , star by the bigger and more difficult ones. Hopefully that is what the DHS is doing.
    Lookfar
    5th Feb 2016
    1:32pm
    Hi Nena, Alas I think they are starting with the ones who can't defend themselves and then because it costs so much to get blood out of stones, will suggest giving up and leaving the rich to destruct our society like the Romans did, - tax the poorest so they could not farm marginal land, - then increase taxes because no marginal land farmers left, so tax the richer farmers, then the local landowners, then the Barbarians were at their gates and money meant nothing.
    Another Wolves and Sheep experiment fails, as they always will.
    TwainAndHume
    5th Feb 2016
    1:48pm
    Unfortunately, though, in the governmental arena, it is often the "small tasks" that are focused upon, allowing the "too hard basket" to be the repository of all the bigger tasks. Especially if those "bigger, harder" tasks mean that you (as an MP) are going to be forced to go against big corporate and rich private donors .....
    TwainAndHume
    5th Feb 2016
    1:49pm
    Lookfar .... you provide good, long-term perspectives .....
    jackie
    5th Feb 2016
    1:17pm
    Centrelink is stupid to let the crooks know they are doing this because now they will stop exposing themselves on social media.
    Mygasheater
    5th Feb 2016
    2:28pm
    But Jackie, it shows that the government is doing something about the little fish, social security recipients, while letting the sharks thrive and grow.
    Paddles
    5th Feb 2016
    2:32pm
    jackie

    Good God!!! Are people actually "exposing" themselves on social media??
    And here's me avoiding it as uninteresting!!
    Mike
    5th Feb 2016
    1:27pm
    Hockey called disabled people rorters, yet he was the greatest rorter of all. He and his cronies were pocketing $288 a night tax free allowances to pay of their Canberra holiday homes, and now he is getting $350000 taxfree pension plus a taxfree diplomatic salary. Why doesn't he have to pay that rorted allowance back. Also disabled people have a hard enough time as it is. I saw a current affair programme on TV where the comentator was filming a disabled person mowing a small lawn. HE WAS SCREAMING into the mic, look at that, a disabled person mowing his lawn. WHAT DOES HE EXPECT A DISABLED PERSON TO DO? Lie in bed all day. Any physio will tell you to push yourself as much as you can. Many of them are in pain, and push themselves, yet BASTARDS like HOCKEY and Bronwyn Bishop RORT the taxpayer as much as they can on themselves, and expect the taxpayer to pay for it, and get heat of themselves by attacking disabled people.
    roy
    5th Feb 2016
    1:33pm
    Another one who loves those capital letters, what is up with you?
    Don't forget Burke AKA Berk who was taking his bird on trips at our expense, it's not always the LNP in case you haven't noticed, typical blinkered ALP voter.
    TwainAndHume
    5th Feb 2016
    1:52pm
    Mick .... it is often because the hypocrisy of the Libs is so extremely blatant .... speaking of Joe Hockey, and his attacks on "double dippers" .... after making that speech, early last year was it? Now at the start of 2016, he is really "triple-dipping" .... 1. His spouse still being a rich banker type 2. He is now a retired MP (early pension anyone?) 3. He has now taken up the post of Ambassador to the United States (unless he is doing that gratis, I believe he would be getting a nice DFAT salary from that .... as well as free transportation, housing, utilities, office suport, etc. etc.).

    The hypocrisy is almost painful to observe ...
    Diamond Jim
    5th Feb 2016
    2:04pm
    Spot on, Mike!! Mick get your facts right before you open your mouth!
    roy
    5th Feb 2016
    2:19pm
    Diamond Jim,Talking of getting facts right before opening your mouth,let's not forget the ALP MP using his union credit card on hookers, what lovely people infest the ALP. That money was taken from hard working trusting ALP voters in the main so that it could be used on hookers, sheesh, Diamond Jim.
    And did I tell untruths about Berk and his bird travelling 1st class at our expense?
    roy
    5th Feb 2016
    2:22pm
    I just love the way Malcolm Turnbull flattens Bill Shorty on PM question time, Bill has no chance, he really ought to give up.
    roy
    5th Feb 2016
    3:22pm
    TwainAndHume, your envy will be the death of you, be careful now.
    mIKER
    5th Feb 2016
    2:01pm
    Fraud should always be prosecuted of course, but let's start with the big end of town where the really big fraud, or as a minimum the amoral manipulation of the Tax Acts, is being committed to rob Australian taxpayers by business leaders and companies.
    Too many are involved in profit shifting, offshoring headquarters to low tax regimes, profiteering in our market – just check prices in the USA for Apple, Amazon etc. and it can’t all be explained by shipping and then there are major companies that underpay their staff and or fail to pay for super or holiday leave then go broke stranding the employees high and dry. The list of business fraudulent activities is sadly far more extensive, for a brief comment today, but everyone will get the picture
    So while there will always be people who rip off our welfare to make any real difference to the Australia’s finances start with making big business here pay their way for operating in our great country.
    Diamond Jim
    5th Feb 2016
    2:02pm
    Don't you just love Mick's comment.......It's always worse under Labor'. What that has to with the argument, heaven knows! The LNP are going to tax low and middle income earners and self-funded retirees into oblivion with their GST hike, while the likes of Rinehart and Twiggy Forrest receive billions of dollars in subsidies for diesel and water!!! And don't get me started on Apple, Ikea, Google etc etc who pay next to no tax here in Australia!!
    roy
    5th Feb 2016
    2:09pm
    It's always worse under Labor.
    Mygasheater
    5th Feb 2016
    2:45pm
    little mick, don't let the facts get in the way.

    It's a bit of a long read, hope you can sustain you attention to get to the end.

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-03-18/fact-check--australia27s-economic-inheritance/6162670
    roy
    5th Feb 2016
    3:20pm
    Mygasheater. Read it and your point is?
    Mygasheater
    5th Feb 2016
    6:25pm
    Things are worse under the LNP.
    roy
    5th Feb 2016
    6:32pm
    How much debt was Tony Abbott and the LNP and the country left by Krudd and Juliar?
    Adrianus
    5th Feb 2016
    6:41pm
    Diamond Jim, it was much worse under Labor.
    Mike
    5th Feb 2016
    2:04pm
    Actually Mick, for the last 50 years I was a confirmed Liberal party voter, but since Hockey moved the goalposts and brought in double taper on the assets test I am one of the 560000 retirees and those nearing retirement who worked hard all their lives and saved and had their retirement plans smashed by Hockey's changes, that have said they will never vote for those Liberal bastards ever again.
    Rae
    5th Feb 2016
    2:18pm
    We need a very strong Council of Retirees with an active lobby group and communications to rally those affected. While we are divided they can get away with stealing our savings and benefits.
    roy
    5th Feb 2016
    2:24pm
    Just hope that the ALP don't get in again then you will know real poverty, vote independent, it's the only way.
    Mygasheater
    5th Feb 2016
    2:46pm
    mick, you'll be running then?
    LiveItUp
    5th Feb 2016
    3:38pm
    New assets rules are just the first step in the right direction. Couples with over $1 million should not be getting welfare.

    The soon the house is included in the assets test the better too.

    I really can't see the ALP doing anything different that the current government other than make it worse for retirees.
    Mygasheater
    5th Feb 2016
    3:57pm
    Bonny,

    Your home is only an asset once it is sold. It's a bit like say I've got a ticket in next week's lotto, so I'm now a millionaire.

    What method could be used to value the home? It may be the best house on the worst street or the worst house on the best street?

    Should the house be "deemed" to be of a certain value no matter the location eg the "best" suburb in your capital city or beyond the black stump at Whoop Whoop?

    I don't know how the home could be valued fairly? Get two agents to value the house and you get two different valuations. Use the Valuer General's land value, use an insurance company or bank to value the house?

    How do you arrive at a figure that is right?
    Mygasheater
    5th Feb 2016
    4:13pm
    Mick,

    Number of Independents in the House of Representatives : 2
    Number of bills proposed and passed by these two: 0

    Voting independent makes a difference how ?
    LiveItUp
    5th Feb 2016
    4:40pm
    So if you give me your house it is worth nothing? I don't think so. So it's not only an asset when it has been sold.

    How do you value anything? Something only has a true value when someone stupider than you buys it.

    It is already being done. Investment houses are quite easily valued by Centrelink so why not all houses?

    It is just so wrong that couple a $2 million house can get full pension but another couple with $500,000 house and $1.5 million in other assets get nothing. WRONG!

    Most pensioners would be better off with the house included in their assets as the asset test would have to be adjusted to make allowances for it.
    roy
    5th Feb 2016
    6:30pm
    Vote independent.
    Mygasheater
    5th Feb 2016
    6:53pm
    Bonny,

    You purchased your modest home 47 years ago. You paid £400 for it. And you really had to scrap together the deposit for it. It's on a normal quarter block with established garden lovingly tended over the years. There have been renovations over the years but nothing but routine maintence since the kitchen upgrade in 1994.

    Another person lives in a 45 square mansion, fully renovated with top notch appliances, all mod cons, swimming pool, triple garage, remote controlled doors, on three acres of beautiful landscaped grounds, a real des res.

    Who home is worth more?

    One home is in the best suburb in your capital city. The other is in Whoop Whoop. Why is one worth more than the he other.
    Scrivener
    5th Feb 2016
    2:13pm
    I suppose if you were philosophical you could at least hope some of the money was going back into the economy.
    It would be gratifying to think that a few of the trawlers had experienced real poverty themselves. I'm not for a moment sanctifying the fraudsters, particularly if it is intentional - that's repugnant, but I keep asking myself, 'why'.
    Why do people feel the need to do it at all? I think the act itself is diagnostic - and maybe a great deal of it is due to the almost impossible, odious task of trying to contact Centrelink. Why do they keep you for hours on the phone? Why is the MyGov web site so impossible to navigate. If MyGov were Apple or some other private enterprise it would be a doddle to declare income and report changed conditions online, or by phone.
    We just make a six monthly appointment with our Centrelink office and reward ourselves for the pain afterward with a cup of coffee - that we saved up for. It is an awful, humiliating experience, as a fresh-faced child tries to Dick Tracey two over-70 pensioners, but it is all over and done with in a day.
    Adrianus
    5th Feb 2016
    2:29pm
    Scrivener, My house was once burgled and at a time I lost a lot of cash. I can tell you from experience, the last thing on my mind was the philosophical thought of hoping the money was going back into the economy. I could have done that myself without the help of crooks!!!
    Mygasheater
    5th Feb 2016
    3:45pm
    Scrivener,

    I couldn't agree more with your comments about the MyGov website. I'm sure it has been deliberately designed that way.

    As for trying for to contact Centrelink by phone, make sure you schedule an hour or two to wait on hold.

    Even when you make an appointment they like to keep you waiting.

    The view seems to be if you need Centrelink benefits you have plenty of time on your hands to wait and wait and wait and wait and you should be grateful.
    Lookfar
    5th Feb 2016
    5:32pm
    Dear Scrivener, Centrelink and all the subsidiary Service providers, that provide no services and help no one to find jobs, have been told to lean on the unemployed, - Kings make you wait to show how powerful they are, these bureaucratic nobodies make you wait to shame you, dominate you, tell you what a useless fucker they think you are, on the direct instruction of the Federal Govt.
    This huge horde of parasites that work in all these Govt departments create nothing, make nothing, produce nothing and with blessed exceptions are very difficult to deal with.
    That is what our Govt pays them to do, - and pays them a lot more than what the Govt pays US in pensions, social security, sickness benefits, etc, - many years ago there was a big scandle that the dept of aboriginal affairs only gave 5% to aboriginals, it went down a bit but is back up there now, - wonder what is the ratio with pensions, SS, sickness and whatever benefits, anybody got info on that?
    Generally the Govt admin of this stuff eats up the biggest share, but it is the recipients that are blamed, shamed and villified, not the Govt depts that waste most of the money and we don't need them anyway, - a sensible system would not require skyscrapers full of nincompoops shuffling papers and hating it and waiting for the tea lady to bring their coffee, god what a waste, surely we can do better than that? - We have a planet and our grand children to save, those young beauros could be out there, - digging charcoal into the soil, installing solar panels, wind turbines, etc.- stuff we really need, but what do they do? Wait for the tea lady.. give me strength, wait for the Tea Lady, but if the GOVT could be brave, they could be tracking down those bloody multinationals avoiding tax, feeling some purpose in their lives, helping our country grow strong. - we need a new political party or three.
    mareela
    5th Feb 2016
    2:58pm
    A pity the government doesn't spend as much time and effort on recouping tax payers money for corporate welfare which far out weighs Centrelink fraud. Not to mention Super loopholes, Negative gearing and the list goes on.
    Adrianus
    5th Feb 2016
    7:29pm
    Rules are rules mareela!
    Radish
    10th Feb 2016
    2:15pm
    The tax department is there to catch out cheats. I am not a cheat but I have been asked on one occasion to please explain when my hubby made an honest error in my tax return.

    After discussion with them it was sorted out and I paid the tax I owed and was quite happy to do so.

    If I earn it I pay the tax on it...not a problem!
    mareela
    5th Feb 2016
    3:04pm
    Pablo your right wing leanings and ideology is showing in all your comments. RUOK?
    roy
    5th Feb 2016
    3:19pm
    Keep the red flag flying high mareela.
    Rae
    5th Feb 2016
    6:08pm
    What is right wing about it. I get annoyed that the mother next door is claiming single mother pension while living with her builder partner. Multiply it by thousands. My daughter on the other hand has to work to help her partner pay the bills because she is honest.
    Nothing right wing about liking honesty. In fact the opposite.

    At the rate the LNP are selling everything up and contracting everything out you'd think there was an emergency and a Depression coming.
    roy
    5th Feb 2016
    7:57pm
    Well said Rae, the truth hurts the lefties.
    LiveItUp
    5th Feb 2016
    3:28pm
    Unfortunately there is a big disincentive for older people to own up to anyone that they are in a relationship especially if each person has their own individual assets. It's to do with wills and estates. Centrelink is a secondary consideration.
    JoMojo
    5th Feb 2016
    4:32pm
    How do the rest of you feel about many of our newcomers 95% never get a job (but they get a house). Have 7 children or more and now looks like 4 wives all on taxpayers taxes.

    Not fair my neighbor is about to be homeless at 66 yrs. She was carer for Mum + Dad they both died and now the sister (with her own house) wants her half of Mum + Dads house. There is nowhere in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne one can buy a unit for $250,000. The caravan parks are full and $200 p.w. or a unit rental is around $350 p.w.

    No welfare after first two children. You want more you pay.
    Rae
    5th Feb 2016
    6:12pm
    Sounds like she may have been a dependent in which case she should seek legal advice as she may be entitled to more than half the estate.
    Adrianus
    5th Feb 2016
    6:37pm
    JoMojo we were all given the opportunity to take in Refugees and receive $330 pw from the Gillard government. You cant blame resettled refugees for taking advantage of the Gillard offer and making a motza.
    JoMojo
    6th Feb 2016
    9:05am
    Thanks Rae. I have given her some information from COTA Vic.along the lines she is entitled to more than half. I have urged her to go to Legal Aid and get their help as looks as though she could win.

    Frank I find it quite sad when someone comments like you .... blaming labor or liberal or greens. I don't like any of them and am looking to vote someone else as someone suggests better off with the donkey. You can blame newcomers...seeking Centrelink mostly. We should stop ALL immigration till all our people here now (including refugees) get a JOB, a Home and stop paping Centrelink, learn Engrish women to work not stay home breeding us into oblivion.
    Adrianus
    6th Feb 2016
    9:27am
    JoMojo. I guess you're right it is sad. And on many levels because a majority of politicians give the ok.
    You can insult me all you like but I am just stating the obvious. You complain about the neighbours but they don't make the rules. You complain about me but I didn't make the rules.
    After 5 years less than 10% of refugees have jobs. That means after 5 years 90% of refugees are on welfare.
    Therefor welfare needs to be cut.
    It's that simple!
    JoMojo
    6th Feb 2016
    11:52am
    FRANK It would not be fair to just invite people in to Australia to NO welfare.

    Don't let in any one to our country till all those now here get jobs, housing. Centrelink is not infinite and will be gone within 10 years if we keep going like we are.

    Newcomers once in can then get mum + dad uncle + aunty in as well all on Centrelink for rest of their lives too.

    I agree Welfare needs to be cut....after first two children and only one wife. No Mum + Dad and Aunty Uncle coming in to Centrelink either.

    Australia needs another Snowy River Infrastructure project so any incoming with No english can at least work to pay their burden on Aussie tax payers. Learn english at same time and skills. Someone from Howard's cabinet suggests daming the Northern Rivers (Innisfail) sending this huge amount of water inland and down to the Thompson creating worlds best food bowl, electricity hydro, and rivers/lakes for tourism. Australia's Future fund could start funding this.

    Anyone else with bright ideas ...... please let us all know the blame game has to stop as we are gurgling down the toilet.
    particolor
    6th Feb 2016
    5:29pm
    Please Elaborate ! Who's doing all this Inviting ? Apart from the UN And Its Drooling Puppy dogs I don't see anyone else !! :-( Apart from the Recruitment Officers they have already sent us :-(
    mareela
    5th Feb 2016
    3:42pm
    I'll try Mick. It's certainly better than flying the right wing blue flag. They continue to be shameful. Mind you I really don't think Labor is all that good either but anything would be better than what we have now. And independents will never govern in an Australian parliament. BTW there just aren't enough decent politicians in Australia full stop.
    Anonymous
    5th Feb 2016
    4:26pm
    Don"t tell me you are going to vote for Billy Mr14% Shorten whats his policies he don"t have any .
    Yes he does Gay marriage and a carbon tax to cripple us and he may have to legalise rape to get himself out of a very bad spot a few years ago
    roy
    5th Feb 2016
    7:43pm
    ALP = borrow borrow borrow, spend spend spend, borrow borrow borrow, spend spend spend.
    SGW
    5th Feb 2016
    9:10pm
    we'd have a better government after the next election if we picked the candidates from the animal kngdom
    particolor
    6th Feb 2016
    5:22pm
    Ill take that as Our Present Highly Paid Monkeys aren't muck Chop :-)
    JoMojo
    5th Feb 2016
    4:23pm
    Good on yer Centrelink get these cheats off pronto. Pensioners living in poverty need more dollars.
    LiveItUp
    5th Feb 2016
    4:46pm
    Cash is the big problem here as it can be spend on anything. The sooner they bring in the basics card the better. With the basics card then it is only of it's true value if it is used to buy the rights things. OK they can sell it on for a fraction of it's value but this would make welfare fraud less desirable.
    JoMojo
    6th Feb 2016
    9:13am
    Don't quite get your comment ? I do not go to pokies, nor pub, buy only 2 bottles of booze per year. Australia is 29th one off the bottom of OECD countries in value of our pension. Australia 5% of GDP, Switzerland 15%, Canada 14% et etc. Age pension only people need $50 p.f. more. Be OK if electricity gas water did not keep going up so much. I'd like the politicians to live off the basics card for 2 months LOL.
    Adrianus
    6th Feb 2016
    10:27am
    JoMojo, check the date of that OECD report. I think you'll find it is a few years old.
    I have a 2015 OECD report which puts Australia as one of the worlds most generous countries for the Age Pension. In fact it is the 2nd highest in US$, second only to the Seychelles. No reporters want to make it too public. I wonder why?
    Our GDP is not government revenue. 2012 was at the height of the mining boom.
    Stop being political and look at the facts.
    JoMojo
    6th Feb 2016
    12:08pm
    The OECD report I speak of was quoted in Herald Sun or Age last week. COTA vic newsletter last week also confirms Age pensioners are living below the poverty line. Not many of us got more than 3% Super not 9.5 or 15% !

    Me political...what a joke. The facts are there you are just in denial. Your report. Might be stating Age Pension is generous...yeah for those lucky enough to get large super funds it sure is - not for rest of us.

    How about u coming up with some positive solutions to the dangerous situation Australia is in and stop trying to pass the buck.
    Radish
    10th Feb 2016
    2:22pm
    You are quite correct Frank. If this country is SO bad why are so many wanting to come and live here?

    A trip to a third world country where there is no such thing as welfare would be a real eyeopener for many.

    I am very grateful that my forebears had the foresight to come out here to escape the potato famine in Ireland and for all its faults, as far as I am concerned, this is the best country in which to live.
    Lyn
    5th Feb 2016
    4:30pm
    I agree Bartpcb the multinationals and high flying moguls pay very little tax but the govt won't go near them as they contribute to their coffers when it's election time.
    Always making the small guy pay, if only they would see the big picture. We'd all be better off including the govt coffers.
    LiveItUp
    5th Feb 2016
    4:49pm
    Nothing stopping you doing what the multinationals do. It's legal but takes a bit of setting up.

    Why not just boycott the multinationals instead?
    Lookfar
    5th Feb 2016
    6:11pm
    Dear Scrivener, Centrelink and all the subsidiary Service providers, that provide no services and help no one to find jobs, have been told to lean on the unemployed, - Kings (foolish egotists, and who rememers them) make you wait to show how powerful they are, these bureaucratic nobodies make you wait to shame you, dominate you, tell you what a useless fucker they think you are, on the direct instruction of the Federal Govt.
    This huge horde of parasites that work in all these Govt departments create nothing, make nothing, produce nothing and with blessed exceptions are very difficult to deal with.
    That is what our Govt pays them to do, - and pays them a lot more than what the Govt pays US in pensions, social security, sickness benefits, etc, - many years ago there was a big scandle that the dept of aboriginal affairs only gave 5% to aboriginals, it went down a bit but is back up there now, - wonder what is the ratio with pensions, SS, sickness and whatever benefits, anybody got info on that?
    Generally the Govt admin of this stuff eats up the biggest share, but it is the recipients that are blamed, shamed and villified, not the Govt depts that waste most of the money and we don't need them anyway, - a sensible system would not require skyscrapers full of nincompoops shuffling papers and hating it and waiting for the tea lady to bring their coffee, god what a waste, surely we can do better than that? - We have a planet and our grand children to save, those young beauros could be out there, - digging charcoal into the soil, installing solar panels, wind turbines, etc.- stuff we really need, but what do they do? Wait for the tea lady.. give me strength, wait for the Tea Lady, but if the GOVT could be brave, they could be tracking down those bloody multinationals avoiding tax, feeling some purpose in their lives, helping our country grow strong. - we need a new political party or three.
    particolor
    6th Feb 2016
    5:17pm
    I just listened to something Confirming what You said there !:-(
    The Government Departments are Crowded out by a Factor of 2 !
    With all the Sell offs what are they possible doing ??
    They Cost a Mint and do absolutely Bloody NOTHING !!
    But Paid To Blame the Poor for Everything :-(
    Lookfar
    5th Feb 2016
    7:01pm
    Very good comment Bonny, the law is always behind the reality, - Law is Frozen Feelings, who would have thought?
    SGW
    5th Feb 2016
    7:27pm
    more to the point , what about politician fraud, stop that and the rest of the country could retire
    roy
    5th Feb 2016
    7:42pm
    Stop ALP MP's using union credit cards for hookers and designer clothes, that would be a start.
    mareela
    5th Feb 2016
    7:32pm
    Hi Robbo, your comment does suggest you may be mentally challenged but that's understandable if you only read papers such as the Australian. Now I do think you might be able to read the above article, form an opinion on your very own and comment on same. I have enormous faith in people's ability to stay on track, so Robbo show me I'm right and you really can think for yourself. You might surprise yourself. Go Robbo. ????????
    roy
    5th Feb 2016
    7:40pm
    The truth seems to upset you mareela, now tell me I'm mentally challenged.
    Keep that red flag flying high.
    Anonymous
    6th Feb 2016
    11:07am
    No not mentally challenged at all don"t read the Australian mareela as I said what are Billy Short mans policies he has none he is not capable of being P.M can"t even run the union properly tried to rip it off like his union mates.
    He is a complete blonk.
    Budwah
    5th Feb 2016
    8:26pm
    It must be rembered that a lot of what is shown on Facebook is pure BS but if the money's recovered go back to honest pensioners(which I doubt will happen) it's a good idea.then there are the children who are to young to have a Facebook account so they change their details so that they can open an account, I suppose the Government spooks will be looking into them thinking that they have defrauded the government one way or another.
    particolor
    5th Feb 2016
    8:50pm
    HMM ?

    5th Feb 2016
    9:12pm
    It would be interesting to know how many of these reviews, cases, and arrests resulted in fines, reductions/cancellations of Centrelink payments, and jail terms, rather than not just warnings, cautions, and hours of community service which were NOT waived. Increase and apply the sentence and the offence will reduce.
    particolor
    5th Feb 2016
    10:10pm
    The Housing Boss was around today and asked Me if id mind keeping an Eye on the Unit opposite mine ! And call the Cops if I see anyone in there ! :-) Yeah OK ! :-) He told me She was AWAY for 2 Months ! ? Yeah Ok ? Makes One Wonder ??
    PS I'm happy she is away Holidaying for a while ! A real treasure she is ! :-) :-)
    PEACE ! :-)
    mareela
    5th Feb 2016
    9:21pm
    Mick keep on topic and keep that blue flag flying. You seem to need a little encouragement to stay on topic also. RUOK??
    roy
    5th Feb 2016
    11:29pm
    What on earth is RUOK?
    Keep that red flag flying high.
    Josie4
    5th Feb 2016
    9:27pm
    I' not judging anyone, but honestly how do people live, pay rent, registration, electricity and feed themselves on these pensions. I know a chap on a disability pension and sometimes he does not have enough money left to feed himself and yes he certainly has a disability. I think people get desperate. Through no fault of their own, their future looks very bleak.
    particolor
    5th Feb 2016
    11:40pm
    We got by making ends meet with Cunning a Couple of Years back ! But its getting Increasingly hard now !! :-( The fortnightly pension is enough for a week !!
    Or Fabulous if You don't pay your Bills ! :-)
    Rosret
    8th Feb 2016
    7:09am
    To check on pensioners online would have to be extraodinarily time consuming if done manually. One would imagine they have to have a software app to troll through facebook accounts. My account is only viewable with friends. Does our government have the power to override our privacy settings? Is the government abusing the new terrorist laws to gain information for other purposes? Who else feels they have the right to retrieve, store, and act upon information we upload to facebook.
    Since when did the contents of facebook become undisputeable law.
    Its one thing to be bombarded with ads facebook think we might be interested in its another to assume and act upon a "truth" from a facebook upload.
    Which nation are we living in? ...and what are these pensioners supposed to have done anyway? Aren't they allowed to go on holidays? I pay for my kids to go on holiday with me - perhaps they are lucky enough to have their holidays paid for by their kids.
    particolor
    8th Feb 2016
    10:09am
    Short answer Rosret ! .. Nothing is Sacred Nowadays !! :-(
    PS.. :-)
    Mez
    8th Feb 2016
    12:56pm
    In 2007/8, I and many others in a fire and emergency class were informed that the CIA OWNED FACEBOOK!
    The facial expressions on most of the class comprised of mainly Asians were precious!
    The class was taken by a former policeman and these security comments were further supported by another former Pentagon worker so it obviously doesn't matter whether one has their FB account on friends only privacy setting or not!
    Consider ALL YOUR PHONE CALLS, TEXTS, EMAILS & SOCIAL MEDIA AS PUBLIC/SURVEILLED BY BIG BROTHER!
    Mez
    8th Feb 2016
    10:22am
    Some very good comments, especially by Old Man and Megasheater.
    My first reaction to the article was .......that C.L. has time to scroll people's fb and twitter accounts yet people are still WAITING around an HOUR FOR THEIR CALLS TO BE ANSWERED BY CENTRELINK!
    SIMPLY AMAZING! What more can I say!
    particolor
    8th Feb 2016
    10:36am
    I'm sitting here waiting for My Centrelink Employee to come back from Morning Prayer ?? :-(
    Radish
    8th Feb 2016
    2:35pm
    I am quite amazed that there is not 100% agreement in finding these rorters.

    Why on earth would you not want these rotters caught, fined,or jailed and made to pay back the money.

    Does not make any sense to me at all, I am still a taxpayer and I want my money to go to people who really need it not some dishonest person.
    Adrianus
    8th Feb 2016
    3:35pm
    Radish, you are starting to uncover the true meaning of "solidarity"
    Radish
    10th Feb 2016
    4:20pm
    Iam writing to let the person who put up the disgusting post about myself that I was not at all intimidated by it and it said more about you than me.

    Why you wrote it is totally mystifying as I have not been rude to you; I only voiced my opinion as is my right and yours.

    I personally did not see the post on the site as it was (apparently) quickly deleted by management once it was brought to their notice by another member who was quite concerned at the content.

    However, someone did copy and paste it and I have now.
    Adrianus
    11th Feb 2016
    9:14am
    Good onya Radish!
    The post was bizarre to put it mildly. I won't mention any names but you don’t need to look far to find the author of the threat. If this is the sort of behaviour confronting Centrelink staff I can now understand why they don’t answer the phones. :=(
    Lookfar
    8th Feb 2016
    2:51pm
    Hey Radish, if you would read all the comments, you would have understood that the Govt is wasteing big money to catch the small fry whilst letting the huge fry go free, - is that what you want? - please justify.
    Radish
    8th Feb 2016
    9:44pm
    I dont have to justify my comments and I stand by them. If you are rorting the system I dont care who you are, they should be brought to account .

    I am keeping on topic; which is about Centrelink catching out rorters.
    Radish
    9th Feb 2016
    3:59pm
    I might add that perhaps to some $3 billion in overpayment is a trifling amount...to me it is not.
    particolor
    9th Feb 2016
    7:27pm
    That's a couple of Months Interest Payments on all their Borrowed Loot ! :-( :-(
    Adrianus
    10th Feb 2016
    3:55pm
    parti, it is now only one months borrowing. So if we save $3b that means we don't have to borrow next month.
    particolor
    10th Feb 2016
    9:37pm
    Strewth ! Who cares anymore ? They'll have the Interest up to 5 Billion before they Get Vanished !! :-( :-(
    Adrianus
    11th Feb 2016
    7:22am
    Bonny, I agree with your idea of the basics card. I don't think welfare was ever designed for Pokies, smokes, alcohol and overseas trips.
    The sooner we introduce a basics debit card the better for all of us.
    How are the trials going?
    It is better to take the sugar off the table now well before Labor get back to power.
    Australia cannot handle another term of Labor too soon. They will destroy us with their perfunctory compassion.
    particolor
    11th Feb 2016
    9:01am
    Some Peeps lead a Very Bland Life :-)
    KB
    25th Sep 2018
    12:18pm
    Social media is the trendy way of letting people know about your activities. When you see people there us nothing left to discuss or even when I want to share something with my daughter she knows before I do. Secondly a reminder to grandparents that if you put you photos of grandchildren on your Facebook to share with others you are exposing them to danger. Pedophiles can steal photos of your grandchildren even if you have a private setting