Centrelink has wrongfully harassed a Sydney cancer survivor for a $4500 debt in what Labor frontbencher Anthony Albanese says is a callous move.
Mr Barber was diagnosed with cancer in 2010 and received welfare payments while he took temporary leave from his work while undergoing chemotherapy treatment.
He was sent a debt notice of $4500 in the lead-up to Christmas.
"He deserves better from our national government than to be treated with such disrespect," Mr Albanese told reporters in Sydney.
Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce defended the government's crackdown on welfare overpayments.
"I make no apology for making sure that those who didn't need it, who got it, pay the money back," he told ABC Radio