Those who publicly criticise Centrelink’s automated debt recovery program could have their personal information released to correct the record, the Department of Human Services (DHS) has warned.
A DHS spokesman said personal information could be released by the Government to correct public statements of complaints.
“Such disclosures are made for the purposes of the social security law or the family assistance law, they do not need to be formally authorised by the secretary,” the spokesman said.
“Unfounded allegations unnecessarily undermine confidence and takes staff effort away from dealing with other claims.
“We will continue to correct the record on such occasions.”
Labor’s Linda Burney accused DHS of “deeply unethical actions” and the Government of seeking “revenge”.
“The disclosure has occurred deliberately to smear a private individual who has spoken out about the error prone robo-debt program and the deeply flawed Centrelink debt recovery process,” she said.
“Correcting the record is one thing, attempting to smear and discredit opponents is entirely different and far more troubling.”
Greens senator Rachel Siewart said the disclosure was “extremely concerning” and appeared to be an attack on Ms Fox, “who was brave enough to speak about her struggle with the government agency”.