Mr Porter also addressed the Centrelink automated debt recovery debacle; defending the program by saying it has been working as it was intended and slammed Labor senator Linda Burney for allegedly placing “fake victims” before the media.
“The people that have come before the media have been investigated with great diligence by the Minister’s department,” he said. “Maybe we should be asking Linda Burney why it is that she pushed onto the media what are essentially fake examples of victims.’’
He then gave examples of two people who had complained to the media of being framed in the debt recovery scheme, only to be found to have outstanding debts.
“Linda Burney’s response in the media was that she couldn’t be sure in every case that they were genuine victims. Well that’s just not good enough.”
Ms Burney retorted, saying she had not “over-egged” it and was not guilty of planting fake victims in media stories.
“I am an experienced politician and will not be lectured to by Christian Porter,” she said. “This system of automated debt recovery is a disaster. By the government’s own admission, they have gone from saying the mistakes are 20 per cent, to the mistakes are 40 per cent. The cases that Mr Porter is bringing up are not cases that I have been prosecuting in the media. We are very careful about what we prosecute in the media.”