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Labor disrupts parliament over Centrelink

28 February 2017
9 News

Labor is attempting to suspend the business of federal parliament, accusing the Turnbull government of breaching privacy laws by leaking confidential information about Centrelink customers.

Opposition human services spokeswoman Linda Burney moved a motion in the lower house on Tuesday, arguing the government had conducted a vindictive campaign to gag those who complain about the Centrelink scandal by leaking their details to the media.

"They have made it clear, if you speak out they will target you," she said.

"They wanted revenge on those who have spoken publicly.

"We serve the people in this place and it's not for us to target them."

Ms Burney is demanding an apology to those who have been targeted.

Human Services Minister Alan Tudge insists the government is allowed to release a person's private information under social services laws in order to correct the record.


Labor is demanding the government reveal who authorised the release of the confidential information.

It claims 4000 Centrelink customers each week receive letters incorrectly accusing them of owing money.

"Pensioners are being frightened out of their wits by this government," senior Labor figure Jenny Macklin told parliament.

"People think they owe these enormous debts when in fact they owe nothing."

The debate was adjourned until later on Tuesday but the government has the numbers to shut it down.