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Porter negligent on Centrelink robo-debt debacle

6 April 2017
The Hon Linda Burney MP; The Hon Jenny Macklin MP
The Hon Linda Burney MP, Shadow Minister for Human Services, ALP Member for Barton; The Hon Jenny Macklin MP, Shadow Member for Families and Social Services, ALP Member for Jagajaga

According to a Freedom of Information Request by the ABC, the Minister for Social Services, Christian Porter and his Department claim to not have been informed about the Centrelink robo-debt debacle.
The FOI request reveals that Mr Porter did not receive any written briefings, documents or analysis about the program from Centrelink or his department before publicly proclaiming it was working "incredibly well", earlier this year.
On what basis did Mr Porter claim the robo-debt program was working “incredibly well”?
Mr Porter is the Cabinet Minister responsible for the Department of Human Services, he is a Member of the Expenditure Review Committee.
Yet between May 2016 and March 2017, no documents, briefings or analysis on the scheme were sent from the Department of Social Services to any Minister or the Department of Human Services, according to the FOI request.
It beggars belief that Mr Porter was not briefed by the Department.
Mr Porter must take responsibility for his own role in the robo-debt debacle.
His own Department is jointly responsible for this mess.
This is just another example of the Turnbull Government’s incompetence.
In March, the Australian Taxation Office also revealed it had no direct discussion with Centrelink about the robo-debt mess until after it became embroiled in widespread criticism.
The Turnbull Government must suspend the Centrelink robo-debt mess and get on with the job of fixing the system.