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Talking Point: Welfare cash chase is way off target

9 January 2017
Peter Whish-Wilson
The Mercury

This is how the Turnbull Government says “Merry Christmas” to some vulnerable Australians.

The computer errors may be the result of bungling but the vilification and denigration of poorer Australians is a deliberate political tactic.

The Government has brought in the AFP to give the appearance of fighting a war against a mock enemy of what they would call “dole-bludgers” and “welfare cheats”.

This war on the poor has been one of the few things that has united the Turnbull and Abbott governments.It was evident ever since the former Treasurer Joe Hockey’s budget in 2014.

Joe Hockey promised that “the era of entitlement was over” but what he meant was that the social safety net will be cut.

And not only did they set about to cut the safety net but they also started to demonise people for being in the situation to need it.

Late last year, Labor and Liberal voted to pass an Omnibus Savings Bill that has facilitated much of this so-called debt collection.

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There is a massive issue of rorting in Australia and it needs to be stamped out.

But this rorting does not come from an 18-year-old school-leaver looking for her first job or the truck driver trying to return to work after his third back operation.

The rorting we need to crack down on in Australia is the multinational companies who pay hardly a cent in tax, but somehow have money to donate to political parties.

It’s also the very wealthy individuals who use complicated tax loopholes to avoid paying their fair share.

But you won’t see the Turnbull government crackdown on these bludgers because the issue really isn’t raising revenue; the issue for the Government is helping their friends and punishing their opponents.

It’s easy to see why this Government’s most recent debacle on its Centrelink “fraud crackdown” has been perceived as a fraud itself, with one in five of these requests for repayments being incorrect. This new Centrelink system is fundamentally broken and urgently needs to be stopped until an independent review is carried out.