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Tudge misses own 21 day deadline on robo-debt debacle

17 January 2017
The Hon Linda Burney MP
The Hon Linda Burney MP, Shadow Minister for Human Services, ALP Member for Barton

After 21 days, Minister for Human Services Alan Tudge still hasn’t responded to representations made by Shadow Minister for Human Services Linda Burney calling for a halt to his deeply flawed robo-debt program.
Centrelink clients get 21 days to respond to initial correspondence before they are assumed to be guilty and forced to start paying while they search for evidence to prove their innocence.
Ms Burney wrote to the Minister on the 28th December 2016 asking that he pause the program and institute changes to ensure it was targeting the right people.
Mr Tudge remained on leave until early last week, despite mounting public concern, an ombudsman’s investigation and a possible review by the Auditor General.
While Mr Tudge maintains that the program allows plenty of time for those wrongly accused to prove their innocence he clearly doesn’t believe that 3 weeks enough time for him to provide a written response.
The failure comes as the government back flipped yesterday and announced that some changes would be made but that none would apply to the more than 200,000 people already caught in the Centrelink debt mess.
“The Minister thinks 3 weeks is plenty of time for those caught in his robo-debt debacle but not for him to write a simple response, what an outrageous double standard.” Ms Burney said
“The minister knows there is a problem with his robo-debt system, if he is going to make changes he should pause the system and apply them retrospectively, that’s only fair.”
“This is typical of the Turnbull government - from expenses to the robo-debt mess; they think it’s one set of rules for them and another for everyone else.”