In an epic violation of trust, Minister for Human Services Alan Tudge has intentionally given out a Centrelink client’s personal information to Fairfax media, as a part of a political campaign to discredit and silence Australians speaking out against the nightmare of Centrelink’s debt recovery program. The article, published by Fairfax media, contained personal information that was used to “correct the record”, but only serves to highlight the abuse of power within Federal Government departments who would rather be seen to silence criticism than fix the issue at hand.
Yesterday evening, news.com.au once more ran a misleading story about the department’s debt recovery processes, attempting to again wrongly link it to the online compliance system. Had the department been afforded an opportunity to investigate the cases featured in the story prior to publishing, we would have quickly corrected this erroneous assumption.
Claims made recently about the Department of Human Services’ use of external collection agents are inaccurate and require clarification.
Agencies who have been engaged by the department to recover debt from people will always ensure their operators clearly identify themselves as calling ‘on behalf of’ the department.
The Government’s announcement of ‘improvements’ to the debt recovery system are fiddling around the edges and do not address the fundamental issues of the Centrelink automated debt recovery system, Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said today.
The CPSU says the Turnbull Government has made minor improvements to its Centrelink robo-debt system, but has not addressed the fundamental flaws in the system.
The Federal Parliament has established a Senate Inquiry into the Centrelink automated debt recovery program (widely known as 'robo debt').
Your personal information does not have to be made public; you can choose to suppress your personal information, or make your submission confidential.
Submissions to the Inquiry are due Wednesday 22 March 2017.
The CPSU has welcomed independent MP Andrew Wilkie’s private member’s bill to help protect Centrelink customers caught up in the robo-debt crisis.
Mr Wilkie’s proposed legislation would prevent the Department of Human Services from receiving payments from customers for debts under review.
The Independent Member for Denison, Andrew Wilkie, this morning introduced a Private Member’s Bill that would ensure Centrelink cannot make automatic deductions from a person’s payment to settle a debt while the person is appealing that debt.
CPSU members will use a Senate inquiry into the Centrelink automated debt crisis to reveal the full extent of dysfunction with the policy and more broadly in the Department of Human Services.
The Greens have worked with Labor to lodge a notice of motion for a senate inquiry into the Government’s failing Centrelink automated debt recovery system that has been rolled out since last year. The Senate will vote on the motion tomorrow.
Rachel has called on the government to end Centrelink's flawed debt recovery processes after a series of errors have led to thousands of incorrect debt notices being send to some of the most vulnerable members of my community.
The Independent Member for Denison, Andrew Wilkie, moved a motion in the House of Representatives shortly after midday today calling on the Minister for Human Services to acknowledge that the Centrelink debt recovery program has been a disaster and must be shut down immediately.
Mr Wilkie was responding to overwhelming community concern over the financial and emotional hardship the scheme has caused with about 4,000 incorrect debt notices being issued each week.
A copy of the motion follows in full.
The ACT Council of Social Service Inc. (ACTCOSS) again today calls on Senator Zed Seselja to stand up for people in the ACT caught up in the Federal Government’s Centrelink Robo-Debt Recovery Program.
ACTCOSS Director, Susan Helyar, says that the government’s Debt Recovery Program is an unjust prosecution of our communities’ most vulnerable, who need support from local MPs.
If you are affected by Centrelink’s automated debt recovery program and do not know how to respond, or believe a debt has been wrongly raised, there are number of things you can do.
The Anti-Poverty Network (APN-SA), in conjunction with Women in Poverty (WIP), is holding a protest rally on Tuesday 31st January 2017 to demand the Turnbull government suspend the “Robo-Debt” Centrelink system that is issuing hundreds of thousands of debt notices, many of which have been proven false, to current and previous welfare recipients.
Public discussion continues to present false accounts of the Department of Humans Services’ online compliance review system.
The department has already rejected unsubstantiated claims from anonymous staff in statements last week, including refuting allegations about the treatment of exempt income. All assessments appropriately consider assessable and non-assessable income.
The CPSU has today launched an open letter to Centrelink customers on behalf of Centrelink staff as controversy continues to rage around the Centrelink automated debt crisis.
Last week DHS spokesperson, Hank Jongen sought to blame staff for the community’s widespread resistance to and frustration with the online compliance system. This is massive spin, even for Hank. The irony here being that if frontline staff had had input into the design of the troubled online compliance system it wouldn’t be generating erroneous debts.
Claims made today about the Department of Human Services’ online compliance activity do not accurately represent how the system works.
General Manager Hank Jongen said the system was designed to identify differences between Australian Taxation Office and Centrelink payment records, and was performing the task as intended.
“We will continue to work with staff to explain how the system operates and the role they play.”
The National Social Security Rights Network (NSSRN) has spent recent weeks trying to help people respond to debts raised by Centrelink’s online compliance system. Along with many other organisations, we recently called for the system to be suspended until problems were fixed.