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Media

No need for Centrelink to prove your comments are adverse: they only need to think so before exposing you to media.

1 March 2017
No Place For Sheep

Further to yesterday’s post on the release to Fairfax media of private information by Human Services Minister Alan Tudge, the minister has justified his decision to take this action on the grounds that he is entitled by law to reveal personal details if the individual has made complaints in the media Centrelink considers false.
In other words, if you complain in the media about Centrelink, your private information can be released by that department in its own defence.

Privacy Commissioner 'making inquiries' after Centrelink leaked personal information to journalist

28 February 2017
ABC News

The Government's privacy watchdog wants answers from bureaucrats who provided a Centrelink client's personal details to a journalist in a bid to counter her public criticisms.
Public servants have also told ABC News they are concerned the disclosure could inadvertently breach the privacy undertakings of other departments who share their data with Department of Human Services (DHS).

Fairfax and Centrelink unite in an unprecedented move to publicly persecute one woman.

28 February 2017
No Place For Sheep

Just to make it clear: Centrelink has released the private details of an individual citizen without her permission in order to present Alan Tudge’s “side of the story.”
In case there might be any doubt about Tudge’s intentions, Paul Malone and Fairfax have confirmed in their headline that Tudge’s only goal is to use the personal information of a citizen to present his side of the story.

Privacy commissioner ‘making inquiries’ about Centrelink’s flexible privacy principles

28 February 2017
The Mandarin

Activists accuse the Department of Human Services of releasing private personal information about a woman in an effort to silence her criticism of its much-maligned debt recovery drive, but the department maintains it has done nothing wrong and the privacy commissioner is looking into the case.

Querying the Government’s Authority to “Correct the Record”

28 February 2017
Law and Justice: Latrobe Law School Blog

“We don’t comment on particular cases”. Few lines are more ubiquitous in the public sphere. It is no surprise therefore, that the controversy regarding the disclosure of an individual’s personal information by the Department of Human Services has touched off enormous media comment and criticism.

Centrelink outside the law on robo-debt recovery

28 February 2017
Brisbane Times

People pursued by Centrelink over its controversial "robo-debts" are being denied the protection of Australian consumer law, a Parliamentary inquiry has been told.
The welfare agency is exempt from laws and guidelines covering debt collection by private businesses, "even the much maligned banks", according to the chief executive of Victorian community organisation Family Care, David Tennant.

Greens Senator Rachel Siewert responds to Government leaking Centrelink recipient details to media

28 February 2017
Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens Senator for Western Australia

“It is extremely concerning that the Government has willingly and openly given media the personal details of a Centrelink recipient and will do so again to those who dare to speak out about the automated debt recovery system.

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.

Correcting misleading story about department’s debt recovery process

24 February 2017
Australian Government Department of Human Services Media Hub

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.

‘They called more than 10 times a day’: Sinister tactics of debt collectors paid millions by Centrelink

24 February 2017
news.com.au

It starts with a barrage of text messages telling you to urgently call a number. Then the persistent phone calls, sometimes more than ten a day.
Then come the letters telling you to pay “immediately” or risk “further recovery action”, including taking the money directly from your wages or bank account, or seizing your assets.
These mysterious antagonists are the debt collection companies paid millions by Centrelink to wage campaigns of harassment against unsuspecting Australians.

Centrelink's robo-copout

23 February 2017
Latrobe Valley Express

Churchill resident Kate Zizys can empathise with Centrelink clients affected by 'robo-debt' orders for money they may not owe.
Having been in the Centrelink system on and off for most of her adult life, Ms Zizys has been forced to make inflated repayments in the past, despite going to appeal.

Department paying the price

23 February 2017
Latrobe Valley Express

Morwell based Centrelink staff will be resisting the urge to say 'I told you so' after Labor and the Greens successfully lobbied for a senate inquiry into the Federal Government's maligned 'robo-debt' scheme.
In the past two years about 18 skilled Morwell staff have been transferred into other roles to make way for automated-debt calculation technology, which has since led to thousands of Centrelink clients facing repayments they do not owe.

Debt collectors posing as Government department just another line of deceit

22 February 2017
Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens Senator for Western Australia

A report of a debt collection agency portraying itself as a Government department is just another underhanded and nasty tactic being used as part of the Government’s automated debt recovery program, Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said today.

Response to claims about the department’s use of external collection agents

22 February 2017
Australian Government Department of Human Services Media Hub

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.

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