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Centrelink debt scandal: report reveals multiple failures in welfare system

10 April 2017
Guardian

An ombudsman’s report on the roll out of Centrelink’s automated debt recovery service has identified multiple failures that placed unreasonable burdens on welfare recipients and staff.
The self-initiated investigation was announced in January after months of complaints that the problem-riddled system was sending incorrect debt notices to people.

Centrelink debt furore: police won't investigate release of welfare recipient's data

8 May 2017
Guardian

The Australian federal police has said it will not investigate allegations the minister responsible for Centrelink unlawfully shared the private details of a welfare recipient with the media without their consent.
The human services minister, Alan Tudge, was told by federal police on Monday they would not be investigating the claims any further.

New privacy code for public servants after Centrelink 'robo-debt' debacle

18 May 2017
Guardian

A new privacy code will be developed for Australia’s public service in the wake of Centrelink’s “robo-debt” debacle, it was announced on Thursday.
An investigation is also being restarted to figure out how the minister for human services, Alan Tudge, was able to send internal departmental briefings to a journalist about a welfare recipient’s personal circumstances.
Timothy Pilgrim, the Australian privacy commissioner, said the new privacy code will be developed for Australia’s public service, with help from Martin Parkinson, the secretary of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, to be implemented in 2018. He made the announcement on Thursday, during the final day of public hearings in a Senate inquiry into Centrelink’s automated debt recovery system.

Tudge locates, won't release legal advice on Andie Fox case

29 May 2017
Crikey

The office of Human Services Minister Alan Tudge has refused to release more than a dozen documents related to his decision to release personal information on a critic of his robo-debt notice system on the grounds it is legally privileged and would disclose personal information.
After months of searching, Crikey finally managed to track down the advice Tudge was relying on when his office released the personal information of blogger Andie Fox to a Canberra Times journalist, but now his office won’t hand it over.

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.

DHS trawling social media to find Centrelink complaints only to intimidate recipients is huge concern: Greens

3 March 2017
Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens Senator for Western Australia

“It is deeply concerning that DHS staff have been trawling through social media to find people complaining about Centrelink to provide to the Minister”, Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said today.

Greens seek advice from Senate Clerk about potential witnesses feeling intimidated in the lead up to the senate Centrelink inquiry

3 March 2017
Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens Senator for Western Australia

Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert is today urging Centrelink recipients to make submissions to the Senate inquiry and not to be deterred by the Government's current behaviour in releasing personal information, explaining that giving evidence to a Senate committee is covered by Parliamentary Privilege.

Government using commission only private debt collectors for automated debt recovery program

9 March 2017
Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens Senator for Western Australia

The Senate inquiry into the Centrelink debt recovery process has revealed that the Government is paying private debt collectors commission only to rake back potentially incorrect automated debts from former Centrelink recipients.

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