They provided no evidence of any debt (from over 4 years ago).
I was freelancing at the time and frequently had long periods when I was unpaid, and relied on Newstart completely.
They knew this at the time.
Extremely poorly, especially given that it seems a majority of the debts are inaccurate at best, and completely incorrect at worst. The whole thing is a real mess.
The measure of any society is in how it takes care of its worst off.
If the ATO is desperate for money, they should start by closing tax loopholes on the corporations that pay zero tax in this country, instead of hitting up its poorest citizens.
In the same period of my supposed debt, these companies paid no tax: Qantas, Shell, Origin Energy, Adani, Amcor, American Express, Atlassian, BHP Billiton, Chevron, Emirates, Disney, Exxonmobil, Ford, Foxtel, GE, General Motors, Goldman Sachs, Hewlett Packard, Honda, JB Were, JP Morgan, Mirvac, Mitsubishi, Officemax, Pricewaterhouse Coopers, Samsung, Ten network, Toyota, UGL, Universal/Sony pictures, Warner Bros, Westpac.
The list goes on. Look it up.