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The government’s horrific start to the year is fully deserved and completely appropriate

15 January 2017

The government’s horrific start to the year is not only fully deserved, it is completely appropriate. The Centrelink shemozzle and entitlements abuses are a wonderful amalgam of the absence of respect for those on welfare and the tin-eared political nous which characterises this government.
Let’s not pretend that Centrelink issuing faulty debt notices is just a case of IT gone wrong.
Faults where people are issued debt notices of $14,000 due to the system incorrectly duplicating employers, or because it hamfistedly averages annual income over 52 weeks are not really IT glitches, but rather are part of the policy design.

Centrelink mess is what the government wants

13 January 2017
IT Wire

The mess created by the Australian Government's bid to automate the search for people who are cheating on their welfare entitlements shows no sign of disappearing, with ministers standing by the methods used.
These methods have been shown to be generating false positives by many media organisations but the government refuses to budge.
The view of many is that this is typical political behaviour: make a mistake and then refuse to own up to it.
But a different theory appears to be more logical: Malcolm Turnbull and his ministers are refusing to budge because they want a situation of this kind to exist.

The Centrelink and expenses scandals reveal the rot at the heart of our democracy

13 January 2017

Australian democracy right now may be more vulnerable than many care to admit. One reason is that the branch office mentality of so many politicians often leads them to assimilate and ape American trends. The usual suspects have been flaunting their Trump fandom, but others may come to see his victory and his politics as something to be more closely emulated.
More serious, though, are multiplying signs of a kind of structural rot whose sources are internal.

Centrelink's automated debacle shows we need to rethink welfare and work

10 January 2017
The Age

There is a dark irony in the fact that many of those who have been hit by Centrelink's automated debt recovery debacle are on benefits in the first place because automation is dramatically changing the face of work, making it harder for many people to find secure, paid employment.
While the still-unfolding event is a political mess for the Turnbull government, and a personal tragedy for those caught up in it, it's important that we reflect on what it means for how our politics deals with welfare and work.

Centrelink debt letter surge to resume as government promises tweaks to the system

11 January 2017

Centrelink will resume posting controversial debt recovery letters to thousands of Australians, as Human Services Minister Alan Tudge has defended efforts to recoup incorrect welfare payments and denied the agency made fundamental errors.
Standard procedures saw a halt to initial letters being sent to welfare recipients on December 3 last year, but thousands of Australians have reported receiving debt demands over the Christmas and New Year period, including some for tens of thousands of dollars.

Centrelink data system to be ‘refined’

12 January 2017
The Australian

Centrelink’s controversial data-matching program will be ­“refined”, as the Turnbull government tries to deflect mounting political pressure from welfare groups and Labor for it to be suspend­ed.
The Australian Council of Social­ Service yesterday joined the federal opposition in calling for a halt to the scheme and an inde­pendent review, declaring that the automated debt-recovery prog­ram was treating current and past Centrelink recipients “like second­-class citizens”.

Bearing the brunt of state-sanctioned thuggery: the Centrelink debt debacle

9 January 2017
The Australian Independent Media Network

In a classic operation, most commonly perpetrated by telephone conmen and door-knocking scammers, the Turnbull Government has hit the jackpot. Boasting of returns of over $300 million after hitting up only 169,000 Australians, someone deep in the murky depths of Government has clearly been taking lessons from the lowest of predatory scumbags.


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