The Senate inquiry into Alan Tudge’s bungled robo-debt disaster has handed down a scathing report of the system, finding that it was doomed from its inception despite claims from the government that the system was “working well”.
A Labor- and Greens-dominated Senate committee has called on the Government to suspend Centrelink's controversial debt recovery program until it reconciles "a fundamental lack of procedural fairness".
This is the third feature in Ben Eltham’s 2017 investigation into Centrelink’s robo-debt program. The first article in the series was published in January, and the second article in March.
Centrelink’s sprawling data-matching empire is opaque, error-prone and almost completely impossible to understand, writes Ben Eltham. And it’s expanding across government programs and agencies.
After listening to weeks of harrowing testimony, Siewert has found the Senate Inquiry a draining experience.
“You come out of those hearings and you feel really drained. The evidence we hear is very distressing – hearing of people’s experiences and feeling their sense of powerlessness and despair.”
Labor-commissioned legal advice says it is “reasonably clear” that the government committed a criminal offence when it released the personal details of welfare recipient Andie Fox.
The opposition recently engaged one of Australia’s leading criminal barristers, Robert Richter, QC, to consider the release of Fox’s protected information by the office of human services minister, Alan Tudge, in February.
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.
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.
Labor has today called on the Australian National Audit Office to conduct an independent performance review into the Turnbull Government’s disastrous, error prone Centrelink data matching program.
The Minister for Human Services, Alan Tudge, still isn’t across the detail of his bungled robo debt recovery program, contradicting his senior minister and his own department.
Linda Burney, Shadow Minister for Human Services, raised concerns following a number of confused and inconsistent statements made by Mr Tudge since he returned from holidays just this week.
Alan Tudge, Minister for Human Services, either isn’t across his portfolio or is deliberately misleading the public a leaked Centrelink robo-debt memo shows.
In a number of media interviews since he returned from holidays just this week Mr Tudge insisted that the thousands of people slugged with false robo-debt notices were able to request assistance from Centrelink staff in person or by phone.
Shadow Minister for Human Services, Linda Burney, has called on Alan Tudge to apologise to those caught in his robo-debt mess following his concession in media reports this morning that changes need to be made.
The stunning admission comes just a week after the Minister returned from holidays and insisted that no changes would be made and that “the system [was] working well”.