As fed-up Australians demand answers from the seemingly unreachable Centrelink department, Attorney General George Brandis has bemused a television audience with his potential solution – “contact Centrelink”.
Appearing on ABC’s Q&A, Mr Brandis and the panel heard from frustrated audience members about anxiety around notices to discontinue benefits, and wrongly issued Centrelink debt recovery notices.
Lyndsey Jackson created a website for those who had wrongly received letters as part of the debt recovery scheme and said for some the anxiety had become too much to bear.
"Tragically on the weekend we heard that a young man had taken his own life, in part attributed to the stress of having a $10,000 Centrelink debt issued to him from many years earlier," she said.
With the point firmly made that contacting Centrelink was nothing short of a nightmare, Mr Brandis' solution was so flawed, the audience couldn't help but laugh.
"When a notice is issued and it appears to the person to whom the notice is issued a mistake has been made, they can contact Centrelink and sort out the problem," he said over the top of ironic laughs.