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The Government Copped A Beating In New Poll Over Centrelink Debt Shitstorm

15 January 2017
James Hennessy
pedestrian TV

Ah, it isn't a new year until fresh polling rolls in telling us all just how much Australia hates its current government. The answer: a fair bit.

A new poll by Reachtel, commissioned by GetUp! and taken before Sussan Ley's resignation, finds that the politician expense scandals and the Centrelink nightmare are not getting the government's year off to good start. According to the poll, Labor leads the Coalition 54-46 on a two-party preferred basis.

The poll focused heavily on the Centrelink issue, with 46.2% of people saying they want the debt collection suspended, compared to only 36.2% who want to keep it. The rest are undecided.

78.6% of respondents believe that the burden of proof for debt claims should be on Centrelink, not on the recipient of the letter.

One caveat: It's worth mentioning that the info provided to respondents isn't quite right. They were told that “the government admits that at least 20% of [Centrelink] letters are incorrect, but the burden is on Centrelink clients to correct the information or pay the debt”. In fact the government doesn't admit that 20% of letters are 'incorrect' – just that 20% of recipients can explain the discrepancy. It's semantics, but important.