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Liberal MP to Tudge - robo-debt debacle is unacceptable

2 February 2017
The Hon Linda Burney MP
The Hon Linda Burney MP, Shadow Minister for Human Services, ALP Member for Barton

Liberal Senator for Tasmania, Eric Abetz, this morning conceded that Alan Tudge’s error prone robo-debt system had made too many mistakes and was hurting honest Australians.
The admission comes despite Mr Tudge repeatedly insisting that the system is working well and follows calls by Will Hodgman, the Liberal Premier of Tasmania, for the program to be fixed.
The robo-debt system has sparked protests around the country, led to welfare groups calling on the Prime Minister to intervene and seen Centrelink pushed to breaking point. Despite attempts by the Turnbull Government to smear those who have been wrongly issued debt notices the Turnbull Government has confirmed that at least 40 per cent of those that have publically raised their issues owe no debt at all.
In the interview on ABC Local Radio in Hobart this morning, Mr Abetz also left open the possibility that he would support Labor’s moves to establish a Senate Inquiry into the Centrelink debt recovery debacle when Parliament resumes next week and said that the issuing of false debt notices was “unacceptable”.
Mr Abetz said:
“The task is to ensure like with any computer program, garbage in garbage out, you want to limit the garbage that goes in or the incorrect information and that is where Centrelink, I think, has let down the Australian people. The principle of the policy is right to ensure that payments are correct…”
ABC MORNINGS WITH LEON COMPTON, 2 FEBRUARY 2017
This is in direct contrast to the Minister for Human Services who says:
“So the system is working and we will continue with that system.”
ALAN TUDGE, MINISTER FOR HUMAN SERVICES
RADIO NATIONAL BREAKFAST WITH HAMISH MACDONALD, 11 JANUARY 2017
Even Liberal senators know there is a problem with the robo-debt system, if the Minister won’t own up and fix these issues then the Parliament will hold him to account.
Alan Tudge is the minister overseeing Centrelink, if Centrelink is failing the Australian people then that responsibility lies at his feet.
If Alan Tudge doesn’t want to listen to those coming forward to tell their stories or to the welfare groups asking him to take action, I hope he will at least listen to his own Liberal colleagues.