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Q&A: Laughter as George Brandis says debt recovery notices can be fixed by contacting Centrelink

21 February 2017
ABC News

Attorney-General George Brandis has engaged in a heated discussion about offshore detention centres on Q&A, but it was the senator's suggestion wrongly issued debt recovery notices could be resolved by contacting Centrelink that drew one of the biggest audience responses.

The program had heard from Lyndsey Jackson, the creator of a website for people who had wrongly received letters as part of the debt recovery scheme, who said hundreds of people were suffering anxiety as they were forced to disprove the claims.

"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.

Senator Brandis said there was a simple solution to remedy an incorrectly issued notice.

"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 to laughter from the audience.

Deputy Labor Leader Tanya Plibersek, who was also on the panel, was quick to respond.

"What's the average call waiting time now George?" she said.