Damning independent legal advice raises the real possibility that Alan Tudge or his office may have broken the law by recklessly leaking the private information of a Centrelink client in an effort to cover up his bungled robo-debt debacle.
Human Services Minister Alan Tudge has announced that Accenture, the company which botched the $800 million overhaul of the Australian Tax Office, has been awarded the first major contract for the “digital transformation” of the Centrelink payment system.
Alan Tudge’s attempts to explain his unethical leaking of personal information about Centrelink customers are inconsistent with the evidence given by his department to Senate estimates hearings just a few weeks ago.
The Senate inquiry into the Centrelink debt recovery process has revealed that the Government is paying private debt collectors commission only to rake back potentially incorrect automated debts from former Centrelink recipients.
Centrelink staff have been too afraid to communicate their concerns about Centrelink’s botched debt recovery program, according to evidence given at a Senate Inquiry today.
Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert is today urging Centrelink recipients to make submissions to the Senate inquiry and not to be deterred by the Government's current behaviour in releasing personal information, explaining that giving evidence to a Senate committee is covered by Parliamentary Privilege.
“It is deeply concerning that DHS staff have been trawling through social media to find people complaining about Centrelink to provide to the Minister”, Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said today.
“28 million calls hitting a busy signal in the first seven months of this financial year is astronomical and could reflect people trying to get through to fix an incorrect debt”, Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said today.
Senior public servants have revealed that the Turnbull Government will cut funding which is meant to help catch serious criminals exploiting Centrelink, while Alan Tudge continues to target the most vulnerable with his error prone robo-debt system.
Labor has asked the Australian Federal Police to investigate revelations that the Minister for Human Services, Alan Tudge, or his office, sent confidential Department briefs about a former Centrelink client to journalists.
Mr Tudge’s conduct is totally unacceptable. The confidential briefings reportedly contained details on the individual’s relationship and tax history.
Alan Tudge has serious questions to answer. At best, his conduct is unethical. At worst, it is illegal.
A spokesperson for the Department of Human Services has reportedly dismissed Alan Tudge’s comments to the Parliament justifying his decision to leak private information as “not relevant”, meaning that the Minister still hasn’t explained whether the data breaches were legal.
Instead of targeting ordinary Australians to cover up his robo-debt disaster, Mr Tudge should get on fixing his broken system.
In an epic violation of trust, Minister for Human Services Alan Tudge has intentionally given out a Centrelink client’s personal information to Fairfax media, as a part of a political campaign to discredit and silence Australians speaking out against the nightmare of Centrelink’s debt recovery program. The article, published by Fairfax media, contained personal information that was used to “correct the record”, but only serves to highlight the abuse of power within Federal Government departments who would rather be seen to silence criticism than fix the issue at hand.
Alan Tudge, Minister for Human Services, has been providing confidential information to the media in an effort to hide his failing robo-debt system.
“It is extremely concerning that the Government has willingly and openly given media the personal details of a Centrelink recipient and will do so again to those who dare to speak out about the automated debt recovery system.
Yesterday evening, news.com.au once more ran a misleading story about the department’s debt recovery processes, attempting to again wrongly link it to the online compliance system. Had the department been afforded an opportunity to investigate the cases featured in the story prior to publishing, we would have quickly corrected this erroneous assumption.
Claims made recently about the Department of Human Services’ use of external collection agents are inaccurate and require clarification.
Agencies who have been engaged by the department to recover debt from people will always ensure their operators clearly identify themselves as calling ‘on behalf of’ the department.
A report of a debt collection agency portraying itself as a Government department is just another underhanded and nasty tactic being used as part of the Government’s automated debt recovery program, Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said today.
“Senator Brandis: step out of your ivory tower, and attempt to call Centrelink. Be prepared for a wake-up call”, Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said today.
The Government’s announcement of ‘improvements’ to the debt recovery system are fiddling around the edges and do not address the fundamental issues of the Centrelink automated debt recovery system, Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said today.
The CPSU says the Turnbull Government has made minor improvements to its Centrelink robo-debt system, but has not addressed the fundamental flaws in the system.