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Senate inquiry

Centrelink inquiry told 'income averaging' creating incorrect welfare debts

6 April 2017
Guardian

Forcing welfare recipients to disprove their own debts has made the error-prone, previously rare practice of “income averaging” commonplace, welfare advocates say.
The National Social Security Rights Network has used its submission to the “robo-debt” Senate inquiry to provide a forensic and detailed account of the problems with the new system.

Centrelink robo-debt 'abject failure' and arguably unlawful, Victoria Legal Aid says

11 April 2017
Guardian

Scathing assessment comes as system again put under the microscope, this time by external auditors PwC Australia.
Victoria Legal Aid has described Centrelink’s robo-debt system as an “abject failure” which is an arguably unlawful response to the government’s self-inflicted budget problems.

New privacy code for public servants after Centrelink 'robo-debt' debacle

18 May 2017
Guardian

A new privacy code will be developed for Australia’s public service in the wake of Centrelink’s “robo-debt” debacle, it was announced on Thursday.
An investigation is also being restarted to figure out how the minister for human services, Alan Tudge, was able to send internal departmental briefings to a journalist about a welfare recipient’s personal circumstances.
Timothy Pilgrim, the Australian privacy commissioner, said the new privacy code will be developed for Australia’s public service, with help from Martin Parkinson, the secretary of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, to be implemented in 2018. He made the announcement on Thursday, during the final day of public hearings in a Senate inquiry into Centrelink’s automated debt recovery system.

Centrelink crisis: more than a third of debts overturned by appeals tribunal

30 May 2017
Guardian

More than a third of Australian welfare debt recovery decisions have been overturned by the independent tribunal that oversees Centrelink.
The Administrative Appeals Tribunal has set aside 960 Centrelink debt decisions out of 2,699 appeals lodged between March 2016 and March 2017, while a further 132 were “varied”.
The majority of the decisions are likely too early to relate to the government’s controversial “robo debt” measure but Guardian Australia understands tribunal members are concerned about the looming workload caused by the government’s use of the automated system.

Greens Senator Rachel Siewert responds to Government leaking Centrelink recipient details to media

28 February 2017
Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens Senator for Western Australia

“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.

Greens seek advice from Senate Clerk about potential witnesses feeling intimidated in the lead up to the senate Centrelink inquiry

3 March 2017
Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens Senator for Western Australia

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.

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