I was recovering from a bout of clinical depression for which I was receiving treatment when I first received notification of the proposed debt. This was communicated to me over the phone during business hours when I was at work. I quickly became distressed and upset upon being told that I owed over $10,000 to the department of human services. No justification for this proposed "over payment" was provided. I conducted my own investigation and attempted to recover evidence of my earnings during the period being disputed. As I was working irregular hours during this period (also studying at university and managing chronic health conditions) so, the bogus "calculations" on which robodebt are based were incorrect. No matter how many times I asked for how this debt came about, no rationale was provided. I received a number of letters which were issued incorrectly e.g. letter dated June 2018 stating my Newstart Allowance was being cancelled from Jan 2014 and various "interest charged" notices. I had to call Centrelink on a number of occasions to clarify the information being presented to me and I was regularly misinformed about the process of appeal and the debt recovery process. My case was even sent to a debt collector before I had been advised of the outcome of my requested debt review. Throughout this process I experienced much anxiety but was determined to fight the proposed debt as I felt it and the fact a government could back such a flawed system (impacting on its most vulnerable) was abhorrent. There were many nights spent crying to my parents, partners and friends about the issue and I found the entire ordeal to be scary and overwhelming. Ultimately, Centrelink chose to settle my case and wipe the debt in its entirety. The damage however, was already done. I spent over a year of my life fighting this debt and never received any vindication - no one from the department of human services has ever acknowledged that they have made a mistake, nor a sorry for the inconvenience caused. I am lucky that I am of sound mind and able to navigate this convoluted, intimidating system to fight my cause. I am keenly aware that there are others in this same situation who may not be so lucky. This idea gives me great concern and makes me feel so sad that, in a country such as Australia, our citizens, those who need our support the most, can be treated so poorly.
The Government's response to the "robodebt" system has been completely unsatisfactory. They have continuously denied ANY wrongdoing and strengthen their position by simply stating that things could be improved. The Government is robbing its own citizens and conning the populous into believing they are recovering money from "bludgers". Although these situations may occur, I have no doubt that the majority of money "recovered" by robodebts are recovered from people who are simply trying to "have a go". Scott Morrison first initiated this robodebt scheme - he is now the Prime Minister of our country. He is deceptive and we should be scared that Australian citizens are having to defend themselves against their own government.