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Tudge either doesn't understand or deliberately misleading on robo-debt debacle

13 January 2017
The Hon Linda Burney MP
The Hon Linda Burney MP, Shadow Minister for Human Services, ALP Member for Barton

Alan Tudge, Minister for Human Services, either isn’t across his portfolio or is deliberately misleading the public a leaked Centrelink robo-debt memo shows.
In a number of media interviews since he returned from holidays just this week Mr Tudge insisted that the thousands of people slugged with false robo-debt notices were able to request assistance from Centrelink staff in person or by phone.
That isn’t the case according to the leaked memo which makes clear that staff in Centrelink offices and regular call centres should direct people back to the faulty online system and that even in circumstances of severe hardship they cannot intervene.
According to Alan Tudge, Minister for Human Services;
“You can also, of course, go into a Centrelink office and talk with somebody if you want to and typically you'll wait about 10 minutes if you do go in to a Centrelink office.”
- 2GB Mornings with Luke Grant, 11 January 2017
According to Centrelink management
“Service deliver staff must not process activities in relation to the Online Compliance Intervention… Do not cancel the activity under any circumstances.”
- Centrelink Memo, Earned Income Intervention (110-1301000)
“Mr Tudge is either deliberately misleading the public or he still doesn’t understand how his own robo debt system works, either way it is clearly time to suspend this program and fix it.” Ms Burney said,
“For every week that Mr Tudge refuses to act another 4000 innocent people are being forced into this mess and we now know they certainly won’t find any help in their local Centrelink office.”
“It now appears that this system isn’t only unfair it is unnecessarily cruel. The minister is telling people to wait hours on the phone or in Centrelink offices when he should know they’ll simply be directed back to the deeply flawed online system.”