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Centrelink: Alan Tudge cites legal guidelines department now says are 'not relevant'

1 March 2017
The Guardian

Australia’s human services minister, Alan Tudge, relied on legal guidelines in parliament to justify the release of personal information to the media that his own department now says are irrelevant.
Tudge was criticised in parliament on Tuesday for releasing the personal details of welfare recipient Andie Fox, who was critical of Centrelink’s handling of her debt. Lawyers and welfare groups have already warned that the decision to release Fox’s details was legally debatable.

Privacy Commissioner 'making inquiries' after Centrelink leaked personal information to journalist

28 February 2017
ABC News

The Government's privacy watchdog wants answers from bureaucrats who provided a Centrelink client's personal details to a journalist in a bid to counter her public criticisms.
Public servants have also told ABC News they are concerned the disclosure could inadvertently breach the privacy undertakings of other departments who share their data with Department of Human Services (DHS).

Centrelink outside the law on robo-debt recovery

28 February 2017
Brisbane Times

People pursued by Centrelink over its controversial "robo-debts" are being denied the protection of Australian consumer law, a Parliamentary inquiry has been told.
The welfare agency is exempt from laws and guidelines covering debt collection by private businesses, "even the much maligned banks", according to the chief executive of Victorian community organisation Family Care, David Tennant.

Privacy commissioner ‘making inquiries’ about Centrelink’s flexible privacy principles

28 February 2017
The Mandarin

Activists accuse the Department of Human Services of releasing private personal information about a woman in an effort to silence her criticism of its much-maligned debt recovery drive, but the department maintains it has done nothing wrong and the privacy commissioner is looking into the case.

Labor disrupts parliament over Centrelink

28 February 2017
9 News

Labor is attempting to suspend the business of federal parliament, accusing the Turnbull government of breaching privacy laws by leaking confidential information about Centrelink customers.
Opposition human services spokeswoman Linda Burney moved a motion in the lower house on Tuesday, arguing the government had conducted a vindictive campaign to gag those who complain about the Centrelink scandal by leaking their details to the media.

‘They called more than 10 times a day’: Sinister tactics of debt collectors paid millions by Centrelink

24 February 2017
news.com.au

It starts with a barrage of text messages telling you to urgently call a number. Then the persistent phone calls, sometimes more than ten a day.
Then come the letters telling you to pay “immediately” or risk “further recovery action”, including taking the money directly from your wages or bank account, or seizing your assets.
These mysterious antagonists are the debt collection companies paid millions by Centrelink to wage campaigns of harassment against unsuspecting Australians.

Centrelink's robo-copout

23 February 2017
Latrobe Valley Express

Churchill resident Kate Zizys can empathise with Centrelink clients affected by 'robo-debt' orders for money they may not owe.
Having been in the Centrelink system on and off for most of her adult life, Ms Zizys has been forced to make inflated repayments in the past, despite going to appeal.

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