#NotMyDebt community organisers commend the Gordon Legal team for achieving a $112 million compensation settlement for Robodebt victims today, before costs. While we welcome the news that 400,000 eligible individual Group Members will receive some compensation, there are fundamental flaws at the heart of Robodebt that remain unchallenged, and more than a million Australians and their loved ones will not have justice.
For the people who engaged with the scheme under duress or in good faith, who provided actual income information, Robodebts will still need to be paid. Their debts will still not be reversed or refunded. The best outcome these Robodebt victims can hope for is to receive a small settlement as acknowledgement of the fact that the initial amount was excessive and probably calculated unlawfully, as established by the Amato ruling.
This settlement does however mean that no Minister, senior staffer, or Departmental bureaucrat will be required to give evidence in court. No one in a position of power has lost their job over Robodebt. No one has been held accountable. And it remains unclear how this callous automation of inequality was designed, approved, and maintained for years within the Australian system of government. We badly need a Royal Commission to get to the bottom of this.
Our hearts go out to the Robodebt victims and loved ones who hoped for more from the Class Action process, and to all of the hundreds of thousands of Australians who have been and continue to be caught up in this cruel and illegal scheme.
We have great respect for the courage of Gordon Legal’s lead applicants, and for the many thousands of people who have challenged their unlawful debts. Their tenacity in the face of institutional obfuscation and bullying is an inspiration.
The work of volunteers, activists, and campaigners has kept Robodebt in the public eye, and their tireless efforts over the past four years is what makes any concrete outcomes possible.
We acknowledge and thank them all.