Robodebt an Attack on Honest and Vulnerable Citizens


Peter Khalil: We were outraged when this grovelling government announced that 20,000 people who received debt notices as a result of this government’s reprehensible robo-debt scheme turned out to owe nothing once their debt was challenged. A significant number of these cases involved constituents of my electorate, and my officers worked tirelessly to try to assist these vulnerable people who had found themselves targeted by the robo-debt scheme. I will give you one example. A young man who was on youth allowance approached my office. He had received an incorrect demand notice for $12,377. We intervened and we had that debt cancelled. But that’s just one example. I’ve seen firsthand the trauma that was inflicted on honest and vulnerable Australians by the abject failure of the Turnbull government on the robo-debt scheme.

The Senate inquiry on Centrelink’s automated data-matching initiative, which is what it’s actually called, is absolutely scathing. It speaks volumes about this retrograde government that it has persisted with an assault on ordinary and vulnerable Australians while leaving the big end of town untouched—but, worse than that, it’s actually giving them $65 million in tax cuts. And there has been no apology from the former minister responsible. I can’t see him, but, if he is here, he should do the right thing. He should apologise to my constituents.