The controversial robodebt scheme would have been fundamentally changed or stopped altogether had independent legal advice been sought on the issue, a royal commission has been told.
The commission examining the Centrelink debt recovery scheme was told such independent advice would have “reputational damage” to the government and the departments administering the program.
Former Social Services principal legal officer Anna Fredericks told the commission that obtaining independent legal advice on the scheme was sought, but tensions between the Department of Social Services and the Department of Human Services prevented it from occurring.
“If independent legal advice had been sought at the time and had full scope and awareness of the program, I have no doubt they would have come to that view (of it being unlawful),” she said.
“It would have undoubtedly led to a redesign or cessation … it would have likely caused reputational damage to those two departments but also to the government.”
“Had there been public ventilation of what the AAT was ruling … there wouldn’t have been an instant change to or abandonment of the scheme but it would have been a lot quicker than the three or four years that nearly half a million people had to suffer the unlawful raising of debts,” he told the commission.
after the people of Australia resoundingly voted against the LNP in order to kick that repugnant little war mongering garden gnome, John Howard to the gutter, did the LNP learn a single thing about humility, compassion and not to use war, hate and xenophobic racism as a distraction against their inherent corruption,…
Does Australia really want a repeat performance by these lying, conniving parasites whose only legacy is $1 trillion in debt whilst thumping their chests and cynically bragging that they are the “best economic managers”!!!!?
The resounding answer should be: NO! NO! DEFINITELY NOT!
The Liberals have a history conducting politics at a cultural level Morrison saw political advantage of dividing the nation during the Cronulla riots and he continued to apply it with “stop the boats”. Multiculturalism was never an LNP value as much as it was a political opportunity. The Lebanese Muslims Chinese Africans Indigenous Australians all felt the two-face sting of the LNP handshake. If and when for a moment they were seen as an economic benefit it came with a smile quite readily followed by a political slap in the face. Dutton was a master at spreading Liberal hate.
The Liberals have been urged to rebuild the party’s relationship with members of Australia’s Chinese community as a key priority in the wake of its election defeat.
A senior public servant told a Social Services official to tone down language indicating the robodebt welfare management scheme wouldn’t be lawful before it was introduced.
Andrew Whitecross, from the Social Services department, told the royal commission investigating the scheme it “couldn’t be clearer” calculating welfare debts based on an average income would require laws to be changed in 2015.
The scheme, which went from 2015 until 2020, wrongly recovered more than $750 million from 381,000 people, with a number of victims committing suicide while being pursued for false debts.
Mr Whitecross strongly advised against using income averaging in 2015 and said he was surprised to learn the scheme was implemented the following year.
He told the commission he’d had a meeting with Social Services’ Cath Halbert and Human Services’ Mark Withnell in 2015 where he outlined income averaging wouldn’t be legal. He said Mr Withnell was frustrated with the feedback because it could mean a promised $1.2 billion saving wasn’t achieved.
Of the saving, Mr Whitecross later added: “It was a sense … this was a number that had come out of a methodology, but the number itself was a goal of the process”.
The commission heard he was told by Ms Halbert that DHS deputy secretary Malisa Golightly “didn’t want us to go in so hard” with feedback income averaging was illegal.
Asked by senior counsel assisting the commission Justin Greggery if he had pushed back, Mr Whitecross said he had but she had continued to ask him to change the language.
It was alleged, that up to a million Uyghurs were incarcerated in camps but this proved to be no more than an extrapolation of numbers by a researcher and amplified in a UN meeting; never by the UN. In order to justify this outrageous claim, it was necessary to find prisons to incarcerate a million people, which, over time, grew into many more.
An Australian think tank (ASPI) entered the fray and identified “camps” across the region. Except that they didn’t. A region so large needs boarding schools and residential factories. The same region, because of a destabilised and radicalised minority, some with terrorist tendencies, also needs security. So, everything with a gate, fence, security presence and dormitories when viewed from satellites, was identified and analysed, by a young man at ASPI, who has never set foot in China, as being “a camp”; 380 of them! In the list, to give him credit, there are some prisons. But in a region with 25 million people and a terrorist problem, that’s hardly a surprise.
How quid pro quo works, and donations remain unrecorded. The ALP on the other hand suffers the slings and arrows of private mainstream corporate media. The ABC was exclused.
Josh Frydenberg sallied forth with a fulsome pat on the back this week … for himself.
“The Coalition’s ‘world-first’ Media Bargaining Code was a ‘success’,” pronounced the former Treasurer. A success indeed; a terrific success for the Coalition’s media mates Rupert Murdoch, Peter Costello and Kerry Stokes.
To be fair to Josh, he was only repeating what was in the press. Josh’s “media reforms” had forced Google and Facebook to pay millions in cash (secretly) to Big Media. In return, the News Corp, Nine, Guardian Australia and so forth sang the praises of Josh’s “world-first”. Manufacturing consent is a breeze, you just have to pay people.
Almost a year to the day after the Commonwealth Ombudsman requested a review – and following repeated inquiries from The Klaxon – the nation’s most powerful department says it has found seven officials who may have been illegally paid for holding two jobs.
“Well, a lot of the individuals who would end up receiving these notices would be – the onus of proof on what they earned over the period of time, stretching back potentially years, would be a level of proof which they simply would not be able to substantiate. And unemployed people are, almost by definition, they have very vulnerable cohorts within them, and that there would be people who would enter into agreements to repay debts, which they had not incurred in the first place, and I felt that the practice as a result was unethical.”
The Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet has been ordered to hand over the Gaetjens Report into the Sports Rorts Affair after a two and a half year fight by Rex Patrick against fake Cabinet confidentiality. Rex Patrick reports.
Toward the end of 2019, an article titled Lessons in how to hate China was published in Pearls and Irritations. Those lessons have been learned and learned well. Three years is a short time but the collective memory is also short. China is now the accepted enemy and the likelihood of war is spoken of more openly.
climate crisis and of a hegemonic shift from the US to China. It was an uncertain time and fear was being promoted. Those conditions still exist. The only difference is that the threat from the US and its allies has become more intense. We have learned to hate China and may well suffer from the education we have received.
One in five lucrative and powerful federal government board positions have been handed to politically connected individuals, according to a new report warning Australia has developed an “insidious jobs-for-mates culture”.
There was never going to be a situation in which there were no deaths. Nobody expects that. However, when so little has been done by the Federal Government to mitigate COVID-19 deaths, it is extremely alarming that the Morrison strategy is to desensitise people to suffering and death, rather than make an all-out effort to introduce every protection against those outcomes.
When your government starts selling you death as the option, it’s probably time to get concerned.
If this didn’t tell you what Morrison and the Pentecostalists were intent on doing then nothing will. They wanted the end to the separation of powers, go the way of Israel and turn Australia into an Apartheid White Christian State. More so they were intent on doing it by stealth. It’s why the religious discrimination bill was their priority if they had won the election.
With all that’s going on in the world – a pointless war, a global pandemic, rampant global heating leading to increasingly severe and compounding natural disasters, superpowers competing over our region, soaring cost of living, rising inflation, unaffordable housing, poverty, social unrest – the last government spent its dying days fighting for a religious discrimination bill we didn’t need and arguing over trans women playing sport.
Recovery plans designed to prevent the extinction of almost 180 threatened species and habitats, including the Tasmanian devil, were scrapped by the Coalition in one of Sussan Ley’s final acts as environment minister.
Australia’s Shame – AG Michaela Cash took lessons from the Steve Bannon playbook. Control the Bureaucracy. Wasn’t that Lenin’s playbook?
Just before ousted Prime Minister Scott Morrison called the election, his Attorney-General Michaelia Cash stacked the Administrative Appeals Tribunal with a host of Liberal Party mates. Political appointments are out of control and the AAT needs to be killed off, writes Greg Barns SC.
Busted!! The LNP strategy of putting LNP supporters in charge of Government Departments is straight out of the Steve Bannon, American GOP Republican and Leninist strategies. The LNP was intent on dismantling the Public Service and has been doing it for the past 13 years.
Agency’s statement, which triggered last-minute scare campaign from Liberals, prompts increasing questions about its independence
Australian Border Force did not issue press releases about any of the five boat interceptions it made in the four years prior to its controversial election-day announcement that a vessel had been detected near Christmas Island, prompting further questions about the political independence of the agency.
The agency issued a press release as voting was under way, warning of the interception of an asylum-seeker boat off Christmas Island, precipitating a last-minute scare campaign warning voters to maintain border security by voting Liberal.
The major difference is clear Morrison is offering no support, “use your own money and the banks”. It’s all private your money your risk your debt. We’ve seen the consequences of that in a fluctuating market. Debt enslaves the citizenry in a Capitalist Economy. Governments are regulators ensuring it’s not diminished for Housing, Education, Health, and even Welfare. They brought in Robodebt your mistake, not theirs. The LNP housing policy is all for the benefit of those with incomes up to $200,000 effectively cutting out those with the least income and creating a middle-class welfare system.
Labor is offering a publicly funded scheme and assistance as shareholders to partner the lowest income earners with qualifications. A far less inflationary and pork barrelling scheme than the LNP one.
So which has the most honest intent of helping it’s certainly not the LNP’s. So all Barnaby Joyce can do is play pitbull, and bark at Tanya Plibersek so the differences between the two policies remain unspoken about on Morning TV? When your not offering anything of benefit just bark and distract.
Sunrise presenter Natalie Barr intervened in a fiery on-air clash between Deputy PM Barnaby Joyce and Labor front-bencher Tanya Plibersek.
Inspired by the Brian Houston’s leadership approach to Hillsong no doubt. He will be pushed to leave but 60% of the numbers are now required to force him out. Who will be their leader if Josh isn’t kept Peter Dutton ?
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has refused to say if he will stand down if he loses Saturday’s election after spending the day defending a controversial housing plan the day after launching it.
Morrison introduced the “efficiency dividend” a $1Bn cut to the ABC almost a decade ago when “No cuts” to the ABC were a promised LNP policy. That promise isn’t even an Oxymoron its a simple straight-out lie and a 1000 cuts were always planned. The “efficiency dividend” was a funding cut by another name. But it’s an illegal one at that and goes against the intended grain of the ABC as a legally constituted Independent Statutory Body, not one to be interfered with by any government let alone abused, as has been the case by the series of LNP governments this past decade. In effect neutering the constitutionally formulated body and our Democracy one and the same time. Yes the LNP has taxed us by stealth all these years at a greater rate than the ALP.
The government will increase the efficiency dividend, which cuts public sector spending, to 2 per cent The Coalition says the move will raise $2 billion in revenue Labor will release its policy costings on Thursday
They are all about to benefit from stage 3 tax cuts the rest of will be left to watch.
It was pointed out, too, that politicians’ salaries have not suffered from the near-decade of wage stagnation that has afflicted the rest of us. Their pay has gone up 30 per cent over the past 10 years. The annual base rate for a backbencher is now $211,250 (ministers and shadows get more), and the prime minister’s salary is $550,000.
Morrison, his media backers and the business lobby were horrified at the thought that the wages of the poorest workers should meet inflation – which is to say, workers should not take a pay cut.
“Morrison supports decline in living standards” should have been the headline
Political parties are free to say what they like, but it is their actions that define them. No amount of flowery rhetoric can hide the true nature of a political party, which is defined by its policies. The current Australian government may have flowery rhetoric in its beliefs, but, as I hope I have shown here, their actions and policies tell a different story.
Hating Barnaby Hating Scott Hating Barnaby Hating….
In campaign debates, in radio stations, television studios, people to people encounters all over the nation, the name Barnaby Joyce comes up as the biggest brake on Australia making a greater commitment to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions. Does the leader of the National Party deserve the brickbats? Maybe we should look to our backyards, writes Mark Sawyer.
The state Liberal National party’s pursuit of conservative causes has contributed to it being all but banished from Brisbane
The state LNP – an organisation whose grassroots membership has become increasingly conservative, and influenced by a hardline Christian faction – on Wednesday voted in support of a motion from Robbie Katter opposing transgender women participating in women’s sport.
“Look at the Republican Party, the party of Lincoln, the party that has abolished slavery – has now become the party of Trump, the party of Putin sympathisers and anti-vaxxers. “That is not in the Liberal Party’s interests.”
Morrison tells us to look at the paucity of stats when it comes to discrimination against LGBTQIs in religious schools when arguing for his RDA. “Look at the reality” he says. But he reverses that when he supports Deves who argues to ignore the paucity of stats in trans-gender girls in sports. They are virtually nonexistent and aren’t a threat to women in sport.
Not only do Morrison and Deves contradict each other but Morrison proves to be a hypocrite continuing to support Deves after her now two-faced tongue-in-cheek apology which she has publicly walked back on. Deves has literally spat the dummy and told Morrison he and his LNP cronies can get fucked and that she is now running as an independent for her own ego’s sake, despite knowing she has no chance of winning the seat.
Morrison, who handpicked Deves to run just weeks out from the start of the campaign, has repeatedly defended the Warringah candidate by noting she had apologised for her remarks.
On Saturday he said: “In terms of what Katherine Deves has said in the past, she has withdrawn those and she said they were insensitive.
“And that was my view as well. So there’s no suggestion that I have supported those earlier comments.
I don’t support those earlier comments.” The shadow infrastructure minister, Catherine King, told ABC News Breakfast it did not surprise her that Deves had walked back the apology.
“I think this is an incredibly divisive debate and I think the prime minister has chosen a very divisive candidate to run in that seat and I think it’s really awful to see that happening in the context of a federal election campaign,” she said.
It’s not the lack of experience Scott it’s the lack of competence that’s the yardstick. After 25 years Albanese has shown he’s not lacking and in the same period that can’t be said of your history.
The Coalition and some media are arguing that Albanese’s ALP doesn’t have the knowledge, skills or abilities to form a government, an illogical argument as the only way to get direct and recent experience is to do the job. When Morrison started work in the Prime Ministerial office, we didn’t even get a say in his elevation, as the only election he won was one of his political party’s Members of Parliament. At that time, he too had none of the experience in the job that he now claims is mandatory.
Poor Matthew Guy he wants to control his members not lead them so instead he forced Quin to jump overboard.
Guy can’t even get his facts right and Robert Redlich IBAC’s head has to explain them. Guy suggested private conversations in-camera held with Dan Andrews are evidence of his guilt of corruption. Redlich publicly embarrassed Guy on his total lack of knowledge of what IBAC was actually doing. Private hearings are for those IBAC feels there is little or no evidence of corruption. the very reverse of what Guy is saying.
But wait isn’t Matthew Guy the LNP Minister for Planning who was actually caught in the act of corruption? Didn’t he illegally help a mate in Ventor on Philip Island with a $2M property problem and got busted? Wasn’t he the Mathew GUY caught wining and dining on a freebie lobster lunch with a renowned Mafia boss? Matthew Guy more than anyone should know what real corruption is behind closed doors while talking to IBAC in private isn’t
IBAC tends to hold public hearings only if it has strong evidence of alleged wrongdoing. When questioning witnesses in public, the commission must be satisfied there are reasonable grounds to conclude the witness has acted corruptly, or that it is in the public interest to examine the witness publicly and that no unreasonable damage will be done to their reputation.
It may be the only campaign tactic they have left, and it’s a lie, but the media laps it up and Scott Morrison and Josh Frydenberg are flogging it hard. That’s the claim that the Coalition are “superior economic managers” and Labor can’t be trusted to run the economy. Alan Austin looks at International Monetary Fund data and puts the case that Labor have been far superior economic managers.
The recent resurgence of interest in the novel is arguably directly associated with Donald Trump’s election, in 2016. The rise of the religious right, the assault on women’s rights, the rise of the #metoo movement all speak to the relevance of the book, but also to the need for such a book, now.
Recent legislation in several U.S. states, as well as in Poland seeks to criminalise abortion. This appears to be heading toward another round of theocratic law-making, and pressure on women’s lives. So the book, although written over thirty years ago, still delivers a timely warning. Stay alert. Your freedom is a valuable, but fragile, thing.
This book is written to reflect the world view of a late twentieth century, educated woman, making her way in a repressive and dangerous world. Margaret Attwood’s writing is above all else immensely intelligent, and accomplished. I believe that every word is meant, as is, and that the book is enough.
The movies and television shows will never deliver the punch that this seemingly slight book will. This is a harrowing story, but it fulfils its purpose. It makes us take the ongoing threats to our freedom very seriously.
The Government has joined a Women’s Slavery Coalition and will attempt to reintroduce anti-abortion back into Australia for a handful of votes. We know who Morrison is he’s the man who modeled his Prime Ministership DJ Trump why? Because he is a bully and misogynist women have stood up and said he was. Morrison has the LNP marching in step in step with America’s Republicans why? Because they have no ideas of their own their ambition is to rule and not to serve.
Even the government in Tunisia a Muslim Nation legislated Women’s fundamental Rights ahead of Australia as far back as 70s and Morrison’s personality and religion takes us back further than that, and we saw it in the 2nd debate a Trumpish brawl nothing more on the part of a PM we know only too well.
Australia’s Assistant Minister for Women, Senator Amanda Stoker, attended an anti-abortion rally last weekend. At the rally, she told the crowd that she didn’t see any conflict between her anti-abortion stance and her assistant ministry.
EXCLUSIVE Education Minister Alan Tudge has admitted he forgot to disclose to parliament that he had transferred ownership of a $1 million Melbourne property to his former wife for six months, in a clear breach of disclosure guidelines.
The missing in action Minister – who stepped down from the frontbench last year in the wake of an ongoing scandal over an extramarital relationship with former Liberal staffer Rachelle Miller – confirmed the error on Friday following an investigation by news.com.au.
It follows controversy over a recent $500,000 payout to Ms Miller – who worked in his office as a press secretary – that was also revealed by news.com.au last month, with questions still yet to be answered on what the payout is for. The Prime Minister aannounced last year that Mr Tudge was not returning to the frontbench of his own volition.
However, on the same day he announced the election, he revealed Mr Tudge was still the education Minister but had stood aside and was welcome back after the votes were counted.
“Well, he stood aside. He decided to stand aside for his own personal reasons. And should he be in a position to be able to step up again, then I would welcome him back,’’ Mr Morrison said.
Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton also previously failed to declare a million-dollar property his family owns in Townsville, in a blunder his office blamed on simple human error.
Murphy said he was further frustrated by the complaint from Taylor’s office given the minister’s first speech to parliament in which he said he would “always” defend free speech as the foundation of democracy.
Order to remove Vote Angus Out community group’s election signs in Hume came after complaint from Liberal incumbent’s office
Rules and Laws aren’t for Josh Frydenberg they stand in his way
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg is responsible for laws being broken that maintain accountability in the fossil fuel industry. Anthony Klan reports. THE BOSS of the nation’s monopoly infrastructure regulator – who engaged in serious illegality that the Federal Government went to substantial lengths to cover up – earlier helped dismantle accountability laws in favour of major fossil fuels infrastructure owners.