Robotdebt Justice (1 Viewer)

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Aug 15, 2016
Perth, Western Australia
Robotdebt was a welfare debt recovery scheme in Australia, operated by Services Australia (a government department that manages social welfare nationally).

In Australia, 2023 is progressing as the astrologists said it would, with people in high places being exposed. In our country Public Administration has just taken a hit with an adverse finding in a Royal Commission Report released today. In fact, there are unnamed people who may be brought to criminal trial over the malfeasance that took place in the social security system over a period of four and a half years, starting approximately 2015.

A senior politician has said that the scheme gaslighted the nation. In other words, people of the nation were lied to. The robotdebt Royal Commission report handed down today recommends criminal prosecutions. Admittedly, these prosecutions will no doubt be for public servants, not politicians, but both had a role to play, up to and including a past Prime Minister. The report referred individuals for both civil and criminal prosecution. The report made 57 recommendations for change so that this situation can never arise again.

Robotdebt basically harmed welfare recipients. Debt collated by bureaucratic and computerized systems was announced to the recipient in an unexpected letter, which also put the onus of proof on the welfare recipient that they were innocent of the circumstances that triggered the debt. If the welfare recipient couldn't prove it, the debt stuck. Sometimes, these debts were in excess of $10,000.

The robodebt scheme ran for four and a half years, from July 2015 to November 2019, during which time $1.73 billion in unlawful debts were raised against more than 400,000 people. A further $721 million in wrongly issued debts was repaid.

A class action brought by welfare recipients commenced in 2019, and was settled on 6th November 2020 for AUD$1.2 billion. The Royal Commission to investigate what has amounted to systemic failure in public administration was announced in 2022 by the current government, and had its final report and recommendations handed down today.

The 57 recommendations fall into the below categories:

  • Effects of Robodebt on individuals
  • The concept of vulnerability
  • The roles of advocacy groups and legal services
  • Experiences of Human Services employees
  • Failures in the Budget process
  • Data-matching and exchanges
  • Automated decision making
  • Debt recovery and debt collectors
  • Lawyers and legal services
  • Administrative Appeals Tribunal
  • The Commonwealth Ombudsman
  • Improving the Australian Public Service
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