Wednesday, 17 June 2020
Questions without Notice
Pensions and Benefits
My question is to the Prime Minister. Given that many debts to the Commonwealth accrue interest, will his government apply the same principle and refund victims of the Prime Minister's illegal robodebt scheme in full, including interest?
What I find ironic is that, in the last question about the rorts and corruption in Victoria, those opposite were claiming, 'It's before the courts; we can't possibly speak about it.' We know this is before the courts, but they have the hypocrisy to step up about it. This is extraordinary. Those opposite don't want to talk about what's been happening in Victoria over the last week, hiding behind sub judice, yet they come forward knowing full well this is before the courts, with hearings—
Ms Burney interjecting—
It's a point of order on relevance, Mr Speaker. It's a very straightforward question: when Australians owe the Commonwealth money, they can be charged interest; when the Commonwealth owes hundreds of thousands of robodebt victims money, will they pay interest?
I'll just say in ruling on that point of order—and I've made this point before—the minister is entitled to a preamble, as robust as that was. He's a much shorter way into the answer than yesterday. He's not even 30 seconds in. He knows it was a very specific question and he's had his preamble.