Tuesday, 1 December 2020
Questions without Notice
Pensions and Benefits
My question is to the Minister for Government Services. Yesterday in this House, the minister promised parliament that he would deliver to me data relating to the reports the government received of victims of the illegal robodebt scheme threatening self-harm. Why has the minister reneged and not delivered this information? Why won't the minister admit the government received at least 14 official reports of robodebt victims threatening self-harm in 2017 and 2018? Is it because the number is even higher?
Let me thank the member for his question. For the benefit of the House, I'll table the letter I wrote to the member so everyone is absolutely clear what we're talking about. The member raised issues that were presented to the court as part of a second further amended statement of claim. As all members would be aware, the Commonwealth and Gordon Legal have acknowledged there is a settlement—it's not yet finalised in the court, but it's been agreed—but both the Commonwealth and Gordon Legal have acknowledged the settlement is not an admission of liability, does not reflect any acceptance of these allegations and does not reflect any knowledge of unlawfulness. The actual issues that the member for Maribyrnong raised are unsubstantiated claims that were presented by Gordon Legal to the court as part of the second further amended statement of claim. They were simply what Gordon Legal put through. If the Commonwealth and, indeed, Labor's lawyers can actually reach settlement and acknowledge that there is no admission of liability, no reflection of acceptance and, indeed, no acceptance of knowledge, why can't Labor accept that?