Wednesday, 2 December 2020
Questions without Notice
Pensions and Benefits
My question is to the Minister for Government Services. Can the minister confirm that by 25 January 2017 the government was in possession of Commonwealth data warning the government that almost nine out of every 10 robodebts issued were wrong and needed to be reassessed, resulting in a decrease to the debt?
I thank the member attempting a comeback for his question. The member is reading from the second further amended statement of claim put forward by Labor's lawyers. It's a statement of claim that both the Commonwealth and Labor's lawyers have acknowledged is not an admission of liability, does not affect any acceptance of the allegations and does not reflect any knowledge of unlawfulness.
Two days ago I tabled a letter from 1994 showing that the use of averaged income data was well and truly alive in 1994.
Mr Dreyfus interjecting—
The House will be pleased to know that I have now got to the bottom of when the use of averaged income began. It began when the Hawke government released the Data-matching Program (Assistance and Tax) Act 1990. We now know when averaged income began. It's on page 3 of the document I tabled two days ago. Thirty years ago the Hawke government started the Data-matching Program (Assistance and Tax) Act 1990 and that was the beginning of the use of averaged income from the tax department. But then Labor of course came and doubled down. A media release from the member for Sydney and the member for Maribyrnong, dated June 2011, states, 'A new data matching initiative between Centrelink and the Australian Taxation Office'—
I have allowed the minister to compare and contrast, but this question didn't have a preamble. It was very specific. I believe the beginning of his answer has been very relevant to the question. He's now providing a whole lot of additional material that goes beyond what he was asked. He can certainly cover that material if he is asked a question about it, but he hasn't been. I invite the minister to come back to the question or wind up his answer.