House debates

Thursday, 3 December 2020

Questions without Notice

Pensions and Benefits

3:08 pm

Photo of Anthony AlbaneseAnthony Albanese (Grayndler, Australian Labor Party, Leader of the Opposition) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Minister for Government Services. Did the Prime Minister's illegal robodebt scheme cost lives and cost taxpayers $1.2 billion?

Photo of Stuart RobertStuart Robert (Fadden, Liberal Party, Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme) Share this | | Hansard source

The use of averaged income data that's been going on for a quarter of a century has been a staple part of governments of many persuasions' use of raising debt. No amount of posturing by the opposition will change that fact—none of it. Nothing will change the fact that the data matching bill started in 1990 under Hawke, the minister was Richo. We know now that in 1994, averaged income data was being used under Keating. Hawke, Keating, and Richo—you couldn't make this stuff up. That's where it began. For a quarter of a century the same process was followed, to the point where the process has now been found to be insufficient. It is this government who did not invent income averaging; it is this government who realised the insufficiency and has paid it back.

Mr Albanese interjecting

Photo of Tony SmithTony Smith (Speaker) Share this | | Hansard source

Has the minister concluded his answer? The minister has concluded his answer.