Tuesday, 15 June 2021
Pensions and Benefits
That the House:
(a) the Morrison Government recently settled the Robodebt class action in the Federal Court of Australia for $1.9 billion;
(b) the Court judgement declared Robodebt was:
(i) a "shameful chapter" and a "massive failure of public administration";
(ii) the cause of "heart-wrenching" financial hardship, anxiety and distress, including suicidal ideation and in some cases suicide;
(iii) a "huge waste of public money"; and
(iv) unlawful and inaccurate, something that "should have been obvious" to the Government; and
(2) calls on the Morrison Government to:
(a) explain to the House why nobody has been held accountable for Robodebt, the biggest compliance failure on record by an Australian Government;
(b) promptly provide all information requested by the Senate but withheld on the basis of a public interest immunity claim while the Robodebt class action was underway; and
(c) immediately establish a Robodebt Royal Commission.
The robodebt case is a sorry saga in the history of public administration in this country. On Friday there was a judgement handed down by the Federal Court where they found that this was a 'shameful chapter'. Indeed, I'm going to quote directly from the decision. Justice Bernard Murphy said in his summary:
In the course of the proceeding the Commonwealth admitted that it did not have a proper legal basis to raise, demand or recover asserted debts which were based on income averaging from ATO data.
Australians listening to parliament will be surprised to know that it cost $1.763 billion—
The question now is that the motion moved by the member for Maribyrnong be disagreed to—sorry, this will be a deferred division. Just to explain, the first two divisions we had because the standing orders allow a minister to move for a division, but as a non-government member this will be deferred until after the MPI, in accordance with standing order 33. I won't read it all out; I think I've explained it. The member for Lalor has the call.