Senate debates

Tuesday, 8 December 2020


Pensions and Benefits

5:01 pm

Photo of Helen PolleyHelen Polley (Tasmania, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I, and also on behalf of Senators McCarthy, Urquhart, Bilyk and O'Neill, move:

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

(i) robodebt was an unlawful scheme, which resulted in $721 million being stolen from 373,000 individuals and that the Federal Government has agreed to a settlement which will cost taxpayers up to $1.2 billion in total making it the biggest class action in Australian legal history,

(ii) this cost does not account for the psychological impacts that this scheme has had on thousands of Australians who were already vulnerable,

(iii) this scheme employed income averaging and reversed the onus of proof requiring people to disprove grossly overestimated debts relating to income periods older than seven years, and

(iv) despite being warned of its illegality from its inception, it took more than three years for the Government to stop this unlawful scheme and that was only as a result of a High Court decision;

(b) calls on the Government to acknowledge the failings of the robodebt scheme and the pain and anguish it unleashed on the Australian people; and

(c) urges the Government to call a Royal Commission so those responsible can be held accountable for their actions, and stop the mistakes of robodebt from being repeated.

Photo of Scott RyanScott Ryan (President) Share this | | Hansard source

The question is that motion No. 928 be agreed to.