EXCLUSIVE: A Centrelink employee has sensationally lifted the lid on Robodebt and how PM Scott Morrison was personally warned the scheme which ended up causing the suicide of hundreds of poverty-stricken welfare recipients was illegal but he did not care. Instead, the PM helped fire the person who gave the warning. Kieran Butler reports.
This article contains discussion of suicide: Lifeline – 13 11 14
“An interest rate rise during an election produces a rise in the number of people who are interested in an election.”
This quote is often attributed to Donald Rumsfeld, Donald Trump or Don Rickles – depending on where you get your misinformation. The fact is that none of them said it. It was me. Ten minutes after the Reserve Bank of Australia raised the cash rate from a paltry 0.1% to 0.35%.
Recent polling indicates that great swathes of the Australian electorate have barely noticed there is a federal election on May 21. Australians are notoriously disengaged from the political process until something affects them personally. A vast majority claim that is because they are abjectly cynical about all of it, whilst simultaneously knowing absolutely nothing about what is actually going on.
Shadow Minister for Government Services, Bill Shorten, has announced that a future ALP government would convene a Royal Commission into Robodebt; the legally dubious LNP government debt collection scheme that resulted in the suicides of thousands of people. Robodebt would eventually become a scandalous waste of public money.
However, in the wake of Shorten’s announcement, there was barely a murmur from the mainstream media. Scott Morrison responded briefly by saying Robodebt was Labor’s fault, despite Labor not being in government for nearly a decade.
If this Royal Commission into Robodebt ever comes to pass, the following first-hand account from a former Centrelink employee will more than likely form part of proceedings. This account describes what occurred way back in November 2017, when details of the Robodebt scheme were first explained to Centrelink Service Recovery staff.
Our source revealed to True Crime News Weekly:
“The secretary of the Department of Human Services made the announcement. Alan Tudge and Scott Morrison were present. It was explained to us by Kathryn Campbell, the Secretary of Human Services, that compared with the 200 Centrelink debts per week we were currently processing, the new Robodebt program could process 2,000 by using an income averaging algorithm.
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“I, and many of my colleagues, pointed out that Social Security legislation was clear about this. Income averaging was illegal. We all knew it, because as public servants we were required to apply this law in our everyday work. The Secretary ignored us.
“It was all about the money. In time, the suicide notes that were written by the victims of Robodebt began to be uncovered. What people should know is that Morrison and Tudge were warned in person. By me. They simply didn’t care that it was wrong.”
For obvious reasons, our source wishes to maintain their anonymity, but this is the sort of thing that should be devastating for an incumbent government facing an election. No less than a sitting Prime Minister, and a current member of his Cabinet, are implicated in being, at best, cavalier with respect to the laws of the land they claim to govern. Not to mention the people in genuine need that they are sworn to serve.
As political pundits continue to muse that a long awaited Reserve Bank interest rate rise may sound the death knell for Morrison’s government, voters may wish to consider that Morrison has little respect for the rule of law, and will willingly bend or break it if he thinks he can get away with it. This should be much more important to voters than an increase in interest rates.