The government settled for $1.3 billion on Monday (16Nov20) over the Robodebt fiasco. How was this scheme allowed to come into being and to run for so long despite the many warnings that it was throwing up incorrect debts on people who could least afford it? The number of suicides directly related to the hounding attitude of the government departments involved became an increasing problem in our community. Why?
However, data released by Leon’s department during that estimates hearing showed 2030 people had died after receiving a robo-debt collection notice, more than a third of whom were aged under 45.The Saturday Paper on Nov 21, 2020
It really came down to the entrenched attitude in the conservative government, the Liberals and the Nationals, and probably a significant proportion of the general income-earning population, the wealth slaves, of this country. The attitude that anyone on welfare of any sort are more than likely cheating the system and are all bludgers on the public purse. Sad but true, this nonsense of an attitude I hasten to clarify, not the people on welfare who are more often than not in the desperate straits they are in by the solely profit-driven and heartless motives informing many of the governmental and private sector decisions. One government minister is quoted as saying that any increase in the inadequate Newstart allowance would simply end up in the hands of drug dealers and pub owners. Newstart, the unemployed support payment per week that is less than the accomodation allowance that is paid to politicians for a single night that they are required to spend in Canberra.
So what, this moneyed majority say, if the government tries to catch them out and make them pay back any money that they had received over and above what they might be entitled to, however grudgingly we see them as entitled to any welfare. Surely the computer models used couldn’t possibly be wrong, they say as they retreat into the proscribed governmental message. This disconnected attitude, that welfare people are different to us, are somehow less than us, is the real villain in this.
I suspect the payout will do very little to recompense those affected by this fiasco other than an emotional validation that they were right and the scheme was a punitive cruelty inflicted upon them. It won’t bring back any of the lives of loved ones, or restore any of those countless days of fear, worry and misery incurred by those directly affected.
And the politicians and bureaucrats responsible for inflicting this damage walk away without any direct penalty or sanction. It is left to the taxpayers, many of them the very same wealth slaves who provide the political air that supports the perpetrators, to pick up this inadequate recompense for their heinous crimes. A sad irony perhaps.
- A history of Robodebt
- The Saturday Paper on Nov 21, 2020: “Big picture: Robo-debt, politics and poverty”.
- Anne Ruston’s quote
- Settlement announcement
- Settlement reactions
- Letters from victims