Labor’s opposition to inhumane robodebt more evidence the error-ridden program needs to go

30 July 2019

The Australian Council of Social Service welcomes the Opposition joining much of the Crossbench and the Greens in calling for the error-ridden, inhumane robodebt program to be abolished.
ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie said robodebt needed to be replaced with a humane system of debt recovery.
“Robodebt has unleashed thousands of debt notices in error to single parents, people with disabilities, carers, students and people seeking paid work.
“We have repeatedly warned the Government that robodebt is grossly unfair and contrary to basic legal principles, especially the use of automated averaging to calculate debts. This, combined with the reversal of onus of proof, is leading to inaccurate assessments of what people may, or may not, owe, and people being pursued for debts they do not owe.
“Robodebt is a devastating abuse of government power that has caused extensive harm, particularly among people who are the most vulnerable in our community.
“Reports that the Government is pursuing robodebts against family members of people who have passed away and that thousands of people have died after receiving a robodebt are particularly alarming.
“Robodebt is among a long list of policies from this Federal Government that degrade and harass people living with disability, caring for children, studying or searching for paid work.
“The Government is making life even harder for people going through tough times with damaging policies like Robodebt, the Cashless Debit Card and ParentsNext.
“People looking for paid work are being forced into a cycle of debt and deprivation, making it near impossible to put their best foot forward and find a job.
“Instead of making life harder for people when they’re already struggling, we need to increase Newstart to support people through tough times and into suitable paid work.”