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Wednesday, 13 September 2017
Page: 10241


Mr GEORGANAS (Hindmarsh) (13:55): I rise today to talk about a disastrous policy implemented by this government and by the Minister for Human Services. I'm talking about the debacle of robo-debt at Centrelink, which has caught in its web 20,000 innocent people. They owed no debt, they didn't owe Centrelink anything, but they were notified by the department and falsely told that they were in debt to Centrelink. Some of these people were pensioners and some of them were the most vulnerable people.

Every time it was raised with this minister, whether it was through questions by the member for Barton in question time, through letter writing or even in the media—I fronted with the minister and asked the question—he said: 'Nothing to see here. It's all working well. Please move on.' We put a question on the Notice Paper a few months ago and the answer has come back. The Minister for Human Services has admitted that 20,000 people were wrongly given notices and told they owed money to Centrelink. They were all wrong. The debts were either reduced or brought back to zero.

That was only in March this year. Just think: between March and now, there could be another 60,000 people wrongly accused of owing money to Centrelink. I ask the Minister for Human Services to get up in this place today and apologise to all of those Australians he's wrongly accused of owing money. Some of them, as I said, are vulnerable people and pensioners. I ask him to stand up and apologise in this House. (Time expired)