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7 months ago
The Government’s harsh and inaccurate robodebt scheme has reached a new low - pursuing claimed debts of nearly 200 Australians who have passed away.

In answer to questions from Labor in the Senate the Liberals have admitted that in three years the Department unleashed robodebt on dead people 169 times.

The ghoulish development comes as robodebt’s error rate reaches 234,097 - that is the number of times since mid-2016 the Government’s alleged robodebts have had to be wiped or reduced because they were wrong.

This Government has all the ethics of a graverobber. 

There is no low to which they won’t stoop in the pursuit of a dollar. 

And now we know robodebt won’t even allow deceased Australians to rest in peace.

Asked by Labor Senator Kimberley Kitching why the Liberals were robodebting the dead, Liberal Senator Anne Ruston answered: “This can occur for a range of reasons; for example where the Department was not aware that the person was deceased, a delay in processing, a manual staff error, or a combination of these factors.”

That is not good enough. Robodebt is malfunctioning, it is standing over innocent Australians - living and dead - and must be scrapped.

The Government has said its standard practice is not to knowingly start an “income compliance process” on dead people. But it admits it chased estates and representatives of “deceased customers” 515 times - ultimately wiping the debts in 442 of those cases, but extracting money from dead Australians 73 times.

This scheme is no more likely to be fair and accurate on dead Australians as living ones. 

Since July 2016 Australians hit with an inaccurate robodebt have then had it reduced 65,813 times, and completely overturned 168,284 times.
That is 234,097 dodgy robodebts - an error rate of nearly a quarter of a million. 

Robodebt is malfunctioning. It is standing over innocent Australians, demanding money they don’t owe. 

The Government needs to stop covering up this disaster and go back to the drawing board.

Human oversight needs to be brought back, the dead need to be left to their eternal rest, and robodebt needs to be scrapped immediately.
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