The government has accepted all the recommendations of the royal commission into the illegal Robodebt system.
- The federal government has accepted all the recommendations of the Robodebt royal commission
- A sealed portion of the report remains secret and details of possible criminal investigations are not known.
- Public Service Commissioner investigates 16 workers referred by royal commission
Royal Commissioner Catherine Holmes made 56 recommendations, including more face-to-face support options, more social workers, clear review processes in which decisions were automated, an oversight body that could verify automated decisions and six-year limits on debts.
The government has accepted each recommendation, agreeing “in principle” to the details that need to be worked out.
Attorney General Mark Dreyfus reiterated that the project was a shameful chapter in Australian history that was “destroying the lives” of innocent people.
“This was not an innocent mistake, it was a deliberate and calculated plan,” Mr Dreyfus said.
“Essentially, people were traumatized by the idea that they owed money.”
Investigations opened against 16 officials
Robodebt was an automated debt collection tool used by the former coalition government from 2015 to 2019, which used income averaging to illegally recover alleged debts from more than half a million people to the tune of 1, $76 billion.
The royal commission’s findings were released in July, along with a sealed section naming individuals who should face criminal or civil prosecution.
The Civil Service Commissioner has opened an investigation into the 16 civil servants referred to him for investigation.
The attorney general refused to give details of the investigations carried out by the National Anti-Corruption Commission.
Mr Shorten said the Government had already started to progress reforms, including hiring additional staff in services and ending the use of external debt collectors.
But he said Robodebt victims would not get justice until current Opposition Leader Peter Dutton apologized for the “sins” of his predecessors.
“The real shame in all this is that the project was invented under Mr Abbott, it was expanded under Mr Turnbull and it was doubled down by Mr Morrison… but what has been deafening is the lack of “remorse shown by current Liberal Party MPs, including their current leader,” Mr Shorten said.
“It is not possible to obtain justice for the victims without the guarantee that this will not happen again.”