While the whole Dutch Government has resigned en masse over their equivalent of Robodebt, the Morrison Government continues to disrespect the Australian public and do nothing.
In the Netherlands tax officials wrongly accused thousands of working families of fraud and ordered them to repay childcare benefits between 2013 and 2019 in a scandal that has prompted compensation of $750 million.
In Australia, in a larger scandal, Scott Morrison, and Ministers Tudge, Porter and Robert for years falsely accused families, students, jobseekers and Australians with disability of owing social security debts that were not real - a disgrace that has prompted a $1.2 billion court settlement for 400,000 Australians.
In reacting to their scandal the Dutch Government has acted with integrity and with respect for principles of representative democracy and parliamentary accountability. This is not just in the resignation of the entire Cabinet, but in making publicly available key documents that shed light on the origins of the Dutch Scheme and where it went wrong.
The Morrison Government by contrast has taken a ‘looking after the boys’ approach of denial and cover up including:
- Not a single Minister has been stood down or sanctioned in any way.
- The accounts of mothers who say their adult children took their lives because of Robodebt are denied by Government Services Minister Stuart Robert.
- No inquiry has been launched
- And the Morrison Government continues to hide behind claims of ‘Public Interest Immunity’ to refuse to make documents on the origin of the scheme public.
Mr Morrison and Mr Robert should look to the Netherlands for what a principled response to the immense Robodebt scandal would look like.
In the face of an ongoing shameless cover up only a Royal Commission into Robodebt will get the Australian public the transparency and answers it deserves.
SATURDAY 16 JANUARY 2021
MEDIA CONTACT: LIAM HOULIHAN 0438 366 400