The Greens call on Labor to learn the lessons of Robodebt and halt debt recovery


The Greens welcome the Labor government’s in-principle acceptance of the Robodebt Royal Commission’s recommendations, but once again call on Labor to address the core problem by immediately suspending all debt-recovery and raising the rate for people on income support.

Greens social services spokesperson, Senator Janet Rice, said:

“The Robodebt Royal Commission’s report, and Labor’s acceptance of its recommendations, is a positive step towards justice for those traumatised by the callous and illegal scheme, but it does not change our fundamentally broken social security system.”

“The hypocrisy of Labor’s approach to the social safety net is appalling. The Labor government continues with aggressive and automated debt collection, punitive mutual obligations and suffocating support payments that are below the poverty line.”

“Meanwhile, estimates recently revealed that Services Australia’s performance has worsened under the Labor government. We have heard from Labor, time and time again, that they are taking the resourcing of Services Australia seriously, but it’s simply not translating into action that improves the lives of those living in poverty.”

“Australia’s federal public service should certainly have strengthened integrity and accountability, but that means nothing if they are still hounding income support recipients for debts. More training and more staff does not address the fundamental issue that our social security system is punitive, unfair and traps people in poverty.”

“Bill Shorten and the Labor government claim to be ‘re-humanising the delivery of government payments’ – if that was truly the case, they would support the millions of Australians struggling under this punitive system by raising the rate of payments to above the poverty line.”

“The Greens call on the Labor government to immediately suspend all debt-collection, conduct a line-by-line review to ensure there are no outstanding debts from Robodebt, and repay all debt to Robodebt victims not covered by the class action.”

“The best way to ensure we never see a repeat of this tragic scandal is to reshape our social safety net so that everyone can meet their basic needs.”