Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Ombudsman robodebt report - recommends full evaluation before further implemented


The long awaited report into the disastrous robodebt debacle has been released by the Ombudsman. It's pretty dry reading, but entirely scathing of the whole implementation process. The way they describe it sounds more like the Keystone Cops were implementing the system rather than the Dept of Human Services.

There's other arguments detailing what changes recommended to be made in specific areas. For example the initial debt letters didn't even have the phone number hotline specifically set up by the DHS to ring about the debt letter, so everyone called the main lines. The phone system couldn't handle it with ridiculously long delays, and the DHS people taking the calls had little idea what it was all about. 

The Ombudsman sums it all up thus:
PDF here
In other words, the whole system has that many problems it's fucked. Imagine if they'd done this to businesses somehow, putting them through the wringer like that. Imagine if the politicians got a Centrelink robodebt letter telling them they had to pay back entitlements. Welfare recipients are an all too easy target, but it'd be a different story if it was them getting done by a fucked system.

The fact is there's a very good reason we're on welfare. We find ourselves in unfortunate circumstances. Many times that includes mental health issues. Robodebt doesn't help. It's very hard to see why the gov would go after people like us with nothing when they want to give $24 billion tax cuts to companies that don't need it anyway, other than they're just plain mean and cruel. 

Tudge reckons he'll follow the recommendations in a strange sort of tweet, almost completely brushing off the report like "nothing to see here" sort of thing. I wouldn't trust a word that comes out of his mouth.