QUESTION WITHOUT NOTICE: MINISTER FAILS TO ANSWER ON ROBODEBT

Ms BIRD (Cunningham) (14:50):  My question is to the Minister for Government Services. Can the minister confirm the Administrative Appeals Tribunal first determined that robodebt was illegal in March 2017, and on at least 75 other occasions, but the government persisted with its illegal scheme right up until December 2019?

Mr ROBERT (Fadden—Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme and Minister for Government Services) (14:50):  Let me thank the member for her question. As we all understand, the AAT is independent in reviewing administrative decisions. Each matter decided by the AAT is, of course, made on a case-by-case basis, having regard to the particular facts and circumstances of each case. AAT decisions are usually supported by clearly written statements of reason, having regard to the digital information the AAT has considered during its hearing.

As it reviews administrative decisions, the Commonwealth is always looking at those decisions and, in terms of the refund process, just so the member is aware, having raised the issue of the AAT—and I'm sure she has concern for those who have a debt raised insufficiently because of the longstanding 26-year practice of averaged income data—Services Australia will work closely with the AAT about debts raised wholly or partially based on income averaging that's been decided by the AAT. For those Australians who believe that they may have had a debt raised over the last 26 years because of the use of averaged income data, those Australians are able to seek from Services Australia, at any time, a review into a debt they believe may have been used by averaged income data over the last three decades.

Watch Sharon’s speech here.