Illawarra Labor Federal MPs backed Labor’s call for a Royal Commission into the Morrison Government’s illegal Robodebt scheme so a disaster like this never happens to the Australian people again.

Millions of Australians were targeted for four long years by this Government, in a bid to artificially boost the budget bottom line with up to 740,000 unlawful debts.

Labor has called for a Royal Commission which would shed light on critical questions that might otherwise go unanswered, including:

  • Who came up with the idea for the scheme and what due diligence was done, what advice was obtained, prior to its implementation?
  • When did the Government first learn that its Robodebt scheme was unlawful?
  • Did the Government settle legal challenges, and choose not to appeal adverse AAT determinations in order to avoid a court ruling that the scheme was unlawful?
  • How was such a fundamentally – and obviously – flawed scheme allowed to continue for as long as it did?
  • In total, how much has the failed scheme cost the Australian taxpayer?
  • In total, how many debts have been issued under the illegal Robodebt scheme?
  • How many Australians have been harmed by the Robodebt scheme?
  • How many Australians have taken their own lives after being pursued by the Government, or by debt collectors paid by the Government, for debts under the illegal Robodebt scheme?

A Royal Commission could also make recommendations – including for law reform – on the sole use of “data matching” and automated processes.

Sharon Bird said that her office was inundated with distressed victims of the Government’s cruel scheme since its inception.

“The Robodebt saga has caused so many local people great distress as they tried to counter and appeal these illegal debts.  This attack on some of our most vulnerable people has been an absolute disgrace.  We must make sure that this does not happen again.

Stephen Jones said that the Morrison Government is all spin and no delivery.

“Whether it's Robodebt, allowing criminals to steal people's superannuation or the HomeBlunder package - they never deliver and it's Australians that feel the painful consequences.

Fiona Phillips said that people in Gilmore were sick of the Government turning its back on local people in need.

“We have had an absolutely harrowing year, and local people deserve better. The government needs to step up and provide answers for why they have put local people through such heartache for years with a scheme that was unlawful.