A huge class action has been brought against Centrelink‘s ridiculous automated ‘robo-debt’ recovery system. This follows the general public’s growing concerns about the system’s unfair targeting of the vulnerable, as well as the heartbreaking findings released earlier in the year that over 2000 Australians died after receiving a debatable robo-debt from the government.
Gordon Legal will be actioning the suit, on the grounds that the government have generalised thousands of unique circumstances with a computer algorithm and subsequently preyed on the weak.
Peter Gordon, senior partner at the firm, elaborated in an official statement: “Investigations reveal between $2-3 million have been wrongly taken from people and making it even worse was many were hit with penalties of 10 percent on those amounts.”
He continued: “We’ll allege that to simply collect money from hundreds of thousands of people by the simplistic application of an imperfect computer algorithm is wrong.”
“We think that before the Government docked the pensions or took the tax refunds of widows and carers and aged pensioners it needed to have better evidence, it needed to consider each case individually.”
Bill Shorten, shadow minister for government services, has publicly backed the class action, suggesting that it’s time to suggest the legality of the scheme.
“The Government has used a flawed calculation system to unlawfully take back millions of dollars from pensioners,” Shorten released in an official statement. “The Federal Government has financially benefited by wrongfully taking and banking money that legitimately belonged to recipients.”
“The robo-debt scheme – including its reverse onus of proof – is at best legally dubious and should rightly have its legality determined by a court.”
“Stress, heartbreak, suicides – this is the trail of carnage that robo-debt has wrought.”
Now over to the High Court. More to come.
Source: The Guardian.