How Turnbull plans to raise $4.6 billion from unemployed.

6 Jan


The Turnbull government plans to raise a windfall of $4.6 billion over the next four years, and this is how they intend to do it.

Centrelink is averaging annual earnings over every fortnightly reporting period. This means that you are determined by them to have earned income at the same time as you received unemployment benefits. Therefore, you must pay those benefits back.

First you receive a letter advising of discrepancies between ATO and Centrelink records. You are asked to provide pay slips etc, and declare your income for the year/s in question. When you declare income, your problems can begin in earnest. Declared income is averaged out, Centrelink claims you’ve earned in every fortnightly reporting period, a debt is raised against you, you are threatened with debt collectors and ultimately jail, if you don’t comply.

In fact, you may have been unemployed for six months during which time you were entitled to benefits, then in work for six months. The government intends for you to repay the benefits to which you were absolutely entitled, by averaging out the income you received for six months work as fortnightly income over the entire twelve months.

More and more people are revealing this is exactly what has happened to them. It is the government’s intention to continue this practice for the next four years in order to achieve its $4.6 billion goal.

It beggars belief that this is a systems error.  If this is the case, those responsible for the design and implementation of the system are unbelievably, inconceivably incompetent.  Centrelink’s Hank Jongen claims the methodology hasn’t changed, but no one has explained why, if nothing has changed, the system has begun averaging annual earnings over every reporting fortnight, and raising debts as a result.

At the same time, Centrelink and the AFP announced the implementation of “Taskforce Integrity” to pursue fraudulent claims. As well, the government declared on the Tuesday before the election that they’d discovered  a brand new, unspecified way, to raise $4.6 billion.

The government is falsely  accusing people of fraud, by falsely declaring legitimate welfare benefits to be illegitimate. They are threatening people with debt collectors and jail, if the legitimately claimed welfare benefits are not repaid.  In other words, unemployment benefits have become repayable loans. I don’t recall that new legislation, or that amendment. Does anyone?

They are doing all this in partnership with the Australian Federal Police.

This is a situation out of a dystopian novel. Kafka comes to mind.

This is no systems error. This is deliberate policy. I hope there are lawyers out there all over this. Because we have to establish exactly who is obtaining financial advantage by deception. Increasingly, it sounds very much as if it is our government, by exploiting people at their most vulnerable.

If this mess is indeed an error and not deliberate policy, Centrelink and the relevant ministers have now been made thoroughly aware of it as such. So why do they continue to insist that nothing is amiss, and why do they not halt the distribution of letters until the error is fixed?

Of course, fixing the error may affect their $4.6 billion dollar goal.

Centrelink has now begun using its Twitter account to refer people to Life Line if they are experiencing distress. Life Line is a voluntary organisation given little or no support by the federal government. The government has also ripped millions from frontline services for domestic violence victims, community legal aid centres, and over a billion from aged services. You can bet that these outrageously underfunded services will be stretched to their limits by Turnbull’s latest attack on vulnerable citizens.

I cannot remember anytime in this country when a government department has referred citizens to an emergency service because they are experiencing suicidal levels of distress as a consequence of that government’s policies.

Does anyone?

41 Responses to “How Turnbull plans to raise $4.6 billion from unemployed.”

  1. Fiona January 6, 2017 at 7:01 am #

    What’s more, Lifeline NT ceased operating back in October because of gross underfunding.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Jennifer Wilson January 6, 2017 at 7:21 am #

      Yes. I wonder what ppl in NT are doing to manage Centrelink persecution

      Liked by 1 person

      • Fiona January 6, 2017 at 9:18 am #

        One very smart indigenous lady said she’d take the matter to the Ombudsman. Centrelink caved in.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. helvityni January 6, 2017 at 7:26 am #

    “Centrelink has now begun using its Twitter account to refer people to Life Line if they are experiencing distress.”

    Dear, oh dear, how are those well-meaning, but totally untrained old dears going to be helpful to the desperate people this heartless government has driven to a brink of suicide.

    What a bizarre way of dealing with major problems….and MalTurn speaks of FAIRNESS…


    • Suziekue January 6, 2017 at 11:17 am #

      Those “totally untrained old dears” are actually well trained volunteers from a range of age and social groups. The issue for LifeLine will be whether it has sufficient staff (unpaid) to cope with the rush from the Centrelink debacle.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Fiona January 6, 2017 at 9:34 pm #

        Their training and supervision is intensive and professional. They can always resort to back-up in the person of the shift supervisor.


      • helvityni January 7, 2017 at 8:13 am #

        Suziekue, maybe those unpaid volunteers are also losing their entitlements, and are also suicidal.

        Why are so many essential services depending on volunteers…?


  3. Ambitious_Drifter January 6, 2017 at 9:29 am #

    I’m ex Clink IT.. they were heavily deskilled in the 2000’s. Tax dept IT was never good.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. townsvilleblog January 6, 2017 at 9:44 am #

    At the risk of rerepeating myself this is typical LNP policy hurt the working class while gnoring multinational multi billion dollar tax avoidance each and every year.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. anonymous January 6, 2017 at 9:48 am #

    Neo-liberalism is a crude, brutish doctrine which has clearly failed.

    Our politicians lack the imagination to do anything but try and fill budgetary potholes which have become bottomless pits.

    They are wedded to Trickle Down economics like members of a cult.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Anonymous January 6, 2017 at 9:50 am #

      Would you please remove my email address jennifer


      • paul walter. January 6, 2017 at 1:54 pm #

        Good to know that inveterate poster Anonymous has an email address also…How goes it, nonnymouse?


      • Jennifer Wilson January 6, 2017 at 2:18 pm #

        Your email address isn’t coming up publicly anywhere I can find, anonymous.


  6. kristapet January 6, 2017 at 10:27 am #

    Thank you for writing this, Jennifer – a very clear account of this “ways of misrule”, by this Neo-Liberal government

    Liked by 1 person

  7. doug quixote January 6, 2017 at 12:20 pm #

    It is an absolute disgrace. Certainly no other advanced democracy runs its social security system in this way.

    The government must fix this travesty of fairness immediately, and retrospectively.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Marilyn January 6, 2017 at 5:32 pm #

      When even the Murdoch rags and ACA find it an obscene assault on people fizza should get that it is a disgraceful failure.

      Liked by 1 person

      • paul walter. January 6, 2017 at 7:06 pm #

        No. It is ideology. Idealogy (,odern theology) always precedes reality.

        It is why they have to hire so many spin doctors and keep so much real (contradicotry) news out of msm.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Jennifer Wilson January 6, 2017 at 9:03 pm #

        Are they trying to get rid of Turnbull & replace him with Abbott? Is that why they’ve gnu after Ley, as she’s a Turnbull ally?


        • Fiona January 6, 2017 at 9:37 pm #


          I think the outing of suss Sussan’s ‘impuse buy’ has the imprimateur of the Lib dirt police. So, yes.

          (WHY isn’t the “reply” thing working? WordPress having a hissy fit because it’s too darned hot?

          Liked by 1 person

      • Fiona January 6, 2017 at 9:39 pm #

        Marilyn, he won’t. It’s his manifest destiny to be PM, and all things he and his gummint do are ordained.

        Now, what did Keating say about fizza’s judgment . . . ?


    • Fiona January 6, 2017 at 9:35 pm #

      Erm, what about the UK?


    • Fiona January 6, 2017 at 9:35 pm #

      Erm, what about the UK


      • paul walter. January 7, 2017 at 12:07 am #

        Fiona, you’re repeating yourself.


        • helvityni January 7, 2017 at 8:23 am #

          Aren’t we all, Paul, to some degree 🙂

          We all have our issues, our ‘peak oils’ (Harquebus), we learn to recognize each others’ style of writing…so even spotting a troll is getting easier… 🙂


          • Havana Liedown January 7, 2017 at 11:20 am #


    • Frank January 7, 2017 at 4:41 pm #

      Just passing by when I did a double-take.

      Is this the same pompous brown-nosing Doug Quixote who once boasted (quite brazenly last year on Bob Ellis’ Blog) that the Magnificent Entrepreneur, Donald J. Trump Esq, Emperor of All Christendom, Vanquisher of Old Democratic Hags, Saviour of Western Civilisation, Builder of Magnificent GOLD Towers, Designer of Glorious Golfing Greens, Discoverer of Obama’s Photo-shopped Birth-Certificate, Maker of ALL Things GREAT beneath Heaven and Hell – Who Boasted and Challenged ME once – The Glorious Frank Longshank, (humble Noosa Gated-Community Dweller), WHO quipped arrogantly in that lawyerly-lisping sycophantic voice, the way brown-nosers tend to do – who snarled at ME – that MY Donald will NEVER EVER in a Million Years become President of The U-S-A?

      Is this HE who silently licks his balls sobbing in the corner of this modest blog – or are you some lowly miscreant lookalike? A stealer of foul identities. Some cast off weasel-worm worrier wishing to be stepped on and put out of his misery? Speak up!

      Hi Helvi! Hi Havana Liedown. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • havanaliedown January 7, 2017 at 7:30 pm #

        I am marvellous, thank you Frank. Every day has been like Christmas since you-know-who got you-know-whatted. We knew he could and would. It’s nice to see you here at last. Any chance of sending a smoke signal to Phill?

        Liked by 1 person

        • paul walter. January 7, 2017 at 10:04 pm #

          Helvi, can’t imagine what you mean.


      • paul walter. January 7, 2017 at 10:03 pm #

        Aren’t you supposed to be off celebrating Trump’s win?

        Your wildest dreams soon be given form by the likes of Paul Ryan?

        Liked by 1 person

        • paul walter. January 7, 2017 at 10:05 pm #

          (Frank, from Ellis)

          Liked by 1 person

      • Jennifer Wilson January 8, 2017 at 9:30 am #

        Who ARE you?


        • doug quixote January 8, 2017 at 3:49 pm #

          Every blog gets its clown prince, but this one is just a clown. Banned from Bob Ellis’ blog and probably everywhere else. Ignore it and it’ll go away; if it persists, erasure is easy for you.


          Liked by 1 person

          • Havana Liedown January 9, 2017 at 9:05 am #

            The brown lipstick still suits you, Doug.

            Bob was much smarter than you give him credit for… in this age of IP addresses.

            We would speak from time to time on 0405 134 XXX and he asked ME to create another name after being banned. He loved Frank – obviously, but perhaps liked me just a little. I liked him just a little too. And where were you on the day of his funeral? Oh, that’s right… FORE!

            Prove that I lie.


          • Jennifer Wilson January 9, 2017 at 4:56 pm #

            OK< thanks DQ.


  8. paul walter. January 8, 2017 at 9:08 pm #

    And how about this for a double standard.

    Nothing more than an apology for some thing sackable, maybe even criminal?

    Yet we have had people on welfare, not bludgers but good people who have done their best, put through a mincer and had substantial amounts of money, money to survive on not invest in luxuries, ripped off them by a system that won’t admit plain error, let alone return what they ripped off?

    What sort of a sick civilisation is it turning into, that rewards graft and punishes the honest?

    Liked by 1 person


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