Compare & contrast: Sussan Ley and Centrelink punters

9 Jan



Such is politics in these interesting times that it’s impossible when alerted to one scandal, to refrain from speculating if it has been confected to distract your attention from another.

So it is with Health Minister Sussan Ley’s current imbroglio which seems, at first blush, a nice little “look over here not there” moment arriving right on top of the Centrelink scandal.

In the former, federal Health Minister Ley appears to have spent an inordinate amount of taxpayer dollars travelling to the Gold Coast, including for two New Year’s Eve celebrations (what ministerial duties could she possibly be fulfilling on New Year’s Eve at the Gold Coast?) and, conveniently, at the time of the auction purchase by herself and her partner, a Gold Coast businessman, of an $800,ooo apartment close to his office.


Here is an analysis by the ABC of Ms Ley’s spending.

Ley has agreed to in part pay back some of these taxpayer dollars, acknowledging her fraudulent misappropriation of the money was “an error of judgement.” Many of us think of these behaviours as criminal activities that ought to be investigated by the AFP, but it all swings on the narrative.

In stark contrast, the AFP has joined forces with Centrelink to distribute intimidating letters threatening punters with jail if they might possibly have at some time in the last six years fraudulently claimed welfare benefits. People are advised to pay back the amounts Centrelink determined they owed, prior to any evidence that they actually owed anything. Three debt collection agencies have been contracted by Centrelink to pursue debtors, whether the validity of their debt has been established or not. This is an action Australian Lawyers for Human Rights describe as an abuse of legal process.

It does make sense that calling in debt collectors to pursue an alleged debtor before the debt has even been validated might well be an abuse of legal process. Somehow this fact escaped the notice of the Centrelink overlords, or perhaps they simply don’t care. It’s the government’s intention to continue this extortion for the next four years, making a total of ten years illegally hunting down welfare recipients in order to raise $4.6 billion to fix the budget.

In any case, the contrast between the treatment of Centrelink punters and the treatment of Health Minister Sussan Ley could not be more stark. If it was hoped the Ley affair might distract from the Centrelink debacle, well, no. But I do understand that the LNP would think it might, as they are largely brain-dead.

And then yesterday the Australian’s star turn and renowned dog lover Chris Kenny hove into view, with a tweet on the Ley affair to the effect that “there’s a very experienced health minister waiting in the wings.” Ahahaha! the thlot pickens!

Of course that very experienced health minister must be Tony Abbott, and of course Ley was first outed by the Murdoch hacks.

And so, Turnbull is wedged. If he doesn’t demote Ley: trouble from the voters. If he demotes Ley and doesn’t replace her with Abbott, who has long been agitating for a return to the front bench, he’s in serious trouble with the far right-wing.  Ley is also one of Turnbull’s few allies, and he won’t want to lose her from his cabinet.

However this plays out, the contrast between the manner in which Sussan Ley is treated and the treatment of Centrelink punters could not be a more outstanding example of what the Turnbull government thinks of its citizens. Ley, who ought to be investigated for fraud, is permitted to apologise and pay back the money. Centrelink punters are threatened with jail and repayment of monies, whether they’ve committed fraud or not.

Some humans really are more equal than others.

34 Responses to “Compare & contrast: Sussan Ley and Centrelink punters”

  1. townsvilleblog January 9, 2017 at 8:11 am #

    Thieves are also equal with some being more equal than others, if I were to steal money from you Jennifer, I would go to gaol, yet this person steals public funds for private business and she is allowed to repay the money. No sacking, no gaol, typical tory bastards.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jennifer Wilson January 9, 2017 at 8:12 am #

      Yep, it’s one rule for them, anther for everybody else, Shaun. Disgusting.


  2. Havana Liedown January 9, 2017 at 8:57 am #

    Before you get too excited, this system is lax and open to abuse… by BOTH sides of politics.

    Who could forget Greg & Juanita’s grand (70 grand actually) European vacation?

    Or Tony Burke’s business-class-for-the-kids family trip?

    And a barely-reported paper-thin pretext to Jet (VIP) off to her staffer’s Byron Bay wedding?


    • Jennifer Wilson January 9, 2017 at 9:17 am #

      Look over there, Havana?


      • Havana Liedown January 9, 2017 at 9:26 am #

        Nope, just look around. The denials, the cover-up and BS are worse than the original offence. Just ask Craig Thomson. Ask Bronwyn Bishop.


        • Marilyn January 10, 2017 at 8:06 pm #

          Thomson did absolutely nothing wrong while in parliament, the link to his union days is ridiculous when he was found ‘guilty” only of getting $5,000 of cash withdrawals which is not even illegal and he was not even charged with.

          The ALP/LNP cartel though are a pack of thieves and rorters.


      • paul walter. January 9, 2017 at 12:00 pm #

        That WAS crude, wasn’t it?

        That was the pattern at Eliis

        Liked by 1 person

    • Macam January 9, 2017 at 9:27 am #

      Who’s getting exited? I am FUCKING ANGRY!
      Self serving thieves punishing the poor while protecting the privileged. They have sold out their humanity, if they ever had any…


      • Havana Liedown January 9, 2017 at 9:37 am #

        Worse still, those that profess to champion the poor. Can you finish this line: “… by 1990…”?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Jennifer Wilson January 9, 2017 at 4:54 pm #

        They didn’t have any, Macam.


    • Jennifer Wilson January 9, 2017 at 4:55 pm #

      I’m not sure what your point is, Havana.


  3. paul walter. January 9, 2017 at 12:06 pm #

    They need to stop the brutality.

    Ley should have been fired.

    Yes, I was wondering about Murdoch and Abbott also.

    That summary from Dr Wilson rings accurate. Turnbull remains a lame duck, too gutless to resign and at least retrieve his reputation and sense of self respect, Power is a drug highly for politicians.

    Havana, go away. People are dying because of people with your pathology.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. FigMince January 9, 2017 at 1:01 pm #

    Huh? I’d heard the word that Frank was here. What happened? Is this in fact a place only for sheep? Pity.


    • paul walter. January 9, 2017 at 2:22 pm #

      FigMince, it this place was exclusively for sheep, Frank would fit the bill.


    • FigMince January 10, 2017 at 2:19 pm #

      Apology: I found Frank in the previous post’s comments. I thought he’d been deleted. I’ll get my coat.


  5. Barry Waters January 9, 2017 at 2:14 pm #

    I love the idea that the world’s best unemployed Health Minister could replace Susan Ley, the world’s best impromptu Gold Coast investor. He wouldn’t want to travel to Queensland every second day, but he would feel entitled to having the key to The Lodge.


    • Jennifer Wilson January 9, 2017 at 4:53 pm #

      As we say on Twitter, you couldn’t make this shit up, Barry. Where will they go from here?


  6. Ambitious_Drifter January 9, 2017 at 3:31 pm #

    Ley replaced by Sinodinis! Bronny leaps in to defend Sussan…. all those shiny snouts! Any word from Joe Hockey?

    Liked by 1 person

  7. doug quixote January 9, 2017 at 5:29 pm #

    Perfect, Jennifer.

    I was thinking of that parallel (Animal Farm) and also of the Age of Entitlement, not over but moved back up the food chain.

    Unto he who hath, much shall be given . . .

    . . . or is it just the Looters & Nutters Party getting its trotters into the trough once again?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jennifer Wilson January 10, 2017 at 8:33 am #

      Thanks DQ. I never understood that scripture quote – to him who has nothing much shall be given, from him who has nothing everything will be taken away, (not sure of the wording. )


      • paul walter. January 10, 2017 at 1:35 pm #

        Definitely pinched from a social security handbook.

        Just watching Linda Burney attacking the Centrelink/algorithim nonsenses and thought, if its extortions and robbery with violence if debt collection companies are involved, why has it not been brought before the courts?

        The courts are usually big on property rights for everyone else, why not in cases as obvious as the Centrelink ones?

        Of course, likely the government would stall on enacting on any court decisions, judging by their previous reactions involving asylum seekers.


      • doug quixote January 10, 2017 at 3:40 pm #

        No, it seems arse about. I studied all that crap for many years – comparative mythology is what it should be taught as, if at all.

        The parable seems to say that the worthy will be given lots and the unworthy will lose what little they have. Of course, ‘worthiness’ is in the eye of the beholder.

        Take it all with a grain of salt.


      • Stephanie Cornwallis January 10, 2017 at 8:36 pm #

        No, it’s “blessed are they who have low expectations, for they shall not be disappointed”.


  8. paul walter. January 9, 2017 at 6:48 pm #

    Getting back to the topic, a snooze, shower and tucker has this writer definite in favour of the diagnosis that the event, given the nature of the leaking, is a manifestation of the long- awaited terrorist ambush by Abbott on Turncoat.

    And it has been a beauty!

    But what if, in torpedoing Ley and Turnbull, he has torpedoed the entire lib ship?

    Is he like the cartoon character who sits on the branch, enthusiastically sawing from its wrong side?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jennifer Wilson January 10, 2017 at 8:31 am #

      PW, I think his arrogance is such that he believes he IS the whole ship, & everything he does is for its betterment. And yes, he is that cartoon character.

      This latest scandal with Ley is prompting calls to revisit parliamentary travel allowances and perhaps this will be the straw the breaks the camel’s back and something will change.
      If not, I predict an even stronger swing to minor parties and independents, as people daily become more sickened by the majors players.


      • paul walter. January 10, 2017 at 3:17 pm #

        He is a nut bag, a bikie in a suit. Nothing ever happens unless he says so? These people are lunatics.


  9. paul walter. January 11, 2017 at 4:57 am #

    This Guardian article hit me like a brick.

    Isn’t the real reason Ley should resign to do with her innapropriateness of outlook and consequent failure as, a health minister. Consider this in the light of recent events and the likely impact on health for government victims:

    Isn’t the rorting merely the manifestation of an outlook at variance with the one you would expect of a health minister?


  10. paul walter. January 12, 2017 at 11:08 pm #,9916

    I’d also love to include a montage of Sarina Russo involved in the Ley nonsenses, hobnobbing with all theTory luminaries at fund raising epics.

    Is it coincidental that 750 MILLION dollars in contracts have been awarded to her hiring firm?


  11. doug quixote January 13, 2017 at 11:07 pm #

    Well, poor Susy has fallen on her metaphorical sword; she’ll only get $200k or so instead of $300k plus, until she’s been rehabilitated. Hardly worth getting out of bed for, is it not?

    I suppose we need to pay them well, otherwise the temptation to corruption is even greater; and their duties (if carried out!) are quite onerous and specialised.

    But they might at least try to be honest in their claims . . . lest they become an “undisclosed bankrupt” (sic) as our modern Mrs Malaprop Pauline Hanson says.

    If it wasn’t so serious it would be funny.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. paul walter. January 14, 2017 at 10:31 pm #

    Hard to comment without using bad language.


  13. urbanwronski January 15, 2017 at 7:20 pm #

    Great piece, Jennifer. Not sure if the distraction is a conscious ploy, but you are spot on about the timing. Sinodinos will get it over Abbott- despite their noise Abbott backers are surprisingly few. Or not so surprising. Outrageous clawback ploy. Breaks every rule in the book.

    Liked by 1 person

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