robo-debt centrelink
(Image: AAP/Julian Smith)

News of Centrelink’s mounting controversies — from the ongoing robo-debt saga to the cashless welfare push — didn’t come as a surprise to many Crikey readers: just more symptoms of a broken welfare system long in need of a shakeup. Elsewhere, readers reacted to the mounting costs of the government’s attempts to deport the Biloela Tamil asylum seeker family.

On Centrelink

Don Quay writes: I find the attitude of the current and former governments absolutely breathtaking. The Department of Human Services probably drives and encourages this attitude. Our society has instructed parliament to offer a financial lifeline to those in distress. Taxpayers fund this measure from their hard earned income and by paying a myriad of Commonwealth fees and charges. I believe the public are aware that only 1% of recipients deliberately defraud the system and this has been the case for many decades. There is absolutely no need to degrade, punish or intimidate those who receive benefits. This robo-debt thing has occurred because of the failure of the department and not those who receive benefits.

Draco Houston writes: The cashless card is an abusive relationship where Canberra must be consulted for big purchases. It must be stopped and abolished for all our economic freedoms to be preserved. One day they’ll move everyone to a cashless society, if it is not stopped here. It could have been stopped in the NT intervention but not enough people cared. The longer people wait the harder it will be to assert any right to privacy in transactions. The more people are covered by the program the harder it is to route around it with grey markets. It is shameful that the unemployed carry most of the burden of fighting against this and robo-debt.

On the cost of deportation

Peter Wileman writes: At least ScoMo recently had the place redecorated in time for the family to move into on Christmas Island. Add those millions to the bill. How fitting that our Christian leaders are proving to be truly “Christian”.

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Peter Fray

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