SUBJECTS: Centrelink robo-debt scandal; Angus Taylor.
ANTHONY ALBANESE, LEADER OF THE AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY: The Government’s ongoing robo-debt scandal means that this system should be scrapped. You now have circumstances whereby they’re sending debt notices to the families of dead people. This is not on. One hundred per cent of my local constituency – came to my office with robot-debt concerns and had their debts either fully scrapped, or reduced. One hundred per cent were mistakes. The fact is, that this is a scam from the Government in order to try to get money from people who don’t actually owe that money. I’ve got an idea for the Government: why don’t they actually employ some humans to relate to other humans on Human Services, on service delivery? Instead, they have attacked people – set up a system of robo-debt which is having disastrous consequences. It’s putting real pressure on families.
JOURNALIST: Why didn’t you guys ask the Government about the Crown saga yesterday in Question Time?
ALBANESE: We’ll set our own priorities for Question Time, and yesterday we had the ongoing scandal around Angus Taylor that we’ve concentrated on. I mean, Angus Taylor’s circumstances just don’t add up. You have circumstances whereby he says he made representations on behalf of local farmers, but he can’t produce a single letter or a single email. All he can say is: he ran into a bloke in Yass and had a chat. This is absurd. We know, also, from the documents that have been produced, that they were concerned about land clearing on one particular farm being a breach of the EPBC Act. So that’s why we asked: ‘was that farm the one connected with Jam Land’? Angus Taylor has so many questions to answer. He stood up in Parliament yesterday and gave a statement that was incomplete, that didn’t satisfy anyone. And no wonder, he sits on the front bench there with his colleagues inching away from him, further and further, so they’re not in the shot. The person who is in the gun on this issue is Angus Taylor. He has real questions to answer and we’ll continue to pursue these issues. This is a very serious abuse of power by a minister in a government that abuses power all the time. Thanks very much.