Local Media


June 29, 2020

Federal Member for Blair Shayne Neumann has called for a Royal Commission into the Morrison Government’s illegal Robodebt scheme so a disaster like this never happens to the people of Blair again.


Mr Neumann said millions of Australians were targeted for four long years by this Government, in a bid to artificially boost the budget bottom line with 740,000 unlawful debts.


“There were over 73,000 victims in Queensland alone who have fully or partially repaid an illegal Robodebt,” he said.


“Some victims in my electorate have said they were homeless at the time they received Robodebt calls and these caused them enormous stress and heartache.


“The Prime Minister himself was the architect of this cruel and disgraceful scheme designed to extract $1.5 billion in unlawful debts from vulnerable Australians going back to his time as Treasurer. 


“The people of Ipswich, the Somerset Region and Karana Downs region deserve the truth. Australians deserve action to stop this from happening again,” Mr Neumann said. 


A Royal Commission would shed light on critical questions that might otherwise go unanswered, including:


  • Who came up with the idea for the scheme and what due diligence was done, what advice was obtained, prior to its implementation?
  • When did the Government first learn that its Robodebt scheme was unlawful?
  • Did the Government settle legal challenges, and choose not to appeal adverse court determinations in order to avoid a court ruling that the scheme was unlawful?
  • How was such a fundamentally – and obviously – flawed scheme allowed to continue for as long as it did?
  • In total, how much has the failed scheme cost the Australian taxpayer?
  • In total, how many debts have been issued under the illegal Robodebt scheme?
  • How many Australians have been harmed by the Robodebt scheme?
  • How many Australians have taken their own lives after being pursued by the Government, or by debt collectors paid by the Government, for debts under the illegal Robodebt scheme?


A Royal Commission could also make recommendations – including for law reform – on the sole use of “data matching” and automated processes.


The Morrison Government is all marketing and no delivery. Whether it’s Robodebt, the failed JobKeeper scheme or the flawed HomeBuilder package, they never deliver and its everyday Australians who feel the painful consequences.


The Government has continued to hide from scrutiny and refused to answer basic questions about the scheme. Only a Royal Commission will ensure they are held to