COMPILED BY MAX OPRAY
| Schwartz Media
From time to time, when there’s something important to say, I give space in PNG Attitude for Australian politics. Each morning, Schwartz Media sends me a heads-up on the big stories of the day. This morning’s email brought with it sickening information about how a powerful segment of Australia’s public service, apparently working at the behest of senior politicians, had engaged in what would best be described as criminal behaviour. The passages underlined for emphasis are mine - KJ
MELBOURNE - Rachelle Miller, who was an adviser to former federal human services minister Alan Tudge, testified to the Robodebt Royal Commission yesterday on her role in handling media inquiries about the illegal welfare debt recovery scheme.
Miller said that in late 2016 there was a “proliferation” of negative media coverage “predominantly in the left-wing media”.
She alleged that in response, Tudge “requested the file of every single person who appeared in the media … you could see the exact transactions that they’d had with Centrelink”.
Miller said the government then released personal information of robodebt “case studies” to “more friendly” tabloid media to deter more people from speaking out.
She added that then-prime minister Malcolm Turnbull’s office told her the narrative of “cracking down on welfare cheats” was playing well in marginal seats in Western Sydney.
Last year, Miller received a $650,000 (K1.6 million) settlement from the Commonwealth after she alleged abuse by Tudge during her employment under him and former government minister Michaelia Cash.
Tudge will today testify before the royal commission, where he will also be cross-examined by lawyers for Miller.
Earlier yesterday, Annette Musolino, former chief counsel at the Department of Human Services, was grilled over her failure to appeal tribunal decisions related to the scheme’s flawed use of income averaging;
It follows evidence to the royal commission last week that showed how departments actively avoided legal precedents to keep the (robodebt) scheme running for years.