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An Open Letter to Stuart Robert

The Hon Stuart Robert MP
Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme
Minister for Government Services
Parliament House

Dear Mr Robert,

My name is Elliot Dolan-Evans and I am a voter in Footscray, Melbourne. I am currently completing a PhD at Monash University in political economy and feminist studies, I am a registered medical practitioner, and a law graduate awaiting admittance to the Supreme Court of Victoria.

I write this open letter to condemn the Robodebt Centrelink Scheme unequivocally and urge you to stop enforcing the unsubstantiated debts of vulnerable Australians. If this scheme is to continue at all, which it should not, then any Australian being contacted by Centrelink must be provided with all documents (including the Debt Schedule) that demonstrates the alleged debt, along with calculations and notes determining the alleged debt made by Centrelink, and free legal advice to effectively and fairly challenge it.

As a legal graduate, I am greatly concerned that the hundreds of thousands of Australians who have been contacted by Centrelink have not been given due process under the law. There is a lack of information provided by Centrelink in the first instance to their Robodebt, and even on subsequent requests for proof, Centrelink do not provide the required documents. I have been assisting several friends, colleagues and vulnerable members of the community, and not once has the Debt Schedule of the person alleged to have a debt ever voluntarily sent by Centrelink. Only through FOI requests does this occur, which is a process most Australians do not know how to initiate. Then, when the Debt Schedule is provided, there are no notes, no workings, and no indication as to how the Robodebt has been calculated. A vast majority of Australians do not understand their rights concerning Robodebt claims, do not know the correct process in obtaining documentation, and community legal clinics are so under-funded in this country, by the Australian government, there is no capacity to assist.

As a medical doctor, I am severely concerned that the harassment of vulnerable Australians with Robodebt claims is having a deleterious outcome on mental, and subsequently, physical health. The number of people that I have assisted, who are all predominantly university graduates and young, have been devastated mentally by the ordeal of Centrelink harassment and the quick referral to aggressive debt collectors. This is undeniably translating to poor physical health, and I have serious concerns for those more vulnerable. This is without mentioning the incredibly burdensome financial costs of unproven and unsubstantiated Robodebts. I assert, again, that these debts are unproven and unsubstantiated until Centrelink properly provides all documentation and explanation to those it is trying to extract money from. Otherwise, it is a complete abuse of government power and intimidation, towards people who generally do not have the tools and knowledge to challenge these Robodebts.

Again, I demand that the Centrelink Robodebt Scheme is immediately halted. The physical, financial, and mental impacts that it is having on Australians is absolutely and unequivocally damaging and is fundamentally unjust. For all of those who have been accused of having a debt, whether paid or not, Centrelink must provide all documentation relating to their debt immediately and provide free legal advice to help navigate these damaging accusations.

Kind Regards,

Elliot Dolan-Evans MBBS, LLB (Hons), BAppSci (Hons)

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  1. Phil Pryor

    Deserving of support, this letter is on a topic being discussed for the clear injustices in it and its manipulations and perpetrations, but, to talk to an oaf like Stuart Robber, a petty crook, dud at record keeping and an extreme superstitious idiot is not likely to be productive. People receiving little justice from this defective group, called for politeness a governjment, are growing in huge numbers. Defectives…

  2. Baby Jewels

    Robodebt is a disgrace and I hope this letter and the lawsuit against Robodebt ensure it’s thrown out and its engineers punished for all the harm they’ve done. I’ve read that 2000+ people have committed suicide because of Robodebt.

  3. Christopher J Ward

    Best of luck with this and great for tackling at the source. It would be interesting to name and shame the inventive fascists who ‘perfected’ Robodebt. Grasping and clawing at the less fortunate appears to drive this mob. Makes me wonder whether the followers of one Ned Ludd were right.

  4. New England Cocky

    Funny how Barnyard Joyce can spend hundred of thousands of dollars NOT reporting on his work as Drought Envoy yet Ms Single Mother struggling to keep her family of small kids together on the smell of an oily rag is persecuted by the politicians her vote helped elect to their lucrative financial offices.

    An excellent example of how to write a compelling letter to an uncaring politician known from his Internet Bills to put personal pecuniary interests before public good.

  5. crypt0

    Good on you Elliot and AIMN for giving this a run …
    The physical, financial, and mental impacts of Robodebt are of no interest to this LieNP “government”, from Morrison down; they are beneath contempt.

  6. whatever

    Some of the States in the United States have started similar schemes of immiseration, they are harassing citizens for alleged debts that go back to the 80’s.
    They call it “Zombiedebt”.

  7. Aortic

    Hope they include Trumps vile scandalous business ” deals” in their automated chase.

  8. Matters Not

    (Perhaps an aside.) Exactly why write to The Hon Stuart Robert MP? Is it because he (personally) has the power to change the arrangements re the operation(s) of the Robodebt Centrelink Scheme? You know, for example, like Peter Dutton (acting as the Minister) has the legislated power to make certain, crucial decisions re the treatment of refugees.

    Or is Stuart Robert being petitioned because he is the titular head of a Department which is simply implementing government policy? If so – what assumptions are therefore in play? That Robert is a ‘power player’, like Dutton is? And has legislated discretions? Or is Robert nothing more than a ‘bit-player’ whose role is to simply follow orders as handed down by the powers-that-be? If that’s the case, this petition might be a complete waste of time – effectively.

    Never-the-less, will watch with interest.

  9. Eve

    It’s genocide. They are killing the people of Australia and it is the flees in government that we need to be rid of like this flee bag that made the corrupt mess. I would really like to give him his corrupt system shuved up his arse. How can people sleep at night? I say get rid of the flees that don’t give a rats arse about the people

  10. wam

    There are few politicians more jesused in their mind and less in their action as this turd. but andrews and scummo are working on it

  11. Wendy

    One would think that the facts and details surrounding an alleged debt would be mandatory when they slug people for money via a robot. But what started under the big stick approach of Abbott has only accelerated under this far right and evil mob. This Government is the living end!!

  12. Lauris Newbury

    Are people who are no longer recipients of a payment from Centrelink receiving a robodebt or only those currently dependent on them?

  13. Wobbley

    What about the the law that implies that most, most business records are not required to be held any longer than 7 years. This stinking illegal scheme, I’ve been informed, requires information to be furnished after that time. Surely that component of centrstink robodebt is illegal, surely?

  14. Brett Stokes

    We have an illegal scheme that is causing deaths.

    We need investigation and prosecution of those responsible for this criminal scheme.

    The civil actions are good, but we need the crime stopped and the criminals punished.

  15. DrakeN

    Thank you Dr. Dolan-Evans.

    Thank you, too, AIMN for publishing this.

  16. Keitha Granville

    thank you for writing, but I won’t hold my breath

  17. Maxwell denehy

    Dr dolan-evans.extremely grateful for your words & your help to those less articulate to fend for themselves.

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