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Government released details of Robodet victims and stopped them from speaking to the media

Former welfare minister Alan Tadge has requested access to the personal Centerlink files of robodet recipients who have appeared in media articles about illegal schemes, a federal investigation has heard.
On Tuesday, we heard testimony from Tudge’s former media advisor, Rachelle Miller, who held the position from 2016 to 2017.
At the hearing, she said that in response to negative talk about individuals who had been notified by Robodet, selected information from her personal files was sent from the department’s office to some journalists in order to “fix the record” of the media. said to have been provided.
“The minister requested files of all those who appeared in the media so we could confirm the exact transactions they had with Centrelink and understand what the details of their case were. ” said Miller.

“The legal advice to us was that we could[provide personal information to journalists]but only certain information…that was the original (media) article It was a particular line that contradicted what was stated in

Miller said the strategy was deployed after an unsuccessful attempt to develop a counterargument to the plan, which a group of journalists reporting on Robodet at the time found “convincing.” It is said that
She said that while negative press coverage of the robodet has increased, initially there was little concern because of the media coverage of the scheme.
“It was not uncommon for the left-wing media to attack us on social policy,” Miller said.
Tadge was focused on finding case studies of people who received Centerlink debt notices for use in media and political attacks, she said.

At the hearing, Miller said he first heard about the Robodet program in late 2016 and that it matched the government’s explanation for cracking down on welfare debt.

Alan Tadge served as Welfare Minister from 2016 to 2017. sauce: AAP / lucas cook

“We were under a lot of pressure there, but I think we saw it as an opportunity for a good story.

The Commission heard concerns about negative stories about the robodet scheme that escalated in late 2016 and early 2017.
“[Tudge]said very strongly that we needed to stop talking about this,” Miller said.
“The Minister quickly realized that (then Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull) was frustrated by the escalating media issues surrounding the matter.”

Despite the negative publicity, Miller said feedback from the Prime Minister’s Office was that the scheme was well received among key fringe voters and people supported it.

Centrelink’s debt recovery scheme uses annual tax office data to calculate bi-weekly earnings and .
The controversial program has recovered more than $750 million from over 380,000 people and has resulted in several committing suicide after being forced out of false debts.

Tadge will appear as a witness on Wednesday, where he will also be cross-examined by Miller’s attorneys.

https://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/shut-this-story-down-government-released-robodebt-victims-details-to-stop-them-speaking-to-media/6esr2l6ds Government released details of Robodet victims and stopped them from speaking to the media

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