Robodebt: An “abridged process” – don’t investigate, dont care, save money, the end

I don’t know how much sense my writing will be.

From the past three hearings 2022-30th Jan 2023, I havent blogged about Robodebt.

Yesterday’s hearing was with witness Annette Mousalino, but there are heaps of witnesses.

Here are some of my thoughts. I’m keeping them simple so I cant write 1000 inpenatrible words

Robodebt was specifically designed and worked exactly as designed.

Task list 1

  • Skip tasks in the procedure manual. Reduce administrative burdon/ improve effifiancy – call it what you like.
  • Get money and save the goverment money.
  • End of story. Or celebrate but end of story.

It feels a workplace culture where being an individual with your own thoughts and feelings and ideas was discouraged.

Task list 2

  • You do things a minister or department wants. Don’t question your task. Do that task.
  • Don’t understand or believe what you are doing is fair? This is irrelivant.
  • Trust what you were told. Or not – just do that task.
  • Optional – Certain Laws like Social Security Laws and Social Security Administration Laws (including?) a procedures manual are optional.

I’ve heard witnesses say things like x law and instructions or decision was a point of view, maybe even a position- maybe an understood or stated position or that position. Other words I’ve heard are belief about or that-person’s opinion. Basically, insert-your-word-here about a point of view.

Social Security Administration Laws and the Social Security Administration manual / Procedures Manual were regarded as optional.

Like optional job tasks – not task lists based in settled laws and administration procedures to instruct and guide you (employee) to do your job.

An “abridged process” where steps/ tasks/ actions to confirm information (look at a person’s file including what payment they were on and when) on-file were disregarded within a theme of irrelivant, unimportant, able to be disregarded etc

To recap my dis-jointed blog post – Robodebt was designed deliberately. It worked. Matters of basic maths and concepts of fairness seemed irrelivant.

It was implimented in a workplace environment where thinking for yourself about and protecting social security administration law was discouraged – implicently and explicitly.

It lacked basic 1+1=2 level mathematics – and simply looking through a person’s file seemed to be considered irrelivent.

(Before Robodebt, Income Averaging could signal a potential discrepancy. Potential being the key word.

(Updated to remove example and add clarifying wording in brackets)

A human Centrelink person would then look at a person’s database file. That act of looking and what to look for was removed. In Robodebt.

Looking would and/or could show info like (a dates a recipient reported income to Centrelink, b) look at what payment they were on (c when they recieved a Centrelink benefit, and d) comparing reported employer names [for typos and Trading names vs employment contract company names vs Business names etc.])

In this workplace environment, god knows how many workers’ spirits were broken in various Human Services and Social Services departments, services, programs etc.

It seems to be a surprise to some witnesses during these three hearings that this dismissive work environment could feel callous and cruel and just plain unfair.

That there could be something illegal going on.

How many departments and decisions operate in this environment? Not just in the social services space? Telecommunications? Energy? Housing?

(Update: added sentance) Where concerns are dismissed with rote assumptions? Like people will always winge about something… so don’t investigate and don’t ask again.

I am scared to ask and feel like I know the answer. I reckon a lot of them.