Government accused of abandoning Aussies in their hour of need

It’s been quite the week of turmoil for the government who have struggled to save face after an embarrassing Centrelink
Many are feeling abandoned and angry.

It’s been quite the week of turmoil for the government who have struggled to save face after an embarrassing Centrelink stuff up and revelations about inappropriate use of taxpayer benefits by Health Minister Sussan Ley.

Many were left angry after hearing about Ms Ley’s antics on the Gold Coast, where she repeatedly flew for parties and to purchase property. It was an eye roll inducing story that had people asking whether or not politicians actually listened when they said they were sick of behaviour like this.

While pollies using funds for their own personal gain is nothing new, it was another issue that really hit below the belt for many: the Centrelink stuff up that saw thousands of people chased for money they didn’t actually owe.

The government decided to ditch it’s hard-working employers at the Department of Human Services who managed debts owed to Centrelink, despite their warnings that switching to an automated computer system would end in disaster.

Sure enough, it wasn’t long before Centrelink was sending out letters and hounding people for money they simply did not have thanks to a glitch in the system.

If the whole point of a government is to have a responsible group of people elected into office to serve, protect and honour it’s citizens, how does Australia keep getting it so wrong?

There is a lot of focus on the governing Liberal party right now, with detractors claiming it is typical of the party to put their own needs and interests ahead of the people’s.

But if we’re honest, can we really say that Labor has treated us any better lately? This is in no way a bid to take sides and label one party better than the other; it is simply pointing out that both of our major parties have failed us in recent years.

The last time Labor was in power, they destroyed themselves with in-fighting and power struggles, each putting their own ambitions and desires above those of the Australian people.

Now we have a government that is slashing benefits to those most in need and seemingly propping up big businesses who should be able to look after themselves.

When will the madness end?

On Tuesday, a Centrelink staffer broke rank and spoke to the media about what the department was really like behind closed doors. Her words only confirmed what many had feared.

“They don’t care about average Australians, they don’t care about their customers or their staff,” the staffer told Fairfax.

“We told them ‘shit’, that’s not going to work when they explained how the computer was going to do the work and said that it was going to misrepresent people’s income and lead to incorrect debts going out, but they just told us ‘computers and data can’t be wrong’.

“They wanted to save a shitload of money and weren’t interested in hearing what we thought about it.

“They deliberately make it hard for people to contact Centrelink to report problems and register for benefits. If you deter a few thousand people from registering for Newstart, even if they are eligible, it will save a lot of money for the government.”

If our own government isn’t looking out for us, who will?

How do you feel about this? Do you feel let down by our major parties and government over the past few years? Is it time for a shake up in Australia?

  1. George Gilchrist  

    I lodged my Pension application with Centerlink on 25 October, with my 65th Birthday on the 10th November. Apart from a few requests for more information, which I provided within a day or so of being asked, I am still waiting. I have been into the local office and rung up, but there is no positive response.

    I am fortunate enough to not be reliant on a pension, but would like the benefits that a Commonwealth Seniors card could provide.And yes, I have worked all my life and payed taxes. And yes I do feel entitled to some small concessions, when I look at the current claims being made by members of Parliament.

    The people I have dealt with at Centerlink have been very polite and understanding, without being able to acknowledge that they have a big problem – staff cuts, the stress of dealing with people who don’t owe the money that the computer system says they do, and so on. I can’t criticize them as they would probably be out of a job if they showed their own frustrations.

    What I can say is that the attitude of government and senior civil servants in dealing with mostly very decent and honest people of all ages is deplorable. They obviously don’t care, and budgets are their only concern. These considerations are only economic, and the social cost, already building, will eventually be overwhelming. I don’t favour violence, but I can see it becoming more prevalant because of the head in the clouds approach and overwhelming egos of those in government.

    And what a time to be having to voice my concerns when we are having expense scandals virtually every day.

    I love Australia but it;s not the country I came to live in in 1974.

    In case someone in government reads this and actually cares,

    George Gilchrist

  2. Bruce  

    If the government wants to save money, the most obvious answer is to hold a referendum in conjunction with the next election to abolish the wasteful, duplicitous state and territory governments and just have a lean efficient federal government, after all we only have 21 million people in the country.

  3. Peter Aldhamland​  

    I came to Australia twenty-five years ago. It was great place to live – we had a stable government and good politicians (not all of them honest!) That cared for its people and planned for the future of our great country. I became an Australian citizen and was proud to do so, and I became a typical ocker.
    Now sadly these wonderful attributes and benefits that were put in place by forward thinking leaders are being eroded by weak, arrogant idiots – that sit in parliament usually asleep – or just not there – and growing fat off of the backs of taxpayers. Any capable business manager could and would run this country far better. We have vital issues in this country that need priority ranking and they are health, education, infrastructure, security, crime, policing and manning, age care, and medical research – and our armed forces need support. There are many, many more other vital issues that need priorities greater than the idiot nonsense that our leaders are now playing silly buggers at.
    What can I say about our gracious leader Malcolm Turnbull – Not Much! (He has a pleasant smile) Can’t think of anything else! Whom I now have renamed as MALCOLM DO-LITTLE – I liken him to Julius Cesar – who sat and fiddled whilst Rome burned !!! They say history repeats itself – watch this space …!
    Peter Aldhamland

    • John  

      The problem is that we do not have any statesmen at the moment who are above childish party politics.
      There is nothing but mudslinging from both sides of politics. Don’t they have anything constructive to say?
      By the way, it was Nero who played the fiddle while Rome burned and not Julius Caesar (sic).
      One can liken modern day politicians to Nero as they are also on the fiddle.

  4. It is about time people stop voting for a political party and vote on a individuals performance. If they are not able to represent the people only their own egos then don’ t vote for them, put some fresh blood in and give them a go.

  5. You dear folk don’t have the misfortune or per chance you do…living in South Australia. Not only do we the highest electricity in our land but nearly in the world we have the fame of a whole city in black out. Our lines are so bad of repair and the company which is Chinese have also sacked many workers there is not enough when some thing happens. We also have the mis fortune of having a new hospital that could well be a old one by the time they sort out who has done what wrong. I think I heard it is built on a fault line but also a flight path is above. We have a government who help pay million for a waste land to a company that is now gone bankrupt and the land is useless. Our problem also is Labour is as bad as Liberal here both parties are a mob of twits I wouldn’t walk across the road to say hello. Have you notice never do they answer honestly it is always some how a whole lot of bollicks then it’s finish and one is left “Say what?” I am so very sick and tired of them, they pay millions for a firm to do our census which I resent doing and then was laughable for something that one our bright young things could do for a quarter of the price. They never listen but there day is coming.

  6. Sandra  

    So disappointed with our politicians on all sides of parliament. They all think that they are above the law all have their noses in the trough.
    The tightning of the purse and entitlements should start with them not the poor and pensioners
    Makes you want to laugh when they say they have done nothing wrong and will pay back some of the expenses. They should be charged with fraud and dealt with like we would be if we did the same.
    Today reading how much money each have spent in six months on travel etc makes you want to cry, this is not the people we want to have looking after us

  7. joanna galea  

    Disappointed with both parties right now. I think my next vote at the next election will be going to a smaller party.

    • ANN McGovern  

      Go to the polling booth, get you name scored off then walk away. If enough of us do this maybe they will start to get the hint.

  8. Rosie Koina  

    Their daily away from home allowance is as much as the weekly New Start! They get an over the top pension with huge benefits!
    We are not blessed with real leadership…..self serving rules the day! Age pensions were brought in for us all to access so that no one lived in poverty. Now, they are represented as welfare!
    I loathe going to Centrelink! The staff are fine, they are overworked servants of the governments policies. The whole system is complex and the constant rule changing really gets me! We worked, both of us, we never received and child support payments nor help in getting our three children through tertiary education as we both worked. We helped each of them to purchase their first homes.We planned to retire and live on superannuation plus part pension. But, just before I retired, the limits changed! Now there are more changes. This is akin to retrospectivity! We planned carefully, and they changed the rules. What we now what we have to live on just keeps getting eroded. No trips to the polo or grand finals for us!

    I do not see any evidence of thinking in a visionary way…… There are huge issues facing the world and some of the very people telling us we have to have less in pensions are the biggest rorters of their allowance! Claiming expenses for parties, realestate purchases and sporting events is abhorrent.
    I do not see much integrity in the membership of this parliament unfortunately. Some of he independents are a joke! I also don’t understand why this government got elected! History is repeating itself. It has been downhill, with every Liberal Government, since John Howard’s debacle of the “children overboard” and the self interest of the liberal party that led to the imprisonment of Pauline! That showed the levels to which they will stoop!

  9. Sue Baker  

    Try ringng i Centrelink!!!! After an hour ,if lucky, someone e human will come onto the phone,,,

    I gave up and now go online. for all transactions

    It is quicker!

  10. Ross_Byrne  

    This right wing ‘big business’ government are destroying Australia and hurting many Australians – they need to be punished at the ballot box!

    But why do you, Starts at 60, keep raising ancient history by referring to the problems Labour had when they were in power – they are no longer the party they were and should be judged by what they have done since they went out of office – they are now the party of the common people – 4 years is a long time in politics!

    • Guy Flavell  

      But Ross, leopards never change their spots. Another three years of Labor economic
      mismanagement would see us on a par with Greece as a failed state.

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