Social Security Appeals and Access to Justice: Learning from the robodebt controversy

How did a flawed interpretation of the Commonwealth’s debt-raising powers take hold and persist through four years of criticism? And what does the affair tell us about how internal and tribunal appeal mechanisms are functioning? While public discussion of the robodebt[ii] controversy has often focused on technology or algorithms, this article argues that it also represents a familiar tale of what occurs when we fail to promote access to justice. In an era where technology can facilitate the making of hundreds of thousands of decisions, the effective, prompt governance of legal interpretation has never been more important. Continue Reading

Remedying Robodebt: The Unanswered Questions

With the onset of coronavirus crisis, all Australians have recognised that we must to come together to protect those most in need. We have rushed to support unprecedented measures to build resilience and encourage the solidarity needed to push through unique challenges. As I’ve discussed elsewhere, the speedy reset of our social security system reflects a long-delayed and needed recognition that it represents a critical piece of national infrastructure. There remain, however, areas we must fix so we can generate the community needed to fight the challenges facing us. One is the urgent need to remedy robodebt. Continue Reading

Social inequality in Australia: Is it time to seriously consider a UBI?

By Hillary Montague A Universal Basic Income (“UBI”) may overcome social structural inequalities, poverty and the loss of dignity simultaneously and effectively. With the implementation of a UBI, individuals would have greater access to fully recognising their human rights. A… Continue Reading

Correcting the Record? Rebutting Five Flawed Defences of the Robodebt Programme

By Darren O’Donovan Today sees the publication of the Senate Committee on Community Affairs’ report into the Department of Human Services’ “robodebt” programme. This system first started to wedge its way into my life at the very tail end of… Continue Reading

Dr Darren O’Donovan in featured in the news

Earlier this week, La Trobe Law School’s senior lecturer Dr Darren O’Donovan was featured on various news channels, after publishing his blog piece titled, ‘Querying the Government’s Authority to “Correct the Record‘. Dr Darren O’Donovan was quoted in articles published… Continue Reading

Querying the Government’s Authority to “Correct the Record”

By Darren O’Donovan “We don’t comment on particular cases”.  Few lines are more ubiquitous in the public sphere. It is no surprise therefore, that the controversy regarding the disclosure of an individual’s personal information by the Department of Human Services… Continue Reading

Information & Advocacy: The Lifeblood of a Functioning National Disability Insurance Scheme

By Darren O’Donovan The notion of choice – the ability to choose and plan the delivery of your supports is fundamental to the National Disability Insurance Scheme. The central goal upon its creation was a shift from the rationed, top… Continue Reading