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

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