Former Prime Minister was found to have given “untrue” evidence under oath at the Royal Commission into the Robodebt Scheme which means he can now add perjurer to his long list of crimes.
It is well known Scott Morrison was sacked as Managing Director of Tourism Australia in 2006 and as the head of Tourism New Zealand in 2000 (Click here to read more) so failing as Minister for Social Services should not surprise anyone.
Robodebt was an illegal compliance program, implemented by Scott Morrison in 2015/2016 as Minister for Social Services, which asserted that welfare recipients owed debts to the commonwealth on the basis of assumptions including using their annual income to estimate their average weekly income.
The Robodebt Royal Commission was established on 18 August 2022 to enquire into the establishment, design and implementation of the Robodebt scheme; the use of third-party debt collectors under the Robodebt scheme; concerns raised following the implementation of the Robodebt scheme; and the intended or actual outcomes of the Robodebt scheme. (Click here to read more)
The Royal Commission published its Report on Friday (7/7/23). (Click here to read the report)
At page 102 of the Royal Commission findings it says, “The Commission rejects as untrue Mr Morrison’s evidence that he was told that income averaging as contemplated in the Executive Minute was an established practice and a “foundational way” in which DHS worked.”
It is one thing for a politician to be called a liar but another when a Royal Commission finds they gave evidence under oath that was “untrue”. What makes it worse is the very sad story of the damage that Robodebt did to many lives, yet the likes of Scott Morrison still couldn’t care less.
Scott Morrison issued a statement on Friday, while on holidays in Europe, responding to the Royal Commission findings taking no responsibility and blaming everyone else. (Click here to read his statement)
At page 3 of the report Royal Commissioner Catherine Holmes, SC says in a letter to the Governor-General David Hurly:
I have provided to you an additional chapter of the report which has not been included in the bound report and is sealed. It recommends the referral of individuals for civil action or criminal prosecution. I recommend that this additional chapter remain sealed and not be tabled with the rest of the report so as not to prejudice the conduct of any future civil action or criminal prosecution.
I am also submitting relevant parts of the additional chapter of the report to heads of various Commonwealth agencies; the Australian Public Service Commissioner, the National Anti-Corruption Commissioner, the President of the Law Society of the Australian Capital Territory and the Australian Federal Police.
Kath Madgwick wrote to both then Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Minister Stuart Robert after her son Jarrad died over an illegal Robodebt. Kath Madgwick revealed, that neither of them even bothered to respond. “Not even a sorry for your loss” as per the video of evidence Ms Madgwick at the Royal Commission:
I published an article on the 15th of December 2022 titled “Scott Morrison declares he is a fully qualified lawyer and barrister at the Robodebt Royal Commission”, which shows Scott Morrison’s manner on the witness stand at the Royal Commission, that starts off:
Former Prime Minister Scott Morrison gave evidence at the Robodebt Royal Commission on Wednesday (14/12/22) and he had lost none of his previous form. It was lies, lies and more lies although this time he was under oath not that it slowed Morrison’s lies down for a second.
The video below is Scott Morrison being put in his place several times by Commissioner Catherine Holmes SC and the Counsel assisting Justin Greggery KC when Morrison tried the same routines he uses with journalists.
At one point Commissioner Catherine Holmes asks Morrison: What do you understand was the legal basis requiring someone who had not been on Government benefits for 6 months, 3 years or longer to confirm or deny ATO data which said they had a debt?
Morrison replied by talking like he was a lawyer or a barrister and started quoting the relevant legislation, but he was wrong and Commissioner Catherine Holmes SC carved Scott Morrison up and put him in his place.
Put simply the Robodebt scheme was an unlawful method of automated debt assessment and recovery employed by Services Australia as part of its Centrelink payment compliance program. On the 29th of May 2020, the Morrison Government announced that it would scrap the debt recovery scheme, with 470,000 wrongly-issued debts to be repaid in full.
Initially, the total sum of the repayments was estimated to be A$721 million, however in November 2020 this figure expanded to A$1.2 billion after the Australian government settled a class-action lawsuit before it could go to trial. (Click here to read more)
Just so there is no confusion Scott Morrison didn’t actually declare he is a fully qualified lawyer and barrister, but he tried to act like he was. (Click here to read the article)
The SMH reports:
Royal commissioner Catherine Holmes, SC, made damning findings about the conduct of former Coalition ministers charged with overseeing the four-year welfare debt recovery program in her report handed down on Friday. The scheme, she said, was linked to a number of suicides, plagued by collusion and dishonesty and had little to no regard for the “vulnerable cohorts it would affect”.
The government is pledging accountability, with Government Services Minister Bill Shorten saying he felt conflicted over the secrecy of criminal and civil referrals recommended by the commission, and Albanese saying he ultimately wanted a sealed chapter of its report containing the referrals to be revealed. Holmes did not say which individuals had been recommended for referral for further investigation.
Holmes also accused former human services minister Alan Tudge of an “abuse of power” for pursuing welfare recipients in the media to deflect from mounting commentary over the scheme’s issues.
She said former social services minister Christian Porter “could not rationally have been satisfied of the legality of the scheme” and former government services minister Stuart Robert went “well beyond supporting government policy” as a cabinet minister in defending the scheme despite knowing its flaws. (Click here to read more)
The Royal Commission says the below about recommendations and referrals at page 659 of the report:
The recommendations made are collected at the beginning of this report. I hope that they are of use. At the least, I am confident that the Commission has served the purpose of bringing into the open an extraordinary saga, illustrating a myriad of ways that things can go wrong through venality, incompetence and cowardice.
In addition to the recommendations, I have made referrals of information in respect of a number of individuals to four different authorities for further investigation. I do not propose to name the entities to which I have made referrals, because it would only lead to speculation about who had been referred where, which would almost certainly be wrong.
Above are the politicians who gave evidence at the Royal Commission. Starting at top left going clockwise: Scott Morrison, Marise Payne, Malcolm Turnbull, Alan Tudge, Christian Porter and Stuart Robert.
People think Scott Morrison has gotten away with his corruption and crimes, but he can’t even get another job now which he has been trying to do for months. With the Robodebt Royal Commission report stating that Scott Morrison is in effect a perjurer he will find it even harder to get another job so we might be stuck with “Scotty from Marketing” in parliament at least until the next election which would be the ultimate humiliation for him.
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Categories: Prime Minister Scott Morrison