Breaching: It is all about sinking the life boats.

 (The postings
in this Blog are a memorial to the more than 3 million Aussie Battlers
have been Breached. It is especially a memorial to the
(estimated) 5,000+ Aussise Battlers who did not survive being breached.)

I have been asked to explain what “Breaching” is. In very simple terms, Breaching is all about deliberately sinking the lifeboats.

  1. In Australia we have a a social welfare “lifeboat” system for people who are in dire economic circumstances. Officially it is called a “Welfare Allowance” but it often commonly referred to as “The Dole”. It is paid to unemployed people, students, the sick and disabled, and to pensioners who do not have a privately funded pension.
  2. The purpose of “The Dole” is officially defined in paragraph 47 of the 2002 Welfare Reform Discussion Paper as “Assistance is targeted at those most in need. People with no other means of support (who) are assisted in their basic living costs”.
  3. “Breaching” is short for “Breach of Contract” which means that a clerk working in the government’s welfare agency, Centrelink, decides that a welfare recipient has somehow breached their contract and that consequently they should be penalized by having the dole turned off immediately. No discussion, no negotiation, no excuses accepted; if the clerk believes that a breach of contract has occurred, BANG, the penalty was applied immediately. Until 2003, the basic penalty was having the dole turned off for 3 months leaving the breached victim totally destitute and without any means of meeting basic living costs. It should therefore come as no surprise that, unable to meet BASIC LIVING COSTS, many people died.
  4. “Government Protocols” meant that these deaths were not reported to Parliament and thus there was no Transparency about these deaths and therefore no Accountability for these deaths.
  5. In order to “breach” a person, nearly 2 dozen basic rights had too be violated by the Federal Government. To prevent welfare recipients from appealing for help from the Australian Human Rights Commission and Equal Opportunity Commission, that commission’s mandate was written to include a clause which prevented it from accepting complaints about breaching! So much for “equal opportunity”!
  6. In November 2005, when a Senate committee was confronted with a detailed submission about the appalling death toll caused by breaching, especially the deliberate misuse of breaching legislation, these deaths were secretly classified as confidential.
  7. Check out Centrelink’s annual reports, some of which can be obtained at and you will find not one single  reference to terminal outcomes, i.e. post breaching deaths, for this information is NEVER included in annual reports.
  8. Note: Only welfare recipient prosecution quotas are reported; not welfare breaching quotas.
  9. The 2000-01 financial report reveals that a mind boggling 346,078 people were breached. This represented a rate of approximately 3 breaches per minute for every Centrelink working minute of that year! It was a deliberate, massive humanitarian disaster.
  10. 5,000+ deaths over 25 years represents less than 4 per week, i.e. approximately one death ever two days which is far less than the 3 or 4 deaths that sometimes occurred in one day when the Howard Government’s breaching quotas were being enforced.
  11. Simple logic makes it quite obvious that if the Liberal Party believes that a Senate inquiry into the deaths of 4 insulation installers is justified, then the deaths of 5,000 or more welfare recipients is even far more justified.
  12. Simple logic also makes it quite obvious that if Tony Abbott, the Liberal Party leader, believes
    that Peter Garrett should face industrial manslaughter charges over the deaths of 4 insulation installers, then surely the prosecution of the government ministers, past and present, who were administratively responsible for the deaths of 5,000 or more welfare recipients, is even
    more justified?

During World War II, a small number of ruthless NAZI U-Boat commanders took great pleasure in machine gunning defenseless lifeboats. In terms of the Human Impact of breaching quotas being enforced at the rate of 3 breaches per minute, it was all about the deliberate misuse of welfare legislation to "machine gun" the social welfare "lifeboat" in order to reduce welfare payments, i.e. breaching was a deliberate, sociopathic, ideology driven act that was justified by Howard Government ministers as "Sound Economic Management".

I hope that these 12 basic points clarify what Breaching is and why it needs
to be exposed as a matter of urgency.

Ron Medlicott (Christian welfare justice activist.)

(Have nothing to do with the worthless things that people do, things that belong to the darkness. Instead, bring them out to the light. Ephesians 5:11)

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One Response to Breaching: It is all about sinking the life boats.

  1. Pingback: The Politics of Welfare « Victoria Rollison

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