(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+ Aussie Battlers who did not survive being breached.)
1. Howard Government: FY 2000-01 there were 346,078 breaches with a 13 week "non-payment period"
2. Rudd Government: FY 2008-09 there were 2805 breaches with an 8 week "non-payment period".
Compare these two facts above, sourced from two Centrelink Annual Reports, that highlight the enormous scale with which the Howard Government was able to misuse breaching legislation to defraud at-risk people of legitimate welfare entitlements:
Feedback has made me aware that my posting present the problem of breaching as "ancient history" when in fact breaching is still a reality that is now couched in totally different terminology. The term “Breaching”, which is short for “Breach of Contract”, has been dropped and replaced with “Compliance”. Breaching may have a new name but in reality, it is the same old Centrelink tactic, i.e. the blatant denial of Natural Justice by unilaterally turning off the dole if people are perceived to have breached their contractual obligations rather than having the merits of the case determined by a court as is required by the constitution. Welfare recipients are still being deprived of the protection of the courts and, as the above statistics show all too dramatically, this denial of justice makes welfare recipients extremely vulnerable to exploitation.
Whilst “non-compliant” people are no longer abandoned to fate as they were under the Howard Government’s 13 week "sudden death" scheme, another major problem is that the process violates some two dozen basic human rights as set out in some 7 human rights UN treaty agreements that the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (HREOC) still cannot investigate. The fact that the HREOC was deliberately crippled means that the consequences of breaching were pre-meditated, i.e. the risks were known by those who set up breaching legislation and at that time, those risks were deemed “acceptable” by the politicians who supported this legislation.
ALL current federal politicians would now like to distance themselves from this shocking legislation, especially in light of the massive fraud by the Howard Government and also because there are numerous unresolved issues.
1. Every person defrauded of legitimate welfare entitlements is entitled to both “Restitution” of the money stolen from them as well as “Compensation” for the appalling hardship that they were forced to endure.
2. In South Australia, the deaths resulting from this criminal activity are Felony Murders and thus there is no Statute of Limitations on these deaths.
3. Families of deceased victims who want the politicians and bureaucrats who were responsible for these deaths to be held accountable before the courts can insist that these murders be investigated, regardless of how long ago these deaths occurred.
4. It is possible that the Howard Government and the Federal Police did a deal, i.e. no investigation of these deaths and other alleged rorting by a member of the Howard Government in exchange for the increased police powers that were in the 2005 Anti-Terrorism Bill #2.
5. Such a deal means that that legislation would be legally invalid and that people currently in jail who were convicted under that legislation should be released as their conviction would also be legally invalid.
6. The real significance of the comments below is that the breaching support structure that now exists was not set in place until 20 years after tough breaching laws were introduced which took no heed of the human impact of breaching.
7. In 2004, when the "quasi-secret" Breaching Review Taskforce was set up, it came as a rude shock to this taskforce that breaching triggered deaths violated the criminal laws of every state and territory. The massive scale of these fatalities was also a rude shock. If nothing is done to force public disclosure, this death toll will not be made public until 2035.
8. A Sociopath, someone who didn’t give 2 hoots about the deaths of welfare recipients, persuaded John Howard that extending the breaching penalty to 26 weeks was a good idea. This sociopath has yet to be identified. The simple reality is that this sociopath, probably a senior a former Howard minister, may still be sitting on the Liberal Party’s front bench and that is of concern to every Australian, not just current welfare recipients or former breaching survivors.
9. When the Howard Government tried to raise the breaching penalty to 26 weeks, did Tony Abbott or Joe Hockey stand up and reveal to parliament the rising death toll from breaching? The answer to that question is in the official record of parliamentary debate and it is NO. Despite ample opportunity to do so, neither Tony nor Joe revealed the massive death toll caused by the use of breaching quotas. Guess why?
10. What the following comments also make quite clear is the extent of the failure of politicians who ignored legal obligations such as Duty of Care, Duty of Agency, Adequate Oversight and Due Diligence that should have, at the very minimum, been in breaching legislation right from the start.
11. Herein is the other major problem for politicians, the issue of a deliberate act of reckless endangerment that affected over 3 million at-risk people who VOTE. Admitting to the truth about breaching quotas and competitions and accepting responsibility for the massive humanitarian disaster that it caused could destroy the political parties that voted breaching legislation into law.
The following comments from last year’s Centrelink report, whilst highlight what was missing in breaching legislation and are testimony to 20 years of criminal negligence, i.e. the failures in the areas of Duty of Care, Duty of Agency, Adequate Oversight and Due Diligence obligations that ALL politicians have for welfare recipients. The support and assessment measures that exist today exemplify both what was wrong with the breaching process and why so many people died.
These comments, when combined with Tony Abbott’s “Industrial Manslaughter” comments, also raises the critical question of which former Howard Government ministers should face FELONY MURDER charges for the breaching quota deaths that occurred in South Australia?
The full Centrelink annual report, which should be read by every survivor of breaching, can be downloaded from:
Whilst both logical and positive, these reforms represent too little, too late, especially for those who lost so much, and especially for the 5,000 or more Aussie Battlers who died.
Centrelink Annual Report 2008-09
Chapter 4 strengthening our customer focus in line with government direction
Financial case management
When a job seeker, who is either exceptionally vulnerable or has vulnerable dependants, faces an eight-week non-payment period, Centrelink offered financial case management services to help prevent hardship. Eligible job seekers had their essential expenses paid up to the limit of the income support they would otherwise have received. Essential expenses include reasonable costs of living, such as food and other household provisions (for example, laundry detergent, and personal hygiene and pharmaceutical products), rent, mortgages, medical expenses, rates, gas, electricity, telephone, public transport and other reasonable costs.
In 2008–09, 2805 job seekers were assessed as eligible for financial case management and 2322 job seekers accepted the offer. Non-government organizations serviced 650 job seekers and Centrelink Social Workers serviced 815 job seekers. At the time of data extraction, 857 job seekers had not been linked with a provider.
Job Capacity Assessments
On 1st July 2006, the Job Capacity Assessment Program was introduced as part of the Welfare to Work reforms. A Job Capacity Assessment provides a comprehensive assessment of an individual’s work capacity and any barriers to finding employment including the impact of any medical conditions on their ability to work.
TOO LITTLE, TOO LATE.
This blog is about creating TRANSPARENCY for the criminal actions and heartless attitudes of politicians that deliberately created a humanitarian disaster that targeted our nation’s most defenseless people, welfare recipients. Politicians and bureaucrats who either drove or hid this disaster must now face the poisoned chalice of ACCOUNTABILITY for their despicable actions.
For too long, “The Establishment” has hidden this humanitarian disaster with a variety of dirty, deceitful and highly illegal tricks:
1. Bureaucrats who for years wrote annual reports that deliberately focussed upon value for money, i.e. “Savings”, and “program efficiency” and carefully avoiding any mention of the disastrous human impact of breaching, especially the steadily rising number of fatalities. How lives would have been saved if they had reported the first breaching triggered deaths?
2. Government ministers who deliberately avoided reporting the deadly humanitarian impact of breaching to Parliament. How lives would have been saved if they had reported breaching triggered deaths?
3. Senators, who misused Parliamentary Privilege and committee “procedures” to bury, reject or conceal public submissions that would have drawn the public’s attention to what was happening. How lives would have been saved if they had reported breaching triggered deaths?
4. The Federal Police who refused to investigate the crimes committed against welfare recipients because of the (political) “gravity/sensitivity” of such an investigation would have been staggering in its impact.
In conclusion, think about this; should Tony Abbott be held accountable for the breaching quota triggered of job seekers whilst he was the Employment Minister? Should he face Felony Murder charges under SA’s criminal justice laws? Since Tony Abbott raised the “Industrial Manslaughter” issue in regard to Peter Garrett, these are fair questions that need to be answered as quickly as possible.
Ronald Medlicott. (Christian welfare justice activist.)
For it is not by hearing the Law that people are put right with God, but by doing what the Law commands. (The Bible, Romans 8:3)
(Translation: Don’t just read this blog. Do something about what you have read.)