Breaching was, and still is, ‘A Crime Against Humanity’.

(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. Please, help to spread the word about this humanitarian disaster by using the “Share with a friend “link in the right hand column.)

Check out the following statistics sourced from Centrelink’s annual reports:

1. FY 2000-01 there were 346,078 Breaches with a 13 week "non-payment period". This was John Howard’s “Sudden Death” breaching policy which sometimes triggered deaths caused by fatal heart attacks, strokes and suicides!

2. FY 2008-09 there were 2805 “Compliance Procedures”, i.e. breaches with an 8 week "non-payment period".

The FY 2008-09 breaching statistics represent a staggering 99.19% reduction in long term breaching when compared to the FY2000-01 statistics. (Long term means breached for two months or more.)

“Compliance Procedures”.

This new name is a euphemism, a cover up name that hides an old policy previously known as Breaching. Centrelink is still the accuser, judge, jury and executioner. In other words, the same old denial of Natural Justice and violation of civil, legal and human rights is still firmly in place. What’s new about the new “improved” breaching policy is that it now goes to extreme lengths to prevent the possibility of any more breaching fatalities.

These precautions serve to highlight and underscore just how dangerous was the old Breaching system which was a deliberate act of reckless endangerment that had absolutely no regard for human life. In fact, steps were deliberately taken to ensure that welfare recipients were deprived of the protection of both the courts and the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission!

Now , like a murderous thief in the night, Federal Parliament is desperately trying to sneak away from the political and legal consequences of this deliberate humanitarian disaster which drastically impacted upon the lives of over 3 million Aussie battlers, saw hundreds of thousands deliberately defrauded of legitimate welfare entitlements and, worst of all, may have killed more than 5,000 breached welfare recipients. These deaths were euphemistically called Post-Breaching Terminal Outcomes in  an effort  to hide what they really were, i.e. deaths results from deliberate acts of Reckless Endangerment.

When at-risk people are deprived of such legal protection, their vulnerability, like the scent of blood, attracts the unscrupulous predators, the jackals, hyenas and vultures of society. The Breaching legislation contained in the Social Security (Administration) Act was a mindless knee jerk response to the middle class myth that unemployed people were ‘dole bludgers’, a drain on the national economy who “deserved” to be punished for being unemployed. This resulted in breaching legislation that deliberately violated civil rights, legal rights, human rights and even constitutional rights.

What the ideological idiots who set up this murderous legislation never imagined was that the legislation would be hi-jacked.

Unfortunately for the politicians who voted for breaching legislation, in South Australia breaching triggered deaths can be reclassified as Felony Murders, a crime that has no statute of limitations. In Victoria, these deaths can be reclassified as Manslaughter due to Criminal Negligence. I do not know what the statute of limitations for that crime is but I suspect that it would be current for a significant number of post 2000 deaths.

An Analogy: Tony Abbott and the ‘Old Guard’s’ ‘Hot Run Torpedoes’.

Believe me when I say that a “Hot Run torpedo” is a dangerous object.

The term refers to a malfunctioning torpedo that goes ‘active’ whilst in the storage racks or in the torpedo tube. If launched, it will immediately attack the nearest target, i.e. the vessel that launched the torpedo. At least two nuclear subs, the USS Scorpion and the massive Russian sub, the Kirsk, are believed to have been sunk by ‘hot run torpedoes’. Both vessels were lost with all hands, i.e. there were no survivors. The only known effective action when a torpedo ‘hot runs’, is to do a fast 180 degree turn in an attempt to activation the torpedo’s safety shutdown mechanism.

In political terms, a “Hot Run torpedo” are ill considered or maverick action(s) of a politician that, like the Scorpion and the Kirsk, can destroy a political party leaving no political “survivors.”

The first ‘hot run torpedo’ was launched in 2002 when, jointly with Amanda Vanstone, Tony Abbott signed off on the 2002 Welfare Reform Discussion Paper. Paragraph 47 of that document not only defined the welfare allowance but also unintentionally made it possible to define breaching as a criminal act of reckless endangerment that violated criminal laws in every state and territory in the country!

Breaching is the targeted, and therefore deliberate, partial or complete reduction of the only means of support that people have in meeting their basic costs of living.

Compare that definition with the following definition which is known under terms such as Felony Murder, and Degree Murder and Manslaughter due to Criminal Negligence.

“A reckless disregard for human life which results in the death of a person.”

When you deliberately deprive at-risk people of their only means of support, it should come as no surprise when some of them die. Taking that logic one step further to the real world situation that the architects of Breaching had no apparent problem with, when you deprive three million people of the ability to meet their basic costs of living, i.e. their ability to live, it should come as no surprise to discover that over a period of decades, thousands have died.

Tony Abbott’s ‘hot run torpedo’ number two was his ill considered, politically opportunistic, cheap shot at Peter Garrett with his “Industrial Manslaughter” comments. If Peter Garrett is legally liable for the maladministration that resulted in the deaths of four ceiling insulation installers, then it is logical that welfare ministers and employment ministers, past and present, are equally liable for all of the breaching triggered deaths!

  1. Talk about life is cheap! Some CES staff hi-jacked breaching legislation by engaging in the ‘vocational sport’ of Breaching. Any excuse would do and at the Friday night happy hour, the winner’s prize in one CES office was a bottle of booze up to the value of $60.
  2. Some Job Network agencies also hi-jacked breaching legislation; sign up an Intensive Assistance client, collect the up-front payments of up to $3,000 whilst providing only token support and then dump the client by having them breached. In one well reported incident, a job seeker was Breached after refusing to attend a job at a brothel! This sort of reprehensible Breaching activity then enabled a new client to be signed up and the whole cycle was then repeated ad infinitum. The scale of this rorting helped to push the Job Network to the brink of bankruptcy in just four months.
  3. Government ministers in the Howard Government allowed common sense and compassion to be over-ruled by an almost pathological hatred for the unemployed. They hi-jacked the Breaching legislation by introducing and enforcing harsh, illegal Breaching Quotas which explains the three-per-minute figure of 346,078 breaches in FY 2000-01. To these ideological Sociopaths, the PR myth of “Sound economic management” was far more important than doing their job which was to protect the lives of at-risk Aussie Battlers.

Even worse, perhaps not satisfied with either the ‘savings’ or the number of Post-Breaching Terminal Outcomes, at least one sociopath within the Howard Government, convinced Cabinet that it would be a good idea to double the ‘Sudden Death’ breaching penalty to a mind boggling 26 weeks! It was fortunate that the Opposition parties controlled the Senate and they rejected this blatant act of State Terrorism. Unfortunately, they failed to protect welfare recipients for they merely reduced Breaching to an 8 week penalty instead of abolishing it. Had the Opposition senators known about the massive humanitarian crisis and the rising death toll, they would not have dared to allow Breaching to continue. Unfortunately, they did not know because Post-Breaching Terminal Outcomes are not reported to Parliament.

  1. In the desperate rush to get back into power, the Liberal-National Coalition ‘Old Guard’ leadership somehow forgot about all the Breaching Quota triggered death toll and, incredibly, set up a Senate committee of inquiry to look into the “Roofgate” fiasco.
  2. Even more incredibly, the Terms of Reference were so vague as to include the astonishingly vague Term of Reference #3,“Any other matters”. With four deaths on the agenda due to mal-administration, “Any other matters” opened the door to the committee being forced to consider submissions that looked at “Any other deaths” due to mal-administration.
  3. When confronted with such a submission, the only way to avoid the obvious linkage to the appalling death toll from breaching triggered deaths was to dump the submission. This suppression of evidence had to be justified somehow and the committee did so in the worst possible manner by falsely claiming that it was “…outside the scope of the inquiry”. Given the incredible vagueness of “Any other matters”, the committee picked the worst possible excuse to justify their unscrupulous actions.

In effect, crazed by their lust for power, the Liberal – National “Old Guard” had blindly led a Coalition stampede into the “Roofgate” fiasco. They were so madly intent upon stomping Peter Garrett into the dust of political oblivion that they some how, miraculously, ‘forgot’ all about the Post-Breaching Terminal Outcomes.

Check out the breaching statistics for the period, 1st July 1996 to 30th June 2007 and tally up the total number of people who were breached by the Howard Government in this 11 year period. How many of these people do you think now vote Liberal or National these days?

At the moment, the only thing preventing these ‘hot run torpedoes’ from impacting is the fact that breaching triggered deaths have never been reported to parliament and parliamentary committees have misused their lawful powers to conceal these deaths. Consequently the precise scale of the death toll is unknown. However, this wall of silence is under attack:

  1. In November 2005, the Senate Committee inquiring into the Anti-Terrorism Bill #2 secretly classified a submission that exposed the illegal breaching activity and its consequent death toll as ‘confidential’.
  2. No knowing this, the committee looking at the infamous Work Choices legislation rejected the same information which argued that legislation which undermined or depriving people of their rights could have unintended, detrimental consequences. The submission was secretly ‘tossed over board” and when the committee was called upon to account for its actions, the committee responded by saying that it was “irrelevant” and “unsubstantiated”.
  3. “irrelevant” as in who cares about a massive humanitarian disaster?
  4. “Unsubstantiated” as in Parliament will never release the breaching death toll figures?
  5. A figure of 5,000+ breaching triggered being reported on the Internet and no member of Federal Parliament, including Tony Abbott, is openly disputing or refuting that figure.
  6. The Australian Federal Police have twice declined to investigate these deaths and other political corruption issues.
  7. The first time they declined, their letter was classified as confidential by the Senate’s Legal & Constitutional Affairs Committee in November 2005. However, this time the AFP responded by email and that email is now being “Forwarded” to hundreds of people across Australia because is was marked as “Unclassified”. The AFP can hardly complain about this; after all, “Justice must be seen to be done”.
  8. A “heads-up” has just been provided to the Australian Crime Commission which asks the ACC to give serious consideration to the reason behind the AFP’s refusal to investigate both political corruption such as “Perksgate” and the Breaching trigged deaths. The ACC has been asked to consider the possibility that the AFP may have done a deal with the Howard Government in 2004, i.e. no investigation of the Trish Draper Travelgate scandal and breaching triggered deaths in exchange for the increased police powers that were contained in the Anti-Terrorism Bill #2.
  9. Further compounding the current situation is a letter written by the Home Affairs Minister, Brendan O’Connor, dated 25 November 2009. Responding to a letter of protest about the refusal of the AFP to investigate both Perksgate and breaching triggered deaths, Minister O’Connor suggested that the issue of these deaths be referred to the South Australian Police. However, he did not provide the requested details of breaching triggered deaths that have occurred in South Australia. As a consequence of this a copy of his letter has also been provided to the ACC for evaluation.
  10. At this stage, the failure to report breaching triggered deaths to parliament in official annual reports by DSS and FaCS/Centrelink officials, plus the consistent failure of government ministers over the last six years to make this information available raises the very serious issue of “A conspiracy to pervert the course of justice”.
  11. Over the next few months, some of the families of deceased victims of breaching will soon be alerted to the previously mentioned alleged criminal activity that triggered so many of these deaths . They will have access to numerous documents outlining the scale of the humanitarian disaster caused by breaching and the extraordinary lengths taken to conceal those deaths. The absence of tabled reports to parliament about the breaching deaths will, in the not too distant future, backfire upon those who decided that these deaths should be kept secret. Transparency is the key to Accountability, but when it comes to the breaching triggered death toll, there is absolutely no Transparency, only a decades-long cover up.
  12. Given the death toll amongst breached job seekers when Tony Abbott was the Employment Minister, he should have put his brain into gear and kept his mouth firmly shut and avoided the Roofgate deaths with the same diligence that he has given to avoiding any mention of the breaching quota triggered deaths. In addition, as part of the Liberal Party leadership team he should have counselled adamantly against a Senate inquiry into Roofgate because of the extremely high risk of the issue of “the other deaths” being raised.

Thanks to Tony Abbott’s irresponsible “Industrial Manslaughter” comment and the Coalition’s mad rush to set up a Senate inquiry into the Roofgate fiasco, which is comparable with the Job Network fiasco, Parliament is now on a slippery slope sliding slowly but surely towards a Criminal Conspiracy inquiry. 3 million voters are entitled to both the truth and to receiving justice. After decades of deceit, the hunt is now on to expose the actions and activities of hundreds of politicians, bureaucrats, and contracted service providers who exploited breaching legislation for their own self-serving ends.

Tony Abbott has blasted off at least two, possibly three, self-destructing ‘hot run torpedoes’ in his rushed, stampeding quest for the keys to The Lodge. Is that really an appropriate standard of Leadership from someone who wants to be Australia’s next prime minister?

Ronald Medlicott (Christian welfare justice activist.)

“An Absence of Justice” is a public discussion paper which looks at the ease with which which welfare recipients were defrauded of legitimate welfare entitlements. It can be freely obtained upon request from Whilst federal politicians may not pleased with the issues raised in that document, they do need to have at least a basic knowledge of what information is being currently being provided to some of the 3 million (voting) survivors of breaching. (‘Green thinking’ ALP MPs who wish to save the environment may be able to Kevin Rudd’s personal copy.)

NOTE: This is a public domain document which can be viewed and downloaded from:

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