Machine Gunning the Welfare Life Boat: Pages 1 to 3. (Part 1 of a 7 part blog.)

(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.)

This is the first 3 pages of a 20 page submission to a government inquiry into what are now called Compliance Measures. Formerly know as “Breaching”,

Last week, Tony Abbott mentioned bringing back Breaching. Presumably he mean the 13 week ‘sudden death” penalty that may have killed thousands of welfare recipients over last 25 years or so.

QUOTE “Centrelink does not collect ‘Post Breaching Terminal Outcome Statistics…” UNQUOTE

After a quarter of a century of mercilessly machine gunning the welfare lifeboat with ‘Compliance Measures’, the appalling death toll from this activity is unknown for the simple reason that these deaths were the only significant statistic not collected by those responsible for implementation of the Federal Government’s welfare system. How effective are the current Compliance Measures in stemming or capping this death toll? The answer is unknown because there is still no monitoring or reporting to Parliament of the humanitarian consequences of the current Compliance Measures Regime.

What is known is that the Compliance Measures death toll is now officially classified as both “irrelevant” and a State Secret! Compliance Measures may be unconstitutional. They definitely violate statute laws dealing with Reckless Endangerment, contradict case law decisions dealing with Tort and may also violate a number of international human rights treaties such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Rights of Children.

The legal liability for the consequences of Compliance Measures legislation is many orders or magnitude greater then the legal liability for the Stolen Generation legislation. The Pendulum of Accountability is approaching the Point of Trepidation. In the near future, it will slowly and unstoppably swing back and when it does, the creators and enforcers of Compliance Measures will learn a painful fact of law, i.e. Compliance is a two way street.

Tony Abbott’s frequently stated policy of “turning around refugee boats” may

violate international maritime laws and treaties. In the same manner, his recent comment about a return to Breaching appears to demonstrate an equally cavalier and unlawful disregard for the safety of welfare recipients. However, the one practical, positive consequence of Mr. Abbott’s comment about a return to Breaching may be that he has effectively validated many of the ‘historic’ issues raised in this submission.

NOTE: The letters “T.o.R” are short form of the phrase “Terms of Reference”.

Compliance is a two way street.

T.o.R 2. (b) The impact on vulnerable job seekers.

“Centrelink collects compliance data on behalf of the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR). Centrelink does not collect ‘Post Breaching Terminal Outcome Statistics’ and is therefore unable to assist with your request for this information”.

Centrelink Letter C10/1866 dated 18th May 2010  (Written by Neil Skill, Assistant Secretary. Portfolio Coordination and Parliamentary. )

Assistant Secretary Skill, on Centrelink stationary, has officially confirmed that Centrelink does not monitor breaching triggered deaths and is therefore unable to report these fatalities. Centrelink’s casual attitude to these deplorable fatalities may be a flow on from the attitude of its Senate oversight committee which in 2006 twice classified these deaths as “irrelevant”.

Earlier this year Tony Abbott raised the issue of Industrial Manslaughter charges because of the deaths of 4 ceiling insulation installers. Mr. Abbott then followed this up with a call for a judicial inquiry. Clearly, any deaths that are the direct consequence of government policies are gravely sensitive political and legal issues. Assistant Secretary Skill’s comment highlights the failure of both federal politicians and bureaucrats to appreciate the extremely complex legal issues that surround the unintended consequences of ‘Compliance Measures’.

Compliance is a two-way street that must be able to withstand testing by trial in the courts. However, the decades long failure to recognize this elementary legal reality now presents a problem of enormously ominous legal potential with the current compliance regime policies and procedures adding supportive validity to the claim that Breaching/Compliance Measures were, and may still be, A Criminal Act of Reckless Endangerment that has resulted in a rising death toll since Breaching (Compliance Measures) were first introduced many years ago.

Compliance failures by politicians and welfare administrators encompass critical legal and humanitarian issues, such as Duty of Agency, Duty of Care, Civil Rights, Legal Rights, Constitutional Rights and Human Rights. The legal implications encompass:

  1. Numerous statute laws dealing with Malfeasance, Nonfeasance, Fraud and a reckless disregard for human life that resulted in the death of a person.
  2. Case Law decisions such as Mabo, the landmark $775,000 Stolen Generation Trevorrow Decision and other decisions relating to Civil Rights and Human Rights.
  3. Obligations stemming from Australia being a signatory to numerous UN conventions.

The ongoing concern over the recent deaths of the four insulation installers thus highlights a critical Compliance Failure, i.e. the failure to carefully monitor and adequately inform Parliament of the inhumane and frequently fatal consequences of machine gunning the welfare lifeboat with “Compliance Measures”.

Compliance is a two way street and Centrelink’s Accountability is a key criteria when considering the Transparency of the impact of Centrelink’s “Compliance Measures”.

Transparency implies the impartial and frank disclosure of the facts, regardless of the political or legal consequences, so that both Federal Parliament and the welfare recipients can make informed decisions about the merits and effectiveness of compliance measures policies and practices. Centrelink’s annual reports lack the required degree of Transparency needed for the Parliament and the general public to be able to make informed decisions about the validity, fairness and humanitarian consequences of Centrelink’s “Compliance Measures” procedures.

  1. Annual Reports are supposed to be impartial by reporting both the benefits and the “unintended” negative downside consequences of government policies. Instead, Centrelink’s annual reports appear to be more about Public Perception Management than about providing the truths that would enable the public, to whom both Parliament and Centrelink administrators are accountable, to make informed decisions about the humanitarian effectiveness of our nation’s welfare system.
  2. Silence can be deadly! By failing to identify and report the uncomfortable truths about the inhumane consequences of Compliance Measures, these annual reports are compelling documentary evidence of by a decades long Act of Criminal Negligence that has resulted in the failure to halt a totally preventable humanitarian disaster.

T.o.R. 2. (a) 3. Reducing compliance costs …for the government.

One looming legal consequence is that the so called “Savings” achieved by Breaching/Compliance Measures policies and practices will, like the discredited Stolen Generation and the Forgotten Generation policies, once more prove to be yet another case of “Penny, wise, Pound foolish” because taxpayers now face a tort of unparalleled dimensions.

The Auditor-General’s Report No.3 2009-10. Audit Report – Administration of Parliamentarians’ Entitlements by the Department of Finance and Regulation is an exemplar of how Public Servants should be totally impartial when reporting to the Federal Parliament. In this report, the Auditor-General identified serious failures of Due diligence that had not been addressed for years that had resulted in what might be described as “legitimized fraud”.

“As elected officials holding public office, Parliamentarians are expected to act with integrity in accordance with the public trust placed in them.”

Page 12, Auditor-General Report No.3 2009-10.

The Auditor-General would not have made the above statement unless he had held some grave concerns, backed up by empirical evidence, about the integrity with which some politicians were accessing and ‘double dipping’ into their ‘entitlements’. Compare the Auditor-General’s harsh truth with Assistant Secretary Skill’s comment.

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