The chilling lesson of the Milgram Experiment is that Centrelink staff may have been responsible for the deaths of thousands of welfare recipients simply because they were “only following orders.” Whilst that statement may sound like a load of totally over-the-top rubbish, research undertaken by a Yale professor way back in 1961 is frighteningly solid evidence that cannot be rejected.
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Commonwealth vs. Keating – “statutory fiction”.
The official case file name for the High Court “Jailgate” case that resulted in the “statutory fiction” decision is Commonwealth vs. Keating. That some 22o supposedly highly intelligent Labour and Coalition politicians, including at least one QC, should act like a mindless mob of sheep and deliberately vote for legislation that violated the legal and humanitarian rights of 15,000 welfare recipients seems absolutely incredible. And yet that is precisely what they did in 2011. The party leaders said vote for this legislation and vote they did with no apparent regard for the fact that were committing human rights violation that affected the lives of 15,000 people, i.e. a Crime against Humanity. “Authority” in the form of Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott had spoken and that was it; the mob did as they told with no apparent regard for what they were doing or the potential consequences!
By doing so, every Labour and Coalition politician who voted for this legislation demonstrated to the nation that they are not “a fit and proper person” to be a member of the Federal Parliament. (That will not stop millions of voters from supporting them at the September 7th election.)
Even more incredibly, over a period of decades, thousands of public servants working in the Department of Social Security and Centrelink have thoughtlessly deprived millions of welfare recipients of their constitutional right to a welfare allowance with zero regard for the potentially lethal consequences for the victims of this act of reckless endangerment.
- It is a historic fact that Human Impact Assessments were not introduced until 1st July 2009.
- In FY 2000-01, the Employment Minister, Tony Abbott and the Human Services Ministers (Jocelyn Newman and then Amanda Vanstone) issued 346,078 breaches of 13 weeks duration.
- In FY 2009 – 10, when Human Impact Assessments were finally introduced by Kevin Rudd, a total of 518 breaches of 8 weeks duration were issued.
- For each 8-week breach issued by Kevin Rudd, in FY 2009 -10, back in FY 2000 -01, Tony Abbott had issued an incredible 668 breaches of 13 weeks duration!
- Tony Abbott’s solution to the breaching triggered fatalities, apart from not reporting them to Parliament, was to support doubling up the breaching penalty to 26 weeks which suggests that he was not happy with the rate at which welfare recipients were dying.
- Welfare recipients should keep that in mind on September 7th.
HOW COULD SUCH GROSS INJUSTICES OCCUR FOR SO LONG?
I believe that The Milgram Experiment, a series of social psychology experiments first conducted by Yale psychologist Professor Stanley Milgram in July 1961, may provide insight into why the Australian High Court recently over-turned the 2011 legislation that so viciously violated the legal and human rights of 15,000 welfare recipients. It may also provide the reason why, over a period of decades, millions of vulnerable, impoverished people in Australia have unconstitutionally been deprived of their only financial means of survival, with the results that perhaps as many as 12,000 people may be dead.
- The Milgram Experiment measured the willingness of role-playing participants to obey an authority figure (a scientist wearing a white lab coat) who instructed them to perform acts that conflicted with their personal conscience, i.e. administer a potentially lethal voltage to an unseen person . The experiment asked people playing the role of a ‘teacher’ to give another unseen ‘student’ an electric shock whenever the ‘student’ gave a wrong answer to a question.
- Starting at very low harmless voltages, the voltages were increased with each wrong answer. Milgram’s senior psychology students had estimated that only 1 – 3% of test subjects would apply potentially harmful voltages over 300 volts and that only 0.1%, i.e. 1 in a 1,000, would apply the maximum voltage of 450 volts which was clearly marked as “Lethal”.
- However, in the very first experiment, 26 of 40 of the role-playing subjects (65%) applied the maximum voltage which would have been fatal if a real person had been receiving the electric shocks!
- Incredible as it may seem, these experiments were repeated many times in the following years with consistent results within differing societies, although not with the same percentages across the globe.
When asked why they had done so, role-playing subjects responded with the same answer as people charged with war crimes gave at the Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal hearings, i.e. “I was only following orders.”
This “I was only following orders” mindset that is apparently common around the world may explain why for decades public servants have been so indifferent to the consequences of their actions when depriving vulnerable, impoverished people of their only means of support.
BREACHING: The process known as Breaching was a real world action that deliberately set out to deprive extremely vulnerable, impoverished people of the ability to meet even the most basic costs of living. It was a criminally reckless act of endangerment that for decades was performed without any form of risk assessment. The death toll from this activity, possibly as high as 12,000, has never been reported by the politicians and bureaucrats responsible for this activity and at the moment they are officially classified as “confidential” by the Australian Federal Parliament and a number of federal law enforcement agencies have declined to investigate them citing reasons such as their (political) “gravity/sensitivity”.
Breaching reached it’s worse level in the 2000-01 financial year, i.e. between the 1st July 2000 and the 31st June 2001, when the government’ welfare agency, Centrelink, breached 346,078 people. This represented a unilaterally Breach of Contract penalty rate of 3 penalties being applied every minute!
Human impact Assessments were introduced in 1st July 2009 and in the following year to June 30th 2010, a total of 518 people had their welfare allowance cut off for 8 weeks. Each of these 518 people were case managed to monitor the impact of the breaching activity; a process that was not in place in FY 2000-01 when the penalty was 13 weeks and 346,078 people were breached.
Incredibly, the reduction of the penalty from 13 weeks to 8 weeks only occurred after the Howard Government, totally disregarding the lethal consequences of Breaching, attempted to increase the penalty to 26 weeks! The Opposition parties joined forces and, ignoring the constitutional and human rights violations, used their numbers in the Senate to reduce the statutory penalty to ‘just’ 8 weeks.
WAIVER OF DEBT : Another way that Centrelink staff can violate the legal rights of welfare recipients and precipitate deaths is by ignoring the legal obligation Centrelink has to waive repayment of over-payments made to welfare recipients if the error was solely Centrelink’s fault. Paragraph 1,237a of the Social Security Act states, in very precise terms, that the Secretary (of Centrelink) “must waive” any debt that is solely due to Centrelink that is not detected and rectified within 6 weeks.
It appears that ignoring this waiver of debt obligation is standard operating procedure within Centrelink. I have personally questioned Centrelink Customer Service Officers (CSO’s) and am of the opinion that the CSOs that I spoke to genuinely believe that if Centrelink raises a debt, regardless of who was at fault, then the CSOs have carte blanche to say and do whatever they deem reasonable to coerce a welfare recipient to repay the alleged debt.
This erroneous belief has led to extremist actions, e.g. on August 8th, 2013 when a welfare recipient queried their legal right not to have to repay the debt under the waiver of debt statute, they were told by the Centrelink CSO, ‘That’s not my problem. Centrelink has raised a debt and you either repay what we ask or we will take everything.”
That public servants, who are being paid a salary to protect at-risk, impoverished welfare recipients, should behave in such a manner and endanger lives by deliberately traumatizing vulnerable people and making them destitute can be explained by the results in the Milgram Experiment, i.e. people perpetrate recklessly dangerous acts without regard for the consequences because they are “following orders”, i.e. “Centrelink has raised a debt” that must be collected regardless of the consequences.
It should be noted that both the breaching processes were/are unconstitutional and also violate some 20 basic human rights under international conventions.
For more details about the Milgram Experiment check out: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milgram_experiment
Ronald Medlicott (A Christian advocate for Justice. )