Given that over a period of several decades the civil rights of somewhere between 3 to 5 million people on welfare have been violated by the Australian Federal Parliament, an unreported, “irrelevant”, classified death toll of between 15,000 – 60,000 is relatively modest. This is especially so given that 1 in 5 Australians will suffer a mental health problem at some time in their lives and the highest percentage of people in this risk category are Centrelink clients. It is therefore very obvious that these people are very vulnerable to criminally reckless abuses of power by insensitive or indifferent bureaucrats, or power-mad bureaucrats who are just plain ruthless in wielding their perceived powers.
[ NOTE: The short link URL for this posting is: http://wp.me/p1n8TZ-rM ]
At first glance the letter below seems to a routine, harmless letter from Centrelink but it is in fact both extremely dangerous and a breach of South Australia’s criminal laws.
Notice the last line, i.e. “If you do not contact us by 15 January 2016 your payments may be stopped.” Such threats to turn off welfare payments are stock standard on just about every letter that Centrelink sends to welfare recipients and yet these statements are violations of criminal laws for several reasons, one of which is s 172 of South Australia’s Criminal Law Consolidation Act (1935) which is shown below:
(1) A person who menaces another intending to get the other to submit to a demand is guilty of blackmail.
(a) for a basic offence—imprisonment for 15 years;
(b) for an aggravated offence—imprisonment for 20 years.
(2) The object of the demand is irrelevant.
1 The person who makes the demand may be demanding marriage or access to children.
2 The person who makes the demand may be seeking to influence the performance of a public duty.
As it clearly states in s 172 (2) above, The object of the demand is irrelevant.
THERFORE TAKE NOTE OF THIS “The person who makes the demand may be seeking to influence the performance of a public duty.”
- “I was only doing my job” is not a valid defence in law for committing a crime, and in the case of the Centrelink letter above, the crime is BLACKMAIL .
- The purpose of the letter in this particular instance was to coerce the recipient of this letter into doing something that was “totally unnecessary.”
- In this instance, a person who was the partner of a welfare recipient who had filed a tax declaration form with an employer who had decided to employ them as a casual worker in the run up to Christmas and 3 months later Centrelink finally noticed that this person might be working.
- Upon phoning and getting the warning “For security, this call will be recorded”, the recipient of the letter finally got through to a real person who claimed that the letter was a “courtesy call” to remind the welfare recipient of their need to ensure that their partner reported income earnt.
- The Compliance Officer then launched into a spiel about how to report income which was interrupted by the recipient of the letter pointing out that the reporting of income earned had been going on for some time!
- Clearly, there had been no cross-checking to see if the reporting of income was taking place and this threatening, coercive letter was sent to both the employed welfare recipient and that person’s partner.
- The totality of the situation was that as a consequence of one welfare recipient obtaining a Christmas casual job, both that person and their partner were threatened with having their welfare payments cut off unless they did as they were told!
That was a totally unreal, criminal abuse of power by Centrelink!
It is possible that the real reason for the call was so that if a welfare recipient under-reported their income, then Centrelink’s recording of this call could provide the evidence needed to sustain a criminal prosecution.
- However, since the letter itself was in violation of the above law, any subsequent recording by Centrelink is “poisoned fruit”, i.e. “Evidence that has been improperly obtained” and it cannot be used in a criminal prosecution because s 138 of the Commonwealth Evidence Act states:
- 138 Discretion to exclude improperly or illegally obtained evidence (1) Evidence that was obtained: (a) improperly or in contravention of an Australian law; or (b) in consequence of an impropriety or of a contravention of an Australian law;is not to be admitted unless the desirability of admitting the evidence outweighs the undesirability of admitting evidence that has been obtained in the way in which the evidence was obtained.
- Any half-way competent lawyer who is made aware of the unlawful content of the letter that forced a welfare recipient to make the call in the first place, could seek to have the phone call recording stuck out as “poisoned fruit” evidence.
S 171 of the South Australian Criminal Law Consolidation Act is about defining what is “Blackmail” and within these definitions are points of law that every welfare recipient in South Australia (and every Centrelink staff member) needs to know. Pay particular attention to the points that I have underlined as they are points of law that underline just how Centrelink is blackmailing vulnerable people with its “Do as we say or we’ll cut of the dole” threat. To a rich person, being deprived of the dole is not a threat, but to a person who relies upon the dole for subsistence payments, i.e. to survive, any threat to cut of the dole is a real and tangible threat that has to be taken seriously because, despite the known, classified, death toll, Centrelink does this many thousands of times each year:
Part 6B—Blackmail 171—Interpretation
(1) In this Part—
demand includes an implied demand;
(a) physical or mental harm (including humiliation or serious embarrassment); or
(b) harm to a person’s property (including economic harm);
menace—a person who makes a threat menaces the person to whom the threat is addressed (the victim) if—
(a) the threat is a threat of harm to the victim or a third person (to be inflicted by the person making the threat or someone else); and
(b) the threat is unwarranted; and
(i) the threat would be taken seriously by a reasonable person of normal stability and courage; or
(ii) the victim in fact takes the threat seriously because of a particular vulnerability known to the person making the threat;
serious offence means an offence punishable by imprisonment;
threat includes an implied threat but, unless the threat is a threat of violence, does not include a threat made in the course of, or incidentally to—
(a) collective bargaining; or
(b) negotiations to secure a political or industrial advantage;
unwarranted—a threat is unwarranted if—
(a) the carrying out of the threat would (if it were carried out in the State) constitute a serious offence; or
(b) the making of the threat is, in the circumstances in which it is made—
(i) improper according to the standards of ordinary people; and
(ii) known by the person making the threat to be improper according to the standards of ordinary people.
(2) The question whether a defendant’s conduct was improper according to the standards of ordinary people is a question of fact to be decided according to the jury’s own knowledge and experience and not on the basis of evidence of those standards.
NOTE (2) above about a jury deciding if the threat was “improper” by their standards”. Part of the problem is that with Centrelink not reporting the death toll caused by breaching and unconstitutional debt recovery actions, most people do not realize that is a practice that violates legal and civil rights and in doing so, kills people.
If you are a welfare recipient, part of your “defence system” is to promote your rights and in order to do that, you have to know them, so here are some of the important rights that you need to know in order to survive in a toxic society that does not approve of “dole bludgers”.
CENTRELINK VIOLATIONS OF YOUR CIVIL RIGHTS
The statement “…your payments may be stopped” is a serious violation of a number of your civil rights under:
- Paragraph 51 (xxiii)(A) of the constitution which requires the federal parliament to make laws “For the provision” of a welfare benefit to a range of needy people.
- Article 1.2 of the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights (the ICCPR) which is contained in Schedule 2 of the (Australia) Human Rights Act (1986), i.e. the prohibits depriving people of what may be their only means of subsistence.
- Since the purpose of welfare payments is to allow impoverished (unemployed) people to subsist, clearly depriving a needy person of this subsistence allowance is an act of criminal negligence that endangers life.
- Endangering life, or depriving people of life by deliberately withholding a subsistence payment, is totally inconsistent with Article 6 (1) which states “Every human being has the inherent right to life. This right shall be protected by law. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his life.”
- Article 9 of the International Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (the ICESCR) which requires signatory parties, e.g. the Commonwealth of Australia, to provide social security to needy people.
- Article 11 of the ICESCR which states: Article 11 (1). “The States Parties to the present Covenant recognize the right of everyone to an adequate standard of living for himself and his family, including adequate food, clothing and housing, and to the continuous improvement of living conditions.
- The States Parties will take appropriate steps to ensure the realization of this right, recognizing to this effect the essential importance of international co-operation based on free consent.”
- “(2) The States Parties to the present Covenant, recognizing the fundamental right of everyone to be free from hunger, shall take, individually and through international co-operation, the measures, including specific programmes, which are needed:”
THE MINDSET OF MURDER.
When it comes to crimes that deal with what the Courts call “The mindset of Murder”, the simplest explanation of this was provided by an English Royal Commission in 1839, i.e. “It is the placing of life in peril that constitutes the crime.”
- Australian courts, including the High Court, use this definition when determining whether a murder was a willful intent murder or a murder caused by reckless indifference to the consequences of a dangerous act.
- In R v Faure,  VSCA 166 (24 September 1999), an appeal before the Victorian Supreme Court, Justice Brooking stated that:
“His Honour distinguished wilful murder from reckless murder – understandably, those expressions were not used – by telling the jury, by way of modification of what might be called the usual definition of murder given to juries, that there were two different intents, either of which would, in conjunction with the other elements of the crime, constitute the crime of murder. The first was the intent either to kill or to do really serious injury and the second was the knowledge that it was probable that death or really serious injury would result from the act done.”
The power within Centrelink’s “cut of your payments” threat is that the target of the threat faces being left totally destitute with no means to survive! That is a very dangerous threat and, given the number of times it has been carried and the serious economic “injury” or economic “harm” caused, it is a dangerous threat that is totally at odds with the Commonwealth’s international human rights obligations.
Anyone care to explain that?
It is also a very dangerous threat because Centrelink does not monitor the harm caused by the implementation of this threat, as the 2 following examples reveal:
EXAMPLE #1 – Essential Services shut down
The following text comes from page 38 of the Hansard Minutes for the Community Affairs Legislation Committee (the CALC) on 26th February 2015:
Senator SIEWERT: That would be much appreciated. I have one last area of questions. Do you keep any records on the number of people on Newstart or DSP, the various allowances, who are disconnected from essential services like energy? Do you keep any records, or is there any way of knowing the number of people who are disconnected? Anecdotally I am getting a lot of reports of people having their energy disconnected.
Ms Campbell: We do not capture that information.
- “We do not capture that information” sums up Centrelink’s attitude to cutting of the Dole, i.e. they do not care about the harmful consequences of their actions.
- In law, this is known as a “Reckless indifference” to the harm caused by unlawful or dangerous actions.
- The following extract comes from page 2 of The Sunday Mail (20th December 2015)
- This is an unusual example but it illustrates how a lack of power can easily kill someone. However, willfully cutting off power is exceedingly dangerous as these extracts from an on-line new article reveal:
- MORE than 10,000 households had their power disconnected after failing to pay their bills – the highest cut-off rate in almost a decade. [12,000 in 2003]Figures released by the industry regulator yesterday showed that 10,100 homes lost power in the 12 months to July, compared to 7300 the previous financial year.
Soaring power prices are being blamed for this 38 per cent spike in disconnections, with welfare groups reporting those on fixed incomes suffering the most – including one man who had to resort to cooking his meals over a wood fire in his back-yard for six months after being disconnected. Welfare agency Anglicare said it had reports of disconnected households commonly using candles for lighting, heating rooms with barbecues – and keeping perishables such as milk and butter in Eskies.
Welfare agency financial counsellor Ian Small said the rise in electricity prices – which jumped $319 on average last financial year – was to blame for the increasing number of people “we see who are suffering stress with their power bills” …”It is a really deep social concern that so many people are being cut off and having to live without electricity because it’s a health hazard,” Mr Small said.
- The reason why “Essential Services” are essential services is very simple; as Ian Small stated above, “…having to live without electricity is a health hazard.”
- What we have is a serious case of FORWARD TO THE DARK AGES, A THIRD WORLD MINDSET when bureaucrats and politicians on $200K a year salaries deliberately leave impoverished people without life preserving essential services.
- Such shoddy administration actively violates the right of all people, especially the poor, “to participate in society”- so much for human rights compliance by the Commonwealth of Australia!
From the real-world human impact end of these unconstitutional, human rights violating welfare penalties is a “Willful Intent” to violate the rights of welfare recipients with an very obvious “We don’t don’t care two hoots about our obligations and the consequences of our actions” attitude that is probably a violation of the Mindset of Murder “reckless indifference” principle, a fact made even more obvious by the letter below:
EXAMPLE NUMBER 2 – The infamous “Centrelink does not collect…” letter.
This letter, written just 3 months after the last of the 4 Home Improvement program fatalities, is indisputible, irrefutable documentary evidence that Centrelink does not care whether impoverished welfare recipients live or die when they are unconstitutionally deprived of what may be their only means of surviving and so I repeat what stated in example #1:
- In law, this callous disregard for the lethal consequences of knowingly placing life in peril is known as a “Reckless indifference” to the KNOWN HARM caused by unlawful, unconstitutional welfare penalties.
- What you definitely have is a “Willful Intent” to violate the rights of welfare recipients with a “We don’t don’t care two hoots about the consequences of our actions” attitude that is probably a violation of the “reckless indifference” principle, even if fatalities did not occur.
- If people die when the dole is turned off, that saves taxpayers money, and for some politicians, e.g. saving taxpayers money is more important that protecting the lives of vulnerable people.
- Consider the above comment in a real-world context: After the senate’s Joint Party Committee on Human Rights rejected legislation that was intended to deprive young people of a welfare allowance for 6 months, Tony Abbott reportedly ‘spat-the-dummy’ with the comment “I am all in favour of rights. I am also in favour of the rights of taxpayers not to have their money abused”.
- Source: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/governments-learn-or-earn-policy-may-breach-human-rights-warns-parliamentary-committee-20140929-10nus9.html
A FACT OF LAW: ANY CENTRELINK LETTER THAT THREATENS TO CUT OF WELFARE PAYMENTS IS VIOLATING BOTH CRIMINAL LAWS AND YOUR CIVIL RIGHTS.
In case you did not quite get that point, here it is again in smaller chunks:
- ANY CENTRELINK LETTER
- THAT THREATENS TO CUT OF WELFARE PAYMENTS
- IS VIOLATING BOTH CRIMINAL LAWS
- AND YOUR CIVIL RIGHTS.
When dealing with Centrelink bureaucrats who may believe that if Centrelink does it, then it must be OKAY, you need to read the last posting.
How do you deal with such pig-headed stubbornness? Do as I do, file a complaint and demand that Centrelink respect your rights.
If you live in another state or territory, GOOGLE your state’s crimes act and download it. Look for words such as:
- economic harm;
- economic injury,
- abuse of public office.
Know your rights and when Centrelink or a job search assistance ‘case manager’ violates those rights, demand an explanation and if you are not happy, file a complaint, although you need to be aware that this can also be an exercise in futility as my next posting will reveal.
Think about this statement which was made by Francis Neale, co-chair of the International Bar Association’s Rule of Law Action Group in July 2009
“All countries, even those governed by the crudest dictatorship, need or have laws, although they disregard the individual or collective rights of all or parts of the population. Indeed, apartheid was enforced with meticulous attention to form and detail.”
Apartheid in South Africa and Breaching in Australia are 2 sides of the same coin, i.e. they are both Crimes against Humanity. The only difference is whilst apartheid has been (offically) abolished in South Africa, its conjoined twin, Breaching, is flourishing in Australia.
Ronald Medlicott – A Christian advocate for Justice in Australia.