Mark Johns, the South Australian State Coroner is about to have posted to him a letter that provides details of how the Australian Federal Parliament has been systematically menacing, terrorizing, defrauding, endangering and randomly killing people for decades.
NOTE: The short link URL for this blog is: https://wp.me/p1n8TZ-1eT
The Express post letter was posted today at 11:55AM and can be tracked with the above number.
The letter to Coroner Mark Johns:
Ronald Medlicott 40 Siddall Road Elizabeth Vale SA 5112
Ph: (08) 8255 3638 Mobile: 04386 26811 22nd October 2018
Attn: State Coroner Mark Johns
South Australian Coroners Court
302 King William Street ADELAIDE SA 5000
Dear Coroner Johns,
Re: The contents of Express Post envelope 60538616505098, which are intended to draw to your attention to the fact that across our nation, dysfunctional welfare policies and practices are randomly killing vulnerable people and every safety system in the nation that should have prevented these fatalities, including the south Australian Coroners court, has failed to do so.
Today has been declared a special day to mark the failure of the nation to prevent the exploitation and sexual abuse of un-numbered thousands of vulnerable children. However, even as we acknowledge these terrible events, a far larger and far more-deadly humanitarian disaster rolls on like a run-away freight train careering down a steep mountain railroad track. The situation is now so bad that on the 18th May 2017 the head of the federal Department of Human Services, Secretary Kathryn Campbell, made the following unreal statement:
“It is quite difficult if we are not informed that a person has died. We work very diligently with state and territory governments to ensure that we are capturing information about deaths. But, sadly, there are so many recipients in the systems it is the case that sometimes we are writing to people who are no longer alive.”
3-months earlier, as can be seen and heard in the appended videos, the federal Attorney-General George Brandis had admitted that mistakes by Centrelink were inevitable and that these mistakes were causing “terrible human consequences.” Unaware of that statement, the next day I submitted an AAT appeal for case 2016/5334 that included the following statement:
“If I am correct, over a time frame measured in decades, the Australian Federal Parliament has deliberately raped the civil rights of 4 – 5 million vulnerable Australians and as a direct consequence of this systematic rape of rights, the unreported, secretly classified, officially “irrelevant” death toll caused by this ravaging of civil rights may be close to, or even exceed,100,000 in number. Theoretically, it could even be the unthinkable, i.e. close to 1,000,000 dead.”
No matter how unbelievable that AAT appeal statement may seem to be, Ms. Elizabeth Ulrick, a Depart of Human Services lawyer based in that Department’s the Freedom of Information & Litigation Section, did not to contest that statement. Instead, on the 22nd February 2017, Ms. Ulrick issued a ‘Without prejudice’ proffer directly to the applicant, Mr. Marcelo Havaunes, with out providing me, Mr. Havaunes authorized representative, with a copy of that proffer.
One of the Functus Officio documents for that appeal, dated 7th March 2017, is included in the Issues Paper 42 of the Emcott Report, which is included with this letter. The next day, on the 8th March 2017, Ms. Nadine flood, the President of the Community and Public Sector Union, made the following statement during a Community Affairs Reference Committee hearing:
“If we want to look at where robo-debt has come from, it is a fairly obvious consequence of a department that no longer has the resources to provide effective services. The decision to replace the human oversight of debt recovery with automated data matching was absolutely based on a desire and an imperative to save money. It has of course proven to be a classic false economy and has created costly reverse workflows where staff are taken offline to deal with complex and difficult disputes over incorrectly raised automated debts. Sadly, I would suggest that in the last few years, one of the things DHS has become an expert at is bandaid solutions as it lurched from one crisis to the next. This is simply the largest of those.”
That statement concerning how the automated alleged-debt recovery program works needs to be evaluated within the scope of a binding precedent enunciated by the High Court on the 3rd May 2012 at 141 – 143 in ASIC v. Hellicar [HCA 17]: i.e. once a regulator’s decision is disputed, it is a matter for the courts:
[At 143] “Second, the proposition that the public interest requires that the facts upon which a regulatory agency relies must be facts that “actually occurred” appears to require the regulatory agency to make some final judgment about what “actually occurred” before it adduces evidence. Deciding the facts of the case is a court’s task, not a task for the regulatory authority.”
Speaking at the same CARC hearing, Ms. Lisa Newman, the Deputy President of the Community and Public Sector Union, told the committee:
“Members have been particularly disturbed by reports of managers instructing frontline staff not to correct errors that they find and instead to push customers onto self-service mechanisms and/or refer them to a different part of the department—namely, the OCI teams… DHS staff—our members—want to help customers, and that is why they find it so distressing to see their department putting customers at an increased risk of depression, decreased motivation, self-harm and even suicide.”
What Ms. Flood and Ms. Newman described were deliberate, systematic violations of sections 130, 131, 135, 136, 138 and 142 of the Commonwealth Criminal Code and the parallel provisions contained in States and Territories criminal codes.
The testimonies of Ms. Flood and Ms. Newman should never have been made to the Community Affairs Reference Committee because the senators serving on this committee share both civil and criminal responsibility, along with with hundreds of other past and present Members of the Federal Parliament, for the all of the harms caused by these criminal activities, e.g. the unknown, unreported, officially “irrelevant” estimated death toll, which may be around 100,000, or even far more. This figure, which Secretary Campbell was neither able to confirm or deny on the 21st February 2017, was not made known to at the CARC hearing on 18th May 2017.
In his letter dated 28 October 2014, your fellow Victorian coroner, Judge Ian L. Gray, stated:
“You raise a number of important general issues to do with justice and human rights, both nationally and internationally.”
Over the last 30 – 40 years, the civil rights of millions of welfare recipients have been systematically violated by successive federal governments. Victims of these systemic abuses of power have been traumatized, exploited, defrauded, recklessly endangered, and the with a cumulative ‘all-cause’ death toll that is likely to be some in excess of 100,000, Judge gray’s comment is a gross understatement. Please note that I have documentary evidence that in August 2014 that I had written to Judge Gray expressing specific concerns about two fatalities hat had occurred in Victoria and he was apparently unaware of my previous correspondence. This would indicate that someone within the Office of the Victoria Coroners Court may have prevented Judge Lake from seeing that information. The identification of the person(s) responsible for that is a matter for the Victorian Police or the Victorian Crime Commission.
This correspondence and the enclosed documents have been transmitted to you in Express Post envelope #60538616505098. The legal status of the contents of this envelope, including my covering letter to you, need to be considered in relation to Section 5AA (2) of the South Australian criminal Law consolidation Act (1935):
“A person is taken to know a particular fact if the person, knowing of the possibility that it is true, is reckless as to whether it is true or not.”
That statute is a crucial ‘legal litmus test’ when considering the credibility, relevance and significance of the issues raised in these documents:
- The Emcott Report, Issues Paper #42 – Chapman-gate: This is a public request to the South Australian Police to investigate an apparent abuse of public by two or more high ranking public officials, Vickie Chapman and Bruce Lander.
- Your version Issues Paper 42 is a compilation the following 17 documents:
- Judge Ian L. Gray’s letter dated 28 October 2014;
- Four statutory declarations concerning issues of grave national significance;
- A letter from Mark Fraser OAM, Deputy Secretary to the Governor-General, this is dated 4 October 2009;
- A cover page and pages 12 -14 of the Hansard minutes for the Australian Senate’s Community Affairs Reference Committee hearing held on the 8th March 2017;
- A cover page and page 48 of the Hansard minutes for the Australian Senate’s Community Affairs Reference Committee hearing held on the 18th May 2017;
- Centrelink document C10/1866, signed by Assistant Secretary Neill Skill;
- Centrelink document LEX 21021, signed by A/g Chief Legal Counsel, Alice Linacre;
- An Administrative Appeals Tribunal letter for 2016/5334, dated 7 March 2017;
- SAPOL correspondence dated 23 May 2011, signed by Superintendent Grant Moyle;
- A Federal Police email, dated 14 September 2009, sent by Federal Agent Jeff Pearce;
- A 2-page undated letter from the Legal & Constitutional Reference Committee, posted on the 30th November 2005, notifying me that submission 287 to the November 2005 Anti-Terrorism Bill #2 Inquiry had been classified as confidential;
- A 1-page letter, signed by John Carter, the Secretary of the Employment, Workplace Relation; and Education Reference Committee that dismissed the (classified) deaths of welfare recipients as “unsubstantiated” and “irrelevant”:
- A 1-page letter signed by Senator bob Brown and volunteer office worker, Ron Jelleff, acknowledging that welfare policies and practices could cause suicides;
- A copy of a 4-page letter sent to Nick Champi0n MP, dated 5th July 2014, detailing a range of issues including the suicides of more than 20,000 people, 1 in 3 of who was an unemployed Centrelink client;
- “OOPS!” – a 7-page document that when presented to a Senior Constable on duty at the Hindley Street Police Station shortly before 11.00AM on the 17th October 2017, provoked a violent verbal response with the constable refusing to accept any information concerning the possible murder of welfare recipients, despite being informed that the cumulative death toll may exceed 100,000 over the last 40-years. With a junior constable witness to these events, the senior constable informed me that she would not listen to what I had to say and walked away. 4-days after this extremely traumatic event, SAPOL shot and killed Matthew Morgan, an incident that further raised my grave concerns about SAPOL’s role in failing to protect the people of South Australia from serious or systemic fatal harms.
- A video DVD: “The Emcott Report. The Brandis Confession; Insights in Australia’s appropriate compliance measures murders.”
- A video DVD: “The Emcott Report. ROBO-TALK 4th edition.
Since the issues presented in this document deal with extremely serious alleged violations of the law, a copy of this communication to you has been placed on the public record by uploading copies of the text and some of the documents to my Ronald’s space website.
Ronald Medlicott. (Registered teacher and a volunteer lay-Advocate.)
Pages 12 – 14: The testimony of Nadine Flood
The text below is from pages 12 – 14 of the above Australian Senate committee hearing. Note that this testimony was made under the parliamentary privilege of an unconstitutionally elected parliament.
Note #1: ‘Robo-Debt’ is a criminal abuse of power because, in law, a data mismatch is not of itself reasonable grounds that provide probable cause for requesting that welfare recipients to explain the cause of the mismatch. A competent auditor must first certify that neither Centrelink nor the ATO has not made a mistake, which is a major problem with Centrelink.
Note #2: Once a welfare recipient challenges a Centrelink decision, it is a matter for the courts, at a cost to Centrelink of $25,000+. Skipping the courts is a criminal abuse of power that carries a 5-year jail sentence PER VIOLATION, i.e. Centrelink is racking 100,000 years of jail time PER WEEK.
Note#3: I have emphasized and reformatted the text of Nadine Flood’s testimony for clarity, but the wording and the order of wording have not been changed.
CHAIR: Welcome. Can I double-check that you have been given information on parliamentary privilege and the protection of witnesses and evidence.
Ms Newman: We have.
CHAIR: I now invite you to make an opening statement and then we will ask you some questions.
Ms Flood: The Community and Public Sector Union represents the real humans working at the centre of the Centrelink Online Compliance Intervention, more commonly known as the robo-debt debacle.
Our community legitimately expects that government provide a properly resourced, transparent and accessible social security system which supports people in our community as needed through critical times of their lives. Delivery of those services is the role of the aptly named Department of Human Services, with the work done by our members. It is work they value and believe in, supporting families, pensioners, low-income earners, students and people, as they face life’s challenges from illness to unemployment.
Our members believe that system is a cornerstone of a fair society and it is work that they are proud of and deeply committed to. However, what the Online Compliance Intervention and other failings in this department show is that years of government funding cuts and poor policy decisions have severely reduced the department’s capacity to be that cornerstone and to deliver for our community. Of course what we are seeing currently is a very high human price being paid both by clients, the people in our community who rely on Centrelink and Human Services, and by the people themselves who work for the department.
It is not an exaggeration to say that the Department of Human Services is an agency in crisis, and it is not something I say lightly. The automated compliance or robo-debt issue has hit well over 300,000 people in our community, and of course there are approximately 20,000 letters still going out each week. We have an approach from government, and indeed the senior management of the department, which seems more focused on denying there is a problem and spinning the problem then actually dealing with.
More than 36 million calls to the Department of Human Services went unanswered last year as the department is no longer able to provide a basic level of service to Australians. Centrelink and Human Services’ workers are already struggling with massive workload and pressures and the real lived impact of 5,000 permanent job cuts through a series of successive government decisions that have left this department simply unable to cope. Indeed, elements of that were acknowledged by the secretary of the department in estimates last week. What that means is that this department is increasingly placed in the position by government of making very bad decisions.
I think it is important to understand the root causes of these issues which do go back some years. If we deal with the lived impacts on our community now, we can see that the department has been put in a position where it has made decisions with the recent introduction of the automatic debt recovery program to remove or reduce the role of DHS staff in that crucial hands-on element of the work: investigating suspected overpayments and advising on appropriate debt recovery action. The notion that our community expects people should get what they are entitled to and no more is not a new one or a new part of this department’s work. But there is a very serious problem here.
This new approach, which removes and reduces human oversight of suspected overpayments and reduces employees’ roles in a range of elements of the system, has been an absolute disaster for many Centrelink uses and also for the workers charged with implementing a system they know to be deeply flawed and unfair.
Hundreds of thousands of Australians, as you have heard, have received frightening and, in some cases, inaccurate debt notices and then faced enormous difficulties trying to get in touch with DHS staff.
Of course, at the other end, employees are unable to provide services of the sort they are committed to provide and are also increasingly facing client aggression and frustration.
So how did it come to this? Most of the major problems facing DHS begin with a lack of funding and resources and without proper funding the agency loses the capacity to make good policy decisions, design effective programs and ensure the right benefit goes to the right person at the right time and for the right amount.
DHS has faced a triple whammy of funding cuts starting under successive governments.
These do go back to Labor government decisions on efficiency dividends that have then rolled into the decisions of the Abbott/Turnbull government.
Service delivery agencies are hit hardest by a number of elements of budget funding processes. I would note that no government ever stood up and said, ‘We would like to cut 5,000 jobs from the Department of Human Services, and we think that is a good idea.’ It is simply the result of a number of decisions put together.
So-called efficiency dividends hit service delivery agencies harder.
Other whole-of-service savings measures, many emanating out of the Department of Finance, also generally hit service delivery agencies harder because they do not have the scope of policy agencies around program funding.
In DHS’s specific case, the machinery of government changes that resulted in the creation of this mega-agency and the service delivery reform initiatives included the classic Department of Finance mistake where you very clearly identify the savings that will supposedly come out of consolidation and these changes, take those up-front and then see what happens.
In this case those impacts have resulted in DHS being an agency that is absolutely struggling.
I note the secretary herself said cutting an agency by 10 per cent in 18 months has created no little challenge, which was at one point the impact of those combined three different elements of savings measures.
If we want to look at where robo-debt has come from, it is a fairly obvious consequence of a department that no longer has the resources to provide effective services.
The decision to replace the human oversight of debt recovery with automated data matching was absolutely based on a desire and an imperative to save money.
It has of course proven to be a classic false economy and has created costly reverse workflows where staff are taken offline to deal with complex and difficult disputes over incorrectly raised automated debts.
Sadly, I would suggest that in the last few years, one of the things DHS has become an expert at is bandaid solutions as it lurched from one crisis to the next.
This is simply the largest of those.
As a result, the department tries to plug the gap in those services with casual staff who do not have access to the appropriate training, who are deeply frustrated that they cannot do the work and who are largely used to answer the phone and redirect customer inquiries, which allows the department to keep its core statistics lower; someone has clicked on it, they cannot fix the problem, but it is going through to another line and that is good enough.
That sort of gaming of the system is the situation this department has been put in.
Our members believe that our social security service system must be robust, sensitive and flexible enough to deal with underpayments, overpayments and other changes in people’s lives in a way that ensures the integrity of Commonwealth funds and the dignity of customers.
That includes dealing with the reality of an economy and a workforce where people come in and out of work, employers come and go, and there is an increasing level of insecure employment, casual contracts and so on. It is a complex situation that people are in, and systems like this have to deal with that.
At the same time it is important we note there has been a disturbing cultural shift imposed on Centrelink and on the Department of Human Services.
It has increasingly gone from an agency focused on treating people like people to one that focuses on treating people as numbers in a dataset and doing the minimum possible.
It is also an agency that, more than most, ignores or discards the input of staff in relation to crucial work design and staffing issues and has a vicious and draconian approach to staff speaking out internally and externally.
I would note that this is possibly the only Senate inquiry in the last three years where CPSU representatives have appeared without bringing delegates or rank and file workplace representatives. In this case we felt that it was simply too difficult to ask those people to attend because of the circumstances and the pressure that is in place in this department at this time. We will be putting their feedback further in a written submission, but this is an unusual step for the CPSU.
The same ‘my way or the highway’ attitude that created the robo-debt debacle has caused major problems elsewhere, including the agency’s hopelessly stalled enterprise bargaining situation where DHS has again taken a more negative and unfortunate approach on government policy, significantly causing concerns for working women in that department and meaning that bargaining is impressively more mired in this agency than across the rest of the Commonwealth public sector, which is really quite a high bar after a three-year industrial dispute.
Crucially, one of the issues still in dispute in this agency is the need for robust predecision consultation processes where people who do the work in areas such as compliance can actually have a better voice to inform senior management on what will and will not work at the front line. Those sorts of issues are very important to the people who work in this agency.
So, we are calling for a number of things to happen. The Turnbull government must immediately suspend the online compliance program and actually put the real fixes in place so that this no longer hurts thousands of Australians.
There needs to be immediate action and a serious budget solution to reverse the damage done by the combination of multiple cuts to the Department of Human Services, including the reduction of 5,000 permanent jobs.
Any new approach should have properly resourced human oversight so that the agency can be confident that the overpayments it identifies and debts it raises are legitimate and accurate.
DHS must immediately be put in a position by government to convert casual workers—of which there are now thousands—to permanent roles with access to effective training and to be able to provide a genuine, full range of services and support to customers.
Finally, the culture in this agency needs to change, and the approach we have seen over recent months in this matter is a damning indictment, but it is also a responsibility of government. We need to deliver a system in which the people who work for DHS can deliver great services to the community, and the community can have faith in our social security system and this department’s work.
How can welfare recipients deal with such a politically corrupt, dysfunctional and randomly lethal system?
CALL THE COPS!
Ronald Medlicott – A Christian volunteer lay-advocate.