Former Prime Minister Scott Morrison gave evidence at the Robodebt Royal Commission on Wednesday (14/12/22) and he had lost none of his previous form. It was lies, lies and more lies although this time he was under oath not that it slowed Morrison’s lies down for a second.
The video below is Scott Morrison being put in his place several times by Commissioner Catherine Holmes SC and the Counsel assisting Justin Greggery KC when Morrison tried the same routines he uses with journalists.
At one point Commissioner Catherine Holmes asks Morrison: What do you understand was the legal basis requiring someone who had not been on Government benefits for 6 months, 3 years or longer to confirm or deny ATO data which said they had a debt?
Morrison replied by talking like he was a lawyer or a barrister and started quoting the relevant legislation, but he was wrong and Commissioner Catherine Holmes SC carved Scott Morrison up and put him in his place.
Put simply the Robodebt scheme was an unlawful method of automated debt assessment and recovery employed by Services Australia as part of its Centrelink payment compliance program. On the 29th of May 2020, the Morrison Government announced that it would scrap the debt recovery scheme, with 470,000 wrongly-issued debts to be repaid in full.
Initially, the total sum of the repayments was estimated to be A$721 million, however in November 2020 this figure expanded to A$1.2 billion after the Australian government settled a class-action lawsuit before it could go to trial. (Click here to read more)
Just so there is no confusion Scott Morrison didn’t actually declare he is a fully qualified lawyer and barrister but he tried to act like he was.
As I say in the video it must be remembered that former Prime Minister Julia Gillard and federal MP Bill Shorten were forced to defend themselves against fraud allegations at public hearings at the Trade Union Royal Commission in 2014 and Scott Morrison had to answer questions publicly yesterday.
So, there is no reason the new National Anti-Corruption Commission can’t have public hearings as the normal standard instead of only in exceptional circumstances which means almost all its hearings will be secret hearings. If it doesn’t change this Royal Commission could be the last time we see federal politicians on the witness stand, justifying their actions, for a long time.
What is most disgusting is that the Robodebt Royal Commission is about the widespread damage it did to many people’s lives but Morrison could not care less but we all knew that from his time as Prime Minister.
Scott Morrison isn’t listed on the witness list again this week, but it would have to be likely he will be called again when the Royal Commission continues hearings next year. Other former and current federal MPs would also have to be a good chance to be called next year.
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