Taxpayer to fund legal fees for Scott Morrison and other former ministers related to the royal robodebt commission

Attorney General Mark Dreyfus has approved fees for six former Coalition frontbenchers

Scott Morrison, Christian Porter, Alan Tudge, Stuart Robert, Michael Keenan and Marise Payne have received approval for taxpayer-funded legal fees related to a royal robodebt commission.

The Attorney General, Mark Dreyfus, has approved fees for six former ministers, all of whom hold portfolios in government, social services or human beings amid investigations into the federal government's use of unlawful earnings to demand welfare payments.

The revelations came as the commission confirmed it was investigating how former Coalition government ministers and top civil servants made the program through the federal budget process.

The robodebt scheme, which took place between 2015 and November 2019, culminated in a $1.8 billion settlement that included hundreds of thousands of people who issued unlawful Centrelink debt.

Documents filed in the House of Representatives on Tuesday reveal that on October 28 Dreyfus approved Morrison's spending for a robodebt investigation related "to Mr Morrison's former ministerial performance as social services minister, treasurer and prime minister".

He said it was "appropriate to provide assistance", and that fees would be limited to what his department found "reasonable".

However, the approval of the fee did not indicate whether Morrison would appear at the inquiry, which continued in Brisbane on December 5 for two weeks of hearings on the scheme's creation, design and implementation and its impact on individuals.

A spokesman for Morrison said he was "cooperating with the royal commission as necessary and in accordance with the normal conventions that apply to the cooperation of former members of the government in their executive roles" - but declined to answer questions about whether he would appear.

Ministers and former ministers are eligible for “legal representation with respect to the process and other costs associated with the process”.

In a set of five nearly identical agreements, Dreyfus noted Tudge, Keenan and Payne's previous roles as human services minister, Porter's previous roles as social services minister and as attorney general, and Stuart Robert's previous role as government services minister.

According to the commission's statement, future hearings will focus on "the government's response to identifying deficiencies in the scheme" and "the role played by the budget process in establishing the scheme, the steps needed to proceed with it, and the involvement of the portfolio minister and SES officer in this process".

The Commission has so far heard that the scheme is working because Morrison requested enhanced welfare “compliance” measures in February 2015 as part of the budget process.

But several senior social services department officials, including the former undersecretary, Serena Wilson, said they failed to alert Morrison to the potential illegality of the scheme. This article was written by EDUKASI CAMPUS. 

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post

Contact Form