Minister Shorten in Question Time

QUESTION: My question is to the Minister for Government Services. What did the Royal Commission find were the real consequences of the Robodebt Scheme?
BILL SHORTEN, MINISTER FOR THE NDIS AND GOVERNMENT SERVICES: I thank the Member for McEwen for his question. On Monday, the Member for Cook gave a speech exonerating himself as the real victim of the Robodebt scandal. The Leader of the Opposition has actually called it a strong defence. for the information of the Parliament, it was 2114 words. Now he did use 22 words to acknowledge the impact on individuals and families. He reserved the remaining 2092 for himself. But I'm not going to focus on the fact that for every word he spent on a victim, he kept 100 for himself.

MILTON DICK, SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: The Member for Cook will cease interjecting.

SHORTEN: The Member for Cook, though, used a phrase - he regretted the unintended consequences. In fact, he used the word unintended consequences not once, but five times. And the Member for Cook is the master of the English language. See, unintended consequences has a clear implication. It was just an accident. Unintended. Too bad, so sad. It implies that the consequences of Robodebt could not have been predicted, could not have been foreseen. And in doing so, he attacks the whole Royal Commission's core findings. The Royal Commission showed that Robodebt in its design, in its rollout, was indeed, the consequences were completely foreseeable. The war on the poor that the Coalition launched during Robodebt was entirely predictable. Now, of course, the statement that got even more interesting and I had to watch the video twice -

DICK: The Member for Cook will cease interjecting.

SHORTEN: I had to watch the video twice because the Member for Cook actually says, and I thought it was a misprint in the transcript, he says -

DICK: The Member for Cook will cease interjecting.

SHORTEN: He says, I stopped Robodebt. The sheer hutzpah, the trademark shamelessness, the man most known in Australia for the sprint to claim credit for everybody's actions, including the courage of the victims. But the Leader of the Opposition, more alarmingly, says that the Member for Cook's slippery language excusing himself, it was a strong defence. But what I have to say to the Member for Cook is how dare you take the credit for stopping Robodebt when you started Robodebt.

How dare you minimize the courage of the victims. How dare you take the credit of the advocates and all those who spoke against it? But I say to the Coalition, the Member for Cook leaves you in an untenable position. You broke the law and you hurt people. You broke the law and wasted taxpayers’ money and you broke the law and continue to defend the indefensible. You have a simple choice. Cut him loose. Cut him loose, or he will damage the whole Liberal herd. Cut him loose now, and the Leader of the Opposition must make that decision now or own Robodebt for as long as he's there.