Reports today that the Turnbull Government is creating an AFP-led “taskforce” to crack down on fraud in the social security system looks exactly the same as the announcement the Abbott Government made earlier this year, when they promised a “welfare fraud taskforce” to be headed by the AFP.
Six months ago former Human Services Minister announced a “welfare cop” would be appointed from the AFP to tackle fraud.
Former Social Services Minister Scott Morrison also said he would put “a strong welfare cop on the beat”. He even appointed himself the “welfare cop” in January.
In fact, the strengthened integrity measures were in the 2015 Budget, and were supposed to start five months ago.
So what have they all been doing for five months?
Today’s re-heated announcement just shows that all this tough talk is exactly that – just talk.
People who deliberately rort the system should be investigated and required to repay the money. That’s only fair.
But all we see from this government is empty talk about being tough, demonization of people on social security, and cuts to income support for vulnerable people.
They have tried to cut the pension, cut family payments, increase the cost of healthcare – and now they want to increase the GST.
Announcing yet another taskforce is just a cynical attempt by rookie Human Services Minister Stuart Robert to paper over the issues in his portfolio, like the 369 unresolved cases of Medicare identity fraud which he hasn’t acted on.
Stuart Robert needs to spend less time trying to look tough and more time doing the tough work his job requires.
If the Government really wants to help Australian taxpayers and families they should stop trying to increase their cost of living with cuts to support and higher taxes.
THURSDAY, 26 NOVEMBER 2015