Attorney General George Brandis appeared on ABC’s Q&A show on Monday night where he defended Australian refugee deal and also discussed “contact Centrelink.” Aussies have been complaining about the unreachable Centrelink department from a long time. Brandis, on the other hand, gave “contact Centrelink” solution.
The audiences on the show addressed the panel and George Brandis. He also shared their experience when they are unable to contact Centrelink. They said they are anxious when they do not receive any response to notices to discontinue benefits and wrongly issued debt recovery notices. Former teacher Fred Thorpe shared her issue in the show.
She said that she was on a $22,000 disability support pension, which was under review at the moment. However, she said that it’s been a week since she tried to contact Centrelink department but she has received no update on the matter. Thorpe raised questions on the fairness of the system that let politicians make generous expenditure while common masses suffer to meet their basic requirements.
To Thorpe’s grievance, George Brandis asked the public to contact Centrelink to sort out the problem. “When a notice is issued and it appears to the person to whom the notice is issued a mistake has been made, they can contact Centrelink and sort out the problem,” he said while the audiences laughed ironically.
The ex-teaching staff said that she had been on hold on the phone for around an hour and a half every day for the past few weeks. But she was still waiting for their response.
Aussie technologist Lyndsey Jackson has created a website to help those who wrongly receive letters for debt recovery issues. She agreed that the anxiety is unbearable. “Tragically on the weekend we heard that a young man had taken his own life, in part attributed to the stress of having a $10,000 Centrelink debt issued to him from many years earlier,” she said as quoted by Seven News.
George Brandis on Aussie-US Refugee Swapping Deal
On ABC’s Q&A show, George Brandis defended the refugee deal. The attorney general said that the deal did not seem to have been canceled even after the Aussie Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull called US President Donald Trump. An audience member said that the refugee deal “nearly fell apart” after Trump’s tweet where he called it a “dumb deal.” “You say the deal nearly fell apart. The fact is it didn’t fall apart,” Brandis responded.
“The fact is that it was affirmed by the Trump administration. It was negotiated by the Obama administration, it was affirmed by the Trump administration,” he continued. “Famously we now know that the Prime Minister had a difficult telephone conversation with President Trump, and the outcome of that telephone conversation was that President Trump committed to the deal. That’s what’s important.”