Government Senators do not support the Senate Community Affairs References Committee Interim Report into Centrelink’s Income Compliance Program (Program) as presented by the Australian Labor Party and the Australian Greens Senators.
Government Senators also note that this is the fourth interim report tabled by the Committee and that these comments should be reviewed in conjunction with the first, second and third interim report dissenting comments.
As referenced in the previous dissenting comments it has always been the strong view of Government Senators that the claims of public interest immunity (PII) in regard to relevant Cabinet materials and legal advice provided with respect to the Income Compliance Programme are valid.
In this case it is the Government Senators’ view that the PII claim raised by Senator the Hon. Linda Reynolds, Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme, Minister for Government Services, received by the committee on 9 August 2021 is valid.
Government Senators’ further note that in the interlocutory hearings in the class action, the Australian Federal Court upheld claims of Public Interest Immunity in relation to documents such as Cabinet materials including the Executive Minute to the Minister for Social Services dated 12 February 2015.
Government Senators’ believe the recommendations of the majority Fourth Interim report should be rejected by the Senate.