New hearing as Federal Government fights to keep Robodebt information secret

24 August 2021
A long-running legal battle to access documents behind the Federal Government’s botched Robodebt scheme will be back before the Administrative Appeals Tribunal on Wednesday 25 August.

The case centres on early business plans and other documents produced by the Department of Human Services – now known as Services Australia – to justify the rollout of the Robodebt scheme.

These documents could reveal what Prime Minister Scott Morrison and senior ministers Christian Porter and Alan Tudge knew when they had responsibility for the program.

Human rights advocate Justin Warren first requested the documents under Freedom of Information (FOI) laws back in 2017.

When the department refused to release the documents, Mr Warren challenged the decision through the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner, and won.

Services Australia appealed the OAIC’s decision, and the Tribunal considered the appeal in June 2021. Wednesday’s hearing is in relation to an application from Services Australia to reopen its case and introduce new evidence.

The case forms part of the Grata FOI Project and is being run pro bono by Maurice Blackburn.

Media access to the hearing:

Journalists who wish to attend the hearing should email media@aat.gov.au before 8am on the day of the hearing with their request.

Detailed instructions for how media and the public can request access to the hearing is available on the tribunal website here.

Background materials:

Further information regarding the case can be found on the Grata Fund’s website here.

Stories about the impact of the unlawful Robodebt program are available at the #NotMyDebt website here.

Media inquiries:

Richard George, Grata Fund, 0403 771 139 or richard@gratafund.org.au

Paddy Murphy, Maurice Blackburn, 0490 297 391 or pmurphy@mauriceblackburn.com.au

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