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Attorney-General Declines to Apologise for Australias Robo-Debt Citing Ongoing Litigation

Attorney-General Christian Porter has not apologized for the faults of the robo-debt scheme that forced thousands of Australians to wrongly pay back benefits, citing continuing legal action.

The government announced on Friday that $720 (US $480) million will be refunded for around 470,000 welfare debts thrown up by the scheme because of faulty income assessments made by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).

Asked on ABC televisions Insiders program whether he would now apologize for the system, Porter admitted: “The system was flawed.”

But he would not apologize because there was litigation ongoing.

“As attorney-general I cant use that sort of language in the context of the litigation,” he said.

“Theres litigation ongoing and it argues negligence and we dont concede that.”

Cabinet colleague Keith Pitt has been more blunt, saying there is “nothing” to apologize for when conducting oversight over a large government program.

Porter was a social services minister when the robo-debt system was first introduced in 2015.

He said on May 31 the government would resist an argument for further damages in the courts for the way in which the government ran the system, but acknowledged using annualized ATO data to assess incomes had been shown to be an insufficient basis for Read More – Source