LNP’s New Legislation to Further Automate Austerity

Sam Shetler | 30 Jan 2020

It’s the first sitting week of Parliament and the Liberal National Coalition government (LNP) has a bright and shiny $2 billion dollar plan! 

Collective “Oooo” please.

The LNP’s proposed legislation will “simplify” (automate) income reporting for people surviving Centrelink.

Anne Ruston, the minister for social services, the Prime Minister Scott Morrison, and the PM’s empathy consultant are really concerned about people on Centrelink.

They want to simplify income reporting for you, not their surplus, you.

“Numbers are complex!” cried Ruston. Then Morrison offered someone on Centrelink a simple handshake but they refused. 

In that moment of rejection, Morrison came up with the simplest idea of all, “Why don’t we just do more of the same?”

Monday’s The Australian headline describes this light bulb legislation as a “welfare shake-up” saving the surplus.

Tuesday’s The Canberra Times headline lays bear the real culprit, “Welfare recipients to report actual wages” which might as well have read, ‘finally, those sketchy dole bludgers forced to stop thieving”. 

Even In Daily’s headline, “new Centrelink income rules after illegal robo-debt debacle” is innocous. 

To give In Daily some credit, its headline does point to the government getting caught robbing the poor with automation last year. 

Last year the goverment slightly back tracked on their automated Robo Debt program because, you know, illegal activity in the spotlight and all.

This year, things are going to be…look over there!

There is surplus to save!

The current flimsy ‘surplus’ is in all sincerity all austerity and came from robbing the NDIS. Remember?

All the government knows is that its surplus is threatened by people in strife again, coming full circle.

Morrison and the LNP are back to rob people on social security again.


Imagine this, when you go to report, to fill-in-the-blank, there is already a number there. One could change it or keep it the same. And, if you don’t report, that number is already there. 

Automated income reporting is an odds game. And you better believe the government has crunched the numbers and placed its bets on $2B worth of austerity. 

The default is a powerful position.

This demonstrated by a lot of god awful legislation’s easy passage because it’s already on the books.

If you thought Centrelink being designed to push you off the Social Security rolls was good, just wait.

Centrelink income reporting 2.0 is going to knock your socks off.

It’s automated austerity at its best. Or maybe the new Jobactive trial will be? Or a reincarnated carnivorous RoboDebt?

Any which way, the Murdoch rags and the LNP government will be openly celebrating folks starving to avoid the stress of Centrelink.

“Every time a dole bludger goes hungry, a Young Liberal grows wings,” the old LNP saying goes.

Speaking about this new legislation innocuously as, “new income rules” doesn’t capture what is happening either. Too ahistorical.

The Liberals are following a well worn austerity playbook, played out internationally, to our social and spiritual end.

Rob working class poor scraping by on social security instead of taxing those extracting the wealth of the nation and destroying the planet.

Serving the rich and death to the planet sounds bad but that doesn’t mean Morrison is sleeping well at night with their bureaucratic nightmare running rampant.

Parliament just went back and Morrison probably already needs another nice Hawaiian holiday.