Robodebt probe told of pressure
The Robodebt inquiry has heard of the pressure that senior leaders put on the Department of Social Services legal team.
Anna Fredericks - a former in-house legal officer at the Department of Social Services (DSS) - says there was “definite pressure” from leadership on the legal team providing advice on the unlawful Robodebt scheme.
“It was very siloed type of culture … you were responsible for what you were responsible for, you stayed within those bounds. There appeared to me to be a view of, with some of the lawyers, that … it wasn't our role to turn our mind to the broader risks [of Robodebt]. I found it quite problematic,” she said.
She also said that former Department of Human Services (DHS) secretary Kathryn Campbell - who later became the DSS secretary - could be “quite controlling” and was not “keen or interested” in hearing views that did not match hers.
“Over time, it was not a positive change in culture,” Ms Fredericks said.
“Colloquially, there was a view that no-one wanted to give her [Ms Campbell] bad news.”
The inquiry is ongoing, more details are accessible here.