You can’t Liquid Paper™ a sucking chest wound, and it turns out that mumbling a half arsed apology into your festy fucking armpit doesn’t help much either.
It was January 2017 when I was moved by a bowel-shaking rage-quake to write the very first AlienSideBoob by the very first reports of the then Turnbull government’s massive #robodebt scam.
We all know what that hashtag means now.
It’s shorthand for one of the worst, most egregious abuses of state power by a government that routinely gets excited in the pants by any opportunity to punch down on those beneath their station. Nearly half a million people got head-stomped for hundreds of millions of dollars in excess payments they never actually received.
There were obvious points of failure, now well documented. The data matching program was engineered to shit lipids as output because of the bad assumptions written into the code. The Tax Office computers were perfectly capable of mistaking one employer for a dozen or more. And the Mygov website was a torture porn dungeon built atop an accursed graveyard, in a city of the damned, which sank its foundations into a Hell Dimension.
Robodebt was an entirely avoidable shitshow, a beached and bloated fail-whale which exploded at the first touch of the blubber knife, throwing enormous, fucking chunks of rotting douchewaffle high into the outer atmosphere. — Me, being Nostra-fucking-damus all the way back when this started.
Except back then of course Malcolm Turnbull was the PM, and the blundercunt messiah was still getting a free pass from the media because he didn’t routinely gobble down raw onions in public.
Three years ago Robodebt was such an obvious disaster, that Captain Obvious and No-Shit Sherlock got into a fist fight in the High Court toilet stalls over who was going to sue the Commonwealth for intellectual property infringement first.
Thing is, it should have been a big, honking real time scandal when it started trending on Twitter, but the #robotdebt hashtag and handful of online activists like Asher Wolf and the @not_my_debt collective did almost all the earliest heavy lifting while perfessional jernalists busied themselves with perfessional jernalisms…
So three years on and Morrison has to pull his own fucking teeth before finally blubbering through a mouthful of blood that he ‘regretted’ any ‘hardship’ caused by the program.
I suspect what he mostly what he regretted was having to pay back $721m extorted from some of the most vulnerable and defenceless people in the country. At least until that eye watering figure quietly doubled into one and half billion dollars when his own minion’s internal estimates revealed that the feds had stolen even more money from even more people than they’d thought possible when they first engineered this gigantor-scam.
Bottom line, most of the money ‘raised’ by robo-debt will definitely have to be paid back, because it was stolen, and the thieves got caught. The remainder, will largely disappear into the maw of operating costs, including an as yet undisclosed amount paid to private debt collectors to harass innocent muggles into paying back all that money they never fucking received.
The funds might now be counted in fantasy dollars, but the damage was real. The Department of Inhuman Services admits that thousands of people issued with recovery notices and pursued by Morrison’s repo men are now dead, many of them by suicide.
But of course, there’s more.
While the program has now been declared illegal and nearly half-a-million victims await refunds and something approaching an actual apology rather than a grudging ‘sorry for any inconvenience, cunts’ – class action lawyers are lining up to pursue punitive damages and why not?
Usually, when you kill someone through grotesque negligence or sociopathic malfeasance, you end up having to pay for it. When you kill thousands of people, you might even have to pay a little more.
So on top of the billions already wasted, tens of millions, possibly hundreds of millions of dollars more are in play once the class action suits are settled.
And they will be settled, because the government does not have a defensible case, or even half competent defenders.
Having failed at an Olympic level to do anything other play with his shrivelled nads through all of this, the comically shifty Minister for Government Services, Stuart Robert, leapt to his feet after Smirko was done unpologising to insist everything would be tickety-fucking-boo if people would simply refer any problems to his office.
"Give me a buzz and we will seek quickly to help you out with that,” he actually said, in a statement to Parliament that I didn’t even make up and attribute to him.
Unlike a couple of billion dollarydoos in shady fucking demands-with-menaces.
Or the two gold Rolexes our man Stu trousered as undeclared gifts from the Chinese billionaire Li Ruipeng.
Or the $37,975 he claimed as ‘residential internet expenses’.
He’s now tidied up those, er, oversights.
Which is probably wise.
Because even after getting dragged backasswards through all those enormous, fucking chunks of rotting airborne douchewaffle, it seems that Smirko and Co. just can’t help themselves.
On June 2nd this year, The Guardian revealed that the Morrison government was exploring options to reboot the robo-debt scheme by legalising “the averaging of tax office income data for future debt recovery”.
That is, they want to make legal that thing they just did that was totally illegal.
After all, COVID-19 has provided them with millions of potential victims to feed into the cash machine all over again - this time for hundreds of billions of dollars.