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Byron Shire
June 17, 2021

Ministers avoid accountability

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Local hospitals performing above State average, quarterly report says

Hospitals in Northern NSW performed better than the state average despite recording a high number of emergency department (ED) attendances, according to the latest Bureau of Information (BHI) Healthcare Quarterly report.

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Celebrating 35 years of The Echo

The Echo Awards, held every five years, was a great success on Wednesday night as it celebrated 35 years of local independent journalism in the Northern Rivers and the community that have supported it throughout those times.

Virtually live music, imaginary shrooms, and happy koalas: welcome to the COVID Splendour

Well, the people behind Splendour in the Grass have finally done it. They’ve organised a music festival that won’t disturb a single koala, rare bird, or noise-sensitive neighbour living in or around the North Byron Parklands.

Sailor rescued from ocean in overnight operation

In a dramatic overnight rescue far offshore North-East of Yamba, Marine Rescue IIuka Yamba volunteers were able to bring to safety a woman who fell overboard from a dismasted catamaran in the dark.

Big donation and new poetry competition for BR4R

Local community group Ballina Region for Refugees is having a big month, with a major anonymous donation amongst other news.

Three men stabbed in Goonellabah

Police say a man has been charged and will face court, while three men remain in hospital following an alleged stabbing yesterday.

Interview with Daniel Champagne

Daniel Champagne, exudes a natural ease on stage as he sings poignant lyrics and beautifully crafted melodies that invariably stir the heart with grand romanticism. Daniel spoke to The Echo whilst travelling between Brisbane and Sydney – en route to a show in Auckland.

Michele Grant, Ocean Shores

The Echo’s Backlash (8/11) suggests ‘the cruel and incompetent Alan Tudge MP’ will probably avoid accountability for the Robodebt fiasco.

The program to aggressively pursue ‘debts’ from welfare recipients ‘rorting’ the system was instigated by Scott Morrison when he was Minister of Social Security. His mates, Christian Porter and Alan Tudge, enthusiastically embraced the seriously flawed program during their stints in the office, ignoring the alarm bells and widespread criticism. Stuart Roberts undertook the cover-up when the evidence became overwhelming.

Most of the errors in payments and debts have been found to be miscalculations made by Centrelink and the tax department, not the vulnerable clients. All four ministers knew it was a flawed, failing system before the courts finally ruled the debt scam illegal.

Yet, there’s been no consequences for the ministers’ participation in this criminal activity or the massive debt they’ve inflicted on the public purse.

The government has been forced to return $720 million in debts collected. The civil case was settled out of court, offering $1.2 billion in compensation to 400,000 Centrelink clients tormented and harassed by the private debt collectors – who are also currently under investigation for their brutal tactics.

It works out to around $300–500 for eligible clients and the court is yet to accept this contemptible outcome.

The Liberal government would fall if all four ministers accepted responsibility for this debacle, but it seems unlikely anyone will move for a motion of no confidence in Scomo’s deplorable team.

It’s perverse that the self-professed moral Christian soldiers would persecute the poor with such relentless zeal, while propping up the destructive, polluting coal industry, denying the truth of climate change. Shameless behaviour has no consequences for the bad boys in the Liberal and National parties.

With over 1 million families now relying on Centrelink payments, can we afford to support these cruel, incompetent politicians who continue to cause serious harm to the most vulnerable members of our community.

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  1. Michele Grant (Echo, 25 November) is correct:
    “It’s perverse that the self-professed moral Christian soldiers would persecute the poor with such relentless zeal …”. Perverse, cruel, unfair and non-Christian!
    But, “Shameless behaviour has no consequences for the bad boys” in the LNP. Yes, in this life; but ScoMo says he is a Christian, hence believes in Heaven. Rest assured, there WILL be consequences for him, and his ilk, before he gets to Heaven.

  2. $720 million in debts collected. We cannot afford this 4-some. They
    should be chucked in a giant rubbish-bin & left out in the sun through

  3. Everything you say is correct Michele, but really what else do you expect in the “Morrison era” no-one gets fired no matter how outrageous the offence is, no-one even accepts responsibility for blatant incompetence; if they did Morrison would struggle to even put a government together. If there is one thing the Conservatives are really good at it’s looking after themselves, they think that they are born to rule and act accordingly. There is only one way to fix this problem and that is to remove their snouts from the trough ASAP.

  4. Honk! I agree, Keith. I’ve noted too that they ‘dribble a lot.’ Nonsensical lies
    & cover-ups is now called ‘leading the country?’ Brain pans are empty.


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