Investigation Finds Public Servants Violated Code of Conduct in Robodebt Scheme

Multiple individuals recommended for civil and criminal prosecution.
15 February 2024
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Four current or former public servants have violated the Australian Public Service code of conduct regarding the Robodebt scheme, according to a preliminary investigation.

Last year, the Australian Public Service Commission (APSC) began looking into 16 public servants implicated in the unlawful debt recovery program by a royal commission.
The commission called the scheme a tale of "incompetence and cowardice" that was neither fair nor legal. It recommended civil and criminal action against several individuals.

The ongoing APSC investigation is examining whether these public servants violated the Code of Conduct. The Code of Conduct, outlined in the Public Service Act, mandates that public servants act honestly and with integrity. It requires them to maintain confidentiality, appropriately use their power and insider knowledge, and prohibit the provision of false and misleading information in their work.

The APSC has not specified the specific infractions committed by the four individuals. Breaching the code does not constitute a crime but can result in sanctions or dismissal. Eleven other individuals are currently under investigation, while one person has been cleared of a breach.

Former Home Affairs secretary Mike Pezzullo was dismissed last year after an independent investigation found he had violated the Code of Conduct on 14 occasions. These violations included leveraging his position for personal gain, showing disrespect towards ministers, and failing to disclose a conflict of interest.

- CyberBeat


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