Centrelink drowns under stimulus flood

According to ABC News, “people are lining up outside Centrelink offices across the country, with some queues stretching down roads and around blocks, as many businesses are told to shut from midday”.

Meanwhile, myGov has crashed “as Australians try to access government services like Centrelink online”. Government Services Minister, Stuart Robert, claims the site is fine but cannot cope with the unprecedented demand.

This again highlights why the government should adopt a temporary universal basic income (UBI) of $1500 a fortnight, deposited into every taxpayer’s and welfare recipient’s bank accounts. This could be implemented immediately, would eliminate complexity, and would eliminate the need to apply to Centrelink, thus overloading administrative resources and, most importantly, would aid social distancing.

The last thing we need is people huddling together while they queue for welfare.

UBI is a no-brainer, given the circumstances.

Leith van Onselen


  1. Gotta get rid of those poor undesirables somehow, no room for them in “rich” Australia, when they are all gone they can be replaced by cheaper migrants !

    • As in you think this will happen?

      Scrotumo and the breathless Fraudenberg, I can’t see it

      Imagine Michaelia Cash talking about? The shrillness would be deafening.

          • I know, our PM said it, the newly unemployed are not at fault (and therefore deserve more than Newstart). Never had a thought about increasing it, until now….

            nah, you sound like you actually believe that your taxes actually pay for any shitfuckery that our Federal Government wastes its time on.

      • I think they’ve grossly under-estimated the crisis and its likely impact and that they’ll almost certainly have to send everyone a cheque (figuratively) if not literally just to prevent serious social unrest.

        Who knows. We find a vaccine soon and then maybe everything calms down, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.

  2. GunnamattaMEMBER

    That’d be your partially privatized ‘service delivery’ function, managed by cult of personality types, falling over at a moment of critical need.

    Those trying to get service by phone are possibly being told their voice will be recorded for coaching purposes

  3. Display NameMEMBER

    Lots of efficiency dividends extracted from so many departments.
    1. Defund a service so it cannot work.
    2. Exclaim “see government doesnt work”
    3. Put up for sale
    4 Charge same services (a fraction thereof in reality) back at many multiples they used to be supplied at with minimal to no transparency,

    Its called a kleptocracy. The Visa System almost went this way.

  4. C.M.BurnsMEMBER

    “the site is fine, it just can’t cope with demand”

    our critical national broadband infrastructure is fine, it just can’t cope with demand.

    our hospitals are fine, they just can’t cope with demand.

    our roads are fine, they just can’t cope with demand.

    our supply chains of critical goods, like fuel and medicine are fine, they just can’t cope with demand.

    that is the most absurd excuse I have ever heard.

  5. boomengineeringMEMBER

    March 23, 2020 at 11:45 am
    Son reported the same at Brookvale Centrelink, Que out the door and all the way round the corner down the street.
    Corona at Brookvale bus depot and Monavale depot. Wonder how many people got on their bus? What about Centrelink staff?

      • Cairns around the block today. I spoke to a mate who wanted to go in, said what’s the point. That is why they are funneling people, in harms way no doubt, through their decrepit system that they call welfare. Many will give up and save us some of those scarce taxpayer dollars

  6. TheRedEconomistMEMBER

    I was retrenched last year, and finished up after 20 years with one of the big 4 in August 2019.

    After registering with Centrelink at the time, I could not get much further with the online process due to my wife working (a temp role)

    I have been working casually (a shift a week) at the local drive thru bottle shop connected to a Pub.

    Since the Pub has been told to close, all full time staff at the pub are now sharing all shifts in the bottle shop, All Casuals have been advised there is now no work.

    I have been trying to get work back in Finance, I managed data in Market Risk.

    From Melbourne Cup to Australia Day… all work dried up. Some roles appeared in February but often they were either filled internally or I received the old email saying “thanks but no thanks.”

    With this crisis… a few role I have applied for have been either put on hold indefinitely.

    Whilst I am still have a a fair chunk of my redundancy payout, I have just reduced my mortgage repayments to the minimum amount required. I had remained on my original P& I repayments from when I first got my Home Loan in 2014.

    I am sure there a plenty of punters out there worse of than me… but time are tough out in the burbs.

  7. What’s sh#t about the political aspect of this is in the years to come we won’t be able to blame the Liberals

    Some will no doubt find a way to blame Labor *paging Rich and the Labor crew*!

  8. Stewie GriffinMEMBER

    I can vouch for this – drove past one in Surry Hills and the line went around the block (admittedly it would only have been out the door if it weren’t for the fact people appeared to be performing social distancing).

  9. Kids and baby at home going mental. Dad’s trying to keep his job. Mum’s lost her job trying to keep the family together.
    How is she supposed to get down to centrelink to setup a CRN and do the paperwork?
    What a disaster

  10. Hope the ATO is crosschecking people who previously operated in the cash-only economy and never paid any taxes. These people should not get a cent of the dole.

    • boomengineeringMEMBER

      Kelly, thanks for reminding me of that conclusion that illegals and or illegal tax free workers fronting up to centrelink may be asked a few questions about previous income.

      • This hatred of the untaxed should stop, if they are Aussies in need they shouldn’t be hounded for avoiding the confiscation of their wages from corrupt and immoral governments who clearly don’t spend those unspendable taxpayer dollars in the public interest; to avoid a shutdown of centrelink, and virus all should get the UBI, an amount for every Aussie, kids too, vibrants can fuck off. Taxes don’t pay for anything

  11. Stuart Roberts claiming a DDOS attack has shutdown Mygov. Apparently the site can’t cope with 55k Australians trying to log in at the same time. Bunch of incompetents!

  12. Foreign “students” must be excluded.

    March 17, 2020

    UAE’s stimulus package

    Dh5 billion to subsidise water and electricity for citizens

    Not foreigners.

    Reverse the income tax cuts and subsidise electricity permanently – for citizens.

  13. Yes, the current centrelink JIT system designed to service a million Aussies or so, will never cope with four times as many customers. And, madness to set this up so that we all have to queue and share germs around. Most are just registered into the system and they are then sent to a computer or home to access the terrible MyGov debacle.

    Yes, a UBI for every Aussie citizen until this blows over. Nothing if you’re on a visa. Go home if you have no funds.

    Funding it of course will resort to getting money from the bond markets as the scare mongering about MMT has and will continue to be too loud. Can’t get money out of thin air sort of argument. And Aussies who aren’t in the tax system? They’re still Aussies and an argument that they haven’t paid taxes doesn’t wash with me, unless you’d prefer to see a lot more homeless people as a more deserving outcome for those that don’t believe our govts spend our scarce taxpayer dollars wisely

  14. It’s just occurred to me that many people use direct debit for their bills and what not. Any fall in income and they’re boned. No wonder there is a rush for support. Good luck getting all your accounts changed over to paper/e-bills quickly at the moment.

  15. Leith has said it at least twice now. The only realistic solution is a UBI. Whether our politicians are knowledgeable enough and brave enough is unlikely.

  16. So, the proposal is $1500 a fortnight to all hey?

    So there are roughly 20 Million people in Australia, over 18 years of age.

    So the proposal is 20,000,000 by $750 a week.

    That is $15 BILLION a week.

    Every week.

    How long for?

    6 months takes us to $400 BILLION ish…

    Can someone explain to me how we fund that, on top of all of the other services that we need to keep delivering?

    Point 2. The proposal is to carpet bomb the Australian economy with unprecedented new cash. Has anyone modeled what that might do to general price levels?

    Introducing 25% of GDP to the general public, in just 6 months, of printed cash, would have to be seriously inflationary.

    I love MB, and am broadly on board with the general thesis and worlds views around here, but I can’t get behind this one.

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