A Generational Miscalculation: Unpicking Centrelink’s Unlawful Income Apportionment

Today on Welfare Law in Australia, Darren O’ Donovan analyses an internal document released under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Cth) just a few days ago. That document reveals the inner working of Services Australia as it continues in its efforts to remediate a multi-decade calculation blunder likely affecting more than 100,000 people. What is more, the calculation blunder was also unlawful — well, at least according to the Commonwealth Ombudsman.

The post comes only a day after Charlesworth J of the Federal Court of Australia found, in Patrick v Attorney-General (Cth) [2024] FCA 268, that governments will no longer be able to deny information requests that are determined at a date after the relevant Minister’s term has expired because (among other things) a document will be viewed as an ‘official document’ as it exists as such at the time of the request rather than at the time of the determination [8].