Nearly 10,000 people have now signed up to join a class action demanding compensation over the botched robodebt scheme, almost twice as many as were on board when the government ditched the most controversial aspect of the scheme last year, The Guardian reports.
Law firm Gordon Legal said in November that it would push ahead with a class action against the debt recovery program, despite the government announcing an overhaul in the face of a federal court decision that critics argued meant the entire scheme was “unlawful”.
James Naughton, a principal lawyer at Gordon Legal, said 9,600 people had now registered to take part in the class action, up from about 4,000 in November when the firm confirmed it had lodged writs in the federal court.
“There is growing interest and we’re contacted every day by more people who are finding out about the class action,” he said. “There are many, many thousands of people who have been affected and many thousands of people are now signing up.”
The class action could potentially place a further financial burden on the government, which has also been forced to review debts issued using the controversial income-averaging method heavily criticised by the federal court.
Gordon Legal has said it is pursuing the class action despite the government’s backdown, given that Centrelink has not promised to return the money taken from its clients nor promised to provide compensation for inconvenience and distress.
Meanwhile, emails between senior bureaucrats reveals the government was told its robo-debt system was not lawful prior to the scheme being wound back in November, The Guardian adds.
Govt ‘knew robo-debt was illegal’: emails (news.com.au)
Gordon Legal founder, Peter Gordon.