No big hits in Robodebt's wake
The ongoing Robodebt investigation has been a painstakingly slow process.
The latest update released by the Australian Public Service Commission (APSC) says no APS employees have been sacked eight months after the Royal Commission's report.
The APSC has disclosed that of the 16 individuals initially referred for potential breaches of the APS Code of Conduct, only one case has reached a conclusion, resulting in no action against the implicated public servant.
The APSC's update outlined that 15 investigations have moved forward to the stage of issuing notices for potential conduct breaches. Notably, four individuals have received preliminary findings of breaches to the APS Code of Conduct.
However, the slow pace of these investigations suggests that those found in breach are likely to leave their roles voluntarily rather than face dismissal or sanctions.
Acknowledging the lengthy duration of the investigations, the APSC emphasised the necessity of thorough and fair procedures.
The comparison with the swift resolution of the inquiry into John Barilaro's appointment highlights the slow pace of the Robodebt investigations. The Barilaro case was resolved within months, contrasting sharply with the protracted Robodebt probe.
The Robodebt Royal Commission, beyond its primary report, has also made confidential referrals for potential criminal prosecution and to the National Anti-Corruption Commission, though details of these referrals remain under wraps.
Uncertainty also looms over potential legal action from staff compelled to implement the unlawful debt recovery measures, with litigation funders reportedly eyeing the possibility of lawsuits.
As the Robodebt saga continues to unfold, it highlights challenges in accountability and procedural fairness within Australia's public sector.