Originally published in On Line Opinion on June 8, 2010

“Welfare cheat” stories have become a staple for tabloid current affairs programs in Australia. We regularly hear about the scourge of dole bludgers and those in the community who are claiming benefits but appear to be healthy. In fact, the recent Budget announced a crackdown on the disability support pension by overhauling the impairment test. The tax office is quick to pursue people for minor amounts of unpaid tax and Centrelink will recover any money that may have been incorrectly paid because of a change of personal details. Fair enough. But where is the obligation for Centrelink to ensure that those Australians who are entitled to receive government assistance actually receive it? The short answer is there is no obligation.

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