13. Pink Batts and Robodebt - lessons not learned

The Westminster Tradition

09-10-2023 • 29 mins

In September 2014, at the very moment DHS invents Robodebt, the APS receives a frank assessment of its limitations in the form of the Final Report Home Insulation Program Royal Commission.

In this episode, a review of the 'pink batts' Royal Commission report shows the key failings that recur.

Why is it so hard as a public servant to say 'we can't do this in the time allowed?'

How should generalists respond when asked to engage in technical subject matter that we don't understand?

And once again, how do we ensure collegiality doesn't lead to group think and unwillingness to raise risks?

You can find the Final Report of the Home Insulation Program Royal Commission here, and the comments about public servant testimony on page 13.

This podcast was recorded on Kaurna land, and we recognise Kaurna elders past and present. Always was, always will be.

Intro grab features Mr Chris Birrer and Commissioner Catherine Holmes, 7 November 2023.

Now for some appropriately bureaucratic disclaimers....

Those of us in the employ of the State Government speak in a strictly personal capacity, consistent with the Public Sector Code of Ethics that permits public servants to promote an outcome in relation to an issue of public interest - in this case, the betterment of the public service.

Nothing we say should be taken as representing the views of the Government or our employers.

While we have tried to be as thorough in our research as busy full time jobs and lives allow, we definitely don’t guarantee that we’ve got all the details right.

If you want rigorous reporting on Robodebt, we recommend the work of Rick Morton at the Saturday Paper, Chris Knaus and Luke Henriques-Gomes at the Guardian, Ben Eltham at Crikey, Julian Bajkowski at The Mandarin, and of course, the Robodebt Royal Commission itself.

Please feel free to email us corrections, episode suggestions, or anything else, at thewestminstertraditionpod@gmail.com.

Thanks to PanPot audio for our intro and outro music.

'Til next time!

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