THE Prime Minister, Scott Morrison is mistaken if he thinks his government's decision to pay $1.2 billion in reparations and compensation to the victims of "robodebt" will put this issue to bed.
This has, if anything, lent further weight to ongoing calls for a royal commission into the scandal, which affected more than 370,000 people.
Many believe the real intention in settling the class action bought by Gordon Legal was to avoid an almost certainly highly embarrassing court case.
The PM might have even been called upon to testify.
As the social services minister during robodebt's conception in 2015, and as the treasurer and then Prime Minister for much of the time it was in operation, Mr Morrison has more skin in this game than any other former or current cabinet minister.
And that is precisely why the government he leads should not be allowed to buy its way out of trouble.
Robodebt, as the $1.2 billion cost of the clean-up indicates, is among the most catastrophic, politically driven, bureaucratic bungles in Australia's history.
Taxpayers who are footing the bill for what effectively amounts to a let-off pass for select senior cabinet ministers have a right to know what went wrong, who was to blame, how they have been - or are going to be - dealt with, and what can be done to make sure the dubious practice of "income averaging" is not used to unleash real debts ever again.
After inquiries into sexual abuse, banking, aged care, and the bushfires, many are probably suffering "royal commission fatigue", but no other instrument stands a chance of getting to the bottom of these questions.
Hundreds of thousands of people who suddenly found themselves being treated as welfare cheats and potential criminals suffered a great deal of stress and anxiety.
This is believed to have contributed to an unknown number of suicides.
Arguably the worst aspect of the whole affair is that, although it had become obvious the system was flawed by December 2016, the government doubled down, apparently only terminating "sole reliance on income averaging" in late 2019.
Now, having agreed to what's believed to be a record payout, it refuses to admit to any legal liability as a condition of the settlement.
That mentality's just not good enough - it simply can't be.
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