Wendy Willemse: ‘Robodebt Royal Commission’


Robodebt Royal Commission

We are chief witnesses
In the Royal Commission
We lie straight to your face
Or lie through our omission.

Mr Greggery, your question
About anything at all
May we ask you to repeat it?
It’s not something we recall.

We are vague about who
Cannot remember when or why
But assure you our subordinates
Will corroborate our lie.
In the realm of politics
It is “them” or it is “us”
You toe the party line
Or are thrown ’neath the bus.

Our evidence entails
The splitting of a hair
We speak about our clients
As though we really care.
(But to be completely candid
Most of them are trash—
Scheming parasites
Who defraud the Commonwealth of cash.)

We concede DSS identified
Legislation to be changed
But that was circumvented
The scheme was rearranged.

Allegations of unlawfulness
Are vehemently denied
We refute the very notion
Of what you have implied.

Your questions about averaging
Suggest it was something new
We argue to the death
That Labor did it too.

Averaging as “last resort”
Is our consistent claim
But if clients don’t engage
Surely they’re the ones to blame?

We agree it was unfortunate
The scheme came with the twist
Debts may be inaccurate
Or debts may not exist.

The Commission is obsessed
With the client’s plight
But clients had the onus
To set the record right.

Commissioner, you appreciate
In governmental schemes
A truly noble end
May justify the means?

When budgetary savings
Exceed 1 billion bucks
Are the rights of welfare clients
Really worth two fucks?

Commissioner, forgive us
(Please don’t take offence)
We prefer the Ombudsman
Who bought our evidence.

Commissioner, you are a mean girl
Who is terribly unfair
Our concept of fairness is …
I think we’ll leave it there.

Wendy Willemse, The Dutchess

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