Author's Opinion

The views in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of iTWire.

Have your say and comment below.

Tuesday, 17 November 2020 11:22

Robodebt: Stuart Robert does not even have the decency to blush

Robodebt: Stuart Robert does not even have the decency to blush Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

The Australian Government has cheerfully forked out $1.2 billion of those green notes to settle a lawsuit in the robodebt case. I think it's a good moment to stop and consider whether some ministers should be told, in strict terms, to avoid taking any initiatives that involve technology.

No matter what the Coalition touches, — remember that good old network, the NBN, and its $29 billion bill as projected by Malcolm Turnbull? — if it involves technology, it just crashes and burns.

You can see the fingers of Stuart Robert, the man who paid that impressive Internet bill some time ago, Alan Tudge, who was recently accused by a judge of indulging in criminal conduct, and Christian Porter, the man who was the star act on Four Corners last week in connection with his alleged philandering, all over this debt saga.

It is passing strange that after all these years of being around technology — Australia, I am reliably told, connected to the Internet in 1989 — these fine samples of humanity have little idea of what you can achieve with tech.

The old rule of garbage in, garbage out was apparently not taught to them. We need qualifications for everything in Australia, even to be an apprentice, but you can be the village idiot and still become a minister.

That the three will not face any blowback is obvious as their protector, Scotty from Marketing, will talk the hind leg off a donkey to prevent any mention of actual penalties being levied on these nincompoops.

As one erudite Australian was pointing out on ABC 774 this morning, Morrison was very quick to castigate Christine Holgate for spending $20,000 on some Cartier watches and even named her in Parliament, forcing the poor woman to quit her job.

But here's merry old Robert wallowing in waste to the tune of a cool billion and there's not a sound from Scott. Sorry, there is one, it's the sound of silence. Pity Simon and Garfunkel ain't around to put this episode to music.

In government circles, competence is ranked about the lowest attribute that will land you a cabinet post. Dumb loyalty? That comes top of the lot. And yet we poke fun at countries like Iraq and Zimbabwe where despots demand the same kind of loyalty from their followers.

One would think that Robert would be skulking around in the shadows after what any blue-blooded American would describe as a glorious clusterf***.

But no, the man was out and about this morning, actually defending what he had done!

When you get to that stage, I tend to think that even sinking a pin into the fleshiest part of the man's arm would not result in a yelp. The Bible, a book which I'm sure Robert owns and reads, describes this condition as having one's conscience seared as if by iron.

When the government is asked to put some money towards this project or that, all of them for the public good, you can hear squeals of "we don't have the money, we are in a recession, we are deeply in debt, we cannot indulge in waste" and so on, ad infinitum.

But Robert and his ilk can throw good money after bad and I'm pretty sure they will all be there, perhaps in different portfolios, after the December cabinet reshuffle. Who's willing to give me odds on that?

Read 2859 times

Please join our community here and become a VIP.

Subscribe to ITWIRE UPDATE Newsletter here
JOIN our iTWireTV our YouTube Community here


If you're looking at enabling Microsoft Teams for your contact centre, you should bookmark this webinar.

Marketing budgets are now focused on Webinars combined with Lead Generation.

Our panellists from Whangarei District Council (NZ) and Maurice Blackburn Lawyers (Aus) were closely involved in recent projects to enable Microsoft Teams for their own contact centres.

They have kindly agreed to join Enghouse and Microsoft to talk about some of the things they would recommend as most critical for IT and CX professionals planning a Teams Contact Centre migration.

Date: 11 May 2022
Time: 12pm AEST | 2pm NZST | 10am SGT

We look forward to having you join us. Please click the button below to register.



The past year has seen a meteoric rise in ransomware incidents worldwide.

Over the past 12 months, SonicWall Capture Labs threat researchers have diligently tracked the meteoric rise in cyberattacks, as well as trends and activity across all threat vectors, including:

Encrypted threats
IoT malware
Zero-day attacks and more

These exclusive findings are now available via the 2022 SonicWall Cyber Threat Report, which ensures SMBs, government agencies, enterprises and other organizations have the actionable threat intelligence needed to combat the rising tide of cybercrime.

Click the button below to get the report.



It's all about Webinars.

Marketing budgets are now focused on Webinars combined with Lead Generation.

If you wish to promote a Webinar we recommend at least a 3 to 4 week campaign prior to your event.

The iTWire campaign will include extensive adverts on our News Site and prominent Newsletter promotion and Promotional News & Editorial. Plus a video interview of the key speaker on iTWire TV which will be used in Promotional Posts on the iTWire Home Page.

Now we are coming out of Lockdown iTWire will be focussed to assisting with your webinars and campaigns and assistance via part payments and extended terms, a Webinar Business Booster Pack and other supportive programs. We can also create your adverts and written content plus coordinate your video interview.

We look forward to discussing your campaign goals with you. Please click the button below.


Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

Share News tips for the iTWire Journalists? Your tip will be anonymous




Guest Opinion

Guest Interviews

Guest Reviews

Guest Research

Guest Research & Case Studies

Channel News