Employment services rotting from head down

Robotdebt lawyer double dipped on salary

Employment services is a dead fish rotting from the head down.

A senior lawyer at the heart of the disastrous and deadly Robodebt scheme has left her Commonwealth job after it was discovered she was consulting for an outside firm that provides legal advice to government departments, according to ABC News.

Her departure comes nearly 12 months after she was harshly criticised in a report by the Robodebt royal commission.

According to the royal commission, Robodebt was a catastrophic, politically motivated scheme to identify fraud by averaging out welfare recipients’ incomes over an entire year.

The dysfunctional and inaccurate method drove at least two young men to suicide and financially and psychologically destroyed others.

Commissioner Catherine Holmes described the scheme as having been born of “venality, incompetence and cowardice”.

The former secretary of the DHS, Kathryn Campbell, was suspended from her $900,000-a-year job with the Defence Department because of the royal commission, and then resigned soon afterwards.

The royal commission found that top departmental lawyer Ms Musolino kept information about concerns over the scheme’s legality from her superiors because she assumed they did not want to know.

A spokeswoman for Services Australia confirmed Ms Musolino was “no longer employed” by the agency after it became aware of her work with AllyGroup.

“When asked why Ms Musolino was allowed to resign given the Royal Commission’s findings and her carrying out consulting work for a legal firm whilst still on unpaid leave from her government job, the spokeswoman said: “There is no provision under the Fair Work Act to disallow a resignation.”

A spokesman for AllyGroup said Ms Musolino “provided ad-hoc consultancy services to AllyGroup pursuant to a contract between AllyGroup and a third-party service provider” and that she had not provided legal services to government.

Services Australia employees are entitled to perform outside work with the permission of the department, but they must disclose any real or perceived conflicts of interest.

She refused to disclose whether she had been subject to an adverse finding by the public sector commissioner, or whether she is subject to criminal proceedings as a result of a referral to the royal commission.

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