Robodebt robot deaths rise

FEDERAL POLITICS:

The Morrison Government says it regrets the numerous deaths inflicted by its fleet of Centrelink robots tasked with delivering refunds to the victims of its now-abandoned robodebt program.

At a news conference this morning Minister for Government Services, Stuart Robert, said the deaths occurred after the robots began knocking on the doors of 373,000 people across the nation who were due to receive refunds totalling $721 million after the government abandoned its robodebt scheme.

“It seems that as soon as the robots were allowed into people’s homes something snapped inside them and, well let’s just say things got very ugly very quickly and many people have been killed as a result,” Mr Robert told reporters.

“Centrelink and the Australian Tax Office had programmed the robots so it’s hard to fathom how anything could have gone so wrong.

“It was a simple task the robots had — to deliver a refund cheque and to hand over a bunch of flowers and a box of chocolates, I guess as a sort of apol….”

An aide to Mr Robert interrupted his answer to whisper in the Minister’s ear after which he said: “By the way, I want to stress that the chocolates and flowers should in no way be construed as an apology by the government, given that a class action is under way and we can’t admit liability.

“However, I can confirm that the robodebt robot apology program has so far resulted in 4,732 deaths.

“Luckily that’s represents just a very small proportion of the visits made so far by the robots and….”

The aide again whispered to the Minister, after which he said: “Sadly, the 4,732 deaths represent 100% of the visit undertaken so far.”

Mr Robert would not be drawn when asked if the government planned to announce the end of the program of fatal robot visits.

“Let’s just say, I’d keep this Friday arvo free if I were you,” he told journalists. “ Very late Friday.”