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CSA tactics backfire as parents move overseas

Note the use of the pejorative term "debtor dads" in The Courier-Mail version of this news.

Typically, taking away a person's child and demanding money for it has traditionally been catagorised as "kidnapping" and as a "ransom".

And demanding and enforcing that someone compulsorily work for someone else for no recompense has traditionally been termed "slavery".

That the State (Government) does these things does not change what they are.

If the State chooses to separate children from a parent, and to take the parent's place, as provider and protector, then the State should be prepared to pay for its choice and actions, and not to steal from innocent people who have had their children involutarily removed from them.

Parents cheat kids over support cash

Herald Sun (Melbourne)
26 April 2011

Parents cheat kids over support cash

More than 200 parents have been banned from leaving the country because they are behind in the child support payments.

Almost 44,000 Victorian parents owe a total of $208 million in child support payments.

Most of the money is owed by men, but the number of mums with debts - worth a total of about $5 million - is now 3,300.

More than 200 Victorian parents have been banned from leaving the country because they are so far behind in payments.

One dad owed more than $19,000 in child support while continuing to travel overseas for business.

After he was banned from leaving the country, he paid the debt immediately.

Single parents' groups have called for more private investigations and surveillance to ensure children get their entitlements.

The Sole Parents' Union's Kathleen Swinbourne said some were owed $80,000.

She said one woman who was owed tens of thousands of dollars had sought help because her former partner drove a Porsche. The agency says about $1.2 billion is owed nationwide.


Debtor dads skip country

The Courier-Mail
25 April 2011

Debtor dads skip country
By Anna Caldwell

Parents owing millions in welfare support are fleeing overseas, with the Federal Government winding back a controversial plan to stall them at the airport.

There are 22,529 parents living overseas owing $142.2 million collectively in child support, with most in the UK, New Zealand and the US.

It is a sharp rise since 2008, when 14,000 parents were dodging $97 million by living overseas.

The Courier-Mail has learned that the Government has clamped down on the use of controversial Department Prohibition Orders.

The orders were previously slapped on non-paying parents and those who tried to fly out of the country were held by Customs and Border Protection.

But while 1,351 of the orders were issued in two years to July 2009, in the past financial year only 183 departure prohibition rulings were made.

The windback comes after Centrelink was accused of flippant use of them in a 2009 Ombudsman's report.

There are 160 Queensland parents stuck in Australia under DPOs, owing almost $5 million in child support.

Child Support Agency non-compliance national manager Bill Volkers said while the DPOs have decreased, the agency has seen "more success" in encouraging the customers to repay their debts.


Parents owing welfare support flee overseas

The Courier-Mail via news.com.au
24 April 2011

Parents owing welfare support flee overseas
By Anna Caldwell

Parents owing millions in child support are fleeing overseas, with the Federal Government winding back a controversial plan to stall them at the airport.

There are 22,529 parents living overseas owing $142.2 million collectively in child support, with most in the UK, New Zealand and the US.

It is a sharp rise since 2008, when 14,000 parents were dodging $97 million by living overseas.

The Courier-Mail has learned that the Government has clamped down on the use of controversial Department Prohibition Orders.

The orders were previously slapped on non-paying parents and those who tried to fly out of the country were held by Customs and Border Protection.

But while 1,351 of the orders were issued in two years to July 2009, in the past financial year only 183 departure prohibition rulings were made.

The windback comes after Centrelink was accused of flippant use of them in a 2009 Ombudsman's report.

Child Support Agency non-compliance national manager Bill Volkers said while the DPOs have decreased, the agency has seen "more success" in encouraging the customers to repay their debts.


Cheats and criminals hit the jackpot

The Sunday Telegraph
17 April 2011

Cheats and criminals hit the jackpot
By Renee Viellaris

Single mothers and pensioners crying poor to receive welfare benefits will be forced to repay $9 million after they were found leading double lives as high-rolling gamblers.

A federal investigation has netted 521 tax cheats, with authorities fearing some may be laundering money for crime gangs.

They told Centrelink they relied on welfare payments to live, but in reality were living the high life and splurging on casino buy-ins of up to $100,000 a year.

Fifteen welfare recipients have been referred to the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions suspected of committing serious fraud.

In NSW, 128 cheats owe taxpayers more than $2.2 million.

One millionaire, who hid his income, put out his hand over several years to receive $96,000 in aged pension payments.

Casinos must provide information to law enforcement agencies about high rollers.

Human Services Minister Tanya Plibersek said Centrelink did not count winnings as income if welfare recipients had a good day having a punt.

"But people who can afford to regularly gamble large sums of money at the same time as receiving government assistance are required to prove they aren't concealing assets and income," she said.

"By cross-referencing casino high-roller information with Centrelink customers, Centrelink is identifying people who may be concealing assets or income, wrongly claiming benefits and even laundering money for organised criminals."

Centrelink undertook 1052 reviews of suspected high rollers in the past three years and is demanding 521 welfare recipients repay more than $9 million.

Federal independent Senator Nick Xenophon said pre-commitment measures for pokies, whereby gamblers would have to sign up and determine how much money they could lose before they start playing, would help law enforcement.

"Criminals are laundering millions of dollars through poker machines each year," he said.

Australian Crime Commission chief executive officer John Lawler said: "Criminals may use gambling outlets to facilitate money laundering activities by placing illegal proceeds of crime into gaming machines or purchasing casino chips only to cash out the chips shortly afterwards."


Agents to chase child support cheats

The Courier-Mail
24 March 2011

Agents to chase child support cheats

Tanya Plibersek chasing child support
CHASING CHILD SUPPORT: Federal Human Services Minister Tanya Plibersek. Picture: Sarah Marshall Source: The Courier-Mail

AAP - Debt collectors are to be used to chase parents who don't meet their child support obligations.

Federal Human Services Minister Tanya Plibersek says using private debt collectors should lead to more money being collected.

"The government believes it is vital that the children of separated parents receive the financial support they need,'' she told parliament on Wednesday.

"While most parents do the right thing and pay their child support in full and on time, not all parents meet their child support obligations.''

Ms Plibersek was introducing an amendment to allow the Child Support Registrar to go outside the bureaucracy and "outsource debt collection activity to external service providers''.

Centrelink has already adopted the approach, she said.

Edited

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