Frequently Asked Questions

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F.A.Q.

What will the Royal Commission achieve that the NDIS Independent Review cannot?

There have been numerous ‘independent reviews’ of the NDIS, including Inquiries conducted by the Joint Standing Committee on the NDIS (JSCNDIS). Across all of these, literally there have been thousands of submissions from participants, families, advocates, medical groups, and submissions from State and Federal government.

Independent Reviews, including the latest Independent Review, cannot do what is needed.   

It does not have the power to investigate; cannot give whistle-blower protection; cannot give any protections such as Parliamentary Privilege or the protections of a court; cannot compel witnesses; cannot overcome veils of FOI, secrecy, and Cabinet confidentiality; and cannot refer matters for criminal or National Anti-Corruption Commission investigation.

There are people in the bureaucracy, ex-public servants, and those who work for providers, who might want to provide evidence, but are reluctant to do so due to concerns about protections.

Deeply systemic issues, defects, unlawful practices presenting risk to life, and potentially corruption remain hidden and unresolved.

We believe that the Letters Patent of the RoboDebt Royal Commission can accommodate the matters of RoboNDIS.

‘…make any recommendations arising out of your inquiry that you consider appropriate, including measures needed to prevent a recurrence of any failures of public administration you identify.’

Why both a Royal Commission and a Class Action?

#NotMyNDIS builds on the work of the Facebook ‘NDIS Class Action’ group, which has been renamed NDIS Class Action and Royal Commission.

There we have accumulated a wealth of knowledge on the harm that has been caused to NDIS participants and their parents, children, siblings, friends, and other supporters, as well as those who have been refused access without valid reason.

We have identified the depth of frustration and anger, both of which equal, if not exceed, the frustration and anger that went with RoboDebt.

We know the legal hurdles to a Class Action, and we recognise the power of a short, sharp Royal Commission which can unlock the deeply hidden evidence and force urgent change.

The evidence unlocked through the investigative powers of a Royal Commission, will provide the basis to defining the scope of a Class Action.

What is the connection between RoboDebt and RoboNDIS?

RoboNDIS has been happening for years, with its roots in the same machinery of government that created RoboDebt.​

RoboDebt and RoboNDIS are administered within the same portfolio DSS; created by the same people; same methods; same systems; during the same period of time; and subject to the same whole-of-government automation strategies driven by the Digital Transformation Office/Agency, executed by DHS, now Services Australia.​

It should be remembered, that DHS is the ‘technology’ provider for NDIA.​

RoboDebt and RoboNDIS are not two separate coincidental programs. They were each intentionally designed at the same time as the foundations of the whole-of-machinery-of-government Digital Transformation Agenda and automation strategy, driven by Transformation Office/Agency and executed primarily by DHS.​

Evidence of DTO involvement (emails/documents) and details of the Digital Transformation Agenda was seen in RoboDebt Royal Commission evidence. Specifically, the Digital Transformation Agenda:​

… will produce significant improvements in service delivery along with efficiencies for government …includes creating new digital standards and common services for agencies … consolidating face-to-face and telephony service delivery … The agenda is broad and ambitious …further offsetting savings (which may be drawn from efficiencies from adoption of the common platforms)​

NDIA and RoboDebt were in the tent together in January 2017, with NDIS emails between RoboDebt architects working on staff in the NDIA and DHS executive responding to sensitive leaks about RoboDebt. Those same RoboDebt architects continued working on RoboNDIS for years, even during the RoboDebt Royal Commission.​

There is no separating RoboDebt from RoboNDIS from whole-of-government, nor from the current Independent Review of the NDIS.​

There can be no ‘learnings’ from the RoboDebt Royal Commission alone – the ‘learnings’ will only come when the combined common RoboDebt + RoboNDIS malfeasance is confronted – and people are brought to account – for BOTH.​

The only way to fix the NDIA/NDIS, is via a Royal Commission into the NDIA NDIS. But given the common bureaucratic and technology lineage, the extension of the RoboDebt Royal Commission into a Royal Commission into RoboNDIS would be an opportunity to consider the full ramifications in context.​

Then the big question. How was the combined common RoboDebt + RoboNDIS malfeasance allowed to continue for years?​

In his closing address to the RoboDebt Royal Commission, Justin Greggery KC replayed a key item in its Terms of Reference: ‘What could be done to avoid this happening again in the future.’ The first thing to do, right now, is to recognise that RoboDebt was just the start.​

We believe that the Letters Patent of the RoboDebt Royal Commission accommodate the matters of RoboNDIS.​

g. the establishment, design, and implementation of the RoboDebt scheme, including:​

who was responsible for its design, development, and establishment; and​

why those who were responsible for its design, development and establishment considered the RoboDebt scheme necessary or desirable; and​

the advice, process or processes that informed its design and implementation; and​

any concerns raised regarding the legality or fairness of the RoboDebt scheme;​

‘…make any recommendations arising out of your inquiry that you consider appropriate, including measures needed to prevent a recurrence of any failures of public administration you identify.’​

RoboDebt was stopped? Why continue with RoboNDIS?

RoboDebt and robo assessment practices have not stopped. It was the design and intent of the Digital Transformation Agenda, that these practices would be common across government.​

It should be remembered, that DHS is the ‘technology’ provider for NDIA.​

RoboDebt continues in the NDIA, together with RoboNDIS. Large scale population wide systems of automated administrative decision making driven by unexplainable defective algorithms, creating risk to life.​

The Labor Government stated that the RoboDebt Royal Commission was necessary to ensure RoboDebt never happens again. And yet, RoboNDIS was hiding in plain sight throughout the RoboDebt Royal Commission, with the same people, the APS as an institution making a mockery of the RoboDebt Royal Commission Terms of Reference.​

Indeed, the full reach of the perverted whole-of-government machinery that facilitated the RoboDebt catastrophe, is yet to be reckoned both in terms of lawfulness and the scale of the harmed caused to Australian citizens including children and people at risk.

What will the Petition achieve?
It is the objective of the RoboNDIS grassroots campaign, to bring about a Petition asking the Australian Parliament to urgently extend the timeframes of the RoboDebt Royal Commission, to investigate and lay bare the full reach of robo assessment methods overseen by DSS and executed by DHS in a whole-of-government agenda, in which the NDIA used the same reverse onus defective policy and defective technology to systematically punish people with disability by denying them access to essential support, withdrawing funding so as to present risk to life, and subjecting people to a cruel and unethical hunger game of reviews and appeals.
What is the timeframe?
The objective of the RoboNDIS campaign, is to have the RoboDebt Royal Commission timeframe extended for 6 months in order to investigate RoboNDIS. We believe that the Letters Patent of the RoboDebt Royal Commission accommodate the matters of RoboNDIS.​

This timeframe extension would need to occur before 30 June 2023, when the RoboDebt Royal Commission is due to report.​

Therefore, the timeframe for this campaign is for two months during April and May 2023.

How many people are affected?
Potentially as many as a MILLION Australians – NDIS participants, families, staff have been harmed.​

The systematic use of algorithms means that every NDIS participant is affected. There is no escaping the algorithms.​

And for each participant, there is at least one family member, carer, or advocate.​

In addition, staff have also been harmed, as was the case with RoboDebt.​

Current and former NDIA staff, contractors and current and former provider staff and contractors have also been affected: having to witness the harm to participants; having their professional judgments over-ridden; and having employment and contracts threatened and terminated.

What are the issues?
From the community and from JSCNDIS Inquiries, RoboNDIS campaign is documenting the growing list ‘The Sins of the NDIS’, listed on the robondis.org website.​

People who are suicidal and in extremis due to supports defunded. Unqualified staff making decisions about the most complex of human conditions, ignoring medical reports. Years waits for wheelchairs, with physical injuries resulting. Assistance animals defunded. Abuse by NDIA staff. A child who went blind because NDIA did not read the reports. Funding cuts of 75%; 80%; 93%. A child who is blind, in a wheelchair, and mute – rejected 8 times. Families split and separated. Parents leaving their jobs because supports for child defunded. Diagnosis changed. Terminal people not getting funding because of red tape and not value for money. Not reading reports. Lost medical documents. Plans that are copy paste of other peoples. People sleeping strapped into their wheelchairs because adequate supports are not funded. Defective dangerous systems. Cyber and organised crime exposures.​

All of these caused by RoboPlans generated by algorithmic and defective systems and unlawful process, used by the NDIA and LAC’s incented by KPIs. And no one can explain how the algorithms actually work.

Will this affect the sustainability of the Scheme?
It is in all our interests, that the NDIS is strong, resilient, and sustainable. However, over the past few years, the Agency itself has reported wildly fluctuating forecasts and yet at the same time, participants plans are being cut horrifically by more than 90%, presenting risk to life. ​

Where does the money go?​

Staggering reports by the Australian Crime Commission that billions of dollars per year of NDIS funds is being extorted by organised crime.​

Community analysis of the NDIS Quarterly Reports indicates a degree of variability and anomalies not explained by the Agency itself. Other insider commentary points to such widespread systemic defects, so as to call into question the validity of the actuarial model.​

It was only with the powers available through the RoboDebt Royal Commission, that the unlawfulness of the RoboDebt practices was exposed, and which also exposed the budget fiction of the originating NPP.​

Similarly, so unchallenged are the veils surrounding the NDIS actuarial model, that the powers of a Royal Commission will likewise be necessary to investigate the algorithmic assumptions underpinning the actuarial model and forecasting. This will establish a break point for Scheme sustainability.

Who is behind the RoboNDIS Royal Commission Class Action effort?

The RoboNDIS campaign is an independent grass roots movement run by volunteers, using web platforms and social media. The grassroots campaign numbers in the hundreds – people from all walks of life. Participants. Families. Advocates. Current and former NDIA staff. Current and former provider staff. Lawyers. Health professionals. Journalists. And technologists of Australian and international standing.

What are the RoboNDIS Algorithms

What are the RoboNDIS Algorithms

It was the design and intent of the Digital Transformation Agenda in 2017, that automation and robo methods would be common across government. And this is exactly what has happened, with RoboDebt and RoboNDIS created at the same time by the same bureaucracy. And with the same human devastation.

RoboNDIS algorithms occur across all NDIA processes and functions: RoboDebt, robo plans and robo assessments.

The RoboNDIS algorithms are ungoverned; have been developed without an ethics framework; have not been co-designed, scrutinised, validated nor tested for safety of outcomes. This is akin to having an algorithm developed to detect cancer from scans, without the process and the algorithm itself validated by cancer domain experts.

Not only is bias baked in, but the operation of these powerful algorithms is not subject to independent scrutiny or appeal. In fact, there has been no case of appeal against RoboNDIS algorithm itself.

The operation of the flawed algorithms not only affects individuals in access to necessary supports, but insidiously impacts the broader operation of access to justice, where none of the parties can really explain how the algorithm is constructed or its effect.

How exactly is the AAT or its successor or a temporary taskforce, ever to understand the black box algorithms and determine if these are just, safe, and lawfully applied? Indeed, do they have the expertise and authority to make such a determination?

Local Area Coordinators. Planners. Decision makers. Appeals officers. Health professionals. Legal representatives for the agency. Legal representatives for participants. Across all these parties making decisions regarding the lives of people with disabilities, there is not a common – or any – understanding as to the construction and effect of the algorithms.

Contracted LAC organisations are acting in their own financial interests, defined by KPIs, which is in conflict with the interests of the participant. Incented and driven by KPI’s to drive throughput by not reading reports; not providing explanations; not discussing goals; deterring appeals; and incented to reduce budget load over their participant caseloads using and reliant on dangerous and opaque algorithms that they cannot explain.

This is a fundamental defect of the outsourced NDIA operating model, and is a catastrophic breach of the NDIS Act, other Commonwealth Acts, and UN Conventions.

At the core of the NDIS, are unlawful opaque algorithms that cannot be explained and this is behind the Agency’s refusal to do so as this would reveal the defects. The Agency then hides behind the excuse ‘we need to help you (participant) understand why the decision’ – but ignoring the defective basis of it.

The RoboNDIS algorithms is a black box, with no checks and balances, unchallenged, and unchallengeable.

The use of the algorithms must stop immediately. The RoboDebt Royal Commission had the coercive powers to investigate and challenge the legal and budget fictions covered up by the bureaucracy. The RoboNDIS methods, created by the same bureaucracy, must similarly be scrutinised by a Royal Commission in order to stop the harm, safeguard access to justice, and bring those responsible to account.

The Agency must surely know what has happened overseas.

As a warning of what could possibly go wrong, the horrific examples of algorithm-driven funding assessment models used in the United States read like a template for NDIS robo plans.

The US algorithm-driven funding assessments “hit low income seniors and people with disabilities in Pennsylvania, Iowa, New York, Maryland, New Jersey, Arkansas and other states, after algorithms became the arbiters of how their home health care was allocated – replacing judgments that used to be primarily made by nurses and social workers.”

In Arkansas, “you had people lying in their own waste. You had people getting bed sores because there’s nobody there to turn them. You had people being shut in, you had people skipping meals. It was just incalculable human suffering.”

Read more about NDIS Algorithms here.