MEDIA RELEASEWe're coming for you
14th April 2023
Today, we announce the RoboNDIS campaign and website (www.robondis.org).
The RoboNDIS Campaign urges the Parliament to extend or reconvene the RoboDebt Royal Commission, directing it to immediately investigate the lawfulness of the use of robo methods, systems and processes in the administration of the NDIS which – like the related RoboDebt – is causing widespread harm and risk to life
RoboNDIS campaign leader, Mark Toomey, said:
“Since inception of the NDIS, many people have found themselves bewildered and stressed, fighting for the rights of people who have disabilities, because the National Disability Insurance Agency fails the tests of good behaviour by a Government Agency.
“Many have experienced serious harm through their experience – harm that manifests as mental and physical illness, loss of relationships, loss of income, loss of employment, loss of assets and, sadly, loss of life.
“As we searched for insight to the drivers of this harm, the RoboDebt Royal Commission was laying bare the bones of an equally dreadful Government program, for which the similarities to RoboNDIS are too strong to deny. They are fraternal twins, born in the same tainted womb of a government hell bent on repressing those who were not deemed by it to be worthy of support.
Like far too many family members and friends of people with a disability, Mark has spent more than 6 years battling the NDIS on behalf of his adult son, who suffered a severe acquired brain injury in 2015, for adequate funding to sustain a meaningful life beyond mere existence.
Prior to beginning his battles with the NDIA, Toomey was a globally recognised thought leader in providing board level guidance on controlling the use of information technology across diverse organisations. His career was cut short by at least ten years by the impact of constant strife in development of support plans for his son, a man who has been clinically assessed as requiring 24 hour support due to the physical and cognitive disabilities driven by his acquired brain injury.
When asked about the connection between RoboDebt and RoboNDIS, Mark explains:
“RoboDebt and RoboNDIS came from the same place and the same culture – the Department of Social Services. They were created by the same people, using the same methods, 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. They were intended to replace human decision making with automation at scale, and in doing so, they both set aside the law that was intended to frame their operation.
“Australians were sickened by the evidence presented to the RoboDebt Royal Commission, which heard horrific stories of suicide and many other harms driven by RoboDebt – evidence that had remained hidden and covered up by bureaucrats who manipulated Auditor General investigations and ignored the directions of Senate Committees. The same administration is responsible for implementing RoboDebt and algorithm-based assessments in the NDIs, which have become known as RoboNDIS.
“As with RoboDebt, it is time for action to not just drive the necessary change in behaviour at the NDIA, but to also provide care, support and compensation for the many who have been harmed.
“With over 570,000 participants, we estimate that as many as a million Australians have been affected by RoboNDIS – this in addition to the 400,000 people harmed by RoboDebt. And we intend to bring those responsible for RoboNDIS to justice.
“The Letters Patent of the RoboDebt Royal Commission require it to ‘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.
We contend that RoboNDIS is a recurrence of exactly such a failure of public administration, and should be investigated as a matter of urgency by a highly skilled team such as has exposed the dreadful genesis, operation and impact of RoboDebt.
“The purpose of this campaign is to rally support of all Australians to Petition the government to for a time extension of the RoboDebt Royal Commission to do this.”
Mark encourages people to become familiar with the horrific stories of fellow Australians on the RoboNDIS campaign website (www.robondis.org), and download the Open Letter to send to Senators and Members of Parliament. A similar letter campaign was instrumental in helping to overturn the LNP Government’s ruthless approach to Independent Assessments, and questionable contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
The RoboNDIS campaign is an independent grass roots movement run by volunteers, using web platforms and social media, with some curated support from GPT. 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; Allied Health professionals; Journalists; Globally recognised technology leaders.