Robodebt Hero Awarded King’s Birthday Honour

Dept of Social Services

The Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme and Government Services, Bill Shorten, has congratulated outstanding former public servant Colleen Taylor for being recognised on the King’s Birthday honour list by being been awarded an OAM for her service to public administration.

As a frontline worker in the Compliance area for Centrelink, Ms Taylor displayed decency, ethics and compassion when attending the Robodebt Royal Commission to provide exemplary evidence in December 2022.

Ms Taylor, a true hero, called out the inaccuracies of the Robodebt scheme to her superiors in 2016, explaining the harm this would cause to the Department of Human Services’ most vulnerable customers.

When her pleas would not be heard, Ms Taylor persevered, even at the risk of her own job security and promotion, contacting senior executives in the belief they were being misled.

In the Royal Commission into Robodebt’s Final Report, Commissioner Catherine Holmes AC SC described Ms Taylor’s contribution in the following way:

“Some of the witnesses who gave evidence before the Commission would make one despair of the Australian Public Service; but there were others, like Colleen Taylor, who restored faith. The shame is that people of her calibre were not listened to.”

Ms Taylor retired prematurely in 2017. However, when asked to present her evidence in 2022 at the Robodebt Royal Commission and with the fear of possible consequences, Ms Taylor displayed resilience and courage to speak out once again.

Minister Shorten commended Ms Taylor’s dedication to the truth and perseverance of justice for Centrelink Customers.

“Ms Taylor, a compassionate, humble, and model public servant, put her job on the line because it was the right thing to do. Ms Taylor fully deserves the recognition of a King’s Birthday honour in acknowledgement of her integrity and bravery”, Minister Shorten said.

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