Media release: Salisbury Centrelink incident
The Hon Michael Keenan MP
Human Services Minister Michael Keenan has expressed his disgust after viewing vision of an ugly incident captured on camera at a Centrelink office in South Australia on Monday.
The Minister said the behaviour was totally unacceptable and he had now asked his Department to urgently provide him with a range of options to help stamp out the thousands of incidents of aggression and violence faced by Centrelink staff each year.
“Like most Australians I was disgusted to see video of somebody abusing my staff and women and children in one of our service centres in Adelaide,” the Minister said.
“Unfortunately this is one of thousands of incidents of customer aggression that we get around the country on any given year.
“I’ve asked my department to urgently give me options for what we might be able to further do to penalise people who are involved in this sort of behaviour.
“It is completely unacceptable for the 35,000 people in my department to go to work and fear that they might be abused or assaulted in this way.”
Video of Monday’s incident went viral on social media after a customer filmed a man abusing staff and making racist remarks to other customer inside the centre.
Police were called and spoke to the man and further action has not been ruled out.
Current measures to deal with abusive clients include banning them from having face-to-face contact with staff and limiting their contact to either phone calls or written correspondence.
Mr Keenan said he did not want to pre-empt what further measures might look like, but said those who did the wrong thing were on notice that their behaviour would not be tolerated.