Many “customers” of CSP (formerly “CSA”) are unsure what rights they have when on the receiving end of a clearly unjust or unreasonable decision in response to a Change of Assessment or Objection.
A repeated theme found in group discussions about CSP action is often about ‘decision makers’ who advise a decision made based on information that is either unsubstantiated, lacking in detail, or for ‘reasons’ that obviously are skewed, or arrived at by “cherry-picking” the legislation they apply.
How to seek fairness in your dealings with the CSP
1. ALWAYS OBJECT OBJECT OBJECT. (see the resources on this site on how to adhere to the required Objection process)
2. FOI the call recording. Call recordings are crucial to your case if they have NOT taken all of your relevant information into account. Call recordings are admissible evidence in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. At the same time, FOI the case file underlying the decision.
3. Always record the conversation yourself – you are legally able to do this in some states. There are no circumstances where you need to advise the CSP representative you are recording the call. In the experience of several active campaigners against the current regime, decision makers will call to articulate why they made their decision, and provide information they will refuse to put in writing. In cases where you legally record the phone call, the information is also admissible evidence! Decision makers will make contact with you during the decision making process to obtain information or clarify – if they do not then this is a procedural fairness issue – then they will contact you once the decision is made to ‘explain’ why they made the decision. If they ‘bluff you’ by making a statement suggesting you can object to the decision ‘but it may not go in your favour if you object’ then this is particularly useful evidence to prove coercion and misconduct.
4. Immediately write to the decision maker – request specifically what sections of the CS Acts they used to ‘inform their decision’. They are required to tell you this. Request this response in writing.
5. Research the relevant parts of the legislation yourself, use the Child Support Guide as a starting point and go to the legislation and read it. Seek legal advice if you have to. There are some organisations offering free legal advice for CSA issues – take advantage of this.
6. When you lodge an appeal through the Administrative Appeals Trubunal (AAT) : Be straight to the point. Outline the points of law in contention, or the procedural fairness issues that need to be addressed. Familiarize yourself with what procedural fairness AND natural justice is. The AAT operate on these principles. Keep all emotion out of your submission. Simplify it and get to the main points very quickly. You want justice and fairness. Show where you have been treated poorly and outside the bounds of the Legislation.