The tussle over the government's legal advice on the robodebt saga is set to continue, with the Senate voting to force the tabling of documents outlining what the government was told about its online compliance program and when.
Emails between top tax officials released last week showed the government had been told the program was "not lawful".
Government Services Minister Stuart Robert has so far refused to reveal not only what legal advice had been received by Services Australia, or its predecessor the Department of Human Services, but when it was received.
He said that it would prejudice the government's position in the class action being brought against the scheme by law firm Gordon Legal, which also covers issues of negligence.
On Tuesday afternoon the Senate accepted the interim report from the committee investigating the scheme, which raised debts against hundreds of thousands of people after matching their declared income to Centrelink to tax data.
In accepting the report it also passed a resolution ordering the government to table its legal advice, records of meetings between the minister and the department relating to the legal proceedings, the dates of when legal advice was received and the cost of the legal advice.
Labor's spokesman on government services Bill Shorten has called on the government to refund debts raised under the online compliance scheme, worth $1.5 billion.
"The government didn't have the power to just rely on a computer program without checking it before they sent the letter of demand out to vulnerable Australians," he said on the ABC.
"I know we're almost so cynical about scandals, but this is a situation where the government of Australia, the biggest entity, the most powerful organisation in Australia has been unlawfully creating debts from citizens to the commonwealth which were just invalid."
In November last year the minister announced the government would no longer be raising debts that relied solely on averaged income from the tax office and that all debts already raised in this way would be reviewed. Mr Robert called this a "refinement" of the program, but a week later the government lost a test case in the Federal Court challenging the legality of a debt raised under the program.