"Blaming the victim diverts public gaze from the the structural issues that create poverty and inequality"
A bit over ten years ago the Australian government started massive bullying of welfare recipients in the Northern Territory, paying over half of benefits onto a cashless debit card.
Collated by WGAR News
The stated intention was to control spending on alcohol, gambling and cigarettes. Of course, the project impacted mostly Indigenous Australians.
Eva Cox, a professor at the Sydney’s University of Technology is one of many who argue that this system isn’t working, but with the government set to expand the programme across the country, she asks: Is it right to infantilise people like this?'
'We welcome some [Opposition] Labor members calling for a cessation of the Cashless Welfare Card,’ writes Rachel Siewert, Opposition Greens spokesperson on Aboriginal affairs.
‘Previously the Labor party has voted against my disallowance motions, which is disappointing. If they supported my disallowance motion, we could have this card stopped in its tracks tomorrow - not only in Kalgoorlie, but also in Ceduna and the East Kimberley.'
The Queensland Council of Social Service (QCOSS) argues:
'The latest move by the Federal Government to have the punitive Cashless Debit Card trial expanded to Bundaberg and Hervey Bay [Queensland coastal towns] involves yet another Senate Inquiry.
‘In February, the Senate failed to pass legislation that would have included Bundaberg and Hervey Bay in the Cashless Debit Card Trial, and there are no substantial changes in this new legislation.
'Over 80% of the 170 submissions made by individuals and organisations to the previous inquiry opposed the Cashless Debit Card Trial. Despite the frustration of a repeat process, QCOSS again encourages members to lodge a submission to this new Senate Inquiry (closing 20 July).
'QCOSS will be making a submission opposing the expansion of the Cashless Debit Card trial and calling for a Public Hearing to be held in the Bundaberg / Hervey Bay region.
'QCOSS believes addressing complex health and social issues, such as alcohol, drug and gambling problems, through the welfare system is fundamentally flawed.
‘The Evaluation of the Cashless Debit Card Trial showed evidence of multiple negative experiences and consequences, ongoing evasion and evidence of a lack of community support.'
Queensland Greens Senator, Andrew Bartlett, hosted a public forum on the cashless welfare card on 16 July 2018. Click here for phone footage about that meeting.
An Australian Aged Pensioner Group (AAP) is calling for a national rally in Canberra, the Australian capital, on August 14th, 2018.
'AAPG is not just about complaining...we are the “action group” for the most vulnerable in the community!,’ they write.
‘Check out our performance against any other likeminded groups over the last 1 1/2 years.
‘We started with a narrow-focused vision to help Aged and Disabled Pensioners, but now include all Australians doing it tough. We are concerned about Aged Care services, we are against the Cashless Card, we want a liveable welfare payment, Newstart and Age /DSP Pension payment (20% increase as a minimum), we want government to make the retirement age 65 years not 70.
‘We want the aged and and disabled to be treated with respect by all Australians, valued as contributors to Australia’s growth and fiscal success.'
An Unemployed Workers Union writes that 'cashless welfare is an attack on the rights and dignity of all unemployed people’.
‘It is a shameless attempt by the [right of centre] Coalition Government to present unemployed workers’ money management skills as the main problem.'
"The unhealthy welfare card, also touted as the cashless debit card has driven a wedge in every community it has been introduced in.. "
'The Cashless debit card fails everyone.
'Yes it fails the pub test too.
‘Your children’s future freedom depends on you saying no cashless welfare.
'For all that others have to say people being income managed creates birds in gilded cages'
'A solicitor researching the cashless debit card sees the real reasons for the card as below (scroll down).
'The [governing] Liberal National Party (‘LNP’) welfare card program is really a LNP rort for the benefit of the Liberal and National Parties and their members, donors and supporters.
‘Indue Pty. Ltd, the corporation awarded the contract to manage the welfare card program and to operate its underlying systems, is a corporation owned by Liberal and National Party members and that donates to the Liberal and National Parties.
‘The Former Chairman of Indue is none other than former LNP MP Larry Anthony who is the son of former Liberal Country Party Deputy Prime Minister Doug Anthony. ...
'Consider these facts.
'1. The welfare card program does not produce savings for the government but adds another level of administrative bureaucracy and cost on top of the welfare payments system. ...
'2. While incurring these additional costs, the card program does not displace any existing welfare costs to the Government or taxpayers because Centrelink and the Department of Human Services staff,
who are responsible for welfare payments, were retrenched en mass years before the Welfare Card was introduced. ...
'3. Under the LNP, Government contracts are now being awarded on a ‘limited tender basis’ at a frequency greater than they have ever been in history.
‘This enables the LNP to award Government contracts to their crony mates ...
'4. The contract for the issuing and management of the card was awarded before the trials for the card program’s operation were completed and before the merits and outcomes of the card program were assessed. ...
'5. There is no evidence that the health and social outcomes claimed for the welfare card have been achieved. ...
'Credit for this work goes to Michael Griffin (Flinders Uni)'
#IncomeQuarantine #CashlessWelfare #WelfareCard
#INDUEcard #BasicsCard #Newstart #EconomicApartheid #INDUE