Queensland may be used to expand the cashless welfare card

Contributed from Queensland

The Scott Morrison government may be fast tracking the expansion of the cashless welfare card in Queensland, now that independent Senator Tim Storer has flagged the end of his opposition to the move.

Millions of dollars will be spent, if it goes ahead, on its application in Bundaberg and Hervey Bay. All told, the plan is to extend the trial to four sites.

This is despite evidence that trials so far have been destructive for individuals and communities.

Tim Storer has been brought on board with an amendment on how the effect is evaluated.

Labor has not yet committed to oppose it, remains sceptical.

No amount of amending is going to fix something that is fundamentally flawed, in the sense that it may help resolve social issues. Taking control and disempowering people is not the way to help them get on their feet. Besides, it is inherently unfair to profile a community. It creates third class citizens. And it has been shown to create more poverty and inequality.

Increased scrutiny is a good thing. But it won’t change the fact that the cashless welfare card is wrong. If the intention is to overcome real problems within communities, surely the answer is to provide appropriate resources. When the card is being brought in at the same time as funding is being cut, it remains nothing more than a cost cutting exercise.

This is the reason why the early valuation of the trials has been flawed and did not show the true picture. It has cost almost $22 million, which would have been much better spent on something useful.

The trials have so far targeted indigenous communities, making them more dependent and less able to function, and this compromises their efforts to sovereignty over their affairs. It is a means of control.

Cashless welfare card trails are a means to test the waters, with a view to extending it to other communities and is an installment on the growth of big brother government.

Cutting services and corporatisation of resources are two of the pillars of neoliberalism and extending control over people is its political arm. In the end, this is what it is all about.

Rejection of the cashless welfare card is an important aspect of rejecting neoliberalism and the protection of our rights.

The trial was intended to test whether social harm caused by such spending could be reduced by quarantining part of participants’ welfare payments on to a card that could not be used to buy alcohol or gambling products or to withdraw cash, as well as to develop lower cost welfare quarantining measures to replace existing income management arrangements.

6 Comments on "Queensland may be used to expand the cashless welfare card"

  1. The trial is not about testing if the cashless welfare card can reduce social harm. It is rather about testing to see if they can get away with this latest act of brazen class warfare against the poor, without either the poor, or a significant percentage of the working class, rising up in protest.

    They tried it out on remote aboriginal communities and predictably, in a racist nation, they got away with it. Then they tried it out on a wider, predominately white, community in right-wing Queensland. Bundaberg. But the locals fought back and stopped it. So now they have slightly modified the plan, to only target younger people under-35. A cohort less able to fight back. And that has narrowly scraped through the Senate.

    But that doesn’t mean they will get away with it.

    Politicians and bureaucrats can only pass unfair laws, how the community as a whole and the intended victims respond will determine whether such laws and such policies can actually be implemented.

  2. can someone please suggest how we can oppose it? I wrote to all the members of parliament I could and so far no one is listening. what should we do?

  3. Proven factor it dont work in the USA … Where the hell has these people in our Government come from. They are greedy, heartless and a disgrace to Australia … Want to try Racism at it’s best this card mainly targets our Aboriginals … I dont know if anyone has heard that in Alaska they have dry, damp and wet communities.. Dry community no alcohol allowed … Damp means you can bring in Alcohol but limited to how much .. Wet means alcohol allowed .. The dry and damp communities the boot legging is through the roof, so it don’t stop nothing. How I know I lived in Alaska for 21/2 years .. Now for druggies thy sell their Food Stamps / Bridges Cards to buy their drugs .. You would think our bloody government would know this but they will do anything to make it harder for the honest people that are battling!!!!!!

  4. It’s not a cost-cutting exercise, it’s a money-making exercise, Indue is owned/operated by LNP cronies !!!

  5. Sadly, the community is divided, with too many short sighted individuals who say ‘it won’t affect me’, without even realising the impact this will have on the whole community. Divided we fall.

  6. Pamm Whittaker | 16 September 2018 at 2:01 pm | Reply

    Speaking as someone whose carer husband is on it… it’s gone way too far! If we didn’t live with his parents, and if I didn’t have a pension from the US, we’d be on the streets!

    And the under 35 is bull. My husband is 41 and I am 59. This whole thing is worsening my health, and if I have a heart attack, it will be the fault of this heartless government!

    Aimee, do a search on Facebook for the The Say NO Seven on Facebook, not sure if I can post a link here. There are hundreds, if not thousands of us, banding together, protesting, writing letters, etc. There are many linked groups for areas already afflicted with the devil card, as well as proposed areas.

    Don’t believe the government when they say it’s working. It’s not. There have been suicids, crime is up, and this whole country needs to work together to stop it! Vote them all out next election! Our mayor and city executive sold us out 🙁

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