Contributed from Victoria
A move to extend the cashless debit card is before the Australian parliament right now. If it gets through, Many more marginalised Australians are going to be targeted and have some basic rights stripped away from them.
This punishing system takes control over the person’s Centrelink payments, what they are spent on and where. The evidence is that this has led to stigmatising those on the card, increased their poverty and anxiety. There is concern about of possible breaches to privacy rights.
Disregarding the evidence, the next move is to bring the cashless debit card to many more living in the Northern Territory and Cape York. Those already on it will be shifted from temporary status to permanent.
Up to 125,000 more people could be forced onto it.
This will be run as a major test case. If the political fallout is not too great, it is highly likely to be extended to many more Australians.
This is happening because the intention is not really to resolve social problems. It is about blaming those who find themselves in difficulty for the situation they find themselves in. This is used to justify the practice of making the getting payments through Centrelink as difficult as possible.
The purpose is similar the Robodebt system.
Even after the proof of the harm they were creating came out into the open, the government continued to press on In the Robodebt case, a class action forced the government to pay out $1.2 billion in compensation and damaged the reputation of the Centrelink system.
The cashless debit card may well land the government in more trouble. Campaigners are working hard to make sure this is the case
The card has so far been operated by a private company called Indue Pty Ltd. Indue has close ties with the Liberal Party.
The present bill before the parliament should not be allowed to get through. If by any chance it does, this will be an unjust law, and the campaign to bring it to an end will begin.