“An insult to all Australians”: Should this government welfare measure be scrapped? 354



View Profile

It’s been on the cards, so to speak, for months now but one important Australian body are arguing that it should be cancelled.

While trials in South Australia are about to commence early next year, the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) has urged a Senate committee stop supporting a Federal Government bill aimed at restricting the cash flow of people with alcohol and gambling problems via a cashless welfare card.

ACOSS says there isn’t any solid proof yet therefore they should not go ahead in SA’s disadvantaged areas.

The cards are designed to limit the spending of at-risk clients to just 20 per cent of their income, with the other 80 per cent budgeted by the Government so the recipient can pay bills, rent and other necessities, reports the ABC.

But according to the Mayor of Ceduna, Allan Suter, the first area in Australia to trial the cards, “Many of the people that will be affected by the trial are in favour of it and if I may quote one of them, he said ‘It might be the bit of help that I need to get me off the grog and back on my feet'”

ACOSS spokesperson Tessa Boyd-Cain didn’t agree: “It’s a direct impact from the moment they are subjected to it,” she said.

“More importantly we’re concerned that there really is not the evidence base to support such a significant and indeed such a drastic reduction in terms of the access people have to the incomes that they rely on for their survival”.

Last time we spoke about this issue, many of you were very vocal about it. Some said that individual circumstances needed to be taken into account before a national roll out, while others believed a cashless welfare card won’t stop alcoholics and drug dealers as they’re too resourceful.

So, we’re asking this time – should it be cancelled and the Government go back to the drawing board? Or is it a sensible solution to a growing issue?

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. Well I am 63 and on a disability pension I have steel bar in spine not much I can do

    8 REPLY
    • My husband had 4 steel bars in his back & had had 3 discs removed , he still got around .

    • Yea I also have Ostia in left knee and right ankle and as my ex hubby said to me they shoot horses for less if I bend the wrong way I am bed bound for days

    • That’s the trouble with backs but my knee is twice size of other same with ankle and I walk with a stick

    • don’t worry what Dawn Bruce says, from what she has typed in here, she has one slow son and her daughter is on a disability pension, she is the pot calling the kettle black

    • Dawn Bruce then your husband is one of the lucky ones, but others are not so fortunate, that statement is judgemental and makes uninformed assumption just like the assumptions about the cards.

  2. And how are we to get any so called ‘evidence’ as to whether this method is useful or not if it can’t be trialled? This obviously isn’t suitable for everybody, but I’m sure there are those who would benefit, particularly the kids of those who do not seem to know how to budget their finances properly and whose priorities are drinks, drugs and cigarettes.

    3 REPLY
    • And how do you know that they won’t become criminals by default by stealing from YOU and me, to get their drinks, drugs and cigarettes. Haven’t we got enough crime as it is.

    • think it will work if their rent are deduced an power and heat from their pay , then they are guaranteed to have a roof over their head .So it would only be the people that rally need help to cope that would have this done.

  3. I think it’s a good idea for those with problems with alcohol, drugs and cigarettes…….you can exist much better without these demons!

  4. People complain about restrictions but really the benefits outweigh any humiliation for having your spending restricted. Spending on alcohol, smoking or drugs is what’s demeaning. : If people can’t help themselves, then this scheme will help them not to wasre their health as well as their money. Joy and self-esteem result in being able to pay your bills and even save. Yes, some need help to get off the treadmill of adiction. It is imposible left to their own devices they cannot suceed. Hopefully, apreciate their new lease on life when they are not slaves to the adiction and are up to date with their week to week living expenses. This is a helping hand; not demeaning at all – but building self-esteem and pride in coping as a ‘normal’ person who copes with life’s expenses. .

  5. I think it is a good idea, benefit payments are to maintain their welfare (housing, food etc) not for cigarettes, alcohol, drugs etc. It is after all a trial to see how it works.

    5 REPLY
    • It won’t work in the end there will be more crime it’s unfair and not helping anyone in the long run don’t think you would like someone telling you what you can and can’t not buy

    • And where you can buy it. Guarantee the big 2 supermarkets will be first in line to benefit, and they’re far from the cheapest place to buy food

    • Judy….Stop judging everyone on welfare as being an addict or unable to manage their finances. Many mature age people are finding it hard to go on Newstart Allowance as they are looking for work and are definitely NOT a drug addict or alcoholic and should NOT be limited to a small portion accessible. WHO decides this amount? the politicians? They are TOTALLY living in a bubble and have no idea what it is like to survive on $597.00 a fortnight? How the hell can you pay your rent & bills and then they are considering limiting the payment? This is so so wrong on way too many levels.

    • Actually Kay, we are the taxpayers supplying you with the funds!

      1 REPLY
      • Actually, we have been taxpayers and supported others by paying tax during our working life
        I am on government payments after marriage breakdown due to domestic violence
        I guess I could have stayed and ‘taken one for the team’ getting constantly abused but hey, I would have saved those precious taxpayers ‘forced’ to supporting me now!
        I am currently studying so that I can get a good job with my qualifications
        I am more than a bit sick of all the judgemental twats on here, you must be Sunday Christians with your lack of compassions and high moralistic standards. Yet there but for the Grace of God go I

  6. I am against this card, it robs people of dignity, and it is an invasion of privacy, people should be able to shop where they can get a bargain and not be restricted with what they can and cannot buy. Not all places will take these cards, I can’t imagine the hospital car park or your local markets will have out lets to use the cards

    27 REPLY
    • Well said Libbi…..hasn’t been thought through at all! How can people learn and grow if they can’t make decisions on how to live!

    • I am against this to, it is to much like big brother controlling us all and eventually they will put aged pensioners on it.

    • It’s a complete nanny state control system. What they fail to see is that these people need help with community services ( that once did exist but liberals took them away within the first year). Without these services I feel more crime will come from it

    • we are age pensioners, dont drink dont smoke and dont gamble so why she should we pay for the errors of others.

    • Because Kathleen Hay its about helping others less fortunate than yourself. Good for you that you don’t have an addiction but addiction happens for many reasons who are we to judge and point the finger at others less fortunate

    • Totally agree Bea, they’ve cut funding to most of the support systems and seem surprised there are now problems. Kathleen, we pay for lots of things that don’t concern us, it’s up to the government to decide who needs help the most. I have never seen a more uncaring, out of touch mob in charge in Australia, there seems to be enough to fund their pet projects though.

    • I agree with what you say Libbi. It is an invasion of freedom. And the crime rate will certainly go through the roof……

    • how simplistic Stephen Hooson , there are 800,000 unemployed and there are not the same amount of jobs available, disabled people will never get work. And now this Liberal Government is bringing an extra 13,000 people on top of those that will already immigrated here, so by next year there will be over 27,000 new Australians who all need welfare and medicare..where are the million jobs this Liberal Government promised to create? Instead they have put hundreds of thousands out of work and even more when the car industry ends

    • Bea Little Thats their problem not ours . If other people cannot learn to manage their money why should everyone have to be put on a friggin card , we have reached an age where we can budget quite well and i dont think we should be have to be put on a bloody card ffs . Its pure bullshit .

    • Well Libbi, they had to get rid of the car industry before China would sign that thing that will be our saviour, the FTA. I’m amazed at the damage one government can do in 2 years, just wait until the FTA starts and see how many more are out of work

      1 REPLY
    • People need to realise you have to work…like it or not…no work in your area, go where the work is…to many people think they have the right to just live on the system…

    • And just which areas have work Marita? And what’s more, work that we’re qualified to do? I hope you realise that Maccas and those type of places hire young workers because they’re cheaper. You’re also talking to people who are retired, not 40 year olds. We’ve done our 40 or 50 years of work, it’s someone else’s turn now

    • I can see small businesses suffer who do not have eftpos take huge hits. Some places unless you spend a certain amount do not accept a card payment. This is not good. Markets, Fetes the list goes on .

    • Ebay and Gumtree will suffer too, there are many small Aussie sellers who making a living selling small items and Pensioners who want to make a few dollars sell their personal items there

    • I certainly spend more than 20% of my fortnightly income in “cash only” businesses…. firewood, green grocer, Op Shop, bakery, newsagent, bloke who does my lawns do not take cards in this town. Then there is the occasional luxury … coffee, gift for family member or friend from one of the local galleries or the antique shop, and the monthly market… all cash only businesses. I would think that such a system would be a real issue in rural and regional Australia if it were introduced widely.

    • I also have concerns that on this card you can add another name can see women putting partners name on it and the cash will be utilised by the other partner meeting his needs. This will happen for sure.

    • Rozzy Battles Marita N Jim Eddy was not being offensive whatsoever! She was stating her opinion, just like you and the rest of the people here. Just because you do not agree with her comment does not make hers “offensive”.

    • Nobody likes changes that is a given. But….. for too long people have lived off a system that was put in place to assist people/families who were struggling. Sadly with some people (and quite a few) it has become a ‘lifestyle’. Year after year. People are so quick to judge those who strongly recommend changes. But it is time people looked at the “glass half full” rather than the ‘glass half empty’. If you are looking for work you will find it. You may not get the wages you think you are entitled to all the time, but does self respect not account for more?

    • Karen Williams this is a starts at 60’s website , if any over 60’s are unemployed, their time to find work is running out, this will not only affect the unemployed, it will also affect the disabled and unmarried mothers.

    • People need support Marita N Jim Eddy, we have had friends n family that have travelled to the end of the earth for work and ended up way out if pocket and no job with such insecurity in the work force and no friends or family to help them. No need to wonder why suicide rate is so high. Do gooders who have no idea of what it is like to be out of work and downtrodden and really trying. Cut all political pensions and for all imports. They already earn enough or more than enough to live on and have super funds the same as everyone else. They are bleeding the country in the first instance and then changing all the things that werent broken in the first place and removing jobs in the process. Those that are in power obviously have a fragmented way of thinking to our detriment and are being hoodwinked by others with ulterior motives or serious conflict of interest with regards to the true genuine patriotic traditional aussies that originally made Australia what it is that everyone wants a bite of or to control and manipulate.

    • It costs a fortune to move, with removalists fees and bonds on rentals. There are precious few on welfare or a pension who have that sort of money lying around. There’s no guarantee you’ll find work when you move anyway

  7. It’s a good idea and should be given to all welfare people to curb in the cash economy so we all pay our fair share of taxes.

    4 REPLY
    • We’ve not only paid taxes, if we’re lucky enough to have saved some and earn interest on it we’re bloody taxed on that too!!

    • Yes I am for real and it is a good idea. Same thing happened when people didn’t want their welrare put into bank accounts. I rarely use cash today myself so I can’t see any problem with it infact I tjinknit would be a help to most people.

  8. If children get fed I am for it but believe people will find a way to trade them if not done correctly

  9. The way I read the article it is targeting people with known alcohol and gambling problems. If this is the case then I think it is a good idea. Hopefully this will be the encouragement they need to make them acknowledge their problems and seek help. Hopefully the children will now be fed and clothed and cared for. One can only hope. At least the government is trying.

    20 REPLY
    • I think if the government were really trying, they would be throwing a bit more money toward the services that work with people with these issues, seems they have plenty for other issues that dont involve aussies??

    • I agree Wendy Walters and with David James but you can’t educate Liberal voters, they seem to lack the humanity gene

    • Wendy Walters the liberal government cut funding to many services that would help these people in the first year of getting in. They closed down thousands of women’s refuges now they ( because they saw that they screwed up) gave back a pittance of that funding for domestic violence. Without services how can these people get the help they need.

    • David James Thank you for that David. It would appear that the article published here is totally misleading. I always appreciate informative, non abusive comments.

    • Never give them an inch Sue or they will take a mile, no one over 40 needs to be told how to budget their money, they have all had 40 years of experience to learn themselves

    • How will you be able to pay your debts if you have any there will be more theft an the crime an what is stopping the ones on drugs selling their card for cash come use your brain if yous have any

    • David James Guardian !!!!! So many of their articles are wrong, don’t believe a word from them any more. The article about Medicare on here & Guardian were all rubbish, After watching Four Corners & watching Q & A , and listening to informed ,sensible conversation from Drs. and interested people , I agree it is worth a try. The arguments for are pretty good

    • Debbie Bryant I wouldn’t rely on Guardian , They always publish the Labor view, After all they are a Labor RAG

    • Dawn Bruce if Debbie Bryant is smart she will google it, all news outlets are saying the same thing. It do not take a lot of nous to research anything on the internet, it only take a few seconds of your time

    • Rozzy Battles David James. What’s with Liberal voters? You don’t have to be a freakin communist/socialist to disagree with this card. It is a breach of our human rights and free will and every free human being will be against this, regardless of what party they vote for.

    • Not necessarily as they want to roll it out to everyone and treat them all the same.

    • Het people don’t you realise that not all the money is tied up on the card it is one about a quarter to half and the rest is in your account for you to use as cash. With this at least the kids are fed and the rent paid. It does work. We see the results up here.

  10. I am not in favor of this card at all it will discriminate against Indigenous people, women and people with disabilities. This iis the first step to putting pensioners on this card Everyone including the disabled will put on it, with the exception of Pensioners for now. A mining billionare should not be changing how anything in this country runs, he needs to stick to mining

    4 REPLY
    • Get a grip, it has worked very well up here and does not discriminate against anyone and at least their bills are paid and they get to eat properly and feed the kids

    • Please explain how this discriminates against anyone? The people who can’t control their wasteful spending need help and this is about the only way it can be managed. Too many kids are going hungry and not being cared for properly because the parent/s prefer to spend their money on booze, drugs or gambling.

    • when you are putting one section of the community on this card Graham Jackaman beause they are poor..that is discrimination

  11. I think there are too many ways it could go wrong.

    3 REPLY
    • Agree, a black market. Here is a scenario I see. People will take the use of the card at a interest rate 25% use the card for their own and hand over cash. There will be people who will make a lot of money out of the vulnerable guaranteed.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *