ACTU Submission to Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee Inquiry into the Social Services Legislation Amendment (Cashless Debit Card) Bill 2017

ACTU Submission to Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee Inquiry into the Social Services Legislation Amendment (Cashless Debit Card) Bill 2017

The cashless welfare card trial, the expansion of which this bill seeks to facilitate, is yet another example of this government’s obsessive focus on the lives and behaviour of the Australians receiving unemployment support. This government seems to think it can recoup unlimited money from this group and when they are not being gouged for ‘savings’, the government is determined to patronise and infantilise the disadvantaged with programs such as this one. The fact that a significant proportion of job seekers affected by this program are Indigenous Australians makes it all the more unacceptable. Surely this group of Australians has experienced enough government dictation over their lives for ‘their own good’. Not only is this program unreasonable and borderline discriminatory, but the evidence that it works, on which the proposed expansion is based, is questionable and may be inaccurate. In light of these factors, we encourage the government to halt this program immediately and to permanently suspend any plans to expand.

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