House debates

Tuesday, 2 August 2022


Social Security (Administration) Amendment (Repeal of Cashless Debit Card and Other Measures) Bill 2022; Second Reading

4:40 pm

Photo of Michael SukkarMichael Sukkar (Deakin, Liberal Party, Shadow Minister for Social Services) Share this | Hansard source

Yes, you should've heard it and you should know it. The fact that you're going to vote for this is an absolute disgrace. Children are locking themselves in shipping containers to save themselves from being sexually abused, and what's the government going to do? Pour more alcohol and pour more drugs into these communities. The participant I spoke about earlier said, 'The children no longer go hungry.'

Ministers and members over there might be wilfully blind, but you don't need a University of Adelaide report and you don't need an ANAO report that says that the CDC supports a reduction in social harm. If you asked your average Australian on the street, 'Is taking alcohol and drugs out of these vulnerable communities going to help women and children predominantly?' 99 out of 100 would say: 'Of course. I don't need a university report to tell me that. I don't need the Australian National Audit Office to tell me that.' Australians have a lot of common sense and have much more sense than this government thinks.

It was very telling that the Prime Minister and the minister would not make the commitment that removing the CDC would not lead to more women and children being harmed. Clearly that means that every additional woman who suffers domestic violence and every additional child who is neglected, doesn't get to school, doesn't have food and suffers sexual or other violence—every additional person who suffers—will be as a result of a decision taken by those opposite. Quite frankly, that's on their conscience. They are otherwise decent people, but that will be on their conscience. On this side of the House we will sleep easy knowing that we stood with those communities. I'll sleep very easy knowing we protected those children, but I won't sleep easy tonight thinking about the children who are going to suffer, because, regardless of the political games that go on in this place, it breaks my heart—and I really mean it—to think that children will probably be the people who suffer the most. Guess what? The children don't get interviewed for the ANAO report and the children don't get interviewed by the University of Adelaide.

The Assistant Minister for Social Services and Assistant Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence, who is guffawing opposite me, hasn't even visited the Goldfields, where they are shuddering at the prospect of this. It's on those opposite. It will give me no joy to see the carnage that will follow from this decision. It will give me no joy. It will be my obligation to highlight it and it will be my obligation to ensure that Australians see the consequences of this craven decision, but it will give me absolutely no joy, because, as a father, I think about this policy that is going to leave children hungry. This is not me; these are not my words—these are from a community elder. 'The kids are not going hungry,' that community elder said. The inverse of that is that more children will now go hungry. There will be more violence perpetrated against women and more violence perpetrated against children. That is not something that the coalition could ever support or would ever support and, therefore, we will be opposing this terrible bill.


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