House debates

Tuesday, 2 August 2022


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

7:33 pm

Photo of Luke HowarthLuke Howarth (Petrie, Liberal Party, Shadow Minister for Defence Industry) Share this | Hansard source

It's quite long, Member for Cowan. I don't know why you didn't allow that. I was very nice and asked if you would give me leave to do so, but obviously the Government Whip came in and overruled you—whatever; okay.

The card does look exactly the same as ours, except you can't buy alcohol or drugs or gamble with it. Reducing the amount of cash that can be withdrawn also reduces the card user's ability to spend welfare payments on illegal drugs. Eighty per cent of the recipient's welfare payment is on the card and 20 per cent is in cash. The Morrison government combined the CDC with other measures to help people improve their circumstances, including a $30 million jobs fund to help people become job ready and get on pathways to employment, because we do have a labour shortage in this country and we saw the lowest levels of unemployment in 50 years under the Morrison government. As this comes off, the test will be where the unemployment rate will go with Labor. As a former Assistant Minister for Youth and Employment Services I'll be looking at this closely.

There have been more than a dozen evaluations of the cashless debit card that have provided consistent evidence about the welfare quarantining policies. They show that there are (1) decreases in drug and alcohol issues; (2) decreases in crime violence and antisocial behaviour; (3) improvements in child health and wellbeing; (4) improved financial management; and (5) ongoing community support. I ask again—and I ask the minister to supply answers: Who did you consult? Where did you go? Did you meet with the people who were opposed to your view? What communities did you meet with? When did you meet with the people? Who, where, what and when? All I'm hearing are crickets.


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