House debates

Thursday, 8 September 2022

Matters of Public Importance

Pensions and Benefits

3:25 pm

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

KKAR () (): Someone who is respected across this chamber—indeed, someone who is respected throughout Australia—Noel Pearson, said the following at a recent Senate committee hearing, referring to the disgraceful decision of the government to abolish the CDC:

You will repeal the card and then you will walk away and leave us to the violence, leave us to the hunger, leave us to the neglected children. It's very easy to forget about remote communities.

That's not the opposition speaking; that's one of the most respected Indigenous leaders in this country, eviscerating this ideological decision by the government to abolish the CDC.

In this place we often argue about very fine areas of difference. As a general rule, 90 per cent of the time we don't look at the motives of those opposite and think they are anything other than good. But in this instance we've got an example of a minister and a prime minister who are seeking to abolish the cashless debit card. That, we know with certainty, will have a few consequences. The consequences, we know, will be: more violence in remote communities; more drunkenness in remote communities; more drugs in remote communities; and more neglected children in remote communities. We know that will be the outcome of this decision, and this minister and Prime Minister have completely botched this process. The only decent thing to do now is walk away from this shameful decision—a decision that will, in the words of Noel Pearson, see more children neglected.

The cashless debit card operates in a number of communities—Ceduna, East Kimberley, the Goldfields in WA, Bundaberg, Hervey Bay and Cape York. We have seen in each and every one of those communities, since the cashless debit card has been in place, reduced antisocial behaviour, reduced consumption of alcohol, reduced consumption of drugs and attendance at school increasing.


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