Thursday, 28 June 2012
Social Security and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2011
I have a couple more issues before moving on to the next amendment. On my various travels through the Territory I have been told anecdotally by mates who live in the prescribed areas that you can go into a shopping centre, particularly some of the ones where a fair number people from remote communities are travelling in and out—and they have to go a fair way to use this damn piece of plastic, because they cannot use them in their own communities—and there will be a queue in the shop where the blackfellas are lining up and a queue where the whitefellas are lining up, and they call it apartheid. I have not seen this personally and I do not know whether it still occurs, so this is a genuine attempt to ascertain whether it is still occurring.
I understand that the government has taken some measures to preclude or prevent this kind of thing from happening, although I am not sure how you would do it. Some people living in prescribed areas are forced to use these cards to obtain the basic necessities of life and some are not. When you get to some of these little shopping centres, some of them a great distance from where people live, you will be standing in the queue, you will be shamed and you will be handing over your little government card with the government telling you what you can and cannot buy. Then, over here at the other till, the people are just going through spending their money. I do not know the degree to which that is the case. This is from friends who have told me that this is their experience of it. Is the government aware whether that is the case, whether these people are making it up, and what steps have been taken to prevent that kind of thing from happening? Senator Crossin is welcome to jump in, too, as this is her neck of the woods.