Senate debates

Tuesday, 30 November 2021


Cashless Debit Card

1:40 pm

Photo of Eric AbetzEric Abetz (Tasmania, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

Labor wants to introduce its reckless plan to scrap the cashless debit card, a card that protects particularly vulnerable communities from having their welfare scammed for drugs and alcohol. We on this side of the chamber care about helping and protecting unemployed Australian families. We want to help stabilise their lives and their communities. The card is a targeted, proportionate program. It puts food on the table and gets the kids to school.

Labor, in its misguided world view, wants to scrap the card and the protection it affords, especially for women and children. While they're at it, they peddle their dishonest scare campaign that the government wants to expand the cashless welfare card to include age pensioners. The truth is that the government's legislation explicitly rules this out. The legislation doesn't allow for that to happen. In an ironic twist, Labor voted against that guarantee. We saw Labor's dishonest 'Mediscare' campaign in the 2016 election. Thankfully, Australians saw through the politicking. Brazenly, one Tasmanian Labor MP's website still says, 'The government wants to expand the cashless welfare card to include all pensioners.' This is simply false, simply untrue and simply desperate.

The government has made it clear it will never place age pensioners onto the cashless debit card. Retirees can rest assured that their pensions are safe in Liberal hands. Devoid of a positive agenda, Labor is resorting to peddling falsehoods about age pensioners in the hope that pensioners will vote Labor. It's unworthy, and our pensioner community, who built our country, deserve so much better. Pensioners have no better friend than the Liberal-National parties.