Senate debates

Thursday, 4 August 2022


Cashless Debit Card

1:36 pm

Photo of Linda ReynoldsLinda Reynolds (WA, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I rise to speak on the repeal of the cashless debit card, which is used by over 4,000 fellow Western Australians in both the goldfields and the east Kimberley. Anyone—anyone—who has taken the time to visit these regions will see the benefits to the women, children and elders who are now being far more protected. The card should be extended, and not repealed. The reduction of taxpayer funded access to drugs, alcohol and gambling products has significantly reduced alcohol and drug abuse. It has reduced assaults, child abuse, rape and death. It also makes people less vulnerable to humbugging.

Let me make it clear: the Albanese government has not properly consulted with the very people who will be so badly impacted by this measure. It is a complete and utter disgrace. It is also a disgrace today—today—that senators have voted to restrict community hearings around the nation. Can I say, shame on all of you who voted to restrict the hearings. I see Senator David Pocock is in the chamber. Can I say, through you, Mr Acting Deputy President Dean Smith, I hope you attend every single one of those restricted hearings that you have voted for. You should go and look the women, children and elders in the eye and explain to them why you have taken this decision. You should go out on one of the night patrols or several night patrols in several towns to see exactly the consequences on the police and on the other community services, the hospitals, of the actions that you are about to take. It is inconceivable to me and those on this side of the chamber that any government or any senator would knowingly inflict pain and suffering on vulnerable women, children and the elderly. Make no mistake: all who vote for this bill will be culpable for the inevitable consequences that you will inflict on local communities. (Time expired)