Australia's Green party challenges Cashless Card initiative

Sept. 18, 2017 Share Source

Australia's government have introduced a Cashless Debit Card trial that aims 'to minimise the social harm caused by excessive alcohol consumption, illegal drug use, and gambling' but has been met with a mixed review. The Green party challenges the initiative, arguing that it is a 'patronising, paternalistic and ideologically driven attempt to manage the money and hence lives.' #ScrapTheCard

Allegedly, the Cashless Debit Card looks and operates like a normal bank card, except it cannot be used to buy alcohol or gambling products, or to withdraw cash. According to ABC news, supporters of the card argue it is critical for reducing crime and the abuse of children, while opponents claim it is ineffective and discriminatory.

Welfare recipients of working age income support payments who live in the Ceduna region, South Australia, the East Kimberley or the Goldfields in Western Australia [will] receive a Cashless Debit Card. Read more here...

The primary reason for the initiative is to crack down on welfare recipients spending their income on alcohol or gambling. The strategy involves restricting the use of a welfare card at in-store payments as well as online shopping. The government's list of places where the card cannot be used lists liquor shops and gambling venues as well pubs, billiard or pool locals, and duty-free stores.

However, many recipients understandably argue that it should not be imposed on all welfare recipients because it 'unfairly restricts their freedom and should only be imposed on problem drinkers or given to people who asked for it.' Read more here...

'What it will do is take choice, control and dignity away from people trying to live off very little.'
" Concerns about cashless welfare cards Green Party

Welfare recipients of working age income support payments who live in the Ceduna region, South Australia, the East Kimberley or the Goldfields in Western Australia [will] receive a Cashless Debit Card. Read more here...

Sadly, this seems to be yet another classic case of a short-sighted policy implementing. Inevitably, those determined to acquire alcohol or gamble will find ways around the cashless card system while law-abiding citizens who already struggle living under the poverty line have their rights to privacy and freedom slashed. The Guardian published an article on

Excerpt from The Guardian's exclusive article, Aboriginal leader withdraws support for cashless welfare card and says he feels used by Melissa Davey

“I was one of the leaders that brought the card here,” Benning said. “I was publicly and politically advocating for it due to the commitment given to me by Tudge that we would be provided with support services for people with alcohol, drug and employment issues prior to the card’s introduction.

“Those supports didn’t come for seven months after the card was introduced, and when the support did come it wasn’t appropriate.”

Welfare recipients on the card receive 80% of their welfare payments into the card, which cannot be used to withdraw cash or buy alcohol or gambling products. The remaining 20% can be withdrawn as cash. The government, including the prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, and Tudge, say the card has so far been a success and has reduced crime rates at the trial sites.

“I’m not running away from the fact I was supporting this. But now I’m disappointed and I owe it to my people to speak up [...] Every person I’ve spoken with said they don’t want this thing here.”
" Lawford Benning Chair MG Corporation

How would you feel about the government monitoring and limiting your purchases? Online or in person, the card supposedly 'operates like a normal card'... except for one of the key reasons you would use your card - to get cash out in an emergency. Instead, big brother will be watching their every transaction, the right to cash will be severely limited along with the right to privacy and financial freedom while the private company behind the card profits.

Tweet us your thoughts @CashMatterOrg using the hashtags #NoCashlessCard #CashMatters

Read the No to the Cashless Card on the Green Party's website

Read the Australian Government's overview of the Cashless Debit Card page here

See the Cashless Debit Card website here

Last Updated: Oct. 16, 2019

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