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An Open Letter to Indue on the Welfare Card Scheme

Indue Ltd
C/- Stargroup Ltd
(Formerly ICash Payment Systems, Formerly Reef Mining).

PO Box 523 Toowong
QLD 4066 Australia

P: +61 7 3258 4222
F: +61 7 3258 4211
E: indue@indue.com.au

5 March 2017

Re the ‘Healthy’ Welfare Card.

Dear Indue Ltd – its Board, Directors and Shareholders,

I am aware that the Commonwealth Human Services Minister in the Turnbull government, Alan Tudge, is intending to transfer all welfare recipients to the ‘Healthy Welfare Card’ for income management purposes in the near future. As an Australian citizen I am aware that levels of unemployment in Australia are high and unlikely to fall soon due to the policies of the Turnbull government and that, therefore, there is a high risk that I may become unemployed in the near future and, hence, subject to the income management welfare card scheme initiated by the LNP government and, specifically, by the Human Services Minister Alan Tudge and the Social Services Minister Christian Porter.

I am also aware that Indue and its owners are to be paid between $4000 and $7000 from the Australian budget as fees for each person on the income management card system including possibly for myself in the future. I understand that how much Indue actually receives of tax payer’s money for each person in its management scheme as an administrative fee, including possibly for myself in the future, will depend upon whether the person resides in an urban or regional location. However, given that the Turnbull government intends to extend the operation of the income management welfare card scheme to all welfare recipients soon then the profit Indue can anticipate making from the scheme is in the region of $4.6 billion dollars. I note this amount is an additional amount of expenditure on top of the existing welfare budget as I understand the implementation of the welfare card system does not create any savings for the government that can be accredited against the alleged budget deficit. In my view this money would be better spent on reducing the alleged debt or on the people of Australia as a whole and not on creating profits for a private company with political connections such as Indue.

I am further aware that those amounts are to be paid to Indue as fees from the Department of Human Services budget which departmental budget is itself obtained entirely from the Australian Consolidated Revenue Fund that belongs to all the Australian people. I am aware that the fee amounts Indue is to receive, or that it has already received so far, for performing its income management duties to welfare recipients, have been, or will be, appropriated by the Department of Human Services from the Consolidated Revenue Fund for the purported purpose of providing welfare for the Australian people and not for misuse as payment of profits to a private company such as Indue.

I consider that if I am compelled to participate in the card scheme and become subject to Indue’s income management scheme in the future then Indue would become my fiduciary. In the case Hospital Products Ltd v United States Surgical Corps Justice Mason of the High Court of Australia said the following:

The accepted fiduciary relationships are sometimes referred to as relationships of trust and confidence or confidential relations …The critical feature of these relationships is that the fiduciary undertakes or agrees to act for or on behalf of or in the interests of another person in the exercise of a power or discretion which will affect the interests of that other person in a legal or practical sense. The relationship between the parties is therefore one which gives the fiduciary a special opportunity to exercise the power or discretion to the detriment of that other person who is accordingly vulnerable to abuse by the fiduciary of his position. The expressions “for”, “on behalf of” and “in the interests of” signify that the fiduciary acts in a “representative” character in the exercise of his responsibility…

Given that the Turnbull government is intending to transfer all welfare recipients to the income management welfare card scheme in the near future and given that I am likely to become unemployed in the future, it is almost certain that Indue will manage my income in the future and that it will do so purportedly in my interests and on my behalf as my fiduciary. On that basis, Indue would owe me the duties and obligations that usually accompany fiduciaries. Those duties would include, but would not be limited to, the obligation of complete disclosure to me, the prohibition against personally profiting from the performance of its duties to me, the obligation to avoid a conflict of interests and duties and a duty to protect me from any possible or actual losses from its management of my income. Losses that I would likely sustain from the income management welfare card scheme would include losses of opportunities to buy cheap goods or services at a cash price that I could not obtain by use of the card due to the restrictions on access to cash in the card system. Anticipated losses would also extend to any additional financial service fees I will incur due to me being forced to use the card in being denied access to cash. In those circumstances, in its capacity as my fiduciary, I would be entitled to hold Indue liable for those and any other possible losses I incur due to the operation of the card and Indue’s management of my income.

I also note that in the Hospital Products case his Honour Chief Justice Gibbs said:

A person who occupies a fiduciary position may not use that position to gain a profit or advantage for himself, nor may he obtain a benefit by entering into a transaction in conflict with his fiduciary duty, without the informed consent of the person to whom he owes the duty.

By this correspondence then, and on the basis that Indue will likely seek to become my fiduciary in the near future and stands to gain from that capacity, as it has already done with the huge profits it has already obtained from the income management welfare card scheme so far, I give notice that I do not consent to Indue managing my income or becoming my fiduciary at any time or of obtaining fees from anyone, including from the Government, for any income management services it purports to undertake for me or on my behalf.

I give further notice that if I am compelled to participate in the card programme I will hold Indue and its owners liable for any and all losses or liabilities I sustain due to the operation of the welfare card and of the income management system. Those losses and liabilities will extend to any legal costs I incur in challenging or remedying Indue’s management of my income without my consent.

Regards,

An Australian Citizen 2017

89 comments

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  1. Stringybark

    Maybe its about time politicians /public servants are put on a welfare card that has a $ limit and ALL expenses come from that, rather than the bottomless pit they assume they are entitled to.

  2. Lorraine Stansfiewld

    Great article. The Liberals and their cohorts are all about greed, greed and more greed.

  3. Kate Ahearne

    Thanks, AIMN. Is this true?

  4. Richard Creswick

    The ways the LNP can find to sling money at their bludger mates know no bounds. This must go to the High Court.

  5. Kaye Lee

    This gets really dirty

    Stargroup (ASX:STL) is still proceeding, on an unconditional basis, with the acquisition of Indue Limited, although it was originally scheduled for 24 January, 2017.

    http://www.proactiveinvestors.com.au/companies/news/172266/stargroup-proceeding-with-indue-acquisition-172266.html

    STAR GROUP LIMITED
    Company
    Headquarters: Kowloon, Hong Kong
    Founded: 1994
    Parent organizations: News Corporation, 21st Century Fox

    STAR Group Limited operates as a subsidiary of Twenty-First Century Fox, Inc.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/research/stocks/private/snapshot.asp?privcapId=11313867

  6. Kate Ahearne

    AIMN, Could you please give reference for this article? How do you know that this is in the offing?

  7. LOVO

    One wonders if’n Vietnam is ready for the influx of Australian boat peoples looking for a better life…

  8. Kaye Lee

    Kate,

    For the past six months, the Government has been searching for another location to rollout the welfare-management system, which is already is use in WA’s East Kimberley and Ceduna in South Australia.

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-09-13/hold-pm-doubt-over-third-trial-site-for-cashless-welfare-card/7841040

    There have been mixed reports about the effectiveness of the program in reducing binge drinking and alcohol-related violence.

    That has not stopped other towns from putting their hand up to take part should the trials be expanded, and the Government has also flagged the possibility of the card being made mandatory for welfare recipients nationwide.

    However in a statement to the ABC, the Department of Social Services (DSS) said “at this stage there has been no decision to extend the trial”.

    “While a number of communities across Australia have expressed interest in the trial, no decision has been made regarding an expansion to any new location,” the DSS said.

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-01-16/cashless-welfare-card-future-remains-uncertain-after-trial/8182662

    “People on the Age Pension, a veteran’s payment or who earn a wage can volunteer to take part in the trial. Information on volunteering for the trial is available. Application forms for people who wish to volunteer can be downloaded from the Indue website.”

    ….and the government has commissioned research to evaluate the trial to see “What lessons can be learnt to improve delivery and to inform future policy?”

    https://www.dss.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/11_2016/cashless_debit_card_trial_-_evaluation_framework_summary_-_accessible.pdf

  9. Kaye Lee

    A cashless welfare card aimed at stemming alcohol abuse would be rolled out across the country under a welfare reform the Turnbull government is considering taking to the election.

    Under the new system — proposed by mining magnate ­Andrew Forrest in his review of the welfare system in 2014 — 80 per cent of a person’s government payment would be ­quarantined to a bank card that could not be used to buy alcohol and gambling products, nor ­converted to cash.

    Assistant Minister for Social Services Alan Tudge, who is overseeing the rollout of the card, is hopeful trials will prove the measure can be the “solution” to alcohol-induced social harm.

    He says that if the trials are successful, the government will want the card to have a broader application.

    “Offering the card to other regions would a logical next step, beginning with those Western Australian locations that have already shown initial support,” Mr Tudge writes in The Australian today.

    “Others have suggested that the card could have wider application.

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/national-cashless-welfare-card-plan-by-turnbull-government/news-story/097dfa3a1bfc867afa5f8b298c43c248

  10. Kate Ahearne

    Thanks, Kaye. It just seemed so bizarre, so unlikely and SO offensive as I was reading the piece. I was expecting at any moment for some commentator to say, ‘Haha! Gotcha!’ Anyway, for that and for a couple of other reasons, I wondered if it might be satirical. I knew about the trial that is being conducted at the moment, and I can understand why some outback communities might want to be included in a trial of the program. But the rest of it just seemed so far-fetched!
    The sad thing is that we live in far-fetched times.

  11. Kaye Lee

    Kate, I am not sure if you saw Michaels original article. Doug Anthony’s son, who is a National Party executive, was the chairman of Indue. He is now a significant shareholder with several companies to whom Indue gives sub-contract work.

    https://theaimn.com/lnp-welfare-card-true-facts-exposed-corruption-disguised-philanthropy/

    Indue was paid $9.6 million to administer the trial. They then also get paid 80% of all welfare recipients’ payments which is progressively spent from the cards.

    Rupert Murdoch is about to take over Indue (indirectly). It is money for nothing but shares in the various companies involved are no doubt providing dividends. That is a lot of short term money they have at their disposal and a lot of personal detail and sensitive private information in the hands of a company soon to be owned by Murdoch and I am sure he would like to see the trial/profits expanded

    Oh the irony of Murdoch making money from welfare recipients.

  12. Kate Ahearne

    Thanks Kaye. No, I didn’t see it. I was off the air for a week or so. I’ve been trying to catch up, but it’s impossible. Anyhow, I’ll make it my big job for today to follow up your leads. It all seems so horrible, but it also looks like a massive scandal in the making – hopefully, just the sort of thing that could bring the government down!

  13. Matters Not

    was the chairman of Indue. He is now a significant shareholder with several companies to whom Indue gives sub-contract work.

    That certainly was the claim made in the original article but to date I’ve seen no hard evidence. Larry Anthony makes no claim to have been Chair of Indue – wiki lists him as being Deputy Chair.

    As for citing (with approval) Mason’s opinion in Hospital Products Ltd v United States Surgical Corps, could I point out that Mason’s opinion was a dissenting one. Mason was in the minority (of one).

    http://www.unistudyguides.com/wiki/Fiduciary_Relationships

    I’ll state again I have problems with this ‘card’ but the case advanced here and in the previous article is not helped by making claims that are either ‘wild’ or just plain wrong.

  14. Kaye Lee

    MN,

    Larry Anthony

    * Director of Indue Ltd from 17.02.05 and Deputy Chairman from 18.07.08. Retired sometime in the 2012-13 financial year.

    * Chairman technology company uniDap Solutions Pty Ltd and a director of CertainEdge Pty Ltd (dates unknown) .

    * Part-owner and director of lobbyist company SAS Consulting Group Pty Ltd along with Jennifer Anne Anthony ATF Anthony Family Trust and others. Entered in NSW Register of Third Party Lobbyists from 01.10.15 to date and on the Australian Government Register of Lobbyists (start date unknown).

    Clients include:

    SEQ Catchments – natural resource management organisation
    Indue Ltd – financial payment products and settlement services
    ERM Power – operates electricity sales and electricity generation businesses
    China Telecom Global Limited – multinational communications corporation
    Wanda Ridong (Gold Coast) Development Pty Ltd – Chinese Development & entertainment company
    Shenhua Watermark (Shenhua Watermark Coal Pty Limited) – multinational mining company based in China holding state and federal approval to develop an est. $1.2 billion coal mine on the Liverpool Plains in north-west NSW. On 16.10.12 and 15.04.13 Anthony met with NSW Dept. of Planning as a representative of Shenhua.

    * Federal President of the National Party of Australia from 13.09.15 to date.

    Also interestingly….

    * Became a director of Australia’s largest childcare company, ABC Learning Centres Limited, in 2005. Reported to have received annual director’s fee of $65,000 and was paid more than $235,000 to lobby governments on its behalf. Was a member of ABC Learning’s audit committee in 2007. The company went into receivership on 11.11 08 owing an est. $1.6 billion to debtors. The receiver finally wound the company up in 2015.

    http://northcoastvoices.blogspot.com.au/2016/01/lawrence-james-larry-anthony-memory-jog.html

    unidap government contracts

    http://government-contracts.findthebest.com.au/

  15. Ken

    To whoever wrote that open letter, thanks, great to see a creative thought process in action.

    I intend to copy and paste and send a letter to Indue Ltd.

    I will keep an eye out for any contract changes by govt in relation to this welfare card servicing drama. Will also send the Commonwealth Human Services Minister a copy of the letter and, just to throw a spanner amongst the pigeons, will add an extra question or two – a bit of thinking practice for public servants never goes astray – they love it.

    BTW, Reef Mining, was that the same company involved in market manipulation of shares using fictitious names back in about 2000?

  16. Gangey1959

    I am not (necessarily) suggesting that federal politicians are welfare recipients even though their ”wages are paid by the Commonwealth, but maybe if their expenses were put onto an indue card they might start to see the insult of it all. I can see the benefit of not being able to buy alcohol and tobacco if you are on Centerlink, but I don’t drink or smoke, and if the article is in any way accurate I would like the choice of having the equivalent of my Centerlink newstart payments being spent on public education or health, not on telling me where and how to spend my ”looking for work” money.

  17. Matters Not

    KL. not disputing any of your list above. I again draw attention to the opening sentence of the original article:

    The Liberal National Party (‘LNP’) Welfare Card programme is really a LNP rort for the benefit of the Liberal and National Parties and their members, donors and supporters

    That was a ‘claim’ made in the original article. That it is : is really a LNP rort for the benefit of the Liberal and National Parties and their members, donors and supporters It was not sustained. Much was made of SAS consulting founded by Anthony but the truth is had Con Sciacca – well known in Labor circles as a long serving member of the HoR – as a co founder. To suggest that Sciacca would sit idly by and allow funds to be funneled into the National Party is just a nonsense.

    As for Indue it is now chaired by Dawson Petie – Director since 01.09.08 and Chairman since 02.11.12. he also had strong Labor Party connections. Hardly a front for the National party.

    Re ABC Learning Centres, I note that Wiki has been ‘edited’ to remove Anthony’s connection. Eddie Groves rorted the taxpayer (and others) went before the Court but had his passport returned on the promise that he would return to face the consequences. He now resides in Canada and I can’t see him gracing these shores anytime soon.

  18. Kaye Lee

    MN,

    I agree that some details may have not been entirely accurate and some inferences/suppositions stated as facts. Nevertheless, there is substance to the story. For a government that wants to cut the welfare bill and get rid of red tape to involve another expensive level of private for profit bureaucracy seems silly. When you see who is involved in this private service, alarm bells start ringing. When Murdoch wants to take it over klaxons start blaring. I have read something about Indue and Stargroup wanting to start private banks. Just what we want – Murdoch controlling the government, the media, the financial institutions, and the distribution of welfare. (disclaimer – the last sentence was paranoic rather than entirely factual)

  19. Phil Atkinson

    If this card is introduced across the board, I can foresee two (at a minimum) major problems – rorting and bill payments. The rorting works this way – you want to buy a quantity of alcohol, but that’s prohibited by the card’s rules of operation. So you trundle next door to your mate’s place and ask if he needs any shopping done. Having got your list from him (or her) you then go shopping for an agreed value of goods, take those goods to your mate, who then kindly compensates you in cash. Then off you go to the pub. Too bloody easy.

    My limited understanding (so far) of the proposed card is that certain “approved suppliers” will let you pay your bills using the new card. What about those who are “not approved”? Will I have to change my power provider so I can use the card for payments? Or will I just be banned from buying booze and smokes?

    If you’re a retired Aussie living overseas, will they still require you to have a card, seeing that it will be absolutely useless overseas?

    This idea has the kiss of death all over it.

  20. silkworm

    What’s this continuing bs about “taxpayer’s’ money”? Again, the AIMN proves its ignorance of Modern Monetary Theory.

  21. Kaye Lee

    silkworm,

    You KNOW that we have published many articles about modern monetary theory and discussed it at length so that is entirely unfair. The fact of the matter is, regardless of the merits of the theory, it is not how our governments work at the moment and they show no sign of embracing MMT any time soon.

  22. Trevor

    Wonderkind Tudge and ilk, has a price on his head. Far from belling the cat, those who are welfare recipents (myself included) will be left holding the tail of a well screwed cat courtesy of a political shitstem that has the dubious reference as democratic.

  23. Matters Not

    Re this article and again the opening sentence:

    I am aware that the Commonwealth Human Services Minister in the Turnbull government, Alan Tudge, is intending to transfer all welfare recipients to the ‘Healthy Welfare Card’ for income management purposes in the near future.

    Well I’m not aware! So I wonder if there are any links available that could support those allegations. You know – intending to transfer all welfare recipients … in the near future. How did you become aware? Where is the evidence? What plans have been made that I need to be ‘aware’ of as well? Presumably, they do exist.

    (And I am not talking about links to someone’s Facebook page that contains the same speculation).

    Let’s not forget that this ‘card’ is an attempt to address a real problem faced by many, many children in some communities and has the support of significant numbers, women in particular, in those communities.

    Not suggesting it’s the only way to go or even the best way to go, but to sit back and do nothing is not acceptable either.

  24. 245179

    Having lived / worked NT for 30+ yrs, i can tell you this proposed card will easily convert amounts into cash. Regretably there are some unscrupulous operators out there, they would gladly “negotiate” a deal with card holder to give them cash or booze. Under the guise of food stuffs. A quick example, card holder wants booze..cost $100, store owner will transact that as foods at $150…..or more. Card holder wants the booze, so they will agree to the deal. There are many ways to get around this card, many ways. Another “trick” is cards are held by operator ( card holders just lose them ) operators have been known to skim funds, phoney sales etc. These shonky operators are few, but there. Then we have the questionable service providers charging rediculous amounts, unfulfilled contracts and the like. Timber Creek NT, has a new multimillion hospice / aged care facility…….been sitting unused for several yrs now ( never ever been used ) just another example of the rubbish that goes on……..and taxpayers pay for all this.

  25. Roswell

    Silkie, I must concur with Kaye and argue too that it was a bit unfair. You ‘condemn’ an article and a site because you don’t like the use of the term “taxpayer’s money”.

    I am one of the few here who spent a bit of time in the Public Service and “taxpayer’s money” is the common jargon for not only public servants, but elected representatives too. Whether it is the absolute correct term or not is incidental. Most people know what it means in this context.

  26. silkworm

    “The fact of the matter is, regardless of the merits of the theory, it is not how our governments work at the moment…”

    Prove it, otherwise I will regard your statement as an “alternative fact.”

  27. Matters Not

    245179, I too am aware of the rorts that happen via unscrupulous operators using already existing arrangements in QLD and NT. And indeed know of many incidents where the ‘supplier’ keeps existing debit cards (so they won’t get lost) and simply skims the money with no records kept of any note.

    In some instances, the ‘supplier’ even provides the transport to and from the settlements. You mention Timber Creek. I table Mataranka as a particular location where this ‘rorting’ goes on.

    So it’s better to simply sit back, throw up our hands and do nothing? It’s all too hard?

    BTW, silkworm, I think the onus of proof is upon you. You’re trying to make a case for a different ‘common sense’. It’s over to you.

  28. Roswell

    Wow, you are in a grumpy mood, Silkie.

  29. silkworm

    “silkworm, You KNOW that we have published many articles about modern monetary theory…”

    Yes, and I thank the AIMN for introducing me to it. I would have to think, however, that the author or authors of all those articles about MMT was not the same as the author of this article (who remains unstated). Still, it beggars belief that the author of this article was involved in the publication of those articles and still has not absorbed the lessons of MMT.

  30. Kaye Lee

    I agree that there were issues with some people needing income management but it hasn’t been targeted to individuals needing help – it is a blanket imposition on everyone in certain postcodes. As with any prohibition, there are ways around it. It does nothing to address the underlying issues or provide individual case-based assistance.

    Those who say the system is working well are relying on anecdotal evidence often from people who were supporters of the system before it began and those who are profiting from it like the “van that delivered food and goods to a nearby Aboriginal community was now going twice a week instead of once a fortnight.” They say pokie revenue, alcohol sales and anti-social behaviour are down. If that is true, that’s good. But I would like more than anecdotal evidence and I would like an assessment of whether this has been beneficial to the communities – have there been positive improvements?

    The $9.6 million that was given to Indue could have been used to fund support services in the risk areas that could actually offer the help that individuals need .

  31. The AIM Network

    Still, it beggars belief that the author of this article was involved in the publication of those articles and still has not absorbed the lessons of MMT.

    The author of this article had nothing to do with those articles on MMT.

  32. Kaye Lee

    “Prove it”

    Every year deficit spending is matched by bond issuance. It doesn’t have to be this way, but it is what they choose to do. We could say public money instead of taxpayers’ money but really that’s just semantics.

  33. Max Gross

    Fascism on the march! There must be a nationwide public backlash. Two more years of LNP malice and mismanagement and Australia may well be a permanent basketcase

  34. nurses1968

    They almost go into a religious fervour , these MMT cultists carrying on like the Scientologists of economics

  35. silkworm

    “BTW, silkworm, I think the onus of proof is upon you. You’re trying to make a case for a different ‘common sense’. It’s over to you.”

    There is no pool of money that the government draws on. When the federal government spends money, it creates it anew. It does not come from the taxpayer.

    “… taxpayers do not fund anything. So when you hear commentators and politicians and the like use terms like “taxpayers’ funds are being mis-spent” etc, you can immediately conclude they do not understand how the monetary system functions. At that point, it is advisable to ignore what they have to say – given it is likely to be erroneous as a result of the initial false premises.”

    http://bilbo.economicoutlook.net/blog/?p=9281

    The notion of taxpayers’ money suggests that only taxpayers have a say on how public money is spent, and essentially deprives non-taxpayers a say in government spending.

    MN, on another matter, I totally agree with you about the unreliability of some of the claims made in this article. There need to be references to the claims made here.

    Also, it was stated in the earlier article on the Indue card that it was a case of corruption masquerading as philanthropy. I don’t see any philanthropic here. Rather, I see it as morality, or restriction of freedom of choice. If an Aboriginal – and it IS Aboriginals that are beiing targeted – chooses to buy alcohol with THEIR money, then that is THEIR business. It is not up to whitey to tell Aboriginals what to do. That is racist and paternalistic.

  36. Matters Not

    Before moving on to other matters – here’s something to think about:

    It’s an argument that makes Mick Haynes furious. “I don’t think it is a breach of human rights,” he says. “What about the rights of kids when ­parents are spending their welfare money on alcohol or gambling?” he asks, thumping his hands on his desk. “Is it the right of a kid to have a safe home?” Thump. “Is it the right of a kid to have clean sheets and a bed?” Thump. “Is it the right of a kid to have food on the table and to go to school?” Thump.

    “This card is very much thinking about the rights of children and the rights of women to live safely in their community,” says Tudge. “A ­person who is on this card can spend their welfare ­payments on absolutely anything they like but they can’t spend more than 20 per cent of it on gambling and drugs. Now, how that is a breach of their human rights I do not know

    … I’ve seen first-hand what alcohol does to this town,” says Mick Haynes. “Our community is disintegrating and our Aboriginal culture is slowly being eroded. Lots of things have been tried but they’ve failed and this [card] could be a circuit-breaker.”

    … Tracey Cox, the former domestic violence worker and mother of two daughters, Halle, four, and Maddison, 18 months, says the problems in Ceduna are all too real. “I’ve seen enough of it,” she says, her eyes flashing with anger. “We see kids coming to school with no food each day because Mum or Dad has gone and spent the money. These kids have a right to learn and to eat — they are our future. Some people don’t have the strength in them to make the right decisions and this card could make it for them. For the better.”

    I should add that Labor supported the introduction of this card. The Greens didn’t.

  37. Wam

    I have become very suspicious of Australian citizens who have only a 4 digit number 2017 and the letter is missing. Isn’t our welfare system based on a numbering system of A 1-20000 B etc.

    So until the leadership of the ALP confirms the existence of such a scheme, which would put billions of public money into insecure private hands, this will be joining the wage cuts to sunday workers in the ‘fake’ news poolroom.
    (They will have hanson on side and others who believe welfare is food and clothing handouts with vouchers for education.)

    Oops did some hoon tell me ‘I’m dreaming’ and Bill/Tanya have been on the morning shows with a forceful nudge at embarrassing trumble?

  38. Kaye Lee

    Mick Haynes seems to play both sides

    Ceduna Aboriginal Corporation chief executive Michael Haynes also spoke out and said Ceduna was a beautiful town, and shouldn’t be stereotyped by negative reports.

    “We all need to work together in an environment that doesn’t isolate or segregate people as members of the community, to insinuate otherwise is naive particularly since the council should be representing all of its constituents,” he said.

    South Australian Aboriginal Engagement Commissioner Khatija Thomas said Aboriginal community leaders would rather see the Federal Department of Social Services invest more time in the current Alcohol Management and Substance Misuse Plan already in place and address strategies for Ceduna and the surrounding communities, including income management.

    http://www.westcoastsentinel.com.au/story/2113950/mayors-comments-cause-debate/

    JOHN ISGAR, ABORIGINAL COMMUNITY LEADER: People who don’t get educations, people who can’t transition into work, people who can’t fund and maintain their own economies and look after their own families are gonna find something else to do. I mean, if you got up in the morning and had nothing to do, why wouldn’t you go and have a grog?

    VASSIL MALANDRIS: In fact there’ve been six deaths over a five-year period among people who were sleeping rough. It led to a damning coronial inquest which criticised past efforts to curb alcohol abuse and recommended a rehab centre. That recommendation has never been implemented.

    VASSIL MALANDRIS: The agencies are working on a report ambitiously called Breaking the Cycle for Federal Minister Jenny Macklin, who visited the town a few months ago.

    MICK HAYNES: This process is gonna allow services to actually engage with those people that require assistance or counselling and also to check on their health and their general well-being.

    KHATIJA THOMAS, COMMISSIONER: I think that’s something that needs to come from our elders here in Ceduna like Mick and Peter. And they do have the answers and the solutions. It’s all there. It’s just about getting the right support and framework around making those things happen.

  39. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    The $4.6 billion that Indue is likely to make out of this cashless card scheme should be diverted to ALL welfare recipients, as the long overdue increases to their welfare.

  40. silkworm

    “The $9.6 million that was given to Indue could have been used to fund support services in the risk areas that could actually offer the help that individuals need.”

    Again, this is not true. Our government’s ability to spend money in one area is not constrained by its spending in another area. The government has the ability to fund its corrupt ventures as well as its public interest ventures.

  41. Kaye Lee

    Having the ability to do something does not mean they utilise it, which they don’t. I note you ignored my proof.

  42. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    silkworm,

    as another person open to the power of MMT, your point is well made.

  43. Pete

    What does the welfare card program hope to achieve?

    From the limited reading I’ve done, in Ceduna there are about 100 out of 800 people on the card who have addiction problems. Any action that reduces addiction rates and helps people in a community is a good idea.

    However, giving a person with an addiction problem a piece of plastic is going to fix what exactly?
    An addict is going negotiate the limits of the plastic to the best of his or her ability to keep the addiction going. It’ll be accidental if any addict gives up there addiction through external force while staring at a piece of plastic.

    Rather than giving Indue Ltd $4000/person/card, why not use the $3.2M (800 x $4000) of tax-payers money ear-marked for Ceduna to assist in rehab programs for the 100 addicts?

    Footsteps – Road to Recovery might be a start: http://footsteps.adac.org.au/

  44. Kaye Lee

    The nearest rehab is 800km away in Adelaide.

  45. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    The Indue Welfare Card Scheme is a threat to anybody on welfare.

    If the LNP thugs introduce it to include every welfare recipient regardless of their living circumstances, I demand the alternative government nullifies it immediately they take office.

  46. silkworm

    “However, giving a person with an addiction problem a piece of plastic is going to fix what exactly?
    An addict is going negotiate the limits of the plastic to the best of his or her ability to keep the addiction going.”

    That’s right. It’s clear that these conservatives do not understand the nature of addiction.

  47. Mich

    Whether the government treats the amount of money it has available to spend as equal to the amount of tax it collects, as Turnbull’s government does and which is the reason why it is able to alledge a national debt in order to justify cuts to programs, is more a matter of that government’s policy than Modern Monatary Theory. Politics is not so much about theory and is about a battle of interests. The writer of the letter seems to be adopting a language used by the Government and refering to a belief that the ordinary people have. That is, that their taxes fund all government spending. The average person believes this and governments perpetuate and encourage that belief. The average person thinks of the economy as like their household and don’t acknowledge that the big difference between a household budget and the budget of a nation with a sovereign currency, is that the government can generate money while a household cannot. While the government continues to propagate notions of national debt and that spending can only equal the tax take the writer is justified in refering to ‘tax payers funds’ in the letter as it relates to the government’s position and rhetoric. I agree with one of the other posts above in that it is a good idea to print this letter off and send it to Indue.

  48. Matters Not

    I agree with one of the other posts above in that it is a good idea to print this letter off and send it to Indue

    Why? To what end? Comedic relief?

    Indue is not responsible for ‘policy’. It’s responsible for ‘delivery’ of ‘policy’ as determined by the ‘other’ – the Government of the day.

  49. 245179

    The proposed welfare card is flawed, yes, but it will have an immediate effect to improve many peoples lives, it will put food in their mouths. Families dependant on welfare with a domineering adult, that seeks booze before all else, will now have a chance to eat wholesome foods. generally women and children are the victims of these drunken men, these women / children live like dogs, seeking scraps just to survive. More and more women in many communities, are banding together, pleading for something / anything, that will stop payments going to booze / drugs.
    The card will have an immediate effect yes, it’s not the silver bullet but it’s a good start. It irks me when folks immediately rubbish the idea, but fail to come up with a feasible workable alternative. The “status quo” is not an alternative.

  50. Maeve Carney

    If the government can find the money to spend between $4000 and $7000 for each welfare recipient they can certainly afford to give each recipient an increase in money to improve their life and health and the economy. If they can’t afford to do that I would ask where is the money going to be coming from?

  51. Matters Not

    245179, I agree. It’s not a silver bullet, but from a pragmatic point of view, it’s far, far better than nothing.

    Go to some of these places and see the miserable lives some of these children are forced to live. Principles are desirable and necessary and must be recognised and respected but when any number of principles are in play – and there’s multiple principles involved here – then decisions have to be made.

    For me it’s the least powerful that deserve the greatest assistance, sympathy and support. Anyone want to argue that children aren’t the least powerful players here? Or maybe someone wants to argue otherwise re this conflict of principle and how resolution might be achieved.

    Again I stress, I don’t think the way this ‘card’ has been conceptualised or implemented is the only or indeed the best way to proceed. Generalisations are often a recipe for disaster.

  52. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    One size never fits all. Those who would allow that must realise they are little better than the dropkicks who threaten to impose that system on many people who don’t deserve it.

    The Indue Welfare Card Scheme is just a convenient answer from government bureaucracy to waive aside its obligations to the People it is responsible for.

    A good public service meets its citizen stakeholders with proactive measures such as one on one case workers who can consistently assess the stakeholders’ needs and responsibilities to determine whether a card is the only answer or whether the bank deposited welfare payment is appropriate.

  53. silkworm

    The welfare card has three purposes:
    1. It provides Tudge with a distraction from the Centrelink robo-debt and privacy breaches scandal;
    2. It provides a payoff to liberal Party mates;
    3. It helps the government appear to be doing something for Aboriginal welfare.

  54. halfbreeder

    I agree with one of the other posts above in that it is a good idea to print this letter off and send it to Indue

    Why? To what end? Comedic relief?

    Indue is not responsible for ‘policy’. It’s responsible for ‘delivery’ of ‘policy’ as determined by the ‘other’ – the Government of the day.

    I would have thought that was obvious from the letter but as it seems some people are incapable of thinking for themselves I would say it was to let Indue know that they will be challenged and may be exposed to risks and legal costs and a public backlash. Anyway, just because the government is responsible for policy it doesn’t mean Indue will not be liable for their management of the card. After all, they entered the contract with the Government voluntarily and are not an arm of government

  55. halfbreeder

    “I have become very suspicious of Australian citizens who have only a 4 digit number 2017 and the letter is missing. Isn’t our welfare system based on a numbering system of A 1-20000 B etc.” ????? Seems to me the ‘2017’ might be a date and nothing more?????

    “Re this article and again the opening sentence…”. This doesnt seem to be an article at all but an open letter. The format would only matter if you were anally retentive. AIM is a media network and what rules say media must only be in specific formats and genres. If you want scholarly journal articles then maybe you should go to a University Library.

  56. 245179

    here we go round the mullberry bush, the mullberry bush………lot’s of nothing as usual. Pity some folks here don’t focus on “trying” to make this work ( as opposed to outright condemnations )
    This proposal is “a beginning” to helping a currently dismal system, immediate assistance to children will be an outcome. Get onboard with it, then “tweek it” as required.
    comments like…….it’s just a distraction, taking the heat off other govt issues…………what a load of shyte. ( meanwhile dingoes live better than these children )

  57. Kaye Lee

    245179 and MN,

    I completely agree that children are suffering but I am yet to see any evidence that this card will bring about the change that is needed. It is a lot of money wasted which could be better spent in the community. With $9.6 million they could open a rehab centre, a refuge, a pre-school, training programs, community support groups, local businesses that could provide employment – any number of things that might actually help the individuals rather than this post code approach of prohibition.

    Paternalistic control has never worked in the past. There are better ways. Education and employment are crucial but we also need crisis intervention and support. If the circumstances that led to addictions haven’t changed then we are only using bandaids to cover up festering wounds.

  58. Kate Ahearne

    Kaye, Yes. that good old paternalistic control is the same mindset that created the Stolen Generation(s). You gave an excellent example earlier of one of the sorts of things that need to be attended to when you pointed out that the nearest rehab to Ceduna is 800 kms away.
    There are no easy answers to the problems faced by far-flung Aboriginal communities, but surely consultation with those communities would be the place to start.

  59. Matters Not

    KL, some times communities have been down that path. Indeed many, many different paths. Sometimes band aids are necessary. Having kids will full stomachs is evidence that gains are made. I just wonder whether some people have any insight into what life is like inside some of these communities – especially after dark. Teachers in some places have to live in compounds. Until you have experienced it …

    http://footsteps.adac.org.au/

    https://www.google.com.au/?gfe_rd=cr&ei=qaC8WMGdN_PDXrXxsbgB#q=preschool%20in%20ceduna&rflfq=1&rlha=0&rllag=-32139189,133669792,21&tbm=lcl&rldimm=3513354739369571993&tbs=lf_pqs:EAE,lf:1,lf_ui:2&*&rldoc=1

    KA, it just wasn’t ‘paternalism’ that generated the stolen generation(s). You need to check out the eugenics movement and how adherents infected public services in WA, NT and QLD in the main. ‘Breeding out the colour’ and all that.

    M Taylor knows more than I do about the detail.

    But I know I am barking at the moon. When the concept of paternalism is introduced – it can cause people to duck for cover and can cover a multitude of crimes.

  60. Matters Not

    I should add, that those who desire to so do, can still spend 20% of their incomes on alcohol and other drugs as well as gambling. Not sure about your spending habits but 20% still seems quite a lot. Enough for a decent hangover and a few headaches.

  61. Mitch

    If this was just a matter of protecting children then why has it been extended to all welfare recipients in the NT and Ceduna and not just those with children? Seems some are persuaded too easily by Tudges false statements and fabricated evidence in support of this dodgy card. Even the villiage idiot could see the cost of administering this card is an excessive waste of public funds that could be better spent elsewhere. Even Twiggy Forrest who recommended the card scheme said it was economically unsustainable. Hence the claw backs by centrelink….to free up welfare funds for the administration of this card program that will be paid to Indue as their profits. The claw back will make the scheme sustainable as the amounts freed up and clawed back would be used to pay indue its massive fees. I agree with the letter writer that seems like an improper use of public money.

  62. helvityni

    MN, the Saamis in Northern part of Finland moved along with their reindeer herds, and kids missed on education. This resulted to kids having to stay at school for a week and go home for weekends, I suppose it was some kind of boarding school system, they had women/men doing the cooking and other chores, I don’t remember much about this, but I think the teachers also lived in the same complex…and no doubt got paid more than teachers of ordinary schools…

  63. Michael Taylor

    M Taylor knows more than I do about the detail.

    The man is a genius. ?

  64. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Helvi,

    did you watch ‘Midnight Sun’ on SBS?

  65. 245179

    MN………you are correct, the VAST majority, if not ALL of the population has absolutely no idea of the truth of what’s going on way out west. yes some white folks ( teachers, health etc etc ) live in compounds for their own safety, sometimes these same folks are emergency evacuated as a inter mob fight erupts…..again. Many communities however do achieve a degree of harmony, but others are a war zone. A visit to a harmonious progressive community, is a good positive experience, visit a disfunctional community and you will be aghast at the scene before you.

    KL………beginning with the children, feed them, clothe them, educate them, this is the start of birthing a new generation with a chance of breaking that horrid cycle ……this “card” is a beginning.

    My own experiences with remote visitations has had me in tears seeing women / children in particular, living worse than dingoes, and fearing retribution from drunken / drugged bullies roaming their streets, during night times it get’s to nightmare levels. A horrible horrible place.

  66. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    I can see what MN and 245179 are saying and agree in extreme cases. But one size does not fit all and even though the Indue card has started in selected postcodes, there is no guarantee that it won’t be imposed across the board.

    Unemployed people should not be subject to quarantined income access unless there is evidence of neglect by certain recipients. Those recipients can then receive appropriate monitoring and any children involved would be properly provided for.

  67. Alison

    After reading these comments I don’t think some of you understand how limiting it is. When you say only 20% is available for booze or smokes, it’s actually 20% cash. Now if I was on this card I would need cash for my mortgage ( paying a mortgage is not allowed as they have a redraw facility. ) I have to pay cash for my firewood to stay warm. I have to pay cash for water deliveries as I am on tank water and it never lasts the summer. Lucky me, my children have grown up but I seem to remember an endless stream of cash for excursions and school events.
    I would no longer be able to buy fresh healthy food from the farmers market.
    Seems under this system I would end up homeless, cold and unable to meet basic hygiene.

    Sounds like third world stuff to me

  68. helvityni

    Jennifer, are you referring to the Swedish crime drama? Someone else asked me about it…I must have missed it, I watched ‘Vera’ last night… 🙂

  69. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    One of the main characters was depicted as half Saami. The drama was about Saami culture and discrimination against them.

  70. Freethinker

    My worry is that the government will start controlling the life of a few in the welfare and it will continue in the future with the age pension, veterans, disability, etc.
    I do not like it, we cannot give “big brother” so much control, we have enough of do-gooders as it is.

  71. Freethinker

    Quote from the Department of Social Services:
    “Cashless Debit Card Trial – Overview
    The Commonwealth Government is looking at the best possible ways to provide support to people, families and communities in locations where high levels of welfare dependence exist alongside high levels of harm related to drug and alcohol abuse.
    The Cashless Debit Card Trial is aimed at finding an effective tool for supporting disadvantaged communities to reduce the consumption and effects of drugs, alcohol and gambling that impact on the health and wellbeing of communities, families and children.”
    https://www.dss.gov.au/families-and-children/programmes-services/welfare-conditionality/cashless-debit-card-trial-overview

    I can see in the future a black market exchanging food and other goods obtained using the cashless card by tobacco, drugs, spirits, etc.
    Where is a will there is a way.

  72. paulwalter

    Some smart comments here.

    Maeve Carney’s re the $7-8000 had me rofll.

  73. Jaquix

    Unbelievable. No wonder they cant balance the budget, they’re in effect paying themselves – a form of very incestuous privatisation.
    We should all share this as far as possible AND write to our elected representative/s.

  74. leonetwo

    There’s Star Group and there’s Stargroup, two very different organisations.

    Please be very careful when doing research and dealing with specific name spellings.

    Stargroup Ltd is a banking technology business and is buying Indue, There is no connection with Rupert Murdoch or with 21st CEntury Fox.
    https://www.google.com/finance?cid=675167

    The STAR Group Limited being referred to in the comments here is a different company and is not buying Indue.

  75. Matters Not

    Thanks leonetwo – your post explains much. That Rupert was mucking around with some financial minnows was always a stretch. Personally disappointed I didn’t do more homework.

    Thanks again!

  76. Kaye Lee

    Thanks leonetwo. My mistake. I am sorry for being misleading and appreciate you clearing that up.

  77. pete

    What gets me is that we are looking at communities entirely dependent on welfare..utterly atrocious and yet we would call it a stolen generation if we took the victimised children away from this horrible environment..much easier to just give them money..disgraceful.

  78. Tom

    Here’s a thought for the day.
    our elected representatives tell us that they provide perfectly adequate services for the citizens of this fair country. If that is indeed true, then EVERY elected member will be happy to submit their immediate family to the same supply of services that are supposed to good enough for the rest of the citizenry. Public schools for their own kids. Public health for their entire family. Public transport will be used where it is available.
    My own bet is that these services would experience a HUGE and exponential improvement when the pollies have to use them for themselves.
    Think about it – it’s not such a bad idea.

  79. Bildad

    The Cashless Welfare Card is about to be trialed here on the Fraser Coast and Bundaberg. It will affect all people on Welfare, apart from Veterans and Age Pensioners. So anybody receiving Parenting Allowance and Disability will be included in the trial. I think it is obvious that a National Roll out will be inevitable as targeting areas with a high indigenous welfare recipients will be deemed to be racism. I, unfortunately, have recently had to start receiving Newstart Allowance due to the economic downturn in the region. To cope with Rent, Bills (including vehicle registration) I have always put aside a weekly regular amount into a separate Bank account which only gets used for Bills and Rent, some of these bills are paid by direct debit. By managing money this way I am never caught short when it comes to paying Bills. Under the Cashless Debit Card I will not be able to do this anymore. It seems that now I will have to use Centre Pay in conjunction with CDC and I will have to be extremely careful that I don’t overspend on the CDC so that when a Utility Bill arrives I will be able to cover it. I have had to get another person in to live with me who is also on Unemployment benefit to make ends meet, this person has a direct debit set up to pay their share of rent and expenses into my Bills and Rent account because all utilities and lease are in my name. This CDC system is going to throw a real spanner in the works in what is already hard slog in making ends meet. This is just my story, I am sure that those with families will find it even harder Seems that many are punished because of the few.
    Hey but what can we do? Our Politicians are the bottom of the heap as they weren’t the clever ones that could make it in the Private Sector. Instead we give the under achievers control over our once great country. Where will the extra public funds that are used to pay Indue for their service come from? Seems to be the only people paying tax anymore are Small Business and Salary/Wage earners.
    As if the shame I feel for having to go on Welfare isn’t enough, I now have to have what little I do receive managed by someone else.
    Happy Days!

  80. Lou

    I have been following this as they are wanting to roll this ‘trial’ out in my location.
    To be honest, it worries me. I don’t drink or smoke or do drugs in fact, I am a carer of a child that has significantly high needs.
    Every week I pay for private ancillary cover for him so he can access the services he requires. I place $100 a week into his account and then pay my rent, food, electricity etc.
    This card would have huge impacts on me given that most of his aids, would not be serviced from that card for eg, a weighted blanket that was $400, a movement pad for night use and seizure activity, all which I pay for with no assistance from any agency.
    There has to be services in place in my community Before rolling out this card that lines the pockets of the already rich.
    In my area, we don’t have the normal drug use, it’s paint sniffing which has been made easily available by a certain huge company who are legally meant to dispose of their paint cans in a safe manner and they dont: they leave them in an open area and the do gooders on our shore, do nothing. We have no pokies here. Yes the kids are provided break club at school but that also gives the kids an opportunity to self educate on healthy living so in hope they may choose a better lifestyle. Without community supports first, this card will have a tremendous effect on most in a negative way. I find it is discrimination against those who actually don’t do what the government are trying to eliminate. Also, isn’t it racism once again as it seems that the areas targeted, are Aboriginal communities. I also find it embarrassing to have to produce a welfare card to buy things: most people wouldn’t know my business and by me having to produce that card, I feel I am stigmatised. No I am not into huge words or as educated as many on here but, I do feel my rights as a carer to a little boy with life long needs, will be subjected to disadvantagement as I would not be able to provide to him, what I do now. Might I add, to buy 1 ream of A4 paper here cost $16, yes that’s right, $16 and basic foods such as oranges are $10 kg, sausages $15kg, even brussel sprouts are $23 kg so I travel over 240km each way every month, and use cash to go to shops to stock up on supplies that I can’t afford in my location. So I have to travel, again using my own car and money for fuel, in some instances I may need to stay overnight due to my young son. Even to go to a specialist appointment is over 800km each way and I budget for these. As a normal person, I don’t feel I should be subjected to a card that has such restrictions on where, how or when I can buy things, again remembering I do not drink, smoke or do drugs. I have service providers, making aids for my son and these normal human beings helping me, do not allow a card system so it would take me months to save for a new aid at any given time.
    By the way, my son, he came to me at only a few months old after being subjected to abuse so I do understand the need to find a solution and also, my sons birth parent, is not Aboriginal so abuse stems in all cultures within our wonderful country that the government is either selling of, privatising or doing its best to dictate a person’s everyday life.
    I know I will get backlash as I am certainly not as educated as most on here but as an everyday person, I am truly scared of the real implications that this card will most definitely have on my son.

  81. Michael Thomas

    To the AIM Network…
    May I copy and paste that letter??
    I would like to send it to INDUE right out of pure anger!!!
    May I???
    Michael Thomas

  82. OPPOSE THE MAJOUR PARTIES

    yes nichael thomas u obvious may.

  83. OPPOSE THE MAJOUR PARTIES

    245179 I repeat a comment above. If the welfare card is intended to improve child welfare then why is it that people without children are being put on the card?

  84. OPPOSE THE MAJOUR PARTIES

    questions. can someone tell me if rent can be paid using this card and if welfare recipients over 60 are on the card in Bundaberg Harvey Bay area? The reason i ask this is because newstart is higher for single people over 60 than it is for those singles under 60. hence the 80 % of preserved income for singles over 60 (and for couples) on newstart would be a higher monatry amount than it would be for singles under 60. the question is why would the expenses of a single over 60 be more than one under 60? this could be the basis of a ground of review for someone over 60 on the basis of unreasonableness or inflexible application of policy

  85. Bildad

    In Hervey Bay This Card will only issued to people under the age of 35 I believe.

  86. Bildad

    Rent under this system will have to be worked through Centrepay through centrelink as I understand it.

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