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Anne Ruston – what a shocker

You may not have heard of the woman that some describe as Australia’s answer to Margaret Thatcher. But she is busy trying to remedy that.

Appointing Anne Ruston as Families and Social Services Minister is up there with the sickest of cruel jokes.

At a forum with single mothers discussing being pushed into poverty, Senator Ruston dismissed the idea of raising Newstart in the most callous of ways.

“We can’t just keep on adding money to this bucket, because we’re not making a difference,” she said. “Giving (people) more money would do absolutely nothing … probably all it would do is give drug dealers more money and give pubs more money.”

“We’ve got to be fair to the people who pay for it.”

Holy shit, Batman. Did she not realise who she was talking to?

She had just heard from single mothers who are forced onto Newstart when their child turns 8. This not only reduces their weekly payment significantly, it also more than halves the threshold amount that they are allowed to earn without affecting their payment – a perverse disincentive to working part-time.

She had also been told of Family Benefit payments being reduced by Centrelink because of child support that hadn’t been received. No empathy there either.

“The debt belongs to your partner,” she said. “Let’s hold him responsible.”

Older people get no sympathy either. Ruston said that the Age Pension is already “generous” and suggests pensioners should be grateful for taxpayers’ largesse.

So it comes as no surprise that this woman now wants to extend the cashless welfare card universally. She’s that type of gal.

After working with the big four banks and Coles and Woolworths – and we all know how altruistic their advice is – Senator Ruston has decided on a national rollout.

“It does need to have a broader application than perhaps the social harm reduction that the original policy was designed on.”

Hilariously, she now describes this draconian imposition as “a mainstream financial literacy tool” which will allow “recipients to budget for their rent and food while saving for the future.”

Saving for their future? On less than $40 a day?

It will be wonderful, the Senator reckons.

“It gives people the ability to be able to budget. You can use the card to make sure you prepay your rent, you prepay your car payment. In a community, you can send money to the local community store so that kids can go in and buy their lunch or their breakfast or fruit for morning tea, so there are some really practical, on the ground financial and budgeting benefits and we’re already seeing them happen.”

I don’t know if Senator Ruston has kids but, in my experience, sending them to the shop to get themselves some lunch that they don’t have to pay for would rarely result in the purchase of anything nutritious.

It will also make it much easier to impose the plan outlined in the 2018 budget to deduct up to 15 per cent of welfare payments for recipients with unpaid court fines – supposedly to help people “stay out of jail”.

The ridiculous line being peddled by the Morrison government that the best form of welfare is a job was dealt with superbly on the Shaun Micaleff show.

“Welfare is what you get when you don’t have a job. It’s the complete opposite of a job. The best form of something can’t be the opposite of it, you’re conflating two things that don’t coexist.”

It also ignores the fact that changes to the Disability Support Pension forced many people onto Newstart so, these days, 42 per cent of Newstart recipients have an illness or disability preventing them from working full-time – up from 25 per cent in 2014. Many of these are older people, an added consequence of continuing to increase the age at which they can access the aged pension. Try getting a job that doesn’t require specific qualifications when you are in your sixties. The only thing open to you is crossing supervisor, or politics and the insiders have that sewn up.

When you hear that 99% of welfare recipients get extra payments, for many, that is just the energy supplement ($4.40/week) that the government tried to remove.

Oh, and did I mention the constant calls for drug testing?

The government needs people to get off social security payments so they can pay for their political pork-barrelling and promotional videos and tv advertising.

So they are going to shame you, and attack you, and demean you, and remove your control over your own life, until you give up.

Anne, you are making Maggie look like a bleeding-heart socialist.


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  1. RomeoCharlie29

    As I understand it, the expanded roll-out of the Indue card in the NT still has to pass the Senate, reliant on Jacqui Lambie (who I hope tells the Government into which orifice it can put its card) but the government is already running ads on commercial radio in Darwin ( and probably elsewhere) telling interested people where they can get information in how the roll-out will affect them

  2. Keitha Granville

    This government needs to closely study the French Revolution. Wouldn’t be too hard to push some people to violent rebellion, cos when you have nothing and no hope it’s a viable option.

  3. Ken

    Just when we think it can’t get any worse with this Scotty from Marketing government ministers now we have this one.

  4. Kate Ahearne

    Thanks, Kaye. The cashless card is an obscenity. How on earth could anyone possibly think that demeaning people could be a terrific way to inspire them towards self-sufficiency? Give me strength!

  5. Judithw

    Cashless cards don’t work at community markets. Cashless cards don’t work in disaster areas. Do they work at op shops?

  6. whatever

    She is continuing with the old-fashioned myth that money for welfare is raised from “Hard working Taxpayers”.

    When the GST was enacted in 2000, EVERYBODY became a taxpayer. From cradle to grave.

  7. Kaye Lee

    I don’t understand how you teach people responsibility by taking it away from them.

    The cashless card should be voluntary for individuals if they think it would assist them, or only imposed in dire circumstances by a court order in conjunction with a social support program with the view to it being temporary and getting help towards the underlying problems..

  8. Phil Pryor

    This government has a huge input of sluts for money, pose, career, ambition, vanity, attention, and some of them are women. The men we take for granted, as male ambition drives many an anus to keep doing anything anytime for notice. No moral, ethical, decency, civilised attitude may get between a corporate or political pervert and a desired result. The women should be different, with some maternal instinct or concession there, but no, the liberals and country types, often unelectable shitskulls, are given senate candidature, to avoid testing the stretched theory of popularity. Senate lists include those who would not get employment in a dodgy brothel or car rebirthing racket. So Madam Ruston smiles in a photo illustrating the lookatme principle of extreme sluttery and happiness at this achievement. Having a Ruston in the government is rather like having an untreated raging heamorrhoid attack, a great pain in the arse.

  9. Kate Ahearne

    Judithw, Thank you. That’s so important. Whatever limited ways a person might have to make their money go further than Coles or Woolworths will allow, is robbed by these cards.

  10. James Cook

    Kaye, I’m conflicted. I always enjoy your posts for the information and your conversational style. But I don’t want to read any more of your articles because if you are continuing to write them it means that this “government” is not improving, listening or showing any understanding or empathy. As a result, as a retiree who paid taxes his entire working career [as a teacher], I get increasingly frustrated that there seems to be nothing I can do beyond sharing your posts [and similar ones] and quietly trying to persuade my friends and family that we are headed for disaster. What worries me most is that I have detected, over the years, that you, too, are getting frustrated and angrier. It shows in your style and increasing use of extreme [appropriate] descriptions of Morrison and his group of liars and thieves. Feeling very shitty right now!

  11. Andy56

    Just another woman promoted on merit. She probably went to the Braindead Institute of the Privileged for her qualifications. My experience with all these high flying privateers is that they have the gift of the gab and not much else apart from theories on economics at the BIP, the same ones that got us into a mess.
    The LNP can sure find them, lol.

  12. Maxwell denehy

    Another one(Anne ruston)cultured from a petri dish.its unlikely she,s not aware,but old age pensions were catered for by being TAXED throughout the recipients working life. If as she espouses throwing more money into the bucket wont help! I suggest she live on our overly generous Largesse .typical spud (where the f–k are ya )muppet.

  13. Kaye Lee

    Looking at her biography to see what qualifies her for this position…..

    She got a Bachelor of Business from the University of Southern Queensland. She then worked as a political staffer for 9 years until 1996.

    After that, she was the Chief Executive, National Wine Centre 1996-2002 and then Owner/operator of a rose farm Ruston’s Roses 2003-12.

    No doubt in search of her ticket on the gravy train, she became Vice-President of the Liberal Party State Branch (SA), 2011 before being gifted a Senate spot to replace someone who had resigned in 2012.

    A reward for services rendered and the “right” attitude rather than any merit or aptitude that I can see.

  14. Harry Lime

    I’ve come to the conclusion that Morrison is the slime on top of the Lnp pond,that began it’s slow stagnation under that mean, lying weasel,Little Johnny Rotten.There is no discernible talent in the current crop of maggots,and Smugmo seems to take perverse pleasure in appointing the least suitable individuals to the ministry.Exhibit#1–Grassgate Gus.
    Morrison’s creed seems to be,if you have to make a decision,make sure it’s absolutely the worst possible—in this he’s been unfailingly consistent.
    If Morrison hasn’t got a severe personality disorder,what’s wrong with him?

  15. pierre wilkinson

    so, it cost around $10,000 per card in administration fees
    that equates to $20 pw
    no wonder they cannot afford to lift the New Start rate
    after all, the bulk of the administration fees probably make their way back to the Lib’Nats coffers in one way or another

  16. Eumundi Grandmother

    Me thinks the $1,000 per calendar month paid to the Lib Party shareholders of the “scheme” as administrators would be far better spent being distributed to New start or similar recipients 👀

  17. New England Cocky

    Uhm KL ….. what about the approximately $160 BILLION tax concessions, subsidies and allowances given to the undeserving wealthy and corporates by successive Federal governments, not to mention the disinclination of governmentto attempt recovery of tax revenue from giant foreign owned multinational corporations.

    Doubtless Ruston attended a private school run on too generous taxpayer funding before her sojourn at USQ, a minor tertiary institution where a B Bus is the repository of persons lacking sufficient skill to complete a proper degree.

    @pierre wilkinson: $10,000 per card is equal to $10,000/50 = approximately $200.00 per week not $20.00.

  18. Patricia

    Not just a viable option Keitha Granville but a necessity.

    Governments around the world forget that when you push people past the point where they have nothing to lose they will revolt. History is full of instances where the population has put up with being disenfranchised and demeaned and diminished to the point where there is no barrier to them rising up, and so they do.

  19. Jano

    The long over due Answer to welfare is not raising – DEAD FART ,START payments ,,

    It’s about abolishing ( Work for the MOLE – for good !!) Just like SCO BO DEBT !

    Hawke and Keating were the last Government who had in place humane and decent programmes for the un-employed ,,Then the Fiberals abolished this in the early 90’s .. ………

    They did this to make life so hard ,,so you would not want to be on welfare !! ………………………

    Trouble is ..this asshole policy is still in practice !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!, A legacy of bastards and dogs and Nazi’s !!!…………………….

    what once worked – is largely been forgotten ,,,

    THE RED SCHEME- A Job programme for the un-employed with full wages and entitlements – but it only went for 6 months !………………………..

    The Red scheme – part 2 ,,full time ..Job creation programmes ,! And piss off – Work for the MOLE !!!

    700.000 people into permanent job Creation intiative programmes ,,at the minimum wage ,plus entitlements ,,The taxes from 700,000 people ,, is a $150 a week – suddenly into a job ,would create around 1 billion dollars a week in taxes . 4 billion dollars a month .48 billion a year ,,!!!!!! ………………………..

    A couple billion dollars channeled into Job creation programmes and the scheme would pay for it self in the first couple of months !!!!!!!!!!! , A win, win for the economy .A win, win for the jobless and disadvantage more debt and defecits !!.- .And fair go – restored in this country !!!

    ( PIss off – work for the Mole .. scobo debt -Dead Start payments , fascist cards !! )

    Together, we can find solutions to end poverty for good ! – Lest we all become prisoners of work for the mole and its masters and slaves mentality !!…………..

    where is fair go for all ? or is it just for some ? …….

    when will the Right wing , sting – stop ?………..

  20. Matters Not

    Seems little doubt that the government wants to proceed with this scheme and indeed expand same. As Lambie let slip during her fact finding tour:

    the cashless card would “soon” be managed by the big four banks.

    That should come as no surprise because the big four banks were first offered that opportunity – with Indue only chosen because the big banks refused on the grounds that the scheme was too small. (Forget the bullshit that Indue was owned by the LNP – it never was. But it’s what people wanted to believe – and many, if not most, still do. (See above). Such is the power of fake news. As the song goes – A man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest.)

    Lambie admits she is torn. On the one hand she says:

    Shire president Patrick Hill told the senator he wanted the card to stay because the town had previously struggled with alcohol, drug, and gambling issues. “Since the card came in, the crime rate has dropped, kids are going to school, and it’s had a positive impact on the whole community,” he said

    In contrast:

    evidence of the card’s success or lack thereof remains anecdotal because an independent review is yet to be seen. …

    Lambie also said:

    Senator Lambie said she had seen “good results” at the trial sites but told the ABC she would not reveal how she would vote. “I want to vote for it, I want to see this continue, but they [the coalition] have to deliver what they promised,” she said.

    So what was promised and what’s not delivered.

    The “promise” refers to the Government’s guarantee that support services will be provided in the trial locations including drug and alcohol rehabilitation, mental health services, and financial counselling services.

    But the biggest failure, in my view, is that since July last year, while cardholders could apply to exit the scheme if they could demonstrate responsible financial management. none have been successful:

    The Greens and Labor have slammed the unsuccessful opt-outs. “The fact that no-one has successfully exited the card demonstrates the Morrison Government’s determination to mandatorily impose income management on people irrespective of their individual circumstances,” Labor MP Linda Burney said.

    More here. Personally I see the Card as having value but only on a selected basis where it involves dependent children.

  21. Patricia

    Harry Lime February 1, 2020 at 11:26 am

    If Morrison hasn’t got a severe personality disorder,what’s wrong with him?

    He is a sociopath, Harry Lime. The psychiatric world now believes that the pathology that makes a psychopath is the same that makes a sociopath and that they are actually one and the same.

    Psychopathic researchers found that psychopaths often have these common traits:

    Lack of empathy, guilt, conscience or remorse
    Shallow experiences of feelings or emotions
    Impulsivity and a weak ability to defer gratification and control behavior
    Superficial charm and glibness
    Irresponsibility and a failure to accept responsibility for their actions
    A grandiose sense of their own worth

    Attributes of a sociopath:

    Pathological Lying and Manipulation. …
    Lack of Morality and Rule Breaking. …
    Lack of Empathy and Cold-Heartedness. …
    Narcissism and False Superiority Complex. …
    Gaslighting and Psychological Bullying. …
    Lack of Contrition and Self-Serving Victimhood. …

    The “Situational” Sociopath or Psychopath.

    Sound like someone we 77% of us know of.

  22. Kaye Lee


    Those dependent children would benefit a great deal more if their parents were given help rather than the punishment of an impersonal imposed income management scheme suggested by Twiggy Forrest of all people.

    We need to start early with parenting skills programs. We need more rehab facilities in regional areas. We need education and support. We need meaningful employment and affordable housing.

    I have worked a lot with troubled young people in various capacities. A person who I respected once said to me “You can’t save them all”, and she was right, but my response was “Well that will be because they give up, not because I do.”

  23. Jano

    With Business man like acumen ,,An investment into Job creation programmes- stacks up ..

    you invest – in order to get a return , ,Invest in the un-employed !…..The taxes paid will be justifyed !
    invest in the side lined in this country , you tight ass wankers ,,!

    what have you got to lose ? – Taxes will be flowing back in to the economy ..!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    No taxes are flowing back from Work for the Mole !! . A waste of tax payers money !!!

    Invest in the Un-employed , it will be the best investment ever !!

    Taxes- will rain money back in to the economey !!! 700,000 people paying taxes !!

    what an investment !!! ( you tight ass , sick, greedy. puppies )

    Go work for the mole for 1 year – right wing assholes !! and eat ya scobo debt !!!!

  24. pierre wilkinson

    so, MN, who is right? › lnp-welfare-card-true-facts-exposed-corruption-disguis.. › 2019/08/28 › indue-and-the-small-matter-of-pol..

  25. Luke Daglish

    Why the INDUE card is a waste of time and money. Scenario/ I get say, $500 a week on the card, my brother, friend, neighbour who are all working and I go to Coles and I get him $ 200 worth of shopping and he gives me $200 cash, done deal. It could also be open to crooks who could charge interest on the desperate who will do anything for cash, Alcoholic, Drug users and addicted gamblers. Seems 1984 is late in coming.

  26. Yes Minister

    Karma will catch up with Ruston in due course

  27. Pete Petrass

    she is nothing but a filthy scrag of a human

  28. John Iser (the NSW one)

    Kaye writes @ 11:14
    “…[Ruston] replace[d] someone who had resigned in 2012.”

    That “someone” wasn’t just anyone. That was Mary Jo Fisher, who was forced to resign after two shoplifting offences. (If memory serves, she blamed them on the antidepressant medication she was taking at the time).

    Fisher was also responsible for what is arguably the weirdest performance ever seen in an Australian Parliament: the ‘Hokey Pokey/Time Warp’ speech during the debate about the Gillard government’s ETS.

    They must put something in the water over there in SA – besides the limestone concentrate, that is.

  29. Max Gross

    Evil. That’s all I can think of saying.

  30. Kaye Lee

    Oh wow John, great clip that I had not seen before. It rivals Michaelia Screech’s Shakespearian knifing rant….but I think my favourite is still “point of order on weirdness”.

  31. leefe

    There are so many things about the Indue card that don’t add up.

    Apparently the government can’t afford to raise welfare payments by even $50 a week (about $200 per month), but they can afford to pay a private company $1,000 per person, per month, to administer the card. And this is somehow supposed to be “good financial management”.

    Then there’s that administration cost again. My bank charges $5 per month administration fees. My super fund (yes, it’s an industry fund) is about the same. So what in the bloody blue blazes is that $1,000 for?

  32. paul walter

    From Adelaide, I can tell you she is a vile creature.

  33. Matters Not

    KL re:

    … children would benefit a great deal more if their parents were given …

    The problem with that approach (commendable as it is) runs into difficulties because of the timing. As you state – …. need to start early with parenting skills programs. Agreed! But we haven’t (started early). That’s for the future (hopefully). The need is (virtually) now. Children have to be fed tomorrow as well as next week and in the foreseeable, immediate future. The children shouldn’t be made to wait in the hope that neglectful parents will somehow have an epiphany of sorts.

    Besides, the evidence is that the women, particularly the grandmothers, tend to be strongly in favour of this cashless card because it ‘works’. There’s the means to buy what might be called the necessities of life. And that resonates with me.

    All in favour of a cashless debit card when selectively applied. Yes it’s a band-aid. But sometimes band-aids are a necessity. (Again I state. Don’t care if all those on ‘welfare’ piss it all up against a wall or put it through the pokies, buy drugs or whatever. Adults can do what they like. But when it comes to dependent children then the whole equation changes. Enter the Cashless Card.)

  34. Kaye Lee

    If your concern is children being fed, I can think of about a million better ways to spend the $10,000 per person.

    Employ people to run cooking classes where the participants get to take what they prepare home.
    Have breakfast programs at schools.
    Young mothers attend mothers groups or pre-school with their children to learn skills.
    Run some sort of kids group after school where they get fed. They could perhaps help prepare the food and learn a bit about nutrition and play some sport and some games.
    Increase Newstart.
    Run a shop with subsidised fresh produce.

    It really depends on individuals as to what help they may need. And that’s the whole point. This card does not solve any problems. It doesn’t make them buy nutritious food and cook a lovely meal to serve up to their kids. It doesn’t stop them from trading whatever they buy for cash as someone else mentioned. I have had people who had food vouchers ask me to do that – they’ll give me their voucher for slightly less cash than it is worth. It doesn’t address addictions and there is evidence that crimes like theft rose.

    As for the women supporting it, no doubt Jacinta Price is on board but I don’t see the same support from women’s representative groups.

    Ngaanyatjarra, Pitjantjatjara, Yankunytjatjara (NPY) Women’s Council chairperson Maimie Butler said the move could be devastating for remote communities.

    “If this card does comes along, it’ll take us right back to when our ancestors first walked into the missions and been fed by rations. That’s how it will be,” she said.

    NPY Women’s Council chief executive Liza Balmer said there had been overwhelming support for voluntary income management in the past but that there were multiple issues at play.

    “Our primary concern is the mandatory nature of this,” she said. “No matter what kind of income management you put people on, at the end of the day they are still living well and truly below the poverty line on the Newstart allowance.”

    The cashless welfare card “reminds Aboriginal people every day that they are treated as second- and third-class citizens in their own land,” Pat Turner, the chief executive of the national peak body on Aboriginal health has said.

    “One of the key issues in many of the areas where the card operates, such as in remote areas of South Australia, is the difficulty of accessing fresh produce at reasonable prices.

    “Where is the evidence that this card increases this access and enables Aboriginal people to get the healthy food they need?

    “A person’s dignity can also be lost when having to use such a card which can also have detrimental impacts on both their mental and physical health and wellbeing.”

  35. New England Cocky

    @MN: Oh dear ….. the ultimate preferred outcome for the cashless society is to totally control the movement of wealth between individuals/corporations and in Australia from government to corporations bypassing Australian voters. When such stifling of the economy has occurred during wars or totalitarian regimes it results in the formation of an alternative currency. For example, diamonds during WWII and a barter system in other places.

  36. Pagnol

    Bet she’s never gone without. In the unlikely event that she has her brain has been warped by the experience.

  37. Jexpat

    Quite frankly, she sounds like a sociopath, i.e. lacking a conscience and going out of her way to hurt and manipulate others for her own satisfaction and personal gain.

  38. Andreas Bimba

    The LNP are maggots eating off the carcass that Australia has become in my lifetime. Labor are better but not much better as they also firstly serve the finance and mining centred corporate oligarchy before allocating a small slice of competence and humanity to the masses.

    The federal government (both LNP and Labor) creates mass unemployment by implementing the flawed neoliberal NAIRU concept of fighting non existant inflation through excessive spending austerity since the mid 1970’s. Just the nation building and Keynesian fiscal policies of the 1940’s, 50’s and 60’s would suffice to ensure full employment by the public and private sectors but the parasitic corporate oligarchy runs this show and they want the peasants to struggle to survive.

    The federal government then torments those that they prevent from gaining employment by providing inadequate income support, imposing onerous and pointless compliance requirements and now the cashless welfare card which will make it even more difficult to support oneself and any dependents.

    Tens of billions are instead syphoned to corrupt ‘job service’ provider corporations as yet another rort to benefit the wealthy.

    And the electorate still votes for more of this neoliberal disaster from the duopoly!

    Bill Shorten and Labor attempted to unwind some of the neoliberal disaster last federal election but an increasingly selfish, wilfully ignorant and misinformed electorate still prefer to commit collective economic and environmental suicide.

  39. Henry Rodrigues

    The conservatives use the welfare issue as red meat bait for those voters who have jobs by encouraging them to be resentful of the ‘dole bludgers’, the single mums the young umemployed, This is a strategy initiated by that sob Howard and religiously adhered to by every subsequent lib nat government, and its works because those voters who are employed, always think of themselves as being useful vs the others are useless. Scummo’s slogan, ‘we’ll give you a go if you have a go” was aimed directly those same voters and it appealed to many self satisfied mugs,( remember the tradie on $ 250000/pa driving a big brand new ute as big as a truck)
    It will continue to be a big part of their campaign. Cruelty is a weapon to be used whenever and wherever, simply because it works. Says a lot about the people who respond to such messages. Ruston and the other rusted-on pigs are just symptoms of the bullshit that happens in Australia.

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