Diane Savill, a 60 year old diabetic mother with severe lung problems and her husband of twenty six years Vic, are long-term residents of Kalgoorlie WA, the third location of the LNP’s Indue LTD Cashless Debit Card roll out.
Both Diane and her husband are receiving the Disability Support Pension and have been trying to get an exemption from the card trial for the last 5 weeks, but to no avail.
On top of chronic diabetic concerns, Diane’s lungs were damaged after a bout of swine flu which has been increasingly debilitating. Vic has a broken back and is unable to read or to write given severe dyslexia. Vic also gets confused with numbers, he is unable to use mobile phones, eftpos, ATMs and computers and this means he is going to be unable to use the Indue Card in his daily life and will become totally dependent on his wife for every transaction, incapable of self-managing with dignity.
Quite literally, Vic will have no financial or personal independence if he remains on the Indue Card and he will be unable to officially authorise his wife to use his card on his behalf owing to a clause in the Indue terms and conditions [13.1 No Joint Access, p24 Indue LTD Terms and Conditions] which forbids card holders from allowing anyone access to their card, pin number or online portal.
Diane is not Vic’s registered carer and is not physically able herself to become such, nor is she his Centrelink payment nominee, and so attempts to apply for exemption have been rejected. As she noted on her page this week, “It’s not his fault he’s got a busted back, dyslexia and brain damage from a brain tumour.”
The roll out of the Indue Cashless Debit Card program in their region has caused significant stress for them both and has also created friction within their marriage over concerns for independance, privacy, and ongoing care needs. Diane and Vic have only recently sold their house and were planning to move to a location outside of the trial zone. If they remain on the card, aside from all other complications, they will be the only members of that community compelled to publicly use an Indue Cashless Debit Card.
Diane’s distress has increased over the past few weeks as she has struggled to find a satisfactory route through the exemption process and she has found herself increasingly depressed. This distress has peaked since the 14-day activation time period limit given to her by the Department of Human Services, was reached just yesterday.
Unable to find the answers or support needed for herself and her husband, Diane has chosen over the past five weeks to actively protest against the card on the street and has participated in events held at the office of Rick Wilson MP and in front of Centrelink in Kalgoorlie. In desperation at the impending crisis her family now faces and with her refusal to activate the Indue Card and submit herself and her family to even more distress and loss of autonomy, Diane has chosen to take what she feels is an inevitable next step.
Like most forced Indue Card trial participants, neither Diane or Vic drink to excess, use non-prescribed drugs or gamble, and both have worked and paid taxes most of their adult lives. They have been responsible non-violent citizens and active community members. With their child now grown, they had hoped the expected move would offer some hope for peace and security in their lives.
Diane has telephoned CDC hotlines and visited CDC offices over these past few weeks in attempts to be heard and have their family’s concerns taken seriously, only to be ‘brushed off’ and to find local area staff had not even read the Terms and Conditions of card use themselves, so could not answer her questions.
Diane also visited a local area counseling service to discuss her emotional concerns in hopes of finding relief and support. Instead, she reports she was pressured into stopping her protests by the clinician on duty, who insisted to her that Diane herself was responsible for the embarrassment and shame that ‘other clients’ had been experiencing and reporting to her. At this point, Diane declared that she had enough and made an impassioned plea from her Facebook page that the right to protest and to speak out where the only rights she had left.
Frustrated and confounded by the lack of awareness for people living with disabilities she has faced, Diane has since made a decision to protest in the only way she does feel she has left to her, that is, to begin a hunger strike. Diane takes this action with the hope of calling attention to her family’s plight and to the acute distress being experienced not just by her family, but by increasing numbers of people whose lives have been turned upside down having been forced to accept third party income management for no just cause and without their consent in order to continue to receive their lawful Social Security Entitlements.
In Diane’s own words – “I will not say yes and activate that card – I would rather starve.”
Diane begins her hunger strike today, 10/5/2018, in Kalgoorlie Western Australia.
We have been assured, that all that can be done, has been done to ensure Dianes safety and proximity to support, and that Diane is aware of the risks and consequences that her actions may incur.
While we cannot condone actions that may lead to personal injury, we are compelled to support Diane and Vic as members of our extended community and we cannot deny Diane herself, her human right to protest their treatment by the Department of Human Services.
We call upon Minister Dan Tehan to immediately intervene and examine Diane and Vic’s case and to investigate the roll out process currently underway within the Goldfields Region as a matter of urgency, to ensure no other families or individuals are in similar distress unseen and unheard.
This article was originally published on saynoseven.wordpress.com.