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Service provision versus prohibition: the farce of Cashless Debit Card restrictions

By The Say NO Seven

Issues of privatisation and rights abuses aside for a moment, we address the issue of basic Cashless Debit Card (CDC) functionality.

We write this post not as an instruction manual, but rather in order to make a clear demonstration to all our members and readers, that our political leadership is either utterly bereft of insight into addiction and the lengths practising alcoholics gamblers and addicts will go to for their next fix of whatever ‘it’ is for them, and ignorant as to what people will do to fight for self determination via cash access – or they are indeed playing the Australian public for fools and wasting hundreds of millions of ‘taxpayer dollars’ on yet another NBNesque style venture.

Here are just a few of the 101 ways around the Indue LTD cashless debit card’s ‘3evils’ and cash access bans:

  • Buy any one of 22 vegetables, any one of 19 fruits, West African seeds, Corn, a dizzying array of herbs, flowers, tree barks, and fungi, Mediterranean herbs, yeast, juices, sugar, essences, mouthwash, Vegemite, boot polish or Methylated Spirits or any one of the over 200 everyday supermarket items that either have high alcohol content in their own right, or can be fermented and with little effort, turned into “bootleg” grog within 48 hrs.
  • Get your non Centrelink trapped friend to buy ‘it’ … whatever ‘it’ is for you … make private deal on alternative spending.
  • Buy goods and sell them to non income managed friends family or community members, or on community buy swap sell sites for cash, or even list them on Gumtree – remember you are prohibited from BUYING goods there..not selling.
  • Create a piece of stellar art, sell it for cash then buy <insert substance of choice here>.
  • Sell what remains of your possessions for cash.
  • Play two up with a painted only bets.
  • Head to a casino, pub, RSL club or gambling room, sit at a table with as many chips, tokens or coins as your 20% will allow, bet very slowly, take all the free drinks on offer.
  • Do odd jobs within your capacity and for cash payment only.
  • Become addicted to other, worse substances – fuel, glue, spray cans, OTC medications etc etc
  • Take a trip to nearest large city/regional centre, head to a mixed merchant store and buy items using the CDC there (control tested with video already).
  • Use your CDC at Parliament House gift shop to buy as much alcohol as you can afford.
  • Sell skills, services or time on black/grey market for cash only payment then buy whatever ‘it’ is for you.

etc, etc etc …

Just in these few examples of the lengths some people in the throes of addiction have and will go to, you gain an insight into just how easy it is to instantly ‘get around’ CDC prohibitions. And there are so many more ways and means it is simply embarrassing.

Unless government plans to force Centrelink recipients to stop eating fruit and veg completely, stop drinking their daily juice, milks or cheeses, and decides to limit Centrelink recipients’ spending entirely to selected products from selected ‘cleaned’ stores – or they choose to build a national Centrelink recipient only supermarket chain themselves (don’t put past them!), then this program designed specifically (they say) to stop people accessing cash, using drugs, drinking and gambling, is already defunct.

In these simple examples we prove CDC useless to arrest unwanted behaviours. As we here have known since the get go, the CDC can never address the issue of addiction except in/for those already willing to confront their issues and make the choice to commit to recovery.

The CDC, in ignoring these systemic flaws, in its lack of insight and awareness into the nature and processes of addiction itself, has proven itself a lemon before the “trial” phase has even ended.

Prohibition, as a policy or puritan ideologically driven social measure, has never worked. Not once. And not just in the last ten years of forced income management in Australia – in the entire history of human civilisation.

Yet the LNP think it will work now.

And you are paying through the nose for their education.

What we here at Say NO Seven have seen and heard from those within trial regions, is that when serious attention is paid to people who are suffering, when sufficient funding is given back to services that have been bled dry or had funding held hostage to political whim and when local services themselves wake up and get their own acts together and start working together, then ‘things happen’. Change happens.

This change, is empowered further, subtly and obtusely, when ordinarily aloof or self invested community groups are forced under spotlight, to start thinking of how ‘else’ they can help people to recover or help them want to address their behaviours. When they start literally reaching out into communities themselves to offer or provide that help and support and even just notice that there are people in need around them – magic can happen.

When this abundance occurs, then those people who are ready to quit old patterns, who are already willing to step up and recover from addictions, will and do make that leap of faith for and often by themselves – just as we have seen in a couple of instances in the trial regions right now.

This ‘result’ though, is clearly one of renewed effort and focus by the community itself, and the essential funding (returned or given) of services along with a maturation of that service provision in light of new realities – and pressures to perform don’t hurt either.

People who see support is available, seeking help, has nothing to do with the CDC and forced income management/prohibition itself, except that the CDC has opened avenues for funding and more oversight into local goings on by the wider community -perspective and funding denied prior to the forced onset of CDC and the exposure this program has given to the plight of many towns in remote regions under this government. ( Towns in remote WA even had water access turned off by this Gov at one point for example.)

On the flip-side, all prohibition and segregation has ever done, has been to increase the illicit trades, socially isolate the effected and its knock on of empowering predation upon the most at risk and vulnerable, and to motivate criminal syndicates that profiteer from the injustice – just as we have seen occurring en mass in both the NT and in trial regions that have not had the benefit of funding returns and service maturation processes.

The trials themselves therefore, have clearly proven what works, and what doesn’t work. They have shown that funding and re-engagement of services and a renewed community focus works, and they have shown that the CDC, forced income management, a tired, lazy and old policy of control and prohibition, in itself, doesn’t and only makes things worse. It only adds burden, and bury’s from sight what few positive things have happened as a result of applied human to human effort.

It doesn’t take an Einstein to realise that it is beyond time to do what is right and effective – to do more of what we know works, and leave the rest behind.

This article was originally published on The Say NO Seven Facebook page.

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  1. Phil

    Very interesting points made. Crude ideology from our people hating, crude and cruel 1950’s style authoritarians in Canberra. I am stunned. Australia has taken a turn for the worst since 2013. I’m hoping enough voters wake in fright and realise their mistake and throw this bastard government out – preferably into a sewer where it belongs.

  2. bobrafto

    Just how many peeps are we talking about or is the govt. spending $10K per person to find out?

    On $40 a day the cheapest house/flat share is a min $25 a day that leaves $15 for food, transport, phone, internet and other necessities and $15 is possibly not enough so how can anyone afford the high price of drugs and booze is beyond my comprehension.

    In my mind this is a scam to enrich LNP donors/mates.

  3. etnorb

    Bloody typical useless so-called “liberal” policies which are in place to keep unemployed, persons on Welfare, indigenous communities etc “in control” (?) so that the stupid general public will think this mob is doing “something” about it! WTF?? Just goes to show how little this “supposedly” Liberal mob really think about the underprivileged, make them use this stupid bloody CDC crap–& make the company responsible for it even richer than they are now, & everything will be “alright”! Yes, sure, you mob of soul destroying inept, flat earth, lying, so-called liberal politicians. BASTARDS the lot of them!

  4. Pierre Wilkinson

    Indue is a liberal initiative to launder money donations… they pay Indue a lot of money to administer this unfair cashless card system, then accept a lot of money in political donations; mates, mate

  5. Johnny baser

    I was in Alice when it was brought into place
    Was goto Kmart purchase any item them return it a hour latter got arround the 20% rule the only thing it does do was assist in addressing humbugging but I also observed unscrupulous business take advantage of this ie corner shops getting access to the system as groceries provider then sell takeaway items

  6. Matters Not

    Pierre Wilkinson re:

    they pay Indue a lot of money to administer this unfair cashless card system, then accept a lot of money in political donations;

    Sounds terrible. Perhaps you have a link or two to some credible evidence re Indue making these political donations.?

    (By the way – don’t bother responding – it’s become an article of faith.) A classic example of how fake news spreads and how believers will not be swayed by reference to any contrary evidence.

    It’s how the LNP keeps getting re-elected – a populace who have no critical consciousness. A pity.

  7. Peter F

    MN While it is possible that criticism of Indue is ‘fake news’, can you verify this, or are you adding to the pile of ‘fake news’ by making your own unsubstantiated assertions?

  8. Matters Not

    Peter F, in any rational debate, the onus of proof is always with the person making the claim. If, for example, a claim is made that the moon is made of green cheese then the onus of proof resides with the claim maker. It’s not up to the other to disprove the claim. Nevertheless, I’ll provide a link to establish some groundwork.

    Indue said Anthony held no shares in the company at any point in its history.

    “Indue is wholly owned by financial institutions , all of which have their heritage in the mutual and credit union sector,” the company told Guardian Australia earlier this month.

    “At no time has any individual (or through any controlled entities) owned shares in Indue Ltd or any of its subsidiaries.”

    Note: At no time has any individual (or through any controlled entities) owned shares in Indue Ltd or any of its subsidiaries.”

  9. Kronomex

    The Cashless Debit Card is, to my point of view, purely about control of the weakest members of society with a little bit of LNP and corporate corruption thrown in for good measure.

  10. Kaye Lee

    The federal opposition has called for an investigation into revelations that a lobbying firm run by the National party president, Larry Anthony, was acting for energy companies and the firm behind the cashless welfare card.

    Anthony, a former minister in the Howard government, is no longer registered as a lobbyist. But he remains a director of the SAS Group, a lobbying firm which counts Santos, Delta Electricity and Indue among its clients.

    Anthony was formerly a director of Indue between 2005 and 2013, according to records from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (Asic).

    SAS Group continues to lobby on Indue’s behalf. The company has been awarded contracts for the cashless welfare card in a limited tender process.

  11. Michael Taylor

    Ah yes, the old “limited tender process” trick.

    From what I remember of my public service days it was another way of saying; “We’re only going to invite submissions from a couple of nominated companies, one of which has already been selected to win the tender.”

    How does that work?, you might ask.

    Simple. You design the criteria around what skills you know that the pre-selected winner possesses better than anyone else.

  12. Michael Taylor

    Kronomex, it’s a leaf out of the old John Howard handbook of devious tricks.

    1. Select a minority group.
    2. Instil in the electorate’s mind that there are problems within that group.
    3. Feed stories to the media about the dimensions of those problems.
    4. Pat yourself on the back because only you can fix the problem.
  13. Matters Not

    Re the SAS group. It was founded by Con Sciacca (the first S in SAS), Larry Anthony (the A in SAS) and Santo Santoro (the final S in SAS). All three were one time members of the Federal Parliament. Perhaps a little more background might be useful

    Sciacca was a doyen of the ALP in Queensland. At his funeral last year he was remembered as: Former Keating government minister and veteran of the Labor Right Con Sciacca was remembered as “one of the greatest numbers men in Australian politics”, astute businessman …

    Larry Anthony’s past is probably well known by most readers. His background was Country/National Party.

    Santo Santoro is described as: a former Australian politician (Senator) and a former deputy leader of the Liberal party in Queensland.

    It was these three – one Labor – one National – one Liberal who formed SAS whose work included political lobbying. SAS had the trifecta – one from each of the major political parties. It’s not at all unusual for a relatively small company like SAS to have a foot in all political parties so that when there is a change of government – the financial tide doesn’t go out completely.

    To suggest that Sciacca, would in any way, sit by and see funds channelled to the L/NP is fanciful. Same goes for Anthony and Santoro re the Labor Party.

  14. Matters Not

    Perhaps a few comments on INDUE and its long-serving Chair might be useful.

    Indue is wholly owned by financial institutions, all of which have their heritage in the mutual and credit union sector … ( At no time has any individual (or through any controlled entities) owned shares in Indue Ltd or any of its subsidiaries..)

    Indue is an e-payments and financial crime management centre of excellence, with its roots in the mutual banking sector.

    •We provide payment and financial crime management software platforms & enabling services to any company or government agency that has a need for a payment or financial crime monitoring solution.

    •We principally provide card (or virtual card) payment solutions, all the way from complex credit cards through to simpler gift cards, however we provide all forms of payment channels…Direct Debit/Credit, BPAY, etc.

    •Indue is a founding member of NPP – a modern real time payment.

    Indue is Chaired by Dawson Petie who was in the chair when Anthony was on the Board. Petie first gained Board experience at 2KY RADIO SYDNEY when it was owned by the ALP. He was there1983-1987. His roots are Labor. Under Goss, Petie was appointed to the Board of the QUEENSLAND INVESTMENT CORPORATION (QIC).

    Petie was appointed Chair of TEACHERS’ HEALTH QUEENSLAND (2004- 2009). Teachers Health was a creature of the Queensland Teachers Union, in particular the work of Noel Ross. It was Labor oriented with the General Secretary of the QTU in Petie’s time being John Battams – the current president of the ALP in Queensland..

    Petie was also on the Board of Queensland Rail on a couple of occasions. He resigned following the election of Campbell Newman and after a disagreement. (I think he may even have been re-appointed under the current Labor government.)

    That Petie, as Chair of Indue would be complicit in channeling funds to the L/NP is also laughable. Here’s some of his Board memberships.

  15. Matters Not

    KL, my reference was to channeling – not donations. I would be surprised if SAS or Indue weren’t strictly across the spectrum when it came to political donations.

    Just for the record, Malcolm Cole, a former candidate for the Liberal party has now joined SAS. In days of yore, he worked for Downer and when I had regular contact he was the Education Reporter for the Courier Mail. I expect he will be a candidate for the LNP again.

  16. Kaye Lee

    Georgina Downer is being parachuted into Mayo apparently. One wonders how many times she has to lose before she realises it isn’t just her birthright.

    MN, re the Indue thing, I just add information where I can. It is not meant to agree or disagree or follow anything particularly. I find the whole thing odious. You cannot teach responsibility by taking it away.

  17. Matters Not


    You cannot teach responsibility by taking it away.

    Agreed. But, and there’s often a but, we can’t just sit still (look away) and let children be the ongoing victims of neglect. In Queensland, the Aboriginal population is less than 5% yet 40% of children in care are Aborigines. Do we have a problem? Should we simply return these children to situations – judged by Social Workers to be unacceptable? Remember, Social Workers these days are extremely reluctant to break up families. It’s last resort territory.

    While I certainly don’t support the universal application of the Cashless Card, I think it has value in certain circumstances. And there’s lots of Aboriginal mothers and grandmothers (in particular) who agree with me. Further, I don’t care whether adults gamble, drink alcohol, take drugs or whatever. As far as I’m concerned they, as adults, can do what they like – but not with funds that are intended for child support – in part at least.

    Doing nothing is completely irresponsible and unacceptable.

  18. Kaye Lee

    I agree that doing nothing is not acceptable but to react punitively to problems rather than to address the causes is pointless.

    There were Aboriginal pre-schools that, at the same time, were teaching parental care. I think they had their funding cut. Schools can offer breakfast programs. We need regional detox centres. Some programs for troubled teens are having much more success than incarcerating them. Perhaps we could have farms where families who are struggling with domestic violence could go for a time to get back on track. We certainly need more crisis refuges. Sport is a great community builder. And obviously, employment opportunities matter.

    Boredom is also a big part of drinking, drugs and gambling. We need to involve people and a good start would have been listening to the Uluru statement.

    Pride is important. I would love to see some sort of Aboriginal centre built that was a museum and art gallery and a repository of Indigenous history and knowledge but which also offered interactive things like cooking bush tucker, art classes, didgeridoo playing and boomerang throwing, tours to see ancient sites or native flora and fauna, a celebration of Aboriginal people who have made a difference, lessons on sustainability and land management….you get my drift.

    I know I sound idealistic but I hope I don’t sound tokenistic. Lord knows they have endured enough of that. I just don’t think doling out pocket money helps change anything. Surely we can do better.

  19. Pamela Pearce

    Matters Not needs some education about right and wrong who said the White way is the right way? I see the slave days coming back for the black we have a culture of White people telling blacks to do as I say, not what I do.$12,000 for each person could help provide cheaper food why not put a shopping list up at the cost of fresh fruit and vegies you have access for other figures. This card is being rolled out to people working part time as well are they all druggies and drunks?

  20. Pingback: Conversation bewteen our SNSAdmin and Mr Rick Wilson MP.

  21. Caitlin Fraser

    An excellent article, Say No Seven.

    However, I wish you would call the card what it is – the Indue Card.

    Every time you refer to it as the “CDC”, you miss an opportunity to educate the great Australian public about one (1) of THE most pernicious facets of this piece of plastic – its intention to make shareholders in a private company even more stupefyingly rich than they already are.

    Calling it “the Indue Card” puts the word “Indue” into people’s minds.

    Opponents of the card need that great Aussie public to start asking “Who are Indue?”, “What have they got to do with it?, “Who owns Indue?”, “What happened to Centrelink as an arm of the Federal government? I thought they administered social security payments?” and other relevant questions. The more Aussies know about the corruption of Indue, the more may begin to research the facts and become enraged Indue is a money-making scam of the LNP and oppose the Indue Card also.

    Yes, we would like them to oppose the card on the grounds of the egregious violations of human rights and other vile facets of its operation, yet if they oppose the Indue Card because they are infuriated by the chicanery of it, well, I’ll take that. We need more opponents. Every movement for positive change comprises people of different motivations joining said movement. The important thing is to gain more opponents who will join with current opponents regardless of motivation.

    Otherwise, well done.

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