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Social security privatisation and income management profiteering

The cashless debit card (CDC), is about more than ‘helping social security recipients that are alcoholics, and, or drug and gambling addicts to get help’, narrative. Depending on which trial, or experiment that your postcode is in and if you’re on a disability payment, or a carer payment, or one of a long list of trigger and restrictable payments (listed at the end of this article), that includes the stillbirth payment, you will be put on the CDC.

This is about the privatisation of government services via taxpayer funded infrastructure, set up by private operator, Indue Ltd (Indue). It’s been set up to open up billions of dollars worth of income management, for the financial and commercial sectors. Income management has now become a product to sell. Whether that be from vendors charging fees to access their goods or services, or from the banks charging inward banking fees and overdraft fees. The Indue terms and conditions for the CDC absolves itself of hidden fees: ‘We are not responsible for any fees imposed by third parties.’

There is a litany of stories from those on the CDC about it not working at places where it is meant to and the fees involved, fees for rent transfers, fees for shopping at Coles, fees and defaults of up to $26 because Indue hasn’t paid loans on time. Despite all of this there is much more to come on the CDC agenda.

The ‘Cashless Debit Card Technology Report, in 2017 by Andrew Forrest’s Minderoo Foundation, and its working group of senior executives from the banking and retail sectors, have set out a blueprint for the government. It includes the CDC becoming a multi-issuer card opening it up for the banks to issue cards, for commercial tie-ins with reward partners such as AFL and supermarkets for loyalty schemes; CDC’s with commercial branding on it; CDC training rolled into the Responsible Service of Alcohol; and the monetisation of the data relating to the CDC; if there’s a buck to be made, it’s been thought of.

It is also of note that the CDC is uncannily similar to a program in America, called SNAP, (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program). It began as food-stamps for those on low incomes or on welfare. The food-stamps were eventually replaced with a debit card system called EBT, (Electronic Benefit Transfer), which is provided by private contractors under the guise of saving the government money with the printing costs. As an EBT vendor, Walmart in particular benefits greatly from the program with a guaranteed income stream worth 18% of the whole SNAP program, or $US 13 billion. It’s in their best interests if the amount on the card is raised and they provide lobbyists to keep tabs on any looming cuts to it.

I’m in no way ignoring that some communities don’t have real problems with alcohol, drugs, crime and violence in their towns that needs urgent attention. The purpose of this article is to create more detail and awareness than has been reported to date. Too much of the media reportage has been more about Liberal and National Party spruiking perceived benefits of the CDC in a seemingly attempt to manufacture the consent of the community rather than detailed analysis. Is a plastic card issued by a private company is really the answer? There are other initiatives in place such as justice reinvestment that is working and transforming towns such as Bourke, involving the whole community without government or private company intervention. More about that in the conclusion of this article.

Indue Ltd is not a bank

It’s a payment transfer business. If you Google https://binlists.com/ for more details about the BIN (Bank Indentification Number) for the CDC, which is: 438775. You will see that the card is issued by Mbna America Bank in Australia. If you look up the same number for more details via https://www.bindb.com you will see that strangely, Indue Ltd is listed as the issuing bank.

Is Indue sending millions of dollars worth of social security payments out to an American bank and back to Australia again? This may explain why Indue are exempt from the Anti-money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act.

Some background

The cashless debit card (CDC) is Andrew Forrest’s version of the BasicsCard, which started out in the Northern Territory (NT) in Indigenous communities. He also wants to replace the BasicsCard which is an EFTPOS card for income management in some Indigenous communities with the CDC. The BasicsCard doesn’t quarantine money like the CDC and it can only be used to buy approved items. The CDC trials arose from the government accepting a key recommendation from Andrew Forrest’s 2014 review – ‘Indigenous Jobs and Training: Creating Parity’.

To start the CDC trials the government had to first get around Social Security Laws. These laws were designed to protect social security recipients from third parties taking payment from them without their consent. They did this by making changes to the Social Security (Administration) Act 1999 inside of the CDC legislation with the: ‘Social Security Legislation Amendment (Debit Card Trial) Bill 2015’.

Those on the CDC receive 20% of their payment into their own bank account, while the other 80% is transferred to private operator, Indue, making it the legal property of Indue. It’s also important to know that because Indue is not a bank, they don’t have to answer to anyone, they’re also not signatories to the Centrelink Code of Operation or the ePayments code.

John Howard also had to make changes within the Social Security (Administration) Act 1999, for the NT Intervention to occur, more about this and the origin of income management in Australia, here.

The plan by the Liberal and National Party has always been for the CDC to be rolled out nationally for those of working age, it’s articulated very clearly in both of Andrew Forrest’s reviews. Billions of dollars can potentially become the property of Indue or the banks to dole out to social security recipients. His 2017 report also makes it very clear that government subsidies for businesses is expected for further implementation of the CDC. The Nationals also voted in August last year for every Australian under 35 years on a Parenting payment, Newstart Allowance and Youth Allowance to be put on the CDC.

The National Party connection and their privatisation push

The CDC contract was won by Indue back in 2009. The Federal President of the National Party, and former Liberal National Party MP, Larry Anthony, helped set Indue up and was Chairman of their board until 2013. He also runs SAS Consulting Group (SAS), a political lobbying group that is registered with the federal government, Indue was listed as one its clients. Indue strangely disappeared off of the government register in August last year. SAS has amongst others, another private operator, Serco as one its clients. Serco won a pilot contract from the government in October 2017 to answer Centrelink phones as a solution for long waiting times. No doubt the 1,200 jobs cut from the Department of Human Services (DHS), in the 2017 budget made the situation worse, as well as the 1,300 that were culled in the 2018 budget. When you do the math, was it intentional? As of April this year, the government has now outsourced 2,750 DHS jobs to Serco. This needs to be investigated much further.

How much are the CDC contracts worth?

The original contract awarded to Indue was worth $11 million over 3-years, it ballooned out to over $25 million. The CDC trials were originally slated to cost $18.9 million  At that time 1,850 were in the trials, so the cost was reported as being $10,000 per participant. In September 2017 after going through all of the tenders and contracts associated with the CDC, not just Indue ones, I calculated the amount to be over $60 million, meaning that the cost per participant was actually closer to $13,000.

In September last year after the Senate came back after the Malcolm Turnbull spill and Parliament was shut down, Senator Fifield and his advisers represented the government in the Senate regarding the CDC expansion to Hinkler. The reason that I mention this is because Fifield up until that point had, had nothing to do with the CDC trials or policies, and it only added to the lack of transparency surrounding the costs involved. They claimed that the costs per participant was getting lower and was projected to be around $2,000 per person for the new trial, and that the oft quoted $10,000 per person was a running cost. When questioned further about the total cost for the new trial and the ones so far, they hid behind commercial-in-confidence, confidential tender processes and contracts not signed yet. They also said that they would release the Goldfield figures in full after 4-years or in 2022, well after the trials are due to finish. What was also revealed was that a cost-benefit analysis for the CDC was never considered, but that one was being done internally and that they don’t know when it will be finished. The government also doesn’t know what the profits are of the companies involved in the CDC trials.

Inadequate support services

Very little money has been set aside for services that are offered to communities to entice them onto the card. Using a recent example, the projected CDC cost of $2k per person in Hinkler amounts to $13.4 million, yet only $1 million has been set aside for support services. It is unclear how much money has been awarded to stakeholders or services that Indue has chosen to assist it with the CDC but there is one in particular that has been noted by people in Hinkler. David Batt of the Liberal National Party, is the State Member for Bundaberg. He is also the Chairman of Impact Community Services, which is a shopfront for those needing assistance with setting up the CDC, and a job services provider. I’m not suggesting that he has done anything wrong, just wondering what other indirect connections without tender processes are going on that are associated with the CDC.

The CDC trials

The CDC began as trials in the disadvantaged and remote areas of Ceduna, in South Australia, and the East Kimberley, in West Australia in 2016. Anyone of working age and receiving the Newstart Allowance, Disability Support Pension, Parenting Payments, Carers Payment, and Youth Allowance, in these locations were forced onto the card. Nobody has really questioned why those on disability or carer payments need income management. Danny Ulrich, from Kalgoorlie, cares for his disabled 18-year-old brother, he doesn’t know why he has been given a CDC if it was designed to target alcohol-related behaviour.

“As a carer we’ve been put in with everyone else and put on the card,” Mr Ulrich said.

The trials have since been rolled out to the Goldfields in West Australia in 2018 and to Hinkler in Queensland this year. The differences with the latest trial being that it went ahead despite many in the community opposing it with many peaceful rallies and calling for the money to instead be spent on education, training and jobs. There is a big difference between politicians and stakeholders wanting the CDC for the community, and what the whole community wants.

The Hinkler trial is only for those aged 35 years and under who receive Newstart Allowance, Youth Allowance (Job seeker), Parenting Payment (Single) or Parenting Payment (Partnered). Top-up income payments that people receive while under-employed have also been included in the Hinkler trial. Under-employment is a growing problem in Australia.

The numbers of those on the CDC in each region have increased with each trial. Ceduna began with around 800, East Kimberley with around 1,300, the Goldfields with around 3,600 and around 6,000 people in Hervey and Bundaberg (Hinkler). The original amount of those to be put on the CDC the trials was 10,000 it is now 15,000.

Trials that never end, assisted with a cherry-picked report

The 3-part Orima Report was commissioned by the government and is being used by the government, to not only extend draconian, income management measures, but also to quantify its success in the Senate and by Liberal and National Party politicians spruiking the CDC to the media and other communities. Social and political researcher, Eva Cox sums up the report perfectly in a Facebook post, on The Say No Seven page:

“The whole data set of interviews, quantitative and qualitative, are very poorly designed and not likely to be valid data collection instruments. I’d fail any of my research students that produced such dubious instruments.”

The reports includes a lot of spin, asks respondents for their ‘perceptions’ at times, and includes retrospective responses, for questionnaires. The Say No Seven page, has been following all three of the reports closely, they crunched the numbers at the start of this month, when the final Orima report was released. An example cam be found on page forty-six:

“At Wave 2, as was the case in Wave 1, around 4-in-10 non-participants (on average across the two Trial sites) perceived that there had been a reduction in drinking in their community since the CDCT commenced.”

This approach means that you focus on the minority of responses, rather than the majority of responses. 6-in-10 not perceiving any reduction in drinking around town. It reads a lot differently than the latter.

Another example used a lot and also quoted in the Minderoo Foundation report from 2017, is: ‘For card users at 12 months: 41% of drinkers said they were drinking less; 48% of drug users said they were using drugs less; and 48% of gamblers said they were gambling less.’ Again making the reader or listener focus on the minority of responses.

Independent analysis of the report by qualified researchers, found many serious flaws within the report. The Auditor General Grant Hehir, also wasn’t convinced due to the lack of analysis, monitoring and evaluation of the trial. He also found that there was a failure to properly measure baseline data (data collected at the beginning or before a research project to compare with data collected during and after), making it hard to know what impact the trial had really had. Doctor Elise Klein, Janet Hunt, Senator Rachel Siewert, ACOSS and so many others have made submission after submission to the government, about the negative responses from people on the CDC relating to increased financial hardship, and flow-on social effects, only to be ignored.

The CDC narrative changes

A baseline report for the Goldfields trial was finally released in February this year but it’s commencement is vague, it says that it’s from ‘around the time of the introduction of the CDC.’ The report found:

“levels of substance misuse were reported by many respondents to have reduced, and alcohol-related, anti-social behaviour and crime had also decreased”.

The report also said:

“However, there is some uncertainty as to whether these impacts were a direct consequence of the CDC [cashless debit card] or were linked with concurrent policing and alcohol management interventions.”

The report was by the Future of Employment and Skills Research Centre which is a research centre in the University of Adelaide. This is curious in that the CDC has been legislated to provide income support for those with alleged drug, alcohol and gambling problems, not for being unemployed. The narrative has shifted in recent months with the Minister for Social Services, Paul Fletcher announcing in a presser that the CDCT trial “… is being expanded to address unemployment.”

This completely changes what the Indue card policy was designed for, and what the government originally presented to the Senate. It’s also unclear how a minister can just announce a change in legislation like this. Below was the original goals of the CDC trials. To change it to be about unemployment makes you wonder what is the point of trials? To make it more palatable for the Senate to pass the legislation and for the public to accept over time?

124PC Objects

The objects of this Part are to trial cashless welfare arrangements so as to:

(a) reduce the amount of certain restrictable payments available to be spent on alcoholic beverages, gambling and illegal drugs; and

(b) determine whether such a reduction decreases violence or harm in trial areas; and

(c) determine whether such arrangements are more effective when community bodies are involved; and

(d) encourage socially responsible behaviour.

It also means that all research and data collected by the government to date is redundant and that at the very least new legislation needs to be drawn up with what the government’s true objectives are.

Whole of community consent for the trials questioned, and paid community panels

Claims by the government that the trial communities wanted it have fallen apart under questioning during debates in the Senate. In February last year Labor Senator Doug Cameron, asked Liberal Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, about the 86 organisations and stakeholders that were involved in the consultation process for the Goldfields expansion. It turned out that only 5 out of the 86 were positive about the CDC. Those that were positive about the CDC being introduced in their communities were given anonymity.

Every year since the CDC the government has introduced and mostly passed many amendments. Amendments such as the government establishing anonymous community panels that now include government officials in trial sites, taking it out of the hands of local councils and agencies. Paid community panels to determine whether those put on income management should be able to access more cash from their bank accounts than the 20% allocated by Indue. This also happened in the NT during the Intervention. Another one was the addition of one word, ‘was’ meaning that if you used to live in a trial area but have moved you could still be put on the card. Seemingly to stop people moving from a trial area to a non-trial one, or a welfare migration, control measure. Because the trials are rolled out by postcode it also captures those that don’t have drug, alcohol or gambling problems or are even in need of income support assistance. If you want to opt out of the CDC trial process is extremely difficult.

The latest amendment and trial expansion

Just last week the government passed another amendment in the Senate to extend all of the current trials till June 2020. Those in Ceduna will have been on the CDC for 4-years by this time. The Labor Party has also introduced an amendment that has been legislated and is now law, providing some hope for those that don’t need income support as a way to opt out off of the CD program. CDC recipients in all trial sites can exit the scheme from July this year if they’re able to demonstrate “reasonable and responsible management” of their financial affairs. Their amendment also makes the community panels more accountable for their decisions as to why someone can not be exempt from the CDC. They must provide a documented explanation.

The fear for many though is that if the government wins the federal election that they will not only repeal this legislation, but will expand and extend the trials everywhere. The government has also given an additional $70.8 million for the extension of the trials.

People self-harming and suiciding due to the CDC

Besides the information from the screenshot above there isn’t a lot of data relating to self-harm and suicides relating to the CDC. There was recently an ‘Inquest into the 13 Deaths of Children and Young Persons in the Kimberley Region’, and a coroners report that has a CDC recommendation that hasn’t been reported properly. Preceding Recommendation 22 the report states:

‘An evaluation of the Cashless Debit Card trial is outside the scope of the Inquest as is any recommendation that suggests a compulsion. The following recommendation is made, to be considered in parallel with, and not in substitution of, any relevant trial or program already in place, or planned.’

Followed by:

Recommendation 22 – ‘That consideration be given to extending an offer of a voluntary cashless debit card program to include the entire Kimberley Region.’

The Minderoo Foundation reported the recommendation as a reason to roll out the CDC across the Kimberley, no mention of consideration or it being voluntary. As the coroner stated the CDC trial was outside of the scope of the inquiry. Until we have one for the CDC trials we will never know how many people have self-harmed or suicided. One death or someone hurting themselves over a government policy is too many.

In conclusion

The social security and welfare of Australians doesn’t belong in the hands of private companies. Anyone of us can slip and fall into hardship, this is what it’s there for. There are other programs to explore that address alcohol and drug problems like in Iceland for example, where teenagers in the 1980’s and 1990’s had a huge problem with alcohol and drugs that could be tailored to fit certain communities in Australia. Unemployment could also be incorporated with the approach below.

  • They brought in curfews for teens under 16 being out at night with parents helping to patrol the streets to make sure that it happened.
  • Parents signed a pledge to not allow their kids to drink alcohol and to create more family time with them.
  • Kids are kept occupied with the government giving families a $500 voucher for after school activities.
  • Surveys are filled in by teens every year measuring different aspects of their lives such as their relations to their peers, family life, substance abuse and how they feel. A report is then created for each community within 2-months for their schools so that they can work out solutions within each community.
  • They also got politicians onside with the science with Reyjkavic spending over $100 million each year on youth activities.

This model is now run across 35 cities in Europe and has been credited with bringing Iceland musical and sporting success.

Then there are justice reinvestment programs that I mentioned in the introduction where instead of money being spent on prisons, and law and order policies, the money is instead reinvested into the communities. The Australian Human Rights Commission has called it a “powerful crime prevention strategy.” The Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee recommended 5-years ago for the Commonwealth to “adopt a leadership role” to support justice reinvestment projects and that it should fund a trial.

In the NSW town of Bourke, the Maranguka project is credited with cutting major offences by 18% and domestic violence and drug offences by 40%, and with school attendance up. This could work in communities such as Kalgoorlie, but for these projects to work they require involving the whole of the community, and the police. Brad Hazzard, the current NSW health minister, said in a Bourke meeting after marvelling at their success:

“I still shake my head in wonder as to why so much state and federal resources are coming into regional towns and not achieving the outcomes we want.”

Many people receiving social security assistance are already living in poverty, cutting them off from cash is not the answer. Let it be voluntary across the board, don’t let our capitalist society turn poverty and welfare into another money making scheme for the private sector, or to be used as a pork-barreling strategy for nonprofits in our communities. Do surveys, get to the core of the problems in each community, provide services that work, seriously look at ways to create jobs and for other ways for people to contribute back to their communities, if they’re able to do so. It’s also well overdue to  trial a universal basic income in Australia.

These are the trigger payments that can land you on the card:

  • ABSTUDY that includes an amount identified as living allowance,
  • austudy payment,
  • benefit PP (partnered),
  • BVA, so long as the recipient has not   reached pension age,
  • carer payment,
  • disability support pension,
  • newstart allowance,
  • PgA (other than non-benefit allowance),
  • partner allowance,
  • pension PP (single),
  • sickness allowance,
  • special benefit,
  • widow allowance,
  • widow B pension,
  • wife pension,
  • youth allowance.

Here are the restrictable payments:

 

Many thanks to all of the sourced researchers, publications and artists involved in this article, which I originally published on Political Omniscience.

 

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31 comments

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  1. Baby Jewels

    I can’t believe there’s not more outrage about this. It is appalling. And what grown man calls himself Twiggy?

  2. Phil

    This is the coalitions wet dream. We will all be on it sooner or later. If Shorten doesn’t reverse this if he gets a mandate, the Labor party can kiss my whole families arse and their vote forever. The silence from Labor over this is deafening, is it their policy as well?

  3. totaram

    Thank you for documenting and explaining in great detail, what we all know already is the motto of this government and the neoliberal philosophy in general: Privatise the profits and socialise the losses and if you can get government money shovelled in your direction for doing things “more efficiently” than the public service, just get your mates to do it. No one can actually prove that you do things more efficiently, but then that is always assumed.

    And if you are successful at doing these things, especially over many generations, then you can always afford to call yourself “twiggy” and the haters can get lost while you laugh all the way to the bank!

  4. Matters Not

    Re:

    The Federal President of the National Party, and former Liberal National Party MP, Larry Anthony, helped set Indue up and was Chairman of their board until 2013.

    Given the company in question was established in 1992, are you suggesting that Larry was involved way back then? Setting it up and all that? Part of a long-term plan? Hilarious. Perhaps you have a link (and no don’t give Griffin as a source – I am talking about something with substance.) Note also:

    The company was founded in 1992 and is based in Toowong, Australia. Indue Ltd. was formerly known as CreditLink Services, Ltd. and changed its name to Indue Ltd. in April 2006.

    That’s from their ASX listing. And here’s my reference.

    https://www.bloomberg.com/research/stocks/private/snapshot.asp?privcapId=37798134

    Further:

    When Guardian Australia queried the tender process earlier this month, the Department of Social Services said it had awarded contracts to Indue after sounding out banks and other financial institutions about their interest in providing the cashless welfare card.

    “DSS conducted thorough consultations with major banks, finance and retail institutions about the potential provision of services for the cashless debit card. These consultations indicated a lack of commercial interest in delivering a small scale trial of this nature,” the department said.

    “Independent probity advice to DSS confirms that the procurement process was conducted in accordance with the commonwealth procurement rules, relevant legislation, policies and probity principles.”

    … The department’s version was later confirmed by Westpac, which said: “Over a number of years the government has sought feedback on the card. We indicated to the government it was not something we are interested in delivering .”

    So the Department went elsewhere before using Indue as the fall back company. Indue wasn’t their first choice just the last one. Further, Anthony was never Chairman of Indue. And never claime to be. Just another one of the many errors in Griffin’s original rant. For most of the time in question, the Chair was Dawson Petie – a long term Labor functionary whose connections to Labor go back to the mid 1980s when he was appointed by Labor Holdings to the Board of 2KY. And who was sacked from the Board of Queensland Rail by Campbell Newman. (See below)

    But there’s more:

    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.”

    “At no time has MP Larry Anthony or any entities he controls owned shares in Indue Ltd or any of its subsidiaries.”

    But people believe what they want to believe. And this post won’t change that.

    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/sep/30/larry-anthony-calls-for-investigation-of-national-party-presidents-lobbying-firm

    Mr. Dawson Petie, FAICD, FASFA serves as an Executive General Manager of Client and Corporate Relations of QIC Limited (Formerly Queensland Investment Corporation). Mr. Petie serves as Vice President and a member of the Executive Council of the National Trust Council of Queensland. He has previously served in Senior Executive in government, finance and the union movement, including General Manager roles with Suncorp, QIC and General Secretary of the ACTU Queensland. He serves as Executive Chair of Queensland’s 150th Celebrations and Chairman of Teachers’ Union Health. He has been Chairman of the Board of Indue Ltd since 2012. He served as Chairman of National Logistics Alliance Pty Ltd., a wholly-owned subsidiary of QR. He has been a Director of Indue Ltd. since 2008. Mr. Petie serves as a Director of UnitingCare Queensland. He served as a Director of Queensland Rail Limited from July 1, 2010 to August 2, 2013. He served as a Director at 2KY, QIC, Sunsuper, National Trust of Queensland and Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary. He is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and Fellow of the Australian Superannuation Funds Association.

  5. Alcibiades

    Outstanding. Bravo! Bravo!
    The Indue Cashless Credit Card for Rorts for select For Profit ‘Corporate Mates’ & the ‘Partee’.

    Some key points from the 17 Mar 2019 Senate Committee hearing:

    (1) Cashless Debit Card trials have cost $34 million. (That’s the total to the end of the last financial year.)
    (2) ~7,000 people on the Cashless Debit Card at start of March 2019.
    (3) Ceduna & surrounds – 902 people, East Kimberley – 1458 people, Goldfields – 3212 people, & Bundaberg Hervey Bay – 1345 people.
    (4) There have been 142 people given a ‘wellbeing exemption’ & taken off the Cashless Debit Card. 35 of those people are Indigenous.
    (5) Cashless Debit Card cost breakdown:
    – $15 million to card provider Indue
    – $2 million on evaluation
    – $6 million Department of Social Services
    – $10 million Department of Human Services
    – $200k Prime Minister’s Department
    – $1m ‘other’
    Those figures do not include actual welfare payments(are exclusive of).
    (6) People were unable to use the cards for six hours one day in January. About 2500 transactions were declined. Participants cannot shop on Woolworths online with the Cashless Debit Card. But Coles works.

    Scrap the entire corrupt rort ? $34M/pa / 7,000, & instead increase their welfare payments by ~$4857.14/pa per head in the ‘targeted communities’.

    Roughly a 20.17% increase in the single Aged pension, or the Adult Disability Pension, of $926.20 per fortnight. From $24,081.20 to $28,938.34/pa. Newstart Single, no children rate by $186.81 per fortnight, that’s 33.6%. $555.70 per fortnight to $742.51.

    Of course, that would mean spending the funds in local communities, flowing back into the local & wider economy. The benefits rippling throughout society & addressing the gross inequality of NeoLiberalism to a minor degree.

    Not into the ‘For Profit’ select Indue corporate partners, Indue itself, fees & administration, etc, & indirectly as ‘baksheesh’ as a % of Profit obtained from Commonwealth expenditure, as political donations to a major political party, perhaps ?

    @MN
    Is that you Larry ?

  6. totaram

    So Matters Not, if you are simply correcting errors of fact in the above article, that is very good. But, how does this change the thrust of the article? That is what I would like to know. Perhaps you could spell it out in greater detail. So is the Cashless Welfare Card a good thing? Do you disagree with the premise of the article that it’s actually the wrong way to go about things? Being uninformed about these matters, it is really important. Thanks.

  7. Kaye Lee

    How you can determine that someone will benefit from income management based on their postcode has always flummoxed me.

    I can understand that it may be beneficial to some people but I would have thought there would be actual reasons based around individual need rather than address.

    There has been no credible assessment of benefits accruing from this system. The Auditor General’s report was very critical about the failure to collect real data about the cost/benefit.. Most evidence of its efficacy has been anecdotal and often from white people. The actual statistics belie the anecdotes.

    eg There was a 17% increase in callouts for St Johns Ambulance. School attendance declined by 1.7 per cent for indigenous students

  8. writtenword09

    MN, I believe Mel would have thoroughly researched this issue, and the crew at Say No Seven and Say No to the Welfare Card have a extensive amount of information on this issue too.

    I think you’ll find that Larry Anthony lists himself as Deputy Chairman of Indue in his LinkedIn profile.

    https://www.linkedin.com/in/larry-anthony-196ab615/?originalSubdomain=au

    Deputy Chairman
    Company NameIndue Limited
    Dates Employed2005 – Nov 2013
    Employment Duration8 yrs
    LocationBrisbane Area, Australia
    Bank (ADI), Empowering Financial Solutions
    Servicing; Credit Unions in Queensland Country, Police, NSW and Victoria

    You will also find that Larry Anthony was born into it. His father Doug Anthony and Grandfather Larry Anthony Senior also held the seat of Richmond.

    “The Anthonys are the only three-generation dynasty in the history of the House of Representatives.”

    His history indicates that all he’s ever been is either a politician, Chairman of various boards and currently “Since 2015 he is the Federal President of the organisational wing of the National Party.”

  9. Wam

    This is close to my hardest read of this network, ever.
    The fear and hate in the people who devised such a scheme is that of the bitter little twisted arsehole who lied his way through the turn of the century.
    As for ‘twiggy’ he is absolutely hollow the only man I know who got rich on faking altruism.
    Any party who kills the card will get my vote but sadly no one else’s.
    The end point is flour sugar and tea and there are still a few Aborigines who remember those days.

  10. Matters Not

    Where to start. totaram re:

    if you are simply correcting errors of fact in the above article, that is very good

    Yep! Lots of people claim to want facts – ’till they’re presented with same. Then it becomes a different matter entirely. Facts which are uncomfortable are never welcomed and often produce irrational reactions. (See above.)

    Re:

    So is the Cashless Welfare Card a good thing?

    Can be. When employed selectively. Sure it’s a band-aid – less than desirable and all that BUT sometimes band-aids are necessary. And if you have been in many Aboriginal communities (and not only Aboriginal communities) you would know that band-aids are needed but in very short supply. Just ask many of the women whether it’s a good thing or not? Just ask them now. Fact is in many communities, the support is over-whelming. As for the children – the real victims of parental irresponsibility … That’s my real concern.

    Personally, I couldn’t care what adults do with their money, time or whatever BUT when they have responsibility for children the whole equation changes – for me. Yes, we could look the other way – tut, tut – as we have traditionally done but that’s not for me because I’ve been there, lived there (albeit for short periods), seen the disasters first-hand, spoken with the women (mainly but not only) and therefore I am not going to deny them band-aids. Arm-chair critics preaching the ideal solutions are a continued danger to many.

    As an aside, I do note that an ‘opt-out’ provision (based on evidence) is proposed for new developments (better late than never)

    ‘Tis a pity that sensible policy options are dismissed out-of-hand.

  11. Matters Not

    writtenword09 re:

    believe Mel would have thoroughly researched this issue

    So have I. Further I’ve provided links to my points of contention. She didn’t – re Anthony. And as you admit – she’s wrong. The original article stated that Anthony was Chairman of Indue – as though he was driving the Corporate bus. Fact is – he wasn’t ever Chairman. (The assumption being that Chairs are running the show.) That Dawson Petie a long-time Labor luminary would allow funds to be shovelled to the LNP is just ridiculous. His whole corporate career depended on the ALP as it does now.

    Still waiting for anyone to point out any amount of dollars that’s gone to the conservative side of politics (that hasn’t also gone to the progressive side.). Anyone who’s been around politics in Queensland know it’s unthinkable that Petie would be so involved.

  12. Kaye Lee

    MN,

    Recognising the problems is one thing. Seeing what works to solve them is another.

    You do not teach people responsibility by taking it away from them. Certainly some people may need help. They may need local rehab centres or local employment opportunities or life skills classes or assistance with parenting skills or help with filling in forms or access to health care or emergency refuges. Every individual deserves a real assessment of their needs. The “band aid” imposed by postcode does nothing to assess the needs of individual families. People make mistakes. With support rather than punishment they can learn how to do things better.

    I care passionately about kids. You do not help them by making them feel bad as you dole out a meal to them. You do not help them by stigmatising them and making them feel ashamed or different. You do not teach them by removing choice.

    And yes…some people may need help with income management which, if they were white, would probably be called budgeting.

  13. Matters Not

    KL. you don’t help these kids by preaching from afar. Ideal solutions are not at hand – and they are not even on the horizon.

    I wonder (know) if people have ever spent a night in some of these communities – the scales would fall from their eyes. No experience – no insight – just ideal solutions that, at best, are years away in terms of development let alone implementation. That’s if you could get anyone to go there for any period of time. Building secure compounds takes time. Just ask teachers and nurses.

    Never a year goes past that teachers, nurses et al don’t have to be ‘rescued’ from some of these communities. They can be war-zones.

    But we’ve been down this track on any number of occasions. Me – I’ve listened to these discussions, debates. arguments for decades. Yet nothing of substance ever happens. (Except more talk.) And the situation keeps getting worse.

    Sometimes – responsibility needs to be taken away from particular people. Just ask victims of domestic violence at al. Band-aids are sometimes needed. Aren’t they?

  14. Kaye Lee

    Band aids put wounds out of sight. They don’t cure them. And I am sure I have mentioned before that I was born in a small country town,,,I won’t bore you again with the story. I am not “speaking from afar”. Perhaps some self- determination allowing the community to contribute to the discussion about solutions might be a good start.

  15. Matters Not

    Yes KL. band-aids do put wound(s) out of sight but they also prevent further friction, stem the bleeding, prevent bacterial infection, further damage, and the like. They also aid the healing process – so my medical friends tell me.

    Me – I now speak from afar and have done so for nigh on 20 years.. And don’t I know it. When I now go to bed, I am not awakened by … whatever. That’s why I don’t want to deny distant children the same opportunity. Can’t now look the other way . The standard we walk past is the … you know the rest.

  16. Matters Not

    writtenword09, thanks for the link to Anthony’s (or Larry as I prefer to call him) self-selected, hagiographical CV.

    Here’s a few things he’s scrubbed from that record.

    FORMER federal minister and ABC Learning Centres director Larry Anthony has defended leaving out in annual reports almost $13,000 a month in fees from a contractor for the childcare giant.

    Mr Anthony told a court today the deal had not been disclosed in annual reports of the Brisbane-based stockmarket-listed business, which collapsed in late 2008.”It’s not a related party,” he said of the work with the contractor.

    “I did seek reassurances from general counsel.”
    Mr Anthony was appearing at the criminal trial of Martin Kemp, a former executive director and head of ABC Learning’s Australian and New Zealand childcare operations.

    More here.

    https://www.couriermail.com.au/business/former-abc-learning-centres-director-larry-anthony-left-contractor-fees-out-of-annual-report/news-story/4ba40f60ee252e3fbdbbf380b029973f?sv=d3a9fa766cbfd58bf4bf04694cdf7c11

    Further – on ABC radio:

    Five months after he lost his seat to Labor, the former Minister for Children and Youth Affairs,

    Larry Anthony, is back at work – as a director of Australia’s largest childcare company … I’m delighted to be joining ABC Learning centres as a non-executive director. I think they’re a very well-run company, they’ve got good management, and it’s a good product.

    … As a minister he set up a situation where childcare fees went through the roof, and now he’s on the board of the company that will benefit most from those fee increases. When it comes to the Government deciding which childcare operators are able to claim childcare benefit, that’s the area that you’d really have to be watching.

    Like Eddie Groves, Larry has a past he wants to forget about. But some remember. Should stress that to the best of my knowledge (and the absence of reliable media reports to the contrary) Larry’s work as a Board Member of Indue was fit and proper. Petie would’ve ensured that.

    As an aside, those interested in education, broadly defined, should listen to RN’s broadcast of today’s God Forbid hosted by James Carlton. Guests include the Principal of The King’s School – with its fees of $36 000per annum PLUS State and Federal government assistance and with its 30 playing fields etc; Michael Furtado from Catholic Education et al and Professor Marion Maddox from Macquarie Uni. BTW, Carlton’s offspring attend a public school whose playing area is the approximate area of a bituminised tennis court.

    Maddox is strong on the secular angle and it’s interesting the way she interprets the funding of religious in all schools over recent years. Gillard gets a tick as opposed to Abbott who gets the cross (as fitting.)

    http://www.abc.net.au/am/content/2005/s1325551.htm

  17. Melanie McCartney

    MN,

    Firstly, try dialing down the tone a little there’s really no need to talk to someone like that.

    Now, you’ve sent many links etc

    The first one which is a Bloomberg snapshot I have already used in my article: ‘The standard that you walk past’ which I also linked to for this article. https://melmacpolitics.com/2017/09/20/the-standard-that-you-walk-past/ I published it in September 2017..

    ‘Indue started out as Creditlink, it changed its name in 2006 a year after Larry Anthony, former Liberal National Party MP became chairman of its board. Anthony was the chairman of Indue until 2013, and he’s been the Federal President of the National Party since 2015. Indue’s win was publicly announced in December 2009, the original contract was worth just over $11 million for three-years, it ballooned out to over $25 million.

    I’ve gone through the tenders and contracts relating to the card, there are thirteen in total to date. Out of those, seven of the contracts are limited, so none of the finer details are available for the public.’

    Secondly in regards to Larry.. the Guardian link that you provided also says:

    ‘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.’

    Here is another link for you: https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/nationals-interest-larry-anthony-the-party-president-who-runs-a-lobbying-firm-20170929-gyr9wx.html

    I may edit it to Deputy Chairman, or Director as your link says that he was… Either way he was directly connected from 2009 when they won the first contract until 2013. Providing this info for you has reminded me that Larry also held social security portfolios as an MP for the Howard government, I’m sure that it’s just a coincidence..

    What else was there.. Your odd argument about Indue tenders, again it’s in my previous article about it provided as a link to back up what I’m writing, as well as providing more information if folks want to read more:

    ‘Five tender applications were received and the winner was Indue Ltd.’

    Anyone can critique articles but it’s probably best that you thoroughly read them before getting defensive and rude.
    As a writer we decide the scope and direction of what we’re writing if you want to highlight other things, then I suggest that you write yourself, a much more constructive use of your time.

    Lastly, I didn’t mention shares I was merely pointing out connections, in particular the SERCO one. Oh and the Michael article that you keep referencing, just so that you know the Say No Seven page has banned it from being posted. Why? Because we like to deal with facts and things that ‘can’ be verified, it only caused confusion. There is much that I left out because of this reason too.

    Good day to you.

  18. Keitha Granville

    I am gobsmacked, desperately sad, outraged, disbelieving.

    But then not – of course a rich person is making money from the government on behalf of “helping” the less fortunate. Same as the Job Network.

    Will a Labor government do anything to stop this theft ?

  19. Kaye Lee

    Updated Senate estimates figures show 55,714 homeless or at-risk people who get payments such as Newstart received a suspension between July 2018, when the system came into effect, and December 2018. The Department of Jobs and Small Business also revealed 50,843 job seekers who had a mental illness had their payment suspended, and 48,022 single-parent job seekers received a payment suspension. The department also confirmed 5,103 homeless or at-risk jobseekers lost their income support entirely because they failed to “re-engage” with the job services provider or Centrelink after their payments were suspended.

    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/apr/14/coalition-stopped-welfare-payments-to-55000-homeless-or-at-risk-jobseekers-in-six-months

    George Christensen spends 42 weeks in the Philippines. No pay suspension there.

  20. Lambert Simnel

    Barbaric pigs, aren’t they?

    Where do you live, what do you eat, when you are dirt poor and then kicked off welfare? Welcome to Calcutta.

    The mindset never ceases to bewilder this writer.

  21. ChristopherJ

    I cannot fathom it, other than the government is run for the benefit of self and mates, has been for my entire adult life.

    You could just give the money to the recipients and they’d have money for booze, ciggies and gambling as well as their kids, just like the rest of us. Be cheaper too.

    I am with others, where is Labor, or are they just going to keep rewarding these parasites?

  22. Danny

    It’s an URGENT & timely reminder of the fact we live under evil elite bankers, who fund your local politicians/leaders.

    THEY CONTROL OUR MEDIA AND OUR MONEY THROUGH THE ILLEGAL FEDERAL RESERVE / IMF etc., they own the media and almost everything of importance and have a monopoly on our economy PLUS they lie to us by claiming that we are in debt after they stole all the money and gold…WAKE U!! WE HAVE BEEN LIED TO AND WE ARE NOT IN DEBT!!!

    These criminals do not care for us, but use us to further their very own ends.

  23. Karen Joyce

    Fees for rent transfers, fees for buying the weekly groceries… never in our nightmares but suddenly present, in the human reality of the vulnerable. It is unacceptable. A harm this great cannot be tolerated because it will corrode us, socially and personally.
    Thank you for working so hard to bring this information together.
    It will be useful to us all when we hear advocates of this scheme, we can call them out and confront them with the counterexamples.

  24. Zathras

    If the government really believed the CDC scheme works in the best interests of the card holder and the taxpayer and that is has been an overall success, they should immediately extend it to all welfare recipients – beginning with all those on Newstart and all taxpayer-funded pensioners.

    Otherwise it will look like just another punitive stunt and a handy way of transferring even more public money into the hands of private corporations.

  25. Danny

    Plz note & remember that their control & cashless card is also a personal privacy invasion issue & surveillance agenda.
    It sure helps the so-called elite to make it easier for them to keep track & profile of each & every person! Everything they purchase will be registered & recorded. With cash there’s more privacy, without it there’s virtually none. They’ll be able to see everything etc.

    That’s their real agenda in addition to MAXimizing their profits.

    And what happens when there’s a blackout??

  26. pearlywhites

    a safer, PROVEN, targeted and therefore cheaper, homegrown Australian form of Centrelink Income Management already exists and was NOT offered in any ”trial” sites (even just by way of comparison). Already fully functioning, LEGAL, already here working discretely, seamlessly and RELIABLY within our local Australian banks of choice – across all payment platforms – and in ALL local small business! No stigma, no modern day Australian apartheid, and also importantly with full protections against illegal racketeering, kickbacks, ”tommy shops” (Truck Acts) or Cartels. No need for toxic Cashless Welfare Card(s) that will in fact blow out public purse every. single. year by $$billions if unchecked now. Voluntary or court ordered, set-up in conjunction with qualified support and medical professionals for vulnerable, at risk eg. disabled, brain injury, elderly in care, dementia, substance abuse, child neglect.

  27. pearlywhites

    @Matters Not /- indeed!

    you suggest you ”care about the children” of those targeted by this nasty and unnecessary imported (USA/UK) ”pest control”, therefore I ask how is wilfully and knowingly:

    a) causing the good names of their parents to be ruined, NO crimes committed, along with credit ratings/borrowing power destroyed overnight, and ongoing financial attacks, negligent interfence and economic loss with permanent ‘black marks’ against them ..how is this caring? Where else, what other setting would this be tolerated, promoted as ”healthy”, let alone normal?? Laughable if not so dangerous.

    b) completely taking away childrens’ personal access to our subtle national bond (heritage and birthright) by way of loss of use our unique Australian banknotes and coins, dumbed down in less than one generation – along with that important childhood learning no doubt you too would have experienced while growing up here: the first time going to a corner shop to buy milk and bread, friday’s fish and chips and coming home with correct change in your hand, being made feel a TRUSTED, respected, equal member of society. A note from Twiggy tooth fairy? You scoff? Again …caring?

    On public record a QLD Nationals MP admitted Indue CDC could NOT be used in a PUBLIC FUNDED sports centre, as well as the bleeding obvious, no access for some undeserving children ONLY to swimming, community and church venues. Inability to pay Rent and vehicle rego and an endless list of goods and services now unavailable –and that’s even before we speak about inbuilt Card restrictions that force responsible parents to now need to submit statutory declarations, upload quotes and documentation and wait 28+ days ”approved” or DENIED. for every single item, and ..every.. single.. child or adult in their care … along with this requirement needed for themselves.

    Essential Loans no longer available, same income, available prior to Card(s), available to everyone else nationwide, yet suddenly no longer available to one group of law abiding Australian ratepayers and residents ONLY.

    WARNING: On the topic of Indue Cashless Debit Card(s) and mortgages, small business loans, car finance etc. and any Guarantor.

    It is coming to light that within ”trial” areas Indue is causing defaults on existing Loan agreements (Australian banks) : delayed repayments, repayments unavailable between Indue and Australian Lenders.

    Please be aware forced ”trial” particpants using Indue Cashless Debit Card(s) have suffered major financial loss, and Cars repossessed – through NO fault their own – which brings us to the subject of Guarantors. For anyone who has placed a security guarantee in good faith over a forced Card-holder’s existing mortgage, small business loan or car finance YOU will now also be put at risk.

    ”What is a family security guarantee?
    Under a family security guarantee, a family member with sufficient equity in their home can use it as a security guarantee for your loan.

    The person providing the security is known as the guarantor. The guarantor doesn’t give you or the lender any money. However they will have to accept the obligations associated with entering into a guarantee. And you will still need to make the repayments.”

    The knock on effect to our local communities, and on Australian Bank branches due to the loss of 80% collective Social Security funds, and loss of any associated foot traffic, is staggering.

    VOTE TO STOP THE CARD(S)!

  28. pearlywhites

    ANZAC DAY
    – planning on buying an RSL Anzac Day badge for yourself and one for your family to honour a loved one?
    Guess what?
    IT IS CASH ONLY!!

    Maybe an ANZAC special ed commemorative $10 coin from a Mint? = DENIED !!!

    its that prohibition of (Andrew ‘Banjo’ Paterson)(Dame Mary Gilmore)(David Unaipon) our unique banknotes and coins remember folks, for those very ‘special’ undeserving children, and ordinary, law abiding adults targeted ONLY! You know, the modern equivalent of one of our national icons, the unemployed swagman (still in living memory my elderly parents generation), those part time employed, workers between jobs, volunteers, disabled, their carers … and any children in their care.

    ”Once a modern swagman camped by a billabong sign, under the gaze of CTV.
    What’s that grey Card you’ve got in ya pocket mate?
    No longer an aussie or equal to me?

    Waltzing Ceduna, waltzing Ceduna, who’ll come a waltzing Ceduna? – NOT ME!

    ….and their ghosts will be heard!” Our voices are growing loud!

    PLEASE VOTE TO STOP THE CARD(s).

  29. Cool Pete

    Turnbull kept going on about “love”, but what he forgets is this. If a person with addiction issues wants to break free, they can enter a detox programme and 75% of their Centrelink payment is taken by the provider. That is more effective than the CDC Indue Card because the person is voluntarily committed. This horrendous policy, however, is not about “love” it’s about control.

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