The contentious cashless welfare debit card is one step closer to being eliminated, but many people are outraged and are calling the decision “awful.”
Legislation to repeal the card, which the Coalition government established in 2016 and banned up to 80% of welfare funds from being spent on alcohol and gambling, was approved by the Lower House and will now be sent to the Senate.
Ben Fordham, the host of the 2GB radio breakfast show, criticized the federal government’s decision to discontinue the cashless welfare card on Wednesday, claiming that “kids are going to go hungry” as a result of the government paying attention to the wrong people.
Commentary by Ben Fordham on the PM’s decision to discontinue welfare cards
‘This one is a shocker. Once it is gone all together more kids are going to go hungry that’s the bottom line,’ he said.
‘Actions have consequences and the consequences of this action are horrendous.
‘More money will be spent on alcohol, more money will be spent on drugs, more money will be spent on cigarettes and more money will be spent on gambling.’
The 2GB host said more importantly it is the kids who will suffer from the government’s move.
‘Kids will go hungry. They will miss out on fruit and vegetables and on breakfast cereal, and school lunches and warm dinners,’ he said.
‘Because some people just cannot help themselves. They are so unwell, so sick with addiction issues they have no control. That’s why we brought in the cashless welfare card.
‘It was introduced to help people, to help people spend 80 per cent on essential items, to help people look after their children and give them things they need.
‘The card is about to vanish and it is all because the prime minister isn’t prepared to follow through with a bit of tough love.’
The program has received harsh criticism from the Labor administration, according to Minister of Social Services Amanda Rishworth, who called it inefficient.
She said that the cashless debit card was mandated by the previous Coalition government as a panacea for the complicated socioeconomic issues faced by some of our most disadvantaged people.
Ben Fordham said that the administration had chosen the wrong advisors, including Senator Lidia Thorpe of the Green Party, who “simply believes that everything is racist.”
‘Lidia Thorpe said the card is racist. Well Lidia Thorpe thinks that everything is racist,’ he said.
‘She thinks that the police are racist, she thinks the defence force is racist, she thinks parliament house is racist, she thinks Australia is racist, she thinks the Australian anthem is racist, she thinks the flag is racist.
‘Racism, racism, racism, Lydia Thorpe always plays the race card and she did with this.’
Anyone who willingly wishes to stay participating will be switched to the BasicsCard if the card is discontinued.
In accordance with the Northern Territory Intervention strategy, the BasicsCard was launched in 2007.
It was a voluntary scheme that restricts 50% of a person’s income in order to ensure that they spend money on necessities.
Similar to the welfare debit card, it attempts to reduce harm caused by addiction to alcohol and gambling in rural and remote areas.
The Prime Minister last week justified his administration’s decision to stop using the card, claiming that doing so will strengthen the communities where it had been introduced.
Mr. Albanese said that the termination of the project was mandated despite opposition objections.
He told the legislature, “Our welfare system was paying a commercial corporation to participate in activity with a for-profit motivation, which was leading to… difficulties being forced on communities.”
He continued by stressing how crucial it was for individuals to be in charge of their finances.
One thing we’ve done is make sure that we’re giving communities power, not taking it away from them.