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CDC is a triumph of ideology over evidence. The problem does not exist & the solution does not work. It’s part of the government agenda to shame and stigmatise people accessing social security.


A thread.

Submission on Cashless Welfare Bill 2020 – Rodney Holmes

The government’s latest Cashless Debit Card Bill, (“Continuation of Cashless Welfare Bill 2020”) attempts to extend the CDC indefinitely. The Senate Committee Inquiry reviewing this Bill currently, is the 6th CDC Senate Inquiry.



Over 340 (76%) of 460 submissions to 5 previous Senate inquiries opposed the Cashless Debit Card. Including individuals with lived experience, independent academic experts, peak bodies, service providers, Aboriginal and Torres Strait orgs, volunteer activists and gov commissions.


All ignored and dismissed.



Individuals with lived experience are most important.

Despite agency being reduced by CDC and not having professional resources, they self-advocate, writing their own experiences. 100s of submissions are their personal stories, not prefab templates.


All ignored and dismissed.



Independent academic experts shared expert views and new research on CDC. Their studies and submissions are genuinely independent. Academics against CDC: @evacox @elisejklein @evevincentMQ @jonathonlouth @gregmarston1 @IanGoodwinSmith @Matt_C_Gray




Community advocates campaign against CDC for 5 yrs (unfunded). Petitions, rallies, protests, research, articles, reports, submissions, hearings, events and social media. @antipovertyqld @AntiPovertyN_SA @AusUnemployment @notowelfarecard @thesayno7


All ignored and dismissed.



Social service Peak bodies (health, legal, child protection, carers, single parents, employment, DFV, financial counselling and disability) all gave evidence against CDC. They represent and are accountable to diverse members and can’t pursue personal crusades.


All ignored and dismissed.



Peak bodies against CDC

@aimnau @AASW_ @ACOSS @AWAVA_women @CarersAustralia @CFECFW @consumer_action @EJ_Australia @eraaustralia @FCAupdate @JobsAustLtd @TheLawCouncil @NTCOSS @PeakCareQld @PWDAustralia @_PHAA_ @RespectQld @QCOSS_ @RANZCP @VAADAENEWS @WACOSS



All ignored and dismissed



Social and legal services work on the frontline in communities supporting individuals impacted by CDC. They also often receive gov funding, so risk ‘biting the hand that feeds’ by providing evidence and speaking out against CDC.


All ignored and dismissed.



Social and legal service providers against CDC:

@anglicare_aust @CaritasAust @CSS_Aus @DarwinCommLegal @JesuitSocialSer @QldAdvocacy @VinniesAust @salvos
@UCommunitiesSA @UnitingCare_Aus



All ignored and dismissed.



Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Organisations represent and support individuals and communities racially discriminated against by CDC. With inclusion of NT and Cape York, the CDC remains targeted overwhelmingly at First Nations individuals and communities.


All ignored and dismissed.



Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander orgs against CDC: @TheAHCWA @CAACongress @DanilaDilba @NATSICCofficial @NACCHOAustralia @congressmob @NAAJA_NT @RecAustralia @reddustoz



All ignored and dismissed.



Governments and Gov Commissions express concerns and provide evidence against CDC. Even if all the non-gov individuals and orgs are dismissed by the inquiry, it might be hoped evidence from governments and the government’s own commissions might be taken seriously.


All ignored and dismissed.



Government Commissions have expressed concerns and provided evidence against the CDC:





All ignored and dismissed.



Overwhelming expert evidence against the CDC


The underlying fallacy of the CDC is that the Policy Problem (‘welfare dependency’ causing social harm) does not exist, and the Policy Solution (CDC reducing social harm) does not work.

CDC is an ideological solution looking for a problem. Gov repeatedly ignores principle that ‘correlation is not causality’. Evidence does not show that accessing welfare causes social harm, nor does it demonstrate that restricting people’s access to welfare reduces social harms.

* How can CDC create jobs for unemployed where jobs don’t exist? It’s not an employment program.

* How can CDC treat drug, gambling or alcohol problems? It’s not a treatment program.

* How can CDC teach budgeting skills when it removes agency? It’s not financial counselling.

According to the government’s own reports the Cashless Debit Card (CDC) is 1. Ineffective, 2. Expensive, 3. Harmful, 4. Unsupported, 5. Discriminatory and 6. Paternalistic

1. Ineffective – Auditor-General: “difficult to conclude whether there had been a reduction in social harm”

2. Expensive – Auditor-General: $10,000+ per person

3. Harmful – Orima Evaluation: 32% said it made their lives worse

4. Unsupported – Orima Evaluation: recorded community opposition

5. Discriminatory – Human Rights Committee: restricts human rights of privacy and social security

6. Paternalistic – Human Rights Committee: removes people’s agency to manage their affairs


@SenatorSiewert @LindaBurneyMP @Malarndirri19



– Editorial insert –

– End Editorial insert –



And this is their lived experience…

The most common problems people said they experienced from being on the CDC were health or mental health needing support or treatment. This sample from over 100 personal stories, describes how it affected their mental health (ACOSS, 2019):



References – Submission on Cashless Welfare Bill 2020 – Rodney Holmes

ACOSS (2018) Submission to the ‘Select Committee on Intergenerational Welfare Dependence’

AIHW (2019) National Drug Strategy Household Survey 2019

Australian National Audit Office (2018) The Implementation and Performance of the Cashless Debit Card Trial

House of Representatives Select Committee (2019) Living on the Edge – Inquiry into Intergenerational Welfare Dependence

Melbourne Institute (2019) The Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey: Selected Findings from Waves 1 to 17

Orima Research (2017) Cashless Debit Card Trial Evaluation Final Evaluation Report

Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights (2018)

QCOSS (2017) Review of the Cashless Debit Card Trial and Evaluation

QCOSS (2019) Cashless Debit Card Trial (CDCT) Follow-up Hinkler Survey Results

QCOSS (2019) QCOSS Position Statement Cashless Debit Card (CDC) Trial

QCOSS & QNADA (2019) QCOSS and QNADA Position Statement on Drug Testing Trials

RANZCP (2017) Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists submission to 2017 CDC Inquiry






Mother stranded in 37C heat with her five children when cashless welfare card system crashes leaving her unable to fix her broken-down car – as thousands of others can’t access cash

Andrew-(Twiggy)-Forrest’s Indue card continues a proud family history of exploiting aboriginal people

The LNP Welfare Card: the true facts exposed. Corruption disguised as philanthropy!

A Viral Tweet Has Revealed The “Economic Racism” Faced By Remote Aboriginal Communities

Shame, stigma and humiliation: Cashless welfare card ‘demonising’ Centrelink recipients

Indue and the small matter of political corruption


A brief history of Twiggy Forrest’s obsession with cashless welfare

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