Petition update

Cashless welfare card could breach right to privacy – human rights committee

Kerry Arch
Wyndham Vale, VIC, Australia

Oct 3, 2015 — "Parliamentary joint committee asks social services minister to explain how the bill (Debit Card Trial Bill 2015) is compatible with human rights".

The proposed cashless welfare card could breach the right to privacy and indirectly discriminate against Indigenous people, women and people with disabilities, according to the bipartisan human rights committee.

“Restricting how a person can access, and where they can spend, their social security benefits, interferes with the person’s right to personal autonomy and therefore their right to a private life,” the report says.

The human rights committee listed its concerns with this approach, including the many instances when people could only use cash such as at markets, on public transport, to give to family members, buying second-hand goods and at stores that had minimum purchase requirements for debit cards.

“This restriction undoubtedly impacts on how a person is able to conduct their private life and represents the extension of government regulation into the private and family lives of the persons affected by these trials,” the report says.

The committee also said the government was yet to clearly demonstrate that income management had the beneficial effects hoped for.

We call on the Liberal Government, Labor, the Greens and the cross bench senators to acknowledge the findings of this committee and stop the implementation of the Healthy Welfare Card.

This card is aimed at those with alcohol, drug and gambling problems yet the policy is aimed at ALL welfare recipients. This is indeed a breach of our right to privacy considering they will be able to monitor each dollar spent, and it is also a form of financial abuse telling welfare recipients where they must spend their money.

Financial education is the key; support programs for those with addictions needs to be extended.

Newstart must be raised considering it's not been raised in 21 years, yet the cost of living has skyrocketed.

Housing affordability must be addressed. Less than 1% of housing is affordable for anyone on welfare payments.

We must speak up and voice our concerns to our politicians. Please share this petition and call or write to your local MP today.

On 20 August 2015, the Senate referred the Social Security Legislation Amendment (Debit Card Trial) Bill 2015 to the Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee for inquiry and report.

Submissions should be received by 18 September 2015. The reporting date is 12 October 2015.

It's not too late to post a submission. Post your submission in as soon as possible.

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