Macarthur Matters with Mike Freelander: The Cashless Debit Card that's Morrison telling pensioners what to do

Mike Freelander.
Mike Freelander.

There are over 15000 recipients of the aged pension living in our community.

They are our neighbours, our friends, our parents and our grandparents.

Many have worked their entire lives, paying taxes and contributing to our society.

In old age, they deserve to be supported and to be able to live with dignity.

In recent months, Labor has been working to ensure that is the case.

The Liberal-National Government's infatuation with the Cashless Debit Card places their very independence at risk.

Despite recent reassurances, the Coalition Government has consistently tried to expand the Cashless Debit Card scheme for those who receive payments through social security.

This scheme presently involves quarantining 80 per cent of a welfare recipient's payments. It places restrictions on items that individuals can purchase, and limits freedom of choice. It prevents people from withdrawing cash from their own bank accounts, and dictates what a person is able to do with their money.

The Government has no place in dictating how people should be able to live their lives, and I find it incredibly insulting that they do not trust people to manage their own finances.

If a pensioner wants to buy a lottery ticket, they should be able to do so. If they want to buy a bottle of wine or a few beers, they should be able to do so. Similarly, if they want to withdraw their pension to put money away for Christmas gifts or to buy meat from their local butcher in cash, they should be able to do so.

Labor stands opposed to broad-based compulsorily income management.

The Government's cashless debit card scheme is largely discriminatory, and Labor stands opposed to the Government forcing people onto this scheme against their wishes.

In Parliament, Labor is introducing our Protecting Pensioners from the Cashless Debit Card Bill to protect pensioners from this scheme and to prevent it being forced upon individuals.

The only way pensioners can be sure the Government will not extend the Cashless Debit Card to them is if the Prime Minister supports Labor's bill to end the card once and for all.

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