Dec 2020

Cashless welfare card sparks social dislocation

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BOB Katter, Federal Member for Kennedy has opposed the cashless welfare card trial expansion before the Parliament today, citing internet coverage issues and danger of social dislocation as a result of moving toward a cashless society.

In a speech delivered in the House of Representatives, Mr Katter likened the card to living in a world where Big Brother controlled and watched every aspect of your life.

“If you move to a cashless society, democracy does not rule your lives, you do not rule your lives, the banks rule your lives," he said. 

“And with this card, you are moving into a society where the banks rule and control every aspect of your life."

Mr Katter recalled during his time as Minister of Aboriginal Affairs how at Yarrabah, south of Cairns, had 16 people in positions of power – all ‘white fellas’ – and that a façade of stability and peace concealed chaos and brutality.

“Six brand new houses had been smashed to pieces, and there was rioting in the streets and protests at the time. Three years later, the deaths in custody broke out. And yet if I didn’t know and wasn’t so cynical, I would have accepted it as being paradise on earth.

“How did they get that much control? Because everyone is on welfare and the cheques are issued by the government department. The government department either issued the wages or cashed the cheques and so the department head had complete control over the lives of those people, and it emasculated them to a point where they were simply shadows of human-beings with every single decision making power taken off them by a cashless society controlled by Big Brother.”

Mr Katter praised Andrew Forrest for the original intentions of the cashless welfare card but conceded that the concept has evolved to a point that too many people would fall through the cracks and the card would create a dangerous precedence in inhibiting the freedom of carrying cash.

“In Western Australia, I visited Roebourne on one occasion, and I counted 62 people lying prostrate in the street," he said. 

"I tried to talk to three of them, but they were unconscious. They were just lying around drunk in the street. It was the day after payday, and 62 human beings were lying in the street.

“This initiative was intended to help the vulnerable – kids, women etc – from the a small minority who mis-use their finances – it would have been difficult not to support such an initiative.

“But in places like Mornington Island, Dajarra and Doomadgee, the internet and telephone coverage is so patchy, especially during the wet season that these cards won’t work in those instances even if they carried them!

“And if you take from a person every single right that he has to control his life—and the socialists are the worst at this; they have to look after the poor— it emasculates them.

“Percy Neal, the mayor of Yarrabah for many years and a person who can be very eloquent at times, said: 'Minister, you simply don't get it, do you? You have an addiction to the idea that we blackfellas can't look after ourselves. Well, we were doing pretty good for 40,000 years, before you mob arrived here.'

“He said: 'All we ask of you is to get the hell out of our lives. We don't want to be looked after. We want you gone. That's all we want.' One of the reasons the Neal family and I are so enormously close is that I got 'em gone.

“The last time I visited Yarrabah, the 16 main positions held at Yarrabah were all held by black people, not white people, not like when I went there the first time. And only just this year we rioted the Covid-19 lock ups in Yarrabah and within seven days the lock ups were reversed.

“So, the point I'm trying to make is that the Government underestimates that a lot of people realise they have a problem.

“If it is done on a voluntary basis, as was advocated by Andrew Forrest in the first place, then I think we are talking about a different animal. But when you start imposing it, and when you see Woolworths coming out and saying, 'We're not going to accept cash anymore,' well then you see where we're going. And that is a dangerous destination."


Contact Details

P: (07) 4061 6066
F: (07) 4061 6566
Visit: Cnr Edith and Owen St
Post: PO Box 1638
Innisfail, Qld 4860

Mount Isa
P: (07) 4743 3534
F: (07) 4743 0189
Visit: 42-44 Simpson St
Post: PO Box 2130
Mount Isa, Qld 4825

(when Parliament is sitting)
P: (02) 6277 4978
F: (02) 6277 8558

Local Call within the electorate
P: 1300 301 942

Email: Bob.Katter.MP@aph.gov.au