What will happen to the pernicious cashless debit card scheme after the election? Labor has promised to make the scheme voluntary and the Coalition claims not to have a plan to expand it. But can either be trusted? Alex Bainbridge and Vivien Miley report.
Australian Council of Social Services
The federal goverrment's Disaster Payment, now revised, is still not enough for many. Isaac Nellist reports on this and the campaign to raise JobSeeker.
Poverty is everywhere — in cities, towns and the bush across Australia: shivering people sleeping in doorways or cars; ragged people hanging around shopping centres begging for money or food; overstretched private welfare agencies unable to meet the requests for assistance; people turned away from emergency accommodation; and abused women and children turned away from refuges.
But those are only the most visible signs of poverty. The true extent of the poverty crisis is hidden.
The Australian Council of Social Services (ACOSS) said on March 7 it feared the system’s treatment of welfare recipients was scaring individuals away from exercising their right to claim income support.
Speaking as the Senate inquiry into the Centrelink debt recovery system began, ACT ACOSS Director Susan Helyar described the system as an abuse of government power that was undermining confidence in public administration.
“Some of our members have wondered whether individuals are being encouraged to stay out of the welfare system,” she said.