PENSIONERS can rest easy. They won’t be affected by the cashless welfare card, which the Australian Government is considering for a nationwide roll-out. The Prime Minister is on record as saying that it would target the under-30s on Newstart and those on Youth Allowance.
The other idea floated by the Australian Government is alcohol and drug testing for the same group of people.
It seems an odd obsession. The Australian Government assumes that anyone under-30 who is not working is likely to have an alcohol and/or drug problem and will not spend their social security payment wisely.
It is also odd how the Australian Government seems to think that by humiliating people already feeling low because they’re out of a job and dirt-poor, these people will be caused to grow a backbone, beat addiction and find a job.
It is quite a mad idea.
While pensioners will not be saddled with a cashless welfare card and escape drug and alcohol testing on pension day, it is quite possible that older people on Newstart will one day be exposed to these ill-advised measures. It’s for people-under-30s now, but that’s an arbitrary age limit.
At the same time, pensioners need to remind themselves that pensions are regulated under the same Act of Parliament and paid by the same agency as Newstart and Youth Allowance. There are other stingy, mean measures like the cashless welfare card available to policy makers.
Beating the cashless welfare card now will prevent other mad ideas getting up later.