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9 December 2020

Independent Senator Rex Patrick tonight announced his opposition to the Coalition Government’s Social Security (Administration) Amendment (Continuation of Cashless Welfare) Bill 2020.

“I’m a NO!”

“I’ve just delivered my speech to the Senate and do not support the Bill”, Senator Patrick said. “I won’t support an extension of the cashless debit card scheme.”

“After a lot of research, investigation, questions and conversation, I’m not convinced.”

“The evidence of clear benefit is lacking – the government’s commissioned a two million dollar study that has not been released.”

“The Government has failed to demonstrate that the card achieves its stated objectives.”

“I’ve got an engineering background.  I’m always looking for practical solutions that work.” 

“The real test is whether something does the job it’s intended to do. Does it work? That is the question.” 

“As the government failed to present solid convincing evidence, I took it on myself to do the legwork and get out and talk to people with direct experience of the card.” 

“I’ve travelled to the CDC trial site in Ceduna and to the Northern Territory where they have the Basics Card. I listened to community leaders, businesses and most importantly people who are required to use the card.”

“After weighing up what I learned at the coal face, and what I’ve heard in the debate in the Parliament, I’m just not convinced.”

“The Government hasn’t made the case and my own inquiries have undercut the arguments they have made.”

“I believe in giving people a hand up. Governments should create opportunities and provide services to support people. It’s not their role to hold people back and create further disadvantage, which is what the welfare card does.”

“I won’t support it.”