Tucked neatly into Joe Ludwig and Jenny Macklin's joint media release, on the welfare debit card to be introduced this year for Centrelink clients under income management and all baby bonus recipients, is this little admission.
Using the EFTPOS network will make more data available for better-targeted compliance checks aimed at detecting breaches.
What this sentence means is that every purchase made with one of these cards will be recorded against the name of the card holder and the data stored by the Federal Government.
Because it is nigh impossible to monitor for breaches without doing so.
It seems that the Rudd Government in its wisdom has decided that everytime the holder of a welfare debit card decides to purchase Kleenex tissues over Coles own brand, Arnott's biscuits over Dick Smith's cookies, Panadol over Nurofen, dried peas over fresh peas, or if a card holder buys over-the-counter haemorrhoid relief cream, it needs to know all the details.
As these debit cards will bar the purchase of alcohol, tobacco, pornography and not allow cash withdrawals, collection of additional information is insensitive, intrusive and needless.
Given that there is every indication that the Rudd Government intends to eventually roll out the welfare debit card nationally to include all government pension, benefit, allowance, concession recipients; every Australian citizen should be concerned with the implications of this data collection drive.
When one adds to this the recent Rudd Government announcement that it intends to access the full details of bank accounts held by people receiving cash transfers through Centrelink, whenever it deems this necessary; every citizen should be alarmed at where this attitude is taking our society.