Saturday 29 February 2020

Meme of the Week


Hat Tip to Shaun Micallef

Quotes of the Week


"As the press gallery ate up Shearer Scotty, down the road taxpayers were being fleeced." [Social media commentator Ronni Salt writing in Crikey on 17 February 2020 about the rorting of  government funding during the 2019 federal election campaign]

“If there was a case of a young white boy with blond hair who later dabbled in class A drugs, and conspired with a friend to beat up a journalist, would he deport that boy? Or is it one rule for black boys from the Caribbean and another for white boys from the United States?” [UK Labour Opposition Leader Jeremy Corbyn asking a question in Parliament on 12 February 2020 which contained a thinly disguised description of Conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson]

Friday 28 February 2020

If you have ever wondered how Scott Morrison forms his opinions on everything from climate change & coal mining to taxation & punishing the poor......


Scott John Morrison does not appear to be a man with an abundance of intellectual curiosity, his employment history* is lacklustre with most of positions he held lasting less than 3 years and, his work ethic is not strong given he granted himself three holiday breaks in the first full year of his primeministership.

So to whom (besides the Institute of Public Affairs) does Morrison turn to when he is deciding his policy positions?


A clue might be found here......

 Michael West Media, Hon Scott Morrison MP, excerpt, 2020:


Mining Connections
John Kunkel, the Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff: before his appointment to his current position by Morrison in 2018, Kunkle served as Rio Tinto’s chief advisor for Government Relations, working as a lobbyist for the multinational mining firm. Rio is one of Australia’s top coal miners. Before this Kunkel was Deputy CEO of the Mineral Council of Australia for over six years.

Brendan Pearson, Senior Advisor for International Trade and Investment for the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) 2019 to present. Pearson was the CEO of the MCA from 2014 untl 2017, where BHP Billiton pressured the MCA over Pearson’s radically pro-coal stances and insistance on government-subsidised coal projects.

Lobbying Connections
Former mining lobbyists who now hold key positions within Morrison’s staff include The Prime Minister’s Principal Private Secretary, Yaron Finkelstein, the former CEO of Crosby Textor (now C|T) a multinational lobbying firm with close ties to the Liberal Party and the mining industry. Other C|T alumni include Liberal Party campaign director, Andrew Hirst and his deputy, Isaac Levido, as well as James McGrath, LNP Senator for Queensland and prominent public advocate for Adani’s Carmichael coal mine.

A further pro-mining lobbyist connection is Stephanie Wawn. Wawn is a
senior advisor to Morrison and was previously employed as a manager for CapitalHill Advisory. CapitalHill’s clients included coal miner Glencore and pro-coal think tank, the Menzies Research Centre.

Media Connections
Another way in which the mining lobby exerts influence is via the Prime Minister’s communications team. Many of Morrison’s senior communications team have long-held ties to the Murdoch press. News Corporation is pro-coal and anti climate change.

Positions taken by News Corp staffers in the Prime Minster’s office include Matthew Fynes-Clinton’s role as speech-writer. Fynes-Clinton was former deputy chief of staff and editor of The Courier Mail. Press Secretary, Andrew Carswell, formerly chief of staff at The Daily Telegraph and advisor Thomas Adolph, formerly with The Australian.

NOTES

* Jobs held since 1989:

National Manager, Policy and Research Property Council of Australia 1989-95. 

Deputy Chief Executive, Australian Tourism Task Force 1995-96. 
General Manager, Tourism Council 1996-98. 
Director, NZ Office of Tourism and Sport 1998-2000. 
State Director, Liberal Party (NSW) 2000-04. 
Managing Director, Tourism Australia 2004-06. 
Principal, MSAS Pty Ltd 2006-07.

Member iof the Australian Parliament 2007- present.


According to media reports there are still 3,544 First Home Loan Deposit Scheme places left, before another 10,000 places are opened up on 1 July 2020



According to the Commonwealth Bank, the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme is a “new initiative from the Australian Government designed to support eligible first home buyers purchase a home sooner”.

The National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation (NHFIC) will provide a guarantee for eligible first home buyers on low and middle incomes so that they can purchase a home with a deposit of as little as 5%.


In Yamba, Maclean and Grafton in the Clarence Valley the loan eligibility cap is a residential property valued at $450k. This same cap appears to apply to all of the NSW Northern Rivers region.

This cap deliberately limits the type of property which can be purchaed under the Scheme because it is only available for the purchase of a modest home, or the purchase of land and construction of a modest home”.

In certain areas there may be a small problem attached to having such a low property value limit to eligibility for the scheme. A residential property at $450k or less in the Northern Rivers regions is usually only a two bedroom freestanding house or unit/duplex - hardly suitable for a family with more than one child.

The sheme is available to low to middle income eaners over 18 years of age. There is no upper age limit restriction, so an applicant could easily be in their late 50s.

The upper income limit before a person becomes ineligible to apply for this concession is $125k for singles and $200k for a couple.

The scheme will support up to 10,000 home loans each financial year, starting from 1 January 2020, through a panel of participating lenders including the Commonwealth Bank.”

According to media reports there are still 3,544 First Home Loan Deposit places left, before another 10,000 places are opened up on 1 July 2020.

Thursday 27 February 2020

New Zealand National Party is a riven as its Australian cousin


Rod Emmerson

News Hub NZ, 19 February 2020:

Botany MP Jami-Lee Ross is facing charges which carry a prison term of up to seven years if convicted. Name suppression has been lifted for the four people charged by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) over donations to the National Party. 

Ross, who made the donation allegations in the first place, is one of them.

The other three are Zhang Yikun, the wealthy Chinese businessman who allegedly offered a $100,050 donation to National; Colin Zheng, Zhang's business partner and prospective National Party candidate; and Hengjia Zheng. 

In a statement made exclusively to Newshub and NZ Herald Ross made a plea, "I was the whistleblower and as a result ever since I have been attacked by the party and its supporters for bringing this matter to the attention of the nation. 

"Some seek to make me out as the bad guy, while that may be convenient spin for the party I will not be the National Party’s fall guy". 

If the case goes to trial Ross is promising to provide evidence to back up his claims, "it will then be clear who is behind any scheme but the public statements from Mr Bridges and the party that they had no involvement is simply not true."....

Read the full article here.

The $100,050 donation in question was made by a NZ-registered company Inner Mongolia Rider Horse Industry NZ, owned by Chinese billionaire Lang Lin.

Morrison has now slumped to the lowest likeability of any Australian leader since Andrew Peacock in 1990


The Canberra Times, 18 February 2020:

Prime Minister Scott Morrison, whose popularity has taken a big hit over the summer. Picture: Karleen Minney

It will be no surprise to Scott Morrison that his handling of the bushfires was a major political setback, and the latest set of polling only confirms the extent. The question will be whether the mud sticks.

Morrison sailed through last year's election on a high, with a likeability rating of 5.1, not great by historic standards, but higher than any party leader since Labor's Kevin Rudd after winning the 2007 election.

He has now slumped to the lowest of any leader since Andrew Peacock in 1990, and below the record low that Bill Shorten put on the scoreboard as Labor leader last year. Shorten had a dismal likeability rating of 3.97 in the ANU Election Study; Morrison has now scored 3.92 in a January poll by the ANU's Centre for Social Research.

It was personal. Half the people polled were asked to think about the performance of Scott Morrison when judging how good or bad a job the government had done on the bush fires; the other half was told to think about the performance of the government. You guessed it. When prompted by reference to Morrison, 64 per cent said the government had done a bad or very bad job, compared with 59 per cent when thinking about the government more broadly.

Anthony Albanese moved up in popularity, from 4.87 in June to 5.04 now - the highest of any Labor leader since Kevin Rudd at his peak in 2007, and higher than Mark Latham and Paul Keating.

The same message came from the Newspoll, which showed Labor overtaking the Coalition in the preferred prime minister ranks in January, for the first time since a brief hit from the Liberal leadership turmoil in August 2018. In September last year, 50 per cent of voters preferred Morrison for prime minister, against Anthony Albanese's 31 per cent, according to Newspoll. By January, Albanese was on 43 per cent and Morrison 39. Worse, Morrison's satisfaction rating went through the floor.

"I've got a thick skin," Morrison said on Monday when asked about criticism of him at the bush fire relief concert. "And I understand that over the period of the summer, you know, that people felt really raw about things ... My response is just to do things and get things done."….

But to date, Morrison has essentially failed to present any kind of ambitious reform agenda or coherent plan. As a result his Prime Ministership has turned into an endless round of inadequate and misguided responses to disaster, crisis and scandal…...

In the ANU survey just after the election last year, 45 per cent of people said the government should allow new coal mines; now only 37 per cent think so. As banks and big investors stop lending to thermal coal and turn their attention also to reducing investments in oil and gas, Morrison needs to align himself with the inevitable and start leading on new ideas for regional and remote communities.

He needs a better idea than the only one he seems to have rattling around in the top drawer - throwing more cash at the regions. Cash is handy, but it is not a reason for confidence or hope.

Wednesday 26 February 2020

It appears that almost singlehandedly Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison may have sunk his own government.


"Around 77.8 per cent of the population reported indirect exposure, by having a friend or family member that had property damage; friend/family that had property threatened; had their travel/holiday plans affected; were exposed to the physical effects of smoke; or felt anxious or worried. This equates to around 15.4 million adults." ["Exposure and the impact on attitudes of the 2019-20 Australian Bushfires" 2020]

In January 2020 the ANU Centre for Social Research and Methods and the Social Research Centre collected data from more than three thousand Australian adults from the probability sample ‘Life in Australia’ about their exposure to the bushfires that occurred across the spring and summer of late 2019 and into early 2020. 

Researchers also asked about a range of attitudes towards the environment, institutions, and political issues. 

Data from the January 2020 ANU poll was able to be linked to previous polls at the individual level.

This is the result........

Biddle, N, Edwards, B, Herz, D & Makkai, T, (2020) "Exposure and the impact on attitudes of the 2019-20 Australian Bushfires":

Abstract 

The bushfires that occurred over the 2019/20 Australian spring and summer were unprecedented in scale and wide in their geographic impact. 

Between 20 January and 3 February 2020, the ANU Centre for Social Research and Methods and the Social Research Centre collected data from more than three thousand Australian adults about their exposure to the bushfires, as well as a range of other attitudes and beliefs. 

We estimate that the vast majority of Australians (78.6 per cent) were impacted in one way or another either directly, through their family/friends, or through the physical effects of smoke. 

Furthermore, we estimate that around 2.9 million adult Australians had their property damaged, their property threatened, or had to be evacuated. 

This is the first estimate of self-reported impacts on that scale from a nationally representative, probability-based survey. 

Our survey findings also show that subjective wellbeing amongst the Australian population has declined since the start of spring 2019, people are less satisfied with the direction of the country, and have less confidence in the Federal Government. 

People are more likely, however, to think that the environment and climate change are issues and a potential threat to them, with a significant decline in the proportion of people who support new coal mines. 

By linking individuals through time, we are also able to show that some of these changes are attributable to exposure to the bushfires.

DOCUMENT Exposure_and_impact_on_attitudes_of_the_2019-20_Australian_Bushfires_publication.pdf (PDF685.59 KB):


General satisfaction with life before and after the bushfire season 

In the October 2019 ANUpoll 65.2 per centsaid they were either satisfied or very satisfied with the way the country is heading. By January 2020 this had declined to 59.5 per cent of adult Australians. 

Over the same period, there was a small (but significant) average decline in life satisfaction from 7.05 (on a scale from 0 to 10) to 6.9. 

Levels of confidence in institutions 

Confidence in the federal government declined by 10.9 percentage points from October 2019 to 27.3 per cent by January 2020. 

Confidence in other institutions was quite stable over the period, and higher than for the Federal Government. In January 2020: 

• 48.8 per cent of the population had confidence in the public service (52.1 per cent in October 2019); 

• 73.8 per cent had confidence in the police (75.8 per cent in October 2019); 

• 40.4 per cent had confidence in the State/Territory Government where they lived (not asked in 2019); and 

• 93.0 per cent reported confidence in organisations responsible for firefighting in regional or rural areas (not asked in 2019). 

Voting patterns between October 2019 and January 2020 

The per cent of people who said they would vote for the Coalition if an election was held that day declined from 40.4 per cent in October 2019 to 34.8 per cent in January 2020. 

The largest relative increase (8.8 per cent to 10.5 per cent) was for those who would vote for a party other than the Coalition, Labor, or the Greens. 

Views on party leaders between June 2019 and January 2020 

Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s average rating declined from 5.25 to 3.92 out of 10. 

Leader of the Opposition Anthony Albanese’s average rating increased from 4.87 to 5.04. 

Changes in attitudes towards the environment 

49.7 per cent of people reported aspects of the environment as the most important issue or second most important issue facing Australia in January 2020 compared to 41.5 per cent in October 2019. 

Reporting fires, natural disasters or extreme weather as the most or second most important issue were close to non-existent in October 2019. This increased to 10.2 percent by January 2020. 

Concern about most specific issues increased from 2008 to January 2020, with the greatest increase for: 

• loss of native vegetation or animal species or biodiversity (a 13 percentage point increase); 

• drought and drying (a 9 percentage point increase). 

Support for new coal mines have declined since the May 2019 election. In June 2019 45.3 per cent said yes to the question ‘In your opinion, should the Government allow the opening of news coal mines?’. This had declined to 37.0 per cent in January 2020.

Capital cities versus the rest 

There is majority support by residents in both capital and those living outside of capital cities that global warming is very serious, and that global warming will be a threat to them. These views are more strongly held by capital city residents. 

Only 35.6 per cent of capital and 40.1 per cent of non-capital city residents support new coal mines and there is no statistically significant difference in views between the two. 

Did exposure to the bushfires affect changes in satisfaction, confidence or voting intentions? 

Direct or indirect exposure to bushfires did not statistically affect changes in life satisfaction between October and January. 

Indirect exposure to the bushfires affected levels of confidence in government and satisfaction with the direction of the country. Those exposed reported greater declines in both confidence and satisfaction. 

Although there was no significant direct affect from the bushfires on reporting a change in voting intention, exposure to the bushfires was associated with a significant decline in the likeability of Prime Minister Scott Morrison......

It appears that almost singlehandedly Australian Prime Minister & Liberal MP for Cook Scott John Morrison - aka #ScottyFromMarketing - may have sunk his own government.

Global insurance industry has begun to retreat from regions badly affected by climate change


Almost as soon as federal, state and local governments around the world began to consider what climate change might mean to them, it became obvious the insurance industry had been do the same for some time and had considered its options - at one point expressing a view that residential premises within the coastal fringes might become uninsurable and the land on which these homes were built would be rendered worthless by climate change.

Now QBE is turning that prediction into a reality.......

The Sydney Morning Herald, 17 February 2020:

Global insurance giant QBE has warned climate change poses a material threat to its business and the entire economy as its chief executive Pat Regan said premiums were at risk of becoming too high in areas exposed to repeated, extreme weather. 

QBE has been forced to cut operations in countries where the climate risk is too high and Mr Regan said severe weather means customers in certain [areas] may be priced out of certain types of insurance in Australia and around the world. 

"We got out of places like the Philippines, Thailand, Chile, Puerto Rico [where] it was just too much climate change weather impact risk there that the risks just weren't worth it," Mr Regan said. 

Mr Regan said there had always been parts of the world that were difficult to insure, but as floods and fires become have dominated headlines this summer, this risk was increasing across "swathes of Australia" and could potentially price out customers from home and business property insurance. 

Mr Regan said climate change was a "big topic" in the sector, requiring the insurance giant to "up its game on a number of fronts". QBE boosted its reinsurance program for catastrophic events to $2 billion in a process that would be reassessed each year, Mr Regan said. 

"What that means is you could have a one-in-200-year storm and we'd be protected," Mr Regan said. 

"Whatever your more broad thoughts on climate change are, the evidence is clearly there that the frequency and severity of weather events is increasing over time. 

"The evidence is there for all to see that the amount of weather events globally, not just in Australia, is consistently rising and most of the worst years on record have happened in the last 10 years."  [my yellow highlighting]

ABC News, 3 January 2020:

....the number of “uninsurable” addresses in Australia is projected to double by the turn of the century to nearly 720,000 — or one in 20 — if nothing is done to address escalating risk from extreme weather and climate change. Thousands more will see their insurance premiums double or even triple within decades, the data reveals.....

In Newcastle-Maitland, NSW, the number of uninsurable addresses will rise five-fold by 2100, to nearly one in seven.....

On the Gold Coast, increased risk from flooding and inundation will push the number of uninsurable addresses to 64,000 by 2100 — or one in six. 

In Palm Beach, Broadbeach Waters and Bundall, more than half of addresses are projected to become “uninsurable” by 2100.

Financial Review, 27 October 2019:

Extreme weather has been making strata property in north Queensland very difficult to insure....

Strata insurance is the insurance that covers entire apartment complexes, as opposed to individual houses. As one insurer told The Australian Financial Review, large complexes pose much higher risks than single houses.....

Assessing the risk to these properties is difficult, and a number of insurers have simply stopped trying. Suncorp, one of the big three ASX-listed general insurers, falls into this category. It no longer underwrites complexes with more than 10 units, or an insured value of more than $5 million. QBE, Zurich and the major reinsurers have also pulled out.

Australian Parliamentary Library, Records of the Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry, "Inquiry into climate change and environmental impacts on coastal communities", October 2009:

Climate change is projected to have a major impact on the frequency of extreme weather events, with the coastal zone being particularly vulnerable in this regard because of the combined effects of sea level rise and storm surge/flooding events. 

In its submission to the inquiry, the peak body for the insurance industry, the Insurance Council of Australia (ICA), noted that: 

more than 425,000 Australian addresses are below 4 metres above mean sea level and within 3km of the current shoreline. Within the Greater Sydney region (Newcastle to Wollongong), 46,000 addresses are identified as being within 1km of the shoreline and with elevations less than 3m. 

The ICA further observed that the majority of these vulnerable addresses are located near ocean-connected coastal waters—that is, alongside lakes, river banks and estuaries—and that properties in coastal settlements which are also on inland floodplains ‘can be liable to both river and ocean inundation, often concurrently’. 

Climate change could have adverse impacts on insurance affordability and availability, compounding the problem of under-insurance: 

Around 23 per cent of Australian households (1.8 million) are currently without building or contents insurance. As insurance premiums rise, more households may opt out of insuring, putting an added burden on governments and communities when disasters occur.

Tuesday 25 February 2020

And the madness grows in the United States of America in 2020


This is not a hoax. It is a document generated by a Tennessee General Assembly statutory oversight committee.


Transcript of the draft bill in question.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION 779 
By Van Huss 

A RESOLUTION to recognize CNN and The Washington Post as fake news and condemn them for denigrating our citizens. WHEREAS, on October 3, 2019, an editor for The Washington Post wrote that President Donald J. Trump has cast a spell on the Republican Party and suggested that Trumpism is cultlike; and 

WHEREAS, on November 24, 2019, a CNN host suggested that Trump supporters belong to a cult and that our president is using mind control; and 

WHEREAS, we recognize that fake news outlets suggest ideas without directly making accusations so that they can claim innocence from their ivory towers; and WHEREAS, it is fascinating to see this latest "cult-of-Trump" meme coming from the left, because they are the true masters of deploying mobs to demand total conformity and compliance with their agenda; and 

WHEREAS, any thoughtful observer can see the cult-of-Trump meme as a classic case of psychological projection; after all, accusing someone's perceived opponent of exactly what one intends to do is a very old tactic; and 

WHEREAS, the mainstream media is in a panic because President Trump has opened the eyes of many average Americans who are tired of politics as usual. They are tired of being politicians' political pawns, and they are tired of every other country's needs being put before their own; and 

WHEREAS, suggestions of cult-like behavior by President Trump's supporters substitute a value judgment in place of a sorely needed argumentative analysis of how voters generate their own political views; and 

WHEREAS, to describe the entire Republican Party as a cult led by President Trump is problematic: If journalists are going to refer to the party as a cult and its supporters as cultists, they must define what "cult" means; otherwise, they are assuming that a cult is some obvious phenomenon and everyone knows what the word means; and 

WHEREAS, this cult diagnosis isn’t a reasoned argument, or even an objective description; and 

WHEREAS, the cult diagnosis draws a line between Trump opponents and Trump supporters, and it oversimplifies the way people think and feel about their own beliefs and those on the other side of that line; and 

WHEREAS, President Trump understood their frustration when he ran for office; he has taken a stand on behalf of the middle class and everyday people, and that is the reason he has growing support; and 

WHEREAS, suggestions that supporters of President Trump are exhibiting cult-like behavior isn't helpful in an era of significant political polarization; now, therefore, 

BE IT RESOLVED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE ONE HUNDRED ELEVENTH GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF TENNESSEE, THE SENATE CONCURRING, that the State of Tennessee recognizes CNN and The Washington Post as fake news and part of the media wing of the Democratic Party. 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we condemn them for denigrating our citizens and implying that they are weak-minded followers instead of people exercising their rights that our veterans paid for with their blood.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

NOTE

Forty-one year old James "Micah" Van Huss is a self-declared pious Christian, ex-military Republican 
member of the Tennessee House of Representatives representing over 14,000 people in House District 6 in Washington County since January 8, 2013.

Calling out an intentionally cruel Morrison Coalition Government


Zoë Wundenberg (left) is a highly qualified careers consultant and un/employment advocate who is also a journalist.

This is an article she wrote for the Bega District News.

Far too many newspapers in rural & regional Australia are not tackling this subject in any depth, even though their communities will be affected by the relentless rollout of the Indue Cashless Debit Card aka the 'Humiliation Card'.

So well done Zoë and Bega District News Editor, Ben Symth.

Bega District News, 10 February 2020:

I am finding myself rubbing my eyes, as if to clear away the disbelief, every time I see the news. I have to be honest - I'm struggling to come to terms with what we are seeing emerge from government leadership and I just cannot rationalise the social welfare policies that have been rolled out since the last election, in particular.

My naivete refuses to let me believe wholeheartedly that anyone elected to represent the people could deliberately intend to be cruel.

I want to believe that those in positions of power are just not understanding the reality of the situation, or can't empathise with something they've never experienced themselves. Or, perhaps, have been swayed by data that can so easily be stacked to say whatever the author want it to say.

I don't want to be a cynic. But I'm becoming one. As a nation, we continue to be labouring under the belief that people who don't have a job have something wrong with them - that if you don't have any money, it's because you can't manage it; that if you receive welfare payments, you are going to waste income support on drugs, alcohol and gambling.

The 2016 National Drug Strategy Household Survey states that people experiencing unemployment are "3.1 times as likely to have used meth/amphetamines". This oft-quoted line from the report is regularly trotted out to justify the quarantining of income support payments on the basis of preventing social harm. However, what this figure actually refers to is the difference between 1.5 per cent of employed people and 4.6 per cent of people experiencing unemployment. It is not an encompassing statement about drug use across the board and does not equate to people experiencing unemployment being three times more likely to take drugs in general.

Would it surprise you to know that 74.3 per cent of people experiencing unemployment don't use drugs, or that more employed people are "lifetime risky drinkers" or "single occasion risky drinkers (monthly)", according to this same survey? Perhaps it would floor you to realise that one in five Newstart recipients actually have a job? They just don't have enough hours to completely lose their Newstart payment.

In light of this, I can understand why Senator Anne Ruston recently said that the scope of the cashless welfare card needs to have a "broader application than perhaps the social harm reduction that the original policy was designed on", because that initial purpose is such a flimsy basis that it simply doesn't stand up to scrutiny.

I looked into how a person would go about applying for an exemption from the card and the list of criteria was astounding.

According to the exit application and support documentation, to successfully exit the program "you must show reasonable management of your affairs, including financial affairs."

To do this, they will assess your Indue account information including transactions made and transfer history AND cashless debit card hotline information (presumably the recordings of calls "for training purposes"), applications for urgent Centrelink payments, suspensions, protection orders made against you, and even health information including episodes of medical care relating to drug and alcohol issues, to name a few. This breach of personal privacy dumbfounds me. That you are put on the program regardless of whether you actually have a history of drug, alcohol or financial issues, and then are forced to prove yourself capable when the very program stunts your agency and restricts your capacity to pay the bills they require you to in order to exempt you is preposterous.

As a citizen, the current investigations into a national rollout with the big four banks involved to further curb our freedoms are frightening. The rollout itself is terrifying enough, but it makes you wonder what's next? What's the bigger picture, here?

I have no answers, just a growing sense of dread. I think Thomas More must be in office, because it is quite clear that this government is first making thieves and then punishing them. But Utopia, this is not.

There are currently an est. 15,000 people receiving a working age welfare payment, other than an Age Pension and Veterans’ Pension,  who have been mandatorily placed on the neverending cashless debit card 'trial' program, with a further est. 23,000 people living in the Northern Territory to be forced onto the program in 2020.

What most people don't realise is that to date Indue Ltd only has 96 mixed merchants on its approved list and a whopping 729 businesses on its blocked list - including Australia Post, Deaf Services Queensland, Crisco Hampers, Casino Council, Westlawn Finance in Casino, and eBay to name a few.

Nor do they realise that Indue Ltd has placed conditions on card use that are not disclosed upfront on those federal government websites which include information about the cashless debit card.

The biggest brazen lie currently being told by the Morrison Government is that the Indue Cashless Debit Card operates "just like a regular bank card" - it does not. 

The most important difference is that an eftpos bank card is normally attached to a bank account which pays interest on the balance held in the account on the last day of each calendar month - Indue does not pay interest on the balance held on a cashless debit card.

The second brazen lie is that a person who has been forced onto the Indue Cashless Debit Card can exit the trial program if they can prove they are good financial managers - it is nigh on impossible to exit as only 2 per cent of all applications are approved after input from the Australian Dept. of Government Services, various state or territory government departments and the local 'trial' community panel.


Crime and violence 
“Lived in the same house for 5 years, before the card my street would be pushing it to have 5 break-ins a year. Last month’s there were 5 break-ins in a 4 day period!!” “I've lived it the same street for over 9 years and there has never been a break in until just recently there were two thefts” 

Financial hardship 
“Currently seeing a financial counsellor as I am spending more then what I usually would due to blocked merchants” “Everything to do with my finances has become more difficult. Indue doesn't pay bills on time which leads to defaults and extra fees. Because money is split it makes it harder to budget. I no longer get high interest on my savings as I can't save due to the 80% going to Indue” 

Financial hardship - rent payments 
“We aren't able to have our rent or bills processed by Indue. I personally could not pay my rent off the card for nearly 3 months. I had to sell whatever I had to make up the cash for rent.” “I myself experience this myself the stress of trying to sort money out and paying my rent is so hard as my real estate doesn’t accept this card therefore all my money in my normal account goes entirely on just rent, nothing left”

Stigmatisation of social security recipients 
“When I use my Indue card I have people often make snarky comments about it. I have anxiety and hate using it. I try and cover the logo every time I have to use the card.” “I feel embarrassed to pull my card out and pay at places so I will often avoid shopping on busy days as the added stress makes my anxiety unmanageable.” “I personally have been called a junkie and a dole bludger at the supermarket”

Access to second hand goods 
“My loan company does not accept the Indue card forcing me to use my 20% on loan repayments therefore I am forced to buy brand new goods for my children instead of second hand on marketplace.” “Cash only. Can't buy it. My sister can't buy a second hand washing machine. Because it's cash only.” “I have missed out on second-hand furniture from FB buy, swap, sell sites, I can no longer purchase FAR CHEAPER products for things like crafting, clothes for kids, bras etc off eBay as it is banned.” 

People’s wellbeing 
“I suffer from anxiety, depression, severe stress disorder and PTSD. I was in a DV relationship for 5 years where my money was controlled by my abuser. I left him over a year ago and now I am back in a DV relationship with Indue. My health has deteriorated. I suffer from chronic migraines, they have increasingly gotten more frequent and worse because I stress about money if Indue will pay my bills on time. I also sleep very little of a night due to stress. Overall my health and well-being has gone downhill.” “I had to go on medication again because it just feels like I’m in an abusive relationship again and they're just going to cut it off to change the rules again whenever they want.”

Harassment for cash 
“Frequently see persons around the region requesting donations of food, clothing, blankets and money. Never saw this previously before this card was introduced.” “I've been harassed and abused for having physical cash in my wallet ever since the trial started.” “I've had a lot more people ask me for change than before the card was introduced.” 

Level of cash in the community 
“Observing 2nd hand market there has been a definite decline and drop in social numbers at markets etc” “Seen first-hand businesses close and markets fail due to lack of stall holders and attendees”

“No benefits, my pay goes to bills food and to my children. I never have money left over to use on alcohol and i am not a drug user or have ever gambled. I am a student nurse doing the best I can for my 2 babies” “In fact since being reduced to only 20% of my pay in cash I've been able to provide less for my family than usual. Not to mention rent payment issues constantly.” “Its destroyed my self-esteem an made it so i never leave the house. I only go to coles and home. To ashamed to use it for public transportation to visit my son so he miss out as well."

“I have had the card not work in Woolworths when trying to purchase groceries (in their defence, they were having major EFTPOS issues at the time, but the Indue card wouldn't work when other cards did), I have missed out on opportunities to purchase second-hand goods due to not having access to cash - i.e. a $15 line trimmer, and have overhead people talking about the card after seeing me use it or having it not work as being the one 'given to the alchos' although I do not gamble, take drugs or drink alcohol.” “I'm currently having details with rent and have had major difficulties with paying a road side mechanic as well as every option I was allowed to choose in this question.” “A lot of discrimination being on CDC. Unable to purchase second hand goods as well as unable to go to the markets on weekends. Constant fear of the CDC declining when purchasing food.”

“Card declined despite available funds, inability to pay my bills as required without having to send off invoices each time, Rent problems, Exclusion from venues related to kids, Inappropriate service from DSS.” 

“I was shopping for groceries as Aldi and I could only afford to pay part of my payment on my card as I only had a small amount left and I just enough cash to pay the rest, as Aldi requires to process cash first, I did but then when I went to pay with my card it declined and said it couldn't be used, so then I had to stand there embarrassed with my groceries already half paid for but unable to pay the rest.” 

“I have agoraphobia and now am forced to leave my house because my online shopping is declined which is very distressing.” 

“I would love to share my story more in depth. I moved to Hervey Bay 2 yrs ago for support and a house to live in following my husband’s suicide. I have family here and they allowed me to live in their investment property while I waited for support payments from Centrelink. (It took 4 months by the way). The reason I am on this trigger payment is beyond my control and I have repeatedly discussed this with dept of social services. I have since bought a house, have an excellent credit rating and am a damn good mother to my sons. My youngest has turned 5 and I am now able to begin looking to return to work next year. Even my teenage son has a job and works at MacDonald’s. We shouldn’t be lumped into this long term welfare dependency category just because we moved here 2 years ago. I wish we didn't, because I wish my husband never took his own life, and I wish I never had to receive a goddamn single parent pension.” 

“My cousin was refused an apartment due to being on the card for he cannot pay his rent from it according to the landlord.” “We get degraded and called dole bludgers.. I am a mother of two and i have a spinal injury from working as a jillaroo for 7yrs! i don't want to be made to feel like a second class citizens in my own country!” 

“I get discriminated by people every time I use the card. People have negative things to say or roll their eyes at me and treat me as if I am a huge inconvenience to them. I am a carer I do not deserve to be on this card.” 

“Stranded no way to pay Car loan not paid Rent won’t process School fees” 
“Online purchases blocked, lack of solution or feedback to enquiries, lack of information and inadequate response, Family cash needs, transfer fees” 

“My son was placed on the card at seventeen, he was too young to purchase alcohol, too young to gamble and doesn't do drugs. The card didn't help him gain employment. He has found himself feeling less than at times, and without access to certain products due to the restrictions on the use of the card. After ten months of searching, he finally landed a job, and he can hardly wait until he can send the card back to Indue.” 

“This card has made my depression and anxiety much worse than it was I can't even stand to leave my house because of it” 

“I’ve been demoralized in line at the shops been discriminated trying to buy second hand stuff. Have lost any self-esteem i had and am now isolated in my house. I never leave except to go to Coles” 

“Card chip stopped working. Was left without card for 2 weeks because I wasn't told I could get a temporary card until new card arrived... Was left to survive the fortnight with the 20% cash from account” 

“My rent was not able to be paid without warning, as my housing limit was set to $0. Every 6 months i have to fill out 2 forms and get my landlord to sign them just so i can continue paying rent. They didn't send me a text, email or letter to warn me it was going to happen.”