As active participants in the LIFE Campaign, NoCashlessWelfareDebitCard and SayNoSeven are organising actions for September 24th. Especially, on September 24th there will be a protest action in front of the offices of Indue Ltd. 601 Coronation Drive, Toowong (Brisbane), Qld.

The Indue Ltd Income Management Card, otherwise known as ‘the cashless welfare card‘ is the latest iteration of compulsory income management in Australia. It has become a major issue for those acting for justice within the social welfare landscape.

Compulsory income management; government control over all or portions of social security entitlement payments, is an idea that had its roots as far back as 1982 in Australia. It began on the ground in 2007, targeting aboriginal communities with the roll out of the “Basics Cards” during the Northern Territory Intervention (NTER).

Indue income management cards currently operate across four sites -the East Kimberley, Ceduna, Goldfields and Hinkler electorates and despite being introduced by government as a 12-month trial, the policy is now in its fifth year of operation.

Indue income management cards take 80% of a persons social security entitlement and quarantine it into a third party account.

To be specific, the LNP hands legal ownership of that 80% portion to a private LNP backed financial services corporation – Indue Ltd.

This leaves the payment recipient with access to just 20% of the payment paid into their personal account ‘as cash’.

This 20% is the only “lawful income” that the banks ‘see’ which has had the effect of ending access to the credit system and loans for most participants. For some payment recipients that 20% sum is less than $7 a day.

Despite the LNP’s media spin, Indue income management cards are not “just welfare paid out in another form”. If placed onto a card, a persons income is strictly and actively managed by Indue Ltd and the Department, who exert control over all spending, not just over purchases of prohibited items. At any time, the Department or Indue Ltd acting independently can reject any purchase while also controlling your access to venues, from hotels/motels, and air travel, to the local school photographer and bookstores.

Not one report on Indue income management cards or any compulsory third party income management iteration in over 13 years has shown any success from the act of quarantining peoples income. To the contrary, extensive longitudinal studies showed increases in individual and community health problems and devastating social harms including increases in infant mortality and low birth weights in children, rises in domestic violence. Rising crime rates, crimes of opportunity and increases in suicides and attempted suicides of forced trial participants and people on other forms of forced income management have all been reported to the Senate since 2017.

Atop these, the impact of increased fees and financial losses forced trial participants have had to endure, have all been documented multiple times in multiple senate inquiries.

 Why you should care about Indue Cards:

  • Legal and Civil Rights: Government is using the social status and economic dis-empowerment experienced by the unemployed as a means to segregate forced Indue Income Management trial participants from society. They are circumventing civil and economic rights and even bypassing Social Security law itself.
  • Social and economic segregation based on income source: People on Indue Income Management cards have been prohibited from takinglegal actions against the department on discrimination grounds, and are prevented from acting against Indue Ltd for economic losses or personal injuries as government has provided this company with a ‘no action’ letter. Rather than changing laws directly, the Morrison government is simply not enforcing them for anyone captured under this policy.
  • All payments excepting Aged Pension and DVA are captured by the card right now.
  • Human Rights Abuses: The Indue Income Management card infringes on five articles of non-discrimination law and other articles of human rights legislation. The AHRC writing in five senate submissions, has stated repeatedly that this policy does not meet Australian human rights standards or obligations.
  • Targeting women, children and people with disabilities and carers: People aged 16-67 yrs and people with disabilities are on cards right now.
  • Public money being wasted: Massive sums of public money is being preferentially given to a private corporation in payments and in contract and management fees. Public money is going offshore and returning via Bank of America, at significant cost to the Australian public and forced trial participants in interest losses and international banking and transaction fees.
  • Needless duplication of service: The Indue cards were never about drugs/alcohol or welfare spending. These were just a pretext. Government already had income management in place for people the department considered ‘at risk’, it is called the weekly payments income management program. People on this program are exempt from current trials.
  • Reducing community cashflow: Indue Income Management cards reduce local spending in small businesses and second hand markets, they impact and restrict the cash flow to all businesses within communities they have been rolled out in. Government is removing money from the community at a time the community needs it desperately.
  • Housing/Homelessness Crisis: The impact of Indue unreliability in rent payments and direct debit transfers has made people homeless and reduced peoples living incomes.
  • Usurping institutional practices: Since an April 2019 amendment to the legislation, people were told they could “exit” the trials, however by Jan 1st 2020 just 14 forced participants of over 12,000 had been exited and the excuses given to several hundreds more for rejecting applications border on the inhumane and ridiculous. Exit decisions – a determination of “individual capacity to manage ones own financial and other affairs”, are made in secret by DSS Secretary Kate Campbell alone, and usurp the role of the State Trustee and bypass fiduciary and guardianship hearings and rights completely.
  • Civil Rights: Forced trial participant privacy rights are, in practice, wholly suspended.
  • Plans to let the banks run social security payment systems: The LNP have declared they want the Big 4 banks to take over day to day running of Indue Income Management cards. If this plan goes ahead, your mortgage holder will have the power and authority to control your every day spending. [
  • The racist targeting of the current bill : Sitting in senate now, if passed, Cashless Card Transition bill 2019, will expand the roll outs even further and add 23,000 more people onto Indue cards. They will join the approximately 12,000 people already on cards now. Repeating the same pattern as early roll outs, the government are again targeting aboriginal communities with 86% of the target group in the bill being first nations people.
  • National roll out is next: If Transition Bill 2019 is passed, all current limitations and restrictions in the legislation will be removed.
  • Targeting aboriginal populations first AGAIN, the government is trying to set the ground work for the national roll out, starting with every payment recipient under 35 years of age across the nation.
  • Targeting the vulnerable: The Indue Income Management cards are crippling people already bearing burdens most people wouldn’t or couldn’t bear themselves and they are bringing the specter of active socioeconomic apartheid to everyone’s front door.

As you can see, there is no sector of Australian society and no sector in the fight for social justice that is not directly impacted by the advent and expansion of Indue Income Management policy.

 The three causes that guide the SN7 and NCWDCA are:

  • To amplify the voices of people being impacted negatively by the policy
  • To investigate and promote the policy’s role in segregation of people on centrelink from the law and to highlight ongoing centlelink privatisation. issues.
  • To overcome propaganda and explain to the public the differences between simple cashless-ness and forced third party income management cards.

Thanks to people who follow and support No Cashless Welfare Debit Card Australia and the Say No Seven group, a fight back against this draconian policy and the ideology driving it is happening. From contributing to the end of bipartisan support for the policy in 2017, to sabotaging plans for the national rollout in 2018, to raising noise levels so loud Hinkler rollout became a limited shadow of the policy itself, for five years we have been fighting tooth and nail to combat the government narrative and share the facts about this policy and its impacts.

We’ve spoken in Senate, impacted the social narrative and myth busted our way to a widening support base. While we have had some success in delaying the roll outs and impacting the agenda thus far, we need your support and urgent help now. We call upon our readers and allies to take the time to get informed and learn about the local and national impacts of “life on the card”.

No Cashless Welfare Debit Card Australia and The Say NO Seven group will be hosting several events during the upcoming Living Incomes For Everyone – LIFE Week of Action September 18th-24th where we will be targeting ministers, media and Indue itself and providing an unfettered platform for silenced cardholders to share their stories. We need to lift the roof of public awareness and urge you to gather your resources to support and participate in this vital grassroots effort.

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