Yesterday, 14/05/2018 in this ABC Goldfields article, Federal member for O’Connor Rick Wilson stated that the Goldfields rollout [ of the Indue Ltd Cashless Debit Card -CDC ] has gone “smoothly” and should be completed within a month.
Mr Wilson states that “…he has already received positive reports about the card from the small Goldfields town of Coolgardie.”
Ignoring the fact people on the card have recently had their ability to self determine their own budgets removed and now can only spend their income at certain stores rather than making their usual purchases of goods from markets, second hand retailers and cash only outlets, Mr Wilson goes on make full use of a slight increase noted in store purchases as early ‘evidence’ of card success. In doing so, he repeats almost verbartim the same media script used by Mayor Alan Sutor in Ceduna, post CDC roll out there in 2016.
Mr Wilson states:
“The local general store are saying their grocery sales have really gone up in the last couple of weeks,” he said.
“They’ve seen people coming in shopping for groceries that they haven’t seen come into the shop before, and the alcohol sales in the other part of the store are down.
“That’s great news if people are spending more of their support payment on the necessities of life, as opposed to drugs and alcohol.
“That’s why the evaluation is so important, so we can quantify what we’re hearing anecdotally and go back to the parliament.”
Mr Wilson also stated, “Anecdotally that’s some of the first stories I’m hearing back”
Ignoring for a moment his gross assumption that all Social Security recipients are drunkards and addicts spending payments on their vices in the first place, we are writing this post today to refute his latter statement highlighted above and to call out Mr Wilson for this obvious misrepresentation of the facts as they stand.
We contacted Mr Wilson over a week ago to inform him of acute distress being experienced by many members of his community, including a request for direct help for a diabetic woman who had chosen to hunger strike rather than activate the Indue Card.
We informed Mr Wilson then of her case and of the existance several other acute cases including a mother with intellectual disabilities who is continuing to struggle since being placed on the card.
Mr Wilson was made vividly aware of the abudance of distress and harm being created on the ground in Kalgoorlie and surrounds, and we were met in reply, with a series of patronisations, plattitudes, ego defenses and then regurgitated LNP party dogma.
It is important to note, that Kalgoorlie resident Brenda, intellectually disabled mum of two, remains in distress and her mental health continues to deteriorate. Despite directing Mr Wilson personally to her posts and profile, Brenda has still NOT been contacted by Mr Wilson’s office nor any CDC or DSS representative on the ground in Kalgoorlie. Even her own doctor, uninformed and illiterate as regards the nature of the Indue card and its impacts, is unable to assist her.
In light of this case and others still pending, for Mr Wilson to therefore claim in media that the roll out is proceeding ‘smoothly’, without any qualifying statement as regards the extent of distress being experienced by so many of his constituants, is negligent. It is misleading and we feel, an open abuse of his power and position.
It is also simply rude and intensely disrespectful and hurtful to the courageous people who have taken to social media and braved the rigours of the press today to air their grievances, only to find their struggles are being ignored at the highest levels.
The ease of this dismissal of current impacts and peoples lived experiences, underscores our opinion that Mr Wilson’s focus and priorities have not been on the welfare of his own constituants during this stressful transition from normal to forced third party income managed lives, but rather they appear squarely focused upon the LNP agenda to push for even more card roll outs across Australia, no matter the cost.
It is immediately and exceedingly clear to us that this article was a press release reported unchallenged and as fact by the newly budget conscious ABC; one designed purely to set the stage with unsubstantiated ancedotes in attempt to ease the passage of as yet unpublished legislation through Parliament. Indeed the intention to move to a fourth trial site is also mentioned in the article quite brazenly.
The push towards a fourth roll out of the CDC in the Hinkler Region [QLD] while the paint has yet to dry on the current roll out is to our view, a deliberate attempt to direct focus away from thorough and considered examination of the problems and issues at hand in the Goldfields region.
It also appears to reflect a conscious decision by the LNP to continue to disregard the impacts and risks that have been documented in other trial locations and so, to ignore the risks that unevaluated expansion will present to the lives and safety of thousands more potential forced “trial” participants should their push be sucessful.
This roll out at all costs mentality while actively denying the nature and number of problems that already exist, represents a grave disrespect of the people and of the parliamentry process, where the Senate as recently as February 2018 placed firm limitations on the number of roll outs permissable until 2019 for ostensibly those same reasons.
Below we include a link to a record of conversation that took place between one of our community page admins and Mr Wilson, where he is informed of the acute impacts of the Indue card being experienced in his region. This exchange took place before the ABC article went to press.
The existence of this conversation in our record puts to lie the claims made by Mr Wilson and gives new insight into the perception being presented to the public by him and Minister Dan Tehan in the article by ABC Goldfields yesterday. The reality remains, that the Goldfields roll out is in fact not procedingly ‘smoothly’ and ‘positively’ for many of the people most directly impacted by it.
The record also clarifies that Mr Wilson most certainly did know that people were experiencing desperate hardship in the region, and yet he chose intentionally to keep this information from the public record.
That Mr Wilson could so callously place party agenda and politicking before the lives and wellbeing of his own Goldfields community and constituants, is a disapointment yet sadly was not unexpected. It is indicative of the ongoing manipulation of public opinion via media that has been inherent to the entire CDC roll out process in every location to date.
Given the extent of local anger and distress being experienced yet apparently ignored by both Mr Tehan and Mr Wilson in their public discourse at this time, this poorley timed choice to advance propaganda over acurate reporting of community experiences, is beyond unacceptable, it is simply unconscionable.
While engaged in private messenger, at no time did Mr Wilson indicate to us this conversation was off the record.