The SAY NO SEVEN Community submission to the Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee Inquiry 2017.

The Say No Seven Community Submission: Senate Committee of Inquiry : CDC Amendment Bill 2017
The Say No Seven is an 1020 person strong public online community with an average daily post reach of 7,000 views and an issues post reach of between 30,000-57,000 views. In two years of community liaison, writing and protest we have come to represent an authoritative voice of community opposition to the concept and practice of forced income management (Cashless Debit Card). Online and off-line, and in close association with community groups, academics and CDCT participants across Australia, we have been privileged to lend social, research and material support to communities undertaking CDC trials and those targeted for card trial expansion. We are lay researchers, service workers, industry and academic writers, parents and carers, centrelink payment recipients and employed people, embracing a wide social spectrum covering most political and economic demographics.


Why we are here:

The Say No Seven Community opposes the Social Services Legislation Amendment (Cashless Debit Card ) Bill 2017 in the strongest possible terms. The primary feature of this Bill is to remove section 124PF of the Social Security (Administration) Act 1999, which specifies that the cashless debit card trial will ‘occur in up to three discrete locations, include no more than 10,000 people, and will end on 30 June 2018’.

We oppose the removal of Section 124PF of the Social Security (Administration) Act 1999 for the following reasons:
• We assert that Section 124PF of the Social Security (Administration) Act 1999 frames the CDCT as it was presented to the Australian people – an investigative policy research test and trial subject to time restriction and evaluation. To alter this framework at this time, is to alter the nature and intention of the process as a whole.
• We contend that removal of Section 124PF of the Social Security (Administration) Act 1999, will tacitly authorise an incremental nation wide roll-out of the CDC as a program deployment, before all pertinent data has been accumulated and meaningful response by the community to Wave Two data can be received and assessed.
• We hold that removal of Section 124PF of the Social Security (Administration) Act 1999, represents a betrayal of trust to current CDCT communities and to targeted communities that were both specifically informed that there would be trial end
The SAY NO SEVEN Community submission to the Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee Inquiry
dates, and who were specificity not told that the CDC would be permanent fixture. Permission has not been sought from any current or targeted community or individual for any CDCT continuance beyond 2018.
• We hold that removal of Section 124PF of the Social Security (Administration) Act 1999 will give support to the Departments claim that the CDCT has been a “success” when abundant evidence exists that demonstrates the Orima Research Evaluation results are in fact contrary to the reports own conclusions and to remarks contained within the Executive Summary.
• We hold that seeking to remove of Section 124PF of the Social Security (Administration) Act 1999 at this time is pre-emptive; an effort to hasten and solidify expansion of the CDC as a program in light of increasing community awareness of the program and rising media interest and community resistance to the CDC as evidenced in the direct withdrawal of “community consent” by over 20 key Indigenous Elders, leading community members and groups within current and targeted communities.
• We assert that the Orima Wave 2 reports findings themselves demonstrate clearly that the return of essential funding to local services and more effective coordination of resources by these services, rather than the efficacy of imposed forced income management itself, has been the key factor in the few observable productive results reported within Orima Wave 2.
• We contend that the Community Panels process within the CDCT is a breech of Human Rights, Privacy and Non Discrimination legislation and remains a wholly unaccountable process that exposes centrelink recipients to invasions of personal privacy and previously unheard of levels of psychological and civil liberties abuse. Continuation of the CP process risks potentially malicious abuses of power and position and all social and legal consequences ongoing the same implies.
• We hold that the CDC is at root, a structure of fiscal and social apartheid, that intentionally segregates in the majority, people who are not considered “at risk” within the “welfare class” from equality of access to the rights, privileges, protections and freedoms enjoyed under law by general society, without just cause. We hold that any apartheid structure, intentionally created or not, is wholly wrong and immoral, and works actively against the principles and values of the Australia way of life.
• We hold that issues of addiction and social violence are health and policing issues and are not a direct product of, or exclusive to, the receipt of centrelink payments. We find that this presumption of causation, born of social and media generated
The SAY NO SEVEN Community submission to the Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee Inquiry
stereotypes is not represented in related data and has been utilised as a pretext and marketing tactic by the Department in order to further the agenda of the CDC . We assert that the changes proposed in this Amendment Bill are more than cosmetic as the Minister has suggested. We find they are critical and that they will impact and alter the current protective framework afforded to forced and voluntary trial participants within the CDCT process. We put to the Committee that seeking via this Amendment Bill to replace the word “trial” with the word “program” and the reclassification of current and future participants from “trial” to “program participants” is clearly representative of ‘mission creep’ and indicative of undisclosed unilateral decision making in progress. We argue that the amendment changes are evidence of an intention to alter the purpose of the CDCT program, from that of an investigative policy research trial, to outright program deployment and we maintain that to proceed to program deployment at this time is preemptive; that any such deployment would be reckless and uninformed with potentially catastrophic individual and social ramifications. Human Rights concerns, to date negated almost entirely by the Minster and called “horseshit” by Mr Andrew Forrest, are legally and legislatively critical in advancing this Bill in and with safety. We refer the Committee to the following statement by the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights on the standing limitations of impinging on peoples protected rights: ‘… existence of a legitimate objective must be identified clearly with supporting reasons and, generally, empirical data to demonstrate that [it is] important.’
And that : ‘To be capable of justifying a proposed limitation of human rights, a legitimate objective must address a pressing or substantial concern and not simply seek an outcome regarded as desirable or convenient. Additionally, a limitation must be rationally connected to, and a proportionate way to achieve, its legitimate objective in order to be justifiable in international human rights law.’
We express our view that the CDCT does neither external to its defined trial status. We share our deep concern that when combined with classification changes, the removal of existing stipulated trial end dates will mean that any pretence of the CDCT being a dedicated investigative “trial” is being abandoned and with it, these legislative Human Rights, Privacy Rights and Economic Rights limitations that secure the protection of individuals and ‘classes’ subject to CDC. This Amendment Bill, if approved, will therefore mean that the CDCT will no longer be in practice, ‘what anyone signed up for’.
The SAY NO SEVEN Community submission to the Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee Inquiry
We contend that intentionally obfuscating media reports and press releases by the Department have impacted the social view of the reports results to such an extent that critical data referring to CDC failures, has not been absorbed within the community. Due to the nature and extent of this propaganda, we find amongst the community that fully informed decision making, is almost impossible. We share with Committee our deep concern, that via this Amendment Bill and the tactical late release of the Wave Two report, that was expected in June 2017 and not released until September 2017, the Minister is ultimately demanding that an uniformed vote be taken on the future of the CDC program as a whole, by this Senate, on November 13th 2017. *** We are compelled by the weight of evidence available, to reject the Minsters claim regarding CDCT ‘success’ as presumptive and propagandistic, given this claim has not been found on examination to be corroborated by the quantitative and anecdotal data available in the Wave One or Two Orima Report Evaluations. We also express our deep concern at the methods used within the evaluation reports, both their substance and quality and the use of retrospective studies that rely on questionnaire data, as these are generally regarded as junk or ‘fillers’ in social science research fields. We contend that the Orima Report, on its own, does NOT stand as “empirical evidence” due to major flaws in both design and data presented. Without any hyperbole whatever, we can state to this Committee that any rush to deployment of this policy under these proposed Amendments and without thorough review and full examination of evaluation results, would be to place the lives of current forced and voluntary trial participants, targeted groups and the cohesion of their respective communities at a substantial risk. We offer to this Committee, the benefit of hindsight contained within governments own research via the Social Justice and Native Title Report 2016 [1] and the damning revelations contained therein regarding the consequences of the rushed NT Intervention process. We assert the Social Justice and Native Title Report 2016 stands as qualified evidence of the human, social and financial cost to forced and voluntary participants, and to the Australian community as a whole, when considered evaluative and assessment processes are ignored, when Human Rights are negated and the full measure of consequences of forced income management policies are misunderstood and community concerns dismissed. We also offer the insight of the Evaluating New Income Management in the Northern Territory: Final Evaluation Report:
The SAY NO SEVEN Community submission to the Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee Inquiry
“… rather than building capacity and independence, for many the program has acted to make people more dependant on welfare” – Bray, Gray, Hand and Katz [2][UNSW] We emphatically urge this Committee to please, listen to the voices of the people today who will bear the ultimate cost and consequences of this particular evolution of forced income management and bear in mind the cost any similar haste in premature program expansion. *** We ask this Committee to consider that the Minister has yet to present any case to the parliament or the people for the necessity of further CDC expansion. An unqualified desire and demand for unimpeded expansion is not to our view, sufficient grounds to grant it in light of the failure of the CDC to meet its stated objectives. In light of the lack of actual data available, an the obtuse and anecdotal evidence provided, simply wanting to quarantine incomes of centrelink recipients is not justification to permit it. We offer to the Committee at this time, the insight of several long term government, royal commission and social service agency reports, as well as academic documents that clearly demonstrate that forced income management as a policy to be individually and socially harmful; that stipulate forced income management in fact creates and exacerbates welfare dependence [3a], and that clearly demonstrate a systemic failure of forced income management to meet even the most basic of intended objectives at any point in the last ten years of the concepts history. [3b] We assert that to date, all available medical, judiciary, social science and social justice evidence and the overwhelming consensus of in field experts including the recent public statements of Dr Marianne Jauncey, from the Australasian Professional Society on Alcohol and other Drugs , uphold the viewpoint that addictions and social violence are issues best responded to through the public health, social welfare and policing vectors and specifically not via the use of forced income management which will, as is proven via historical data evidence, only exasperate and increase the problems being faced by the most vulnerable and our communities as a whole.[4] If this Amendment Bill is not opposed, it is our view that the CDC will have become an instituted policy purely by default and by means of propaganda, not by its own merits and proven efficacy. Specifically, it will not have progressed via an inclusive and transparent evaluation and testing processes assuring us of its validity and safety – as was promised to the Australian people under the current legislation. The substantial body of evidence-based counter argument to Wave One data aside, we find similarly, that the Orima Wave Two report :
The SAY NO SEVEN Community submission to the Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee Inquiry
a) Does not in itself prove prove beyond dispute that current trials have shown the CDC and implementation of forced income management to have been successful.
b) The evaluation completely omits how socially dis-empowering the trial has been for forced and voluntary participants. In omitting to record CDC related suicides [APA 3i {confidential}] and other deleterious affects of CDC within trial communities [APA3ii] in failing to record CDC related alcohol industry data; to address withdrawals of consent by stakeholders in situ [APA 3iii] and in ignoring highly relevant region wide specific crime statistics [APA 3iv], the Wave Two Evaluation report, does not stand as an inclusive report that can speak to the full range of impacts of the CDCT thus far.
c) In every key area of report, Orima data clearly demonstrates that renewed funding and additional wrap around services funding that enabled drug and alcohol workers to go into the field, that produced a decline in both hospital admissions and a reduction in MAP pick ups. There is no alternative evidence provided that would equate these results with having any relationship to forced income management itself. The data contained within the Orima Wave One has been strongly challenged and widely disputed, as has the skewed interpretations of these results by invested parties. Counterarguments have been documented within the feedback of leading academics, national social welfare and Indigenous groups and many infield community based organisations. [4, 5] ”Three Quarters of all participants said that the CDC has made no positive change to their lives and almost half of all participants said it had made their lives worse; only one-fifth of participants said it had made their lives better.” – Dr Jane Hunt “Some communities argued that the card would be important to curb gender-based violence. However, there are reports that domestic violence has actually increased since the card was introduced. Crime has also increased, yet the government and its evaluation have overlooked such inconvenience in claiming “proof of concept”. Dr Elise Klien “The claim that the card has had a “solid impact” is not clearly borne out by the available evidence. At best, one could claim that there are some seen and self-reported, but not independently verified, reductions in drinking, drug use and gambling. Reported views of participants on the trial varied between those involved in it and those in the general community. “ – Eva Cox “Beyond some limited success with people who have entered into income management arrangements voluntarily, the evidence points to the scheme being unsuccessful in achieving the stated aims of preventing people from spending the money on alcohol, gambling and drugs, or getting people to buy healthy and fresh food. “ – ACOSS
The SAY NO SEVEN Community submission to the Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee Inquiry
Even in the relatively short amount of time since Wave 2 Report release, already leading social researchers, economists and social justice observers are reporting significant failures of the CDCT evaluation to produce explicit data, and have publicly observed that Orima’s collection methods, actual results and key indicators have not been met that would qualify the term “success”. “… data for the CDCT is unreliable because responses have been corrupted by question design and the offering of payment for response”. – Eva Cox Affirmation of this Amendment Bill in light of these qualified opinions and indeed, all qualified assertions from industry sector groups not to mention CDCT participants themselves, would then risk further eroding the hope and expectation among the general public, as much as trial and targeted communities that any meaningful community feedback or consultation could be or would be included and respected within the CDCT evaluation process. *** Why We Oppose Expansion of the Indue LTD Cashless Debit Card
With the awareness that several other community and social welfare industry groups will be focusing on more publicised issues surrounding the CDC in their submissions, we have chosen to focus our attention at this time on four key issues that have yet to be addressed as such in parliament or in media concerning in the CDCT program.
They are:
• The issue of the Misrepresentation of Data and CDC attributes in Media and Parliament
• The issue of Community Panels
• The issue of Coercion and Financial Abuse
• The issue of Economic Segregation
1) The Misrepresentation of key CDCT data and CDC Efficacy:
We refer the committee to Minister Alan Tudges’ statements to Parliament during question time on the 12th September 2016 [3a].
Responding to a question via Minister Price regarding the progress of the Cashless Debit Card Trials, the Minister cited a 30% reduction in poker machine use and a 30% reduction in Sobering Up Clinic admissions within the Cendua CDC trial zone were a direct result of the introduction of the CDCT in that region and so, evidence of its efficacy and ‘success’.
The SAY NO SEVEN Community submission to the Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee Inquiry
We assert that this claim is not factual and that evidence provided to the Consolidated Regional Development Association Western Eyre Peninsula in April 2016 [6] demonstrates that these percentages are in fact, a direct result of a discreet decision by Ceduna Council to cease transporting ‘at risk’ people from the Yalata community to Ceduna during this same time period.
We cite this as one methodological example of many such examples available, as regards the timely misrepresentation of key CDC data in Orima Wave ONE and the early manipulation of facts and data to sway public perception of the CDCT in Parliament and national media.
One further example we offer, refers to the Ministers continual statements in Parliament and media that the Indue LTD Cashless Debit Visa Card is “just like any other visa debit card”. This has become an exacting sound bite that has gravely misled the general public as to the use and nature of the cashless card itself.
Sourced via the Indue LTD Terms and Conditions Document [7] and in part via the lived experience of forced CDCT participants, we offer the following rebuttal to this claim:
• Normal visa debit cards: Are attached to an unrestricted bank account. The CDC is not. • Normal visa debit cards: Are linked to a financial institution or bank of your own choosing. The CDC is not. • Normal visa debit cards: Do not exclude the payment of interest on deposited income. The CDC does. • Normal visa debit cards: Do not require couples to separate finances/ remove access to joint accounts. The CDC does. • Normal visa debit cards: Are not subject to a State supplied mandatory restricted merchants list that may change at any time for any reason the DSS or Indue LTD may decide. The CDC is. • Normal visa debit cards: Do not force card users to accept third party merchant fees upon their spending without alternative or choice. The CDC does. • Normal visa debit cards: Do not restrict purchases and of goods and services that are not related to gambling or alcohol, or those that are. The CDC does. • Normal visa debit cards: Are not subject to limited transfer lists managed third party by DSS and the Indue LTD corporation. The CDC is. • Normal visa debit cards: Enable their users to access pay wave. The CDC does not. • Normal visa debit cards: Can be used to withdraw cash in the event of natural disaster or family crisis. The CDC cannot. • Normal visa debit cards: Comply with the full measure of privacy provisions. The CDC does not.
The SAY NO SEVEN Community submission to the Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee Inquiry
• Normal visa debit cards: Do not prohibit Bpay using your personal account number. The CDC does. • Normal visa debit cards: Can be used to purchase gift cards and motel stays. The CDC cannot. • Normal visa debit cards: Do not subject the card user to social stigma, demeaning or dehumanising abuse from store keepers or the general public. The CDC does. • Normal visa debit cards: Can be used to make purchase on Gumtree, Amazon, Kindle, Ebay, Pay Pal. The CDC cannot. • Normal visa debit cards: Do not remove or impinge upon a card users Banking/Economic/Consumer Rights or impinge upon a users Human Rights, Privacy and Civil rights. The CDC does. • Normal visa debit cards: Have fraud and redress protections that apply to all card users equally. The CDC does not. • Normal visa debit cards: Do not require you to be subject to third party partitioning of your income, that restricts spending transfers and payments to nominated ‘categories’ you did not choose for yourself. The CDC does. • Normal visa debit cards: Cannot be forced onto you by coercion and duress . The CDC can and is. • Normal visa debit cards: Do not block your access to cash advances and freedom of bank transfers between personal accounts. The CDC does. • Normal visa debit cards: Do not undermine your life long credit rating , limit banking choices and housing opportunities. The CDC does. • Normal visa debit cards: Do not require card users to ask for permission from the State, to spend, transfer or redirect personal income. The CDC does. • Normal visa debit cards: Are not an instrument of ideology or government policy. The CDC is. • Normal visa debit cards: Do not remove a card users political agency in their community. The CDC does. • Normal visa debit cards: Do not morally judge or presume a card users fiscal, physical, social or moral competency. The CDC does. • Normal visa debit cards: Do not impinge upon a person’s right to autonomy. The CDC does. These 26 examples, of over 50 plus similar examples available, sufficiently demonstrate that there are indeed substantial practical, ethical and functional differences between the CDC and “ a regular visa debit card” the most disturbing of which, is the simple fact that the CDC financially segregates Australian tax paying citizens.
The SAY NO SEVEN Community submission to the Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee Inquiry
We enlighten the committee as regards other restrictions placed upon card users Indue accounts themselves , account terms that must be complied with or payments are cut off. The following is sourced again from the Indue LTD terms and Conditions document [7], backed up by the lived experience of CDCT forced participants. It has come to our attention that;
Card users may not use their own personal bank accounts number for any bank transfers or payments of quarantined income. They must contact Indue LTD and the Department Of Human Services/Centrelink to arrange any bank transfer needs using their cards VISA number only. They are prohibited from accessing Pay Pal, and Pay Wave.
Bpay payments, if permitted, must be to Indue LTD and DSS approved merchants, must be arranged by Indue LTD and must fit into one of Indue LTDs pre-selected transfer categories. Preselected transfer categories are set and managed for card users by the Department Of Human Services and Indue LTD. Participants income will be appropriated and securely placed into these categories, every fortnight.
To quote Indue directly, ” If the _reason_ for your transfer of funds from your account does not fall within any of the pre-selected categories you will be unable to transact.”
Not only will Indue and the Department determine how a forced card user pays bills and transfers funds, they will judge the quality of the REASON to transfer funds. If the reason does not fit one of their categories, the transaction is automatically restricted.
Forced card users must call Indue LTD direct and explain why they wish a specific merchant to be put on the approved merchants list. Approval is subject to the Department Of Human Services/Centrelink and Indue Ltd permission as well as being subject to the time delay it takes to permit or decline a forced card users request for funds transfer.
Merchants list, approved and disallowed, may change at any time for any reason whatsoever and without notice. Forced card users are specifically NOT permitted to purchase gift cards. Ever.
We implore this Committee to take the issues above into consideration as we argue that since the CDCT program onset in 2015, there has been a multi million dollar media marketing campaign put in place by vested interests, that has unceasingly misrepresented card efficacy and manipulated the publics perception of the CDCT program and the CDC’s utility. This propaganda has extended to include the manipulation of the publics perception of centrelink recipients themselves. Abusive slander not once denounced by the Minister or parliament and statements uttered by Mr Andrew Forrest in media, up to and including the naming of anti-card groups as drunkards and paedophile supporters, has been a shocking abuse of privilege.
We have found that these manipulated depictions of the card and of the people forced into use of the card when combined have been very effective tactics, and are extraordinarily difficult to overcome in the public mindset. In themselves , these actions stand as evidence of abuse of power and position.
The SAY NO SEVEN Community submission to the Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee Inquiry
To add insult to injury, in what we can only describe as a staggering breech of duty of care and an alarming display of contempt, we inform the Committee that to date not one representative of the CDCT team we have contacted; not one voting Senator [sans Greens Senator Rachel Siewert ] and not even one of the Ministers own staff or DSS public CDC consultation representatives have responded ‘yes’, when asked directly if they themselves had read the Indue LTD Terms and Conditions document or the Indue LTD Merchants Terms and Conditions document [8] from which, the above list of “differences” and restrictions was derived. These are terms and conditions every forced or voluntary CDCT participant and every businesses within Trial zones are subject to without recourse, yet at each and every stage of its roll out, including recent private and public meetings within the Hinkler Electorate, officers from the DSS have failed to include this information and have instead, presented misinformed or misleading information that has been easily corrected in situ by informed members of the public in attendance that have read them. We find it unacceptable that after almost two years of CDCT program activity, that people who are representing the Department in meetings, in parliament and in press radio and television , effectively all of those persons who have been entrusted with the responsibility of informing the public and promoting the CDC in the community, remain ignorant of its most basic functions and so, are not informed of the ongoing daily consequences of forced income management being faced by CDCT participants, small businesses and their wider communities in current trial locations. While claiming “considerable positive impact” in his media release 1 September 2017, the Minister again failed to include any bicameral viewpoint of the data supplied within Orima Wave Two report whatsoever. Further, several key details from the Wave Two data that demonstrated significant adverse effects among CDCT participants, were ignored completely in his statement, just as they remain absent in the Orima Wave 2 Executive Summary and Evaluation conclusion. This must be addressed. A one eyed glimpse of half a page, is by any measure of reason, simply not sufficient grounds for this policy to proceed in any direction. We contend that similar to other methods of information obfuscation, Orima data itself is being misrepresented and so we offer the following insights derived from Wave2 data to the committee at this time. These are the ‘other side’ of the Wave Two reports results that have yet to be reported in media. ORIMA WAVE TWO ACTUAL DATA RESULTS
” Change in Behaviour – Drank alcohol ” TOTAL AVERAGE 59% NO POSITIVE OUTCOME
The SAY NO SEVEN Community submission to the Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee Inquiry
” Change in Behaviour – Had 6 or more drinks” TOTAL AVERAGE: 63% NO POSITIVE OUTCOME
” Noticed a change in drinking of alcohol or grog in the community since the Trial started”: TOTAL Average: 62% of people saw NO change in community drinking behaviour.
“Change in behaviour Illicit drug use” 52% NO POSITIVE OUTCOME.
The SAY NO SEVEN Community submission to the Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee Inquiry
“Noticed a change in gambling in the community since the Trial started” Participants: TOTAL AVERAGE 79% NO POSITIVE OUTCOME Non Participants:TOTAL AVERAGE 81% NO POSITIVE OUTCOME
“Change in behaviour since becoming a participant in the CDCT: Gambled ” 53% NO POSITIVE OUTCOME
The SAY NO SEVEN Community submission to the Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee Inquiry
“Violence noticed in the community since the Trial started
“Participants: 80% noticed violence ( 29% reporting violence was worse.) Non participants: 63% noticed violence ( 12% reporting violence was worse)
“Reported ability to save more money than before being a CDCT participant” TOTAL AVERAGE: 50% NO POSITIVE OUTCOME
The SAY NO SEVEN Community submission to the Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee Inquiry
TABLE TEN: Shows across the board increases in every financial distress category. 55% of people unable to buy food, running out of money, needing to borrow money, 45% of people unable to purchase essential items for children. Demonstrably adverse results, measured at 84% levels, “significantly higher at 95% level”.
[Src: Orima Wave 2 Evaluation:]
As these graphs demonstrate, in not one key area of CDCT KPI is there clear evidence of CDC ‘success’ . Quite the contrary, the data itself indicates a failure of the card to produce exacting result. Data stipulates and supports that over 50% of evaluation participants in all key categories were unresponsive and/or had no positive outcomes. Table ten itself demonstrating clearly that for over 55% of people, living conditions have become worse under forced income management.
Most concerning to factual data representation, is that NO comparative analysis was or has been conducted at all during this trial. This is completely unacceptable practice in any research study.
It essentially means no one knows how life was before the trial began, so in fact, no one can state with unequivocal reliability that any of the ‘data’ within this report shows actual improvement as a direct result of forced income management. Even drops in hospital admissions and MAP pick ups is more precisely explained in the Orima report itself, by the advent of new drug and alcohol field services, that, in sending workers into the communities, removed the need for at risk clients to leave home and enter Ceduna at all.
The SAY NO SEVEN Community submission to the Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee Inquiry
2)The Issue of “Community Panels”: “Centrelink already has a rigorous claimant process, and receiving income support payments should not be something that requires me to be subject to a ‘jury of peers’ having my word, morals and competency assessed by total strangers or worse, people who were once my friends and work associates. It is not a criminal offence to receive income support, yet we are being treated just like that”. – Anon mother, 45yrs
Living on income support payments does not automatically equate to any one individual having financial, moral, addiction or social incompetency issues , yet this is what is assumed by the very nature of the panel process. There are several dozen reasons why anyone may fall into poverty situations , require income support or need help with housing/rental stress situations, only one of these reasons is destructive addictions impacting on family. That the community panel process fails to provide any inclusive caveat, is of deep concern. In the case of the Ceduna panel guidelines, not one word on the pages offered in the Department website includes information or advice for recipients who do not destructively drink’ do not live in SA government housing or have no social or legal problems – even the card panel information brochure shares the same structural deficiencies and critical assumptions and blanket judgements about all income support recipients as the justifications of the CDCT team. PRIVACY The greatest personal concern for most income support recipients we have spoken to, both on the card trial and not, has been the issue of privacy. The key issues are: – At once you apply for a ceiling raise, there is no way to avoid or limit the panels intrusion into a forced participants private life materially, or socially. No protections exist within the process itself, or for applicants within the wider social environment whatsoever. This may not be a large an issue in a city environment, in small towns communities/camps and in regional centrers, this is a nightmare scenario for anyone concerned about discretion and privacy issues and stifles any hope of political dissent or engagement in other areas of community life. A forced participant is literally opening up their entire life for scrutiny to the panel and potentially, an entire town, with the full backing of the State, and may have that, and any information collected, used against them for any reason, at any time. Should the panel see fit to withdraw a participants increase, this would add stigma and judgement atop of insult. Ongoing, this opens the door to abuses politically, socially, and manipulation psychologically. – Card Trial participants are not told who is sitting on the panel prior to application, and so on applying, may encounter hostile receptions and be placed in harms way, due to any past conflicts with sitting individuals. Even if it is a friend of a friend of the sitting individual that has a problem with a participant in some area, this knowledge may interfere with the panellists judgement and nullify any chance of an objective outcome for the applicant. Unable to adequately prepare themselves and to defend themselves, with no legal support on offer at all, this places applicants at
The SAY NO SEVEN Community submission to the Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee Inquiry
significant risk, and in a negative and unbalanced power relationship from the outset. It is literally, the practice of a two tier citizenship structure. – Card Trial participants have no say whatsoever in the selection of panel members. This represents essential exclusion from the panel process and a further presumption, this time of intellectual social and political incapacity or inadequacy in regards to their potential choices of panel members. What’s more, while the privacy’s of panellists’ are fully protected in this process, applicants are not; again this is the essential dynamics of power in the creation of a two tiered citizenship status. – Unlike in a court of law there is no ‘rape shield’ or other legal device that can limit the panel from obtaining details of and applicants past history and using it against them regardless of the time period or behaviour since any event/s. Similarly, there is nothing to stop inter-community vengeance being exacted or even a local disproving busy body from providing malicious information to this unqualified panel against an applicants submission. This opens the door to abuse of the system and gives an extraordinary allocation of power to everyday community members to bully, to manipulate proceedings, the law and applicant human and civil rights and more, to entirely cripple the lives of people they are responsible to. – Panellists – private citizens with no training, qualifications or accountability vectors-, will have access to the applicants most critical and sensitive personal history and data, some of which even police and the department would need to have significant legal just cause in order to collect. This entire system shockingly, relies on an unearned, unaccountable, historically undeserved trust. – Panellists are members of the same community as applicants therefore participants must rely on the morality and discretion of anonymous panellists in their wider social interactions with only verbal trust statements as a guarantee and no real means to hold panellists accountable. Proactive legal protection measures, for most supplicants and due to cost and locations is often poor or simply unavailable and no on site legal support is being offered, while the panellists have full departmental support, protection and access to often aggressive legal and social networks. Panellists may include anyone that someone in the administration position, in the case of Ceduna, Mayor Alan Suter alone decides is fit to add to the panel. These positions on panel are personally preferential appointments – the selected panellists are paid to undertake, with no oversight to ensure that highly vested interests do not take advantage. Again in Ceduna’s case and to some extent in Kununurra forced trial participants have been reliant solely on the judgement and “good will’ of politically pro-card, pro constituency-control often racist and culturally uninformed “good community members”. Opposition voices have been silenced and excluded, cultural implications ignored or misunderstood and “good” has become a relative terminology of judgement dependent solely on a persons income source. In Ceduna, applicants are dependent on the Mayor himself making these arbitrary appointments, and again, are reliant on hope alone to assure themselves that panellists will not bow to Mayoral pressure to allow/disallow raises in cash income in order to avoid complicating their own lives or risking Federal funding. The deck, is clearly stacked and this amounts to placing peoples lives at the mercy of a potentially criminal imbalance and at the very least, an unaccountable honour system.
The SAY NO SEVEN Community submission to the Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee Inquiry
There is NO such a thing as an individual panellist having “no conflict of interest” where someone’s local social reputation precedes their application. THE PANEL PROCESS RISKS APPLICANTS PHYSICAL AND PSYCHOLOGICAL SAFETY The Kununurra region panel set up requires that a local police officer be a sitting member of the panel process. We consider this a further presumption on the character of all income support recipients, however this also makes the panel process appear more an extended authority system of a court than a community group conciliation process. Police presence is not only extraordinarily intimidating, it can be a nightmare for recipients with PTSD; those who have been harmed by or have been processed through the court and jail systems; and for those abused by police, or in current court cases with police. Without legal support provided in situ or counselling services on offer to specific to applicants, it is an offensive manipulation of normal legal mediation requirements and duty of care principles. There are no governing statements or rulings regarding separation of power, no government statement on who should not be permitted on the panels, and unlike the rest of Australia, for those under forced income support restrictions in the panel process, there are no protections for applicants in regards to ongoing power abuse. A sitting panellist may acquire, during the course of procedures, an exorbitant amount of information and so, power over an applicants life personally, long after the hearing is over – a power that the government simply cannot guarantee will be used appropriately. NEPOTISM: RORTING OF THE PANEL SYSTEM What qualification does it take to sit in judgement of your fellow citizen? What genuinely gives someone the moral right to do so? Are they qualified or skilled in making judgements that will impact peoples lives? Do they need to hold a Social Science degree? A cert 4 in Drug and Alcohol? Mental health qualifications? Community Development credentials? Anything at all? At the time of writing, no screening process, education requirements, knowledge base, history checks, morality/background checks, religious/political checks are undertaken to assess even the mental stability of panellists, on behalf of applicants or to ensure that applicants will and do receive just treatment and the best possible outcomes from the best possible body of panellists. At of the time of writing there appears to be no independently assessed qualification or assessment requirement or vetting process at all. Again, these are arbitrary powers being given to personally preferential appointments , the selected are PAID to undertake, choices often made by a highly invested interests. A forced trial participants annoying next door neighbour may one day be sitting on a panel and deciding their future outcomes. We assert this situation is untenable and in any other social or legal environment in Australia, would be considered completely unconscionable. We ask the Committees empathy and close examination of the validity and efficacy of this entire process.
The SAY NO SEVEN Community submission to the Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee Inquiry
4) The Issue of Economic Segregation:
We hold that via CDCT amendments to the Social Security Act 1999, the Department, informed or ignorantly, are laying groundwork for a two tier citizenship structure in Australia, one based solely on income source. This is the single most deleterious affect of the CDCT in our communities.
We ask this Committee at this time, to consider whether or not centrelink payment recipients, defined under the current CDCT legislation as “the welfare class”, will in practice continue to be equal citizens under Australian law going forward at all.
In the case of those subject to current CDCT legislation, the evidence is clear that in being ‘set apart’ from the rest of the general population as regards equality of access to their income and to the expectation of full economic, civil, privacy and human rights and protections under law, the ‘welfare class’ are quite literally being forced to exist in a state of apartheid*. [*org; “apart-hood”]
Akin to early legislated apartheid structures in South Africa, notably The Population Registration Act of 1959 that required that all inhabitants then to be classified in accordance with their racial characteristics, we have found that under the CDCT amended Social Security Act legislation, this entire group’s determinant level of access to full social, political and economic rights freedoms and protections are being defined and determined purely by which economic group they belong to. We remind the Committee, that alcohol is a legal product, gambling products are legal.
Moral judgements and allegations of racial vilification and targeting surrounding the CDCT at this time aside, it remains, that apartheid is not a racial issue, it is a structural one, and so it is the issue of structure that we are asking this Committee to consider.
The CDCT program, in necessitating regressive and inhibitive changes to existing laws and protections, by nature and practice impinges heavily upon an individuals equality of access to protective legislations afforded their fellow citizens. This is not contested by the Department, and is confirmed by the 27th Report of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights 2016. [6]
We argue that the concept of it being in any way acceptable to force centrelink payment recipients to live life “a little bit restricted” or” a little bit segregated” due solely to the moral ideologies of the government of the day is reasoning akin to one being “a little bit pregnant” and so, it is an unjustified and dangerous precedent and a specious argument we reject outright.
Despite an unequivocal statement released by the Human Rights Commission confirming that the CDCT legislation does impinge upon essential Human Rights and Civil and Privacy rights [3], the Department continues to rely on the ultimately dismissive ‘Compatibility with Human Rights’ statement within its Explanatory Memorandum, a statement that ignores the existence of HRC recommendations regarding the incompatibility of forced income management with positive social welfare policy outcomes in Australia, completely. [3a].
We hold that given its history, to seek to intentionally create structures of apartheid in any form is wrong and beyond the authority of this government under our current constitution. It remains wrong under any justification. Whether these structures are created by intention or via political
The SAY NO SEVEN Community submission to the Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee Inquiry
ignorance or negligence, we assert that apartheid, be it racial, fiscal or social, remains a repugnant draconian policy of power and population control anathema to the Australian way of life .
We bring this issue as a concern to this Committee now, so that it may be discussed and addressed now, in light of the underlying structure the the CDC Amendment Bill is asking Senate to support or reject when it votes on the 13th November 2017. *** 3) The Issue of Financial Coercion and Abuse:
Participants subject to CDCT restrictions are required under the Social Security Act 1999 and related CDC Amendments to enter into a financial relationship with the corporation Indue LTD or risk facing sanction and/or removal of their centrelink payments. In every case we have interviewed for this submission, this relationship has been entered into by force, against the participants will .
A participant ‘signs’ their contract with Indue LTD the moment they “activate” their CDC on the corporations website. This ‘signature’, is considered by Indue LTD to be indicative of “consent” – a legal commitment to adhere to all Indue LTDS Terms and Conditions. These conditions as we have noted are subject to change without advice or notice, as is stated within Indue LTD’s Terms and Conditions brochure and Indue LTD itself, being a private corporation not listed on the ASX, remains unimpeded by Senate oversight and accountability. An unaccountable corporate venture in command of vital payment systems, completely open to market fluctuation and crisis, unaccountable to Parliament or to the Australian people, this is a proposition of unprecedented risk and further evidence of the wholesale privatisation of our national payments systems.
The Department has threatened to remove children from households who wish to refuse to sign this contract. This is disastrous in itself. However given that the capacity to simply provide for housing, paying utilities, to purchase food, the capacity to care for children’s needs and the ability to purchase life saving medication have become immediately under threat upon a participants notice of intent to refuse to enter into this contract, we argue that this requirement of the CDCT meets the standing criteria and legal definition of “coercion”. That this remains ‘acceptable’ within the current framework is itself, malicious and abusive.
We hold therefore, that a forced CDCT participant, being incapable of acting as a free party, can reasonably be considered to be ‘under duress’ when forced to comply with the Departments demand to activate their card.
We assert that this exercise of coercion by the Department, if not in fact due to legislated amendments to the Social Security Act 1999 that exclude CDCT participants from ordinary legal protections afford other classes of Australians, none the less remains an in-spirit a violation of Australian Contract and Consumer Law. [12]
We reject the notion that this form of institutional bullying and economic coercion, permissive only as a direct effect of the structural apartheid inherent in the CDCT, is in any way fair practice or in line with the spirit of social welfare or documented welfare state principles.
The SAY NO SEVEN Community submission to the Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee Inquiry
We refute the notion that it is acceptable for the Department to unilaterally force socially vulnerable citizens to enter into unwanted financial relationships and legally binding contracts with private corporate entities against their will, simply because they are receiving government income support payments.
We argue this violation of consumer rights alone sets an incredibly dangerous precedent and empowers government to act in a manner contrary to law at any time, with only the necessity to create and maintain a suitably acceptable pretext left to defend the rights of all Australian citizens.
We hold that existing laws regarding the protection of Australians from undue corporate intrusion into their private lives; laws that compel the accountability and restraint of corporate influence upon State affairs and indeed, laws intended to protect citizens from the abuses of power and privilege by the State, were bought into being for good purpose; a purpose we feel is currently being ignored and even vilified in the determined effort by this government to simply “get around” legislation for the purpose of CDC roll out. *** Closing statement:
There are very few times a Senate is asked to vote on issues that require focus on both micro social effects and fundamental structural changes to our national ideology at the same time. We hold that this ‘simple’ bill is one of them. Given the extent of misinformation; departmental manipulations; the data aberrations; the social inequalities; the injustices; the unrecorded deaths’; the lack of data quality; the bullying; the re-interpretations and intentional misrepresentations; the abundance of doubts that exist, we contend that there is no solid basis for forward progression of this policy.
We contend that the imposition of this type of card, regardless of the nature of restrictions applied or amendments put forward, still assumes that all people on Centrelink payments require intervention beyond the benefit of Income Support alone. At a time the entire nation is focused on issues of equality, this Bill and this policy stand out as the ‘big step backwards’ we as a nation simply cannot afford socially or financially.
As regards the increase in national financial burden, and at the current rate of $10.000 per head per year just in ‘fees and charges’ being demanded by Indue LTD, the cost of this program external to infrastructure, start up costs and wrap around services provision, already balloons to well over an estimated $46B per year if rolled out to all 2.8 million qualifying payment recipients.
Even should that cost be reduced to just $500.00 per recipient per year, the cost is still estimated at well over 1.2 billion per year ongoing; representing a new national debt source and a sum that will be directly paid to an unaccountable private corporation by Australian tax payers. Yet we have heard little to nothing from the Department on this issue, citing ‘commercial in confidence’ conditions when pressed, when in fact, no such legal protections that permit this non disclosure even exist.
The SAY NO SEVEN Community submission to the Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee Inquiry
More importantly, this policy assumes that people in receipt of benefits have done something wrong in order to be receiving payments and then it assumes that they are in some way; personally, intellectually, morally or socially deficient owing to their need for payments. We hold these are both, misconceptions based on stereotype and not represented by the facts.
Applied at gunpoint, as it is currently enfolding in our communities, the Indue LTD Cashless Debit Card has not been and will not ever be a respectful mutual ‘income management program’. It will be in fact, a social micromanagement pogrom; a largely misogynistic and enduringly paternalistic application of State control and force that is unnecessary, unwelcome and an unwarranted imposition in the lives and upon the rights of millions to exercise what have been until now, protected rights.
As an imperative, the methodology of the CDC itself is a force, an act of social violence, that in practice has been and will remain, an act of collective punishment. Even if people willingly agree to go on this card, they will still be subject to segregation and relinquishing their right to exercise political agency in general society not just the right to chose where why and how they spend third party managed income.
If “community consent” continues to be undefined in legislation and so, an easily manipulated artefact of the CDC utilised by the powerful ‘community controller’ class against their most vulnerable constituents as it is today; we are all “at risk”.
If consent across the board continues to be manufactured via the coercion processes currently in practice in media and in parliament [11] , then this government will have been aided via haste, apathy and ignorance, to consciously and so intentionally, create the first national systemic structure of social and economic apartheid in Australia’s modern history.
We refer back to our original assertion, that Senate is being asked to make an uninformed vote on the 13th November 2017, and as much as insight into data aberrations is important, we offer the following;
If we are as a nation are to take any steps towards forced income management as a permanent policy and so, undermine the nature, values and principles of the Welfare State at root;
If we are to attempt to enshrine as acceptable, the wholesale segregation of certain types of Australian taxpaying citizen from equal access, protection and freedom under law and so actively create a structure of two tiered rights and responsibilities of citizenship;
If private corporate entities with significant ties to the government in power are to be permitted legal rights over the private financial lives of Australian tax paying citizens and permitted jurisdiction over their personal income without their consent and with the sanction of our government ;
Then it is our responsibility to demand that such steps be taken with full and deliberate consideration of the total range of potential consequences these changes mean now, and what they will mean to future generations of Australians within the entire national moral, legal and social landscape as a whole.
The SAY NO SEVEN Community submission to the Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee Inquiry
With recent ABS statistics[10] demonstrating that people on income support payments in fact purchase less alcohol than any other sector of society, we feel that it is well beyond time that the obfuscating pretext’s being used to justify this card and its roll outs in media and parliament are set aside.
We assert this program must be more conscientiously examined for what it does and doesn’t do and that any such study be inclusive of the less palatable realities,; addressing issues such as forced segregation, discrimination, privatisation and the financially lucrative prospect this program has become for selected political and corporate vested interests.
We submit to this Committee that the CDCT must remain acutely accountable to the existing boundaries set by this Senate at this time, and maintain it’s scheduled 2018 END DATE, at which time, a more constructive, informed and thorough evaluation of the entire process, can be undertaken.
We submit that if the CDCT must proceed at all in any form given the costs already accrued and being born by forced and voluntary participants and their communities, that it do so under the tightest possible protective legislative restraints, classifications, restrictions and oversight, so that any movement towards any permanent institutional or structural changes to our national social contract may be observed as they arise and be addressed directly, not in painful hindsight.
We thank the Committee for this opportunity to be heard.
The Say NO Seven
The SAY NO SEVEN Community submission to the Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee Inquiry
Appendix 3i [ shared in confidence/not for publication]
[ The SayNOSeven operate a discreet drop box and an encrypted email service for whistle-blowers and persons at risk to share information safely. We have discussed the moral and social dilemma of making these testaments and reporting this issue to Committee. We feel we must say something, yet we seek to and we will, protect the privacy of our whistle blowers at all costs. We do not ‘qualify’ information delivered in this form. We do support the person. Where we can we have tried our best to validate information, and in that discovery process have also invalidated information. We supplied it all here, without judgement. ] Appendix 3ii: Ceduna Business man on video reporting $120.000.00 business loss : “Ceduna owner says he has supported struggling customers for years but has been misled by Department of Health and Human Services .” “I was willing to see how the card went and now I’ve gone totally against it,” Spry said. “If you had of asked me a few weeks ago what I thought of it, you wouldn’t have gotten anything out of me. I’m a private person. I know everyone in the community. But when you know something is wrong, you’ve got to speak up.” – Malcolm Spry
Src: Appendix 3iii:
An excerpt from the South Australian Police Annual Report June 2015- June 2016 covering the Eyre and Western Service Local Area inclusive of Ceduna. These statistics do not support the lower incidence of crime claims by Human Services Minister Alan Tudge and Social Services Minister Christian Porter.
‘It’s alarming to note that the Minister for Human Services has indicated in an interview today with ABC News that the crime figures in the Report were “preliminary and not conclusive” and yet this very same crime data has been used to validate the extension of the Cashless Card. Surely we need a more rigorous assessment of such evidence before it is used to justify a major policy announcement’”. – Schrapel. Uniting Communities.
Western Australian Police crime statistics also show that robbery and threatening behaviour in Kununurra have increased significantly since the Cashless Welfare Card trial was introduced to the community, contrary to media claims by Ministers Tudge and Porter.
The SAY NO SEVEN Community submission to the Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee Inquiry
Appendix 3iv Not long after CDCT trials began in Ceduna, OAM award winner Mimi Stewart, respected Indigenous Elder, and Indigenous Community Leader Keith Peters both removed their signatures from the Ceduna Memorandum of Understanding citing “ lies and deliberate misleading information about the card and card processes’ by the Department as the cause. They reported, on video, that they were told in the lead up, that cards would only be compelled on those who had been individually assessed as requiring forced income management. They have since been joined in speaking out AGAINST the CDC, by Senator Pat Dodson, Murrandoo Bulanyi Yanner; The NSW Aboriginal Lands Council, Lawford Benning, chair of the MG Corporation,; the Aboriginal Health Council of WA chairwoman Michelle NelsonCox; Indigenous Community Leader Hinkler Electorate Councillor(ret) Les Mucken. the Yindjibarndi Aboriginal Corporation, Roebourne, WA; WGAR: Working Group for Aboriginal Rights (Australia) and cross country Indigenous ‘Spirit Walker’ Clinton Prior, along with seven other Indigenous community groups including the entire Halls Gap Community, the community of Geraldton and the Boulder Region Community.
The SAY NO SEVEN Community submission to the Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee Inquiry
[1] Social Justice and Native Title Report HRC 2016 : /publication/AHRC_SJNTR_2016.pdf
[2] Evaluating New Income Management in the Northern Territory: Final Evaluation Report:
[3a] HRC: Government’s Healthy Welfare Card no solution to alcohol abuse- Mick Gooda, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner:
[3b] The effectiveness of Child Protection Income Management in Australia : Royal Commission.
: agement_in_australia.pdf?v=1491456565
The SAY NO SEVEN Community submission to the Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee Inquiry
[4] Media comments on health vs punitive punishments efficacy: Dr Marianne Jauncey. Australasian Professional Society on Alcohol and other Drugs:
[5] Hunt Gooda et al:
• The Cashless Debit Card Trial Evaluation: A Short Review Australian National University – Dr Jane Hunt : • ACOSS: Compulsory Income Management: A flawed answer to a complex problem 14.pdf • HRC: Government’s Healthy Welfare Card no solution to alcohol abuse- Mick Gooda, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner:
[6] Consolidated Regional Development Association Western Eyre Peninsula Report for April 2016 : %20-%20December%202015.pdf Minister Alan Tudges speech to Parliament: Related SNS Video: “Breaking” :
Disputed data image:
[7] INDUE LTD Terms and conditions Document:
The SAY NO SEVEN Community submission to the Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee Inquiry
[8] Indue LTD Merchants Terms and Conditions document :
[9] See Orima Wave 2 Final Evaluation Sec 41. GRAPH : 66% Non Indigenous.
[10] Australian Bureau of Statistics 2017 as reported :
[11] Porkbarelling Intimidation and the CDCT “ A New Definition” We compared Ceduna’s pre card funding experience, with that of the community of Halls Creek, [ As this article demonstrates, immediately on refusal of the card trial by the Hall’s Creek community, government negotiation teams employed strong arm tactics in attempts to manipulate the community, including the threat to leave the community out of state wide reform funding.

Author: thesaynoseven

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: