The Social Services Legislation Amendment (Cashless Debit Card Trial Expansion) Bill 2018
This is one of the amendments governement wants to get passed next week:
Amendment 124PE: “The Minister by notifiable instrument, may authorise a body, whether incorporated or unincorporated, as a community body, in relation to the Bundaberg and Hervey Bay area, if the body provides, or intends to provide, services relating to the care, protection, welfare or safety of adults, children or families residing in that area.”
This amedment seeks to empower the use of a new defintion of the term “community body” and seeks to engage unspecified and we must assume, hand picked groups of people and empower them with authorities and permissions they presently do not have, to act in the Departments stead on matter of the CDC or in some other as yet unspecified way in the lives of Social Security recipients in the region ie: Community Panels.
We reject this amendment outright on the following basis’:
- a) The amendment seeks to empower civilians or corporate entities under law to act in the lives of Social Security recipients, without reference to what powers are being given or what restraints of power are to be put in place.
- b) The amendment is dangerously obtuse and so open to structural politicial and systemic abuse; ie: It provides no protective requirement, charter/statement of intention, nor any mission/qualifying principles whatever. Literally anyone could form this body.
- It is the case already that local community panels are hand selcted paid prefferential appointees wthin trial locations. This amendment widens that scope to include ANYONE from ANYWHERE adn hands control to the Government to determine who and where, completely.
- c) The amendment empowers potentially unqualified groups of individuals outside of the Social Welfare sector and potentially outside of the region itself, to make decisions or act on behalf of the most vulnerable and at risk people in the trial community without any apparent requirement for accountability, education minimums or obligation to the Senate.
- d) The amendment is based in assumption, and exacerbates the myth of the “good community leader”. 
- e) The amendment leaves the door open for politically motivated and political party aligned/obliged groups to act upon opposition groups with seeming impunity, and will see individuals established as community authorities without any electoral process or community consent to the same thus undermining the authority of local area councils and the social services frame works already in place while avoiding all accountability and responsibility under those same frameworks.
- f) This amendment would permit the department to manufacture the appearance of community consent where no actual community consent exists.
- g) This amendment will remove the right of communities to chose their own representatives.
- h) Notifiable instruments are not subject to parliamentry scruitiny so therefore are not subject to Scruitiny of Bills committee.
We vehemently challenge the notion that simply being in a position of power within a community in any way automatically qualifies any person in any to consent on behalf of any other member of that community or permits them to give implied consent on behalf of any other person of the community based on position or presumptions of their behaviour or morality ‘ as a class’.
Social Security recipients are citizens, taxpayers and voters; community members and contributors. They are not suspects or criminals. They cannot be reliably judged as a single class and then presumed to be of a certain character or to collectively be afflicted with a certain type of disease or social nature due solely to that financial position.
As was made all too clear given the recent Royal Commission into institutionalised sex abuse and the recent arrest of a person from the Office of Prime Minister and Cabinet on child rape charges in remote regional Australia, many of those that may otherwise fall under the term” Good Community Leaders” have often proven themselves among the worst of the Australian criminal class and offenders. We hold that his needless codifying of rank and privilege external to earned privilege is a dangerous presumption.