Indigenous Australians

The Welfare card

Social Services Assistant Minister Alan Tudge with new welfare card

Last month, the Federal Government’s bill on Welfare cards passed through the Senate, authorizing the use of these cards in trials throughout areas of remote Indigenous Australia. In basic terms, the idea is for entitlement money to be provided to a person exclusively through this card, as opposed to traditional welfare payment systems. 80 % of this card cannot be used for alcohol or gambling, or used to take out cash that could be potentially used for unnecessary purposes. The card is set to be introduced in areas of remote Indigenous Australia, in which alcoholism, drug addiction, poverty and welfare dependency is rampant. As Tony Abbott stated earlier this year, the aim of the card is to ensure that welfare is spent on the ‘basic necessities of life’.

I absolutely support any related measure such as the welfare card aimed to curb welfare money being abused by recipients. Since the 1970’s, Indigenous Australians unfortunately have had a myriad of welfare dependency issues, as well as a destruction of their health, culture and pride. This is a genuine attempt after many years of these issues, and to stamp out this tragedy. As a sizable portion of these issues are linked with the historic legacy of European- Australians, as a European Australian, I see it as a duty to support policies that tackle these real issues facing Indigenous Australia. Beyond Australia, I see the use of the Welfare card, as a potentially productive move, holding individuals receiving welfare accountable and encouraging them to lead better and more fulfilling lives. Considering that as of 2012, with 61 % of the United States government spending on federal entitlements, I see further justification that these cards have relevance beyond Australia.

Nevertheless, in Australia, as many other Western countries can surely relate, whenever sound and reasonable conservative policies are put forward, there comes the reaction from the politically correct, moral crusading, far left of centre, whinging and cringe-worthy mob that seeks to define any government action towards an ethnic minority as racist and unfair. In our case, it is the tree hugging, migrant loving and Tony Abbott hating political party known as the Australian Greens. Greens Senator Rachel Siewert expressed this opposition toward the welfare card, stating; “There is a huge loss of dignity with this measure, and people having control of their own lives. We know finding employment and overcoming the causes of disadvantage is aided by people having control over their lives”.

In particular, I have one issue with this point raised by the Greens senator. There is an idea inherent in the Senator’s stance, that proposes that the taxpayer, and the government, should be at the mercy of welfare recipients. This is a preposterous idea, as the money generously granted by the income earners, and the hard working people in this country, must be used in a responsible manner. If this money is being abused, the government has the right to step in and to guarantee there will be no blatant wasting of taxpayer money. In any case, money that is granted by the state to individuals, must be monitored, recorded, adjusted and controlled if necessary, as this is money coming from the state, and receivers of such money have no birthright to recklessly spend.

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