Welfare Reform

House of Representatives
25 October 2021

Today I'm speaking on behalf of the 12,580 pensioners in the Oxley electorate—people I proudly represent. I want to make sure their voices are heard in this parliament. When I talk to local pensioners, many of them tell me of the daily financial struggle that they face. A lot of them go week to week, fortnight to fortnight, making sure they look after every penny. And now, thanks to this government, they have one more thing to worry about. Many of them have raised with me their anxieties about the possibility of this government forcing them onto the cashless welfare card. I can see why they are anxious. The government, shamefully, plans to oppose the bill introduced by the member for Bruce and seconded by the member for Richmond that would protect pensioners from being forced onto this outrageous scheme. To leave the door open to force pensioners onto this card—to even consider it as an option—is a disgrace.

Pensioners built this country. They paid their taxes their entire lives. They've worked hard to raise their kids and contribute to this nation. And this is how we repay them? Every weekend, I speak to pensioners who are worried that they will not be able to pop down to the local RSL for a cheap meal with their friends or won't be able to buy second-hand gifts for their grandkids. It's disgusting and it speaks to the character of this government. It's simple. If you have no plans to force pensioners onto this cashless debit card, then support our bill. We know that this government is not on the side of pensioners. I am. Labor is. I'm proud to support the bill introduced by the members for Bruce and Richmond, and I'm absolutely disgusted that those opposite do not.