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Welfare drug testing/cashless card.

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Posted 06 September 2019 - 09:40 AM

The government is trying to push through welfare drug testing again and I'm not sure how I feel about that one.  I get that it's hard to actually find a job while under the influence of drugs etc., but I don't really believe that's really their reason for doing this as many drugs remain in your system long after it influences your behaviour.

I do wonder how that is going to influence the crime rates in those areas?  

The other day there was a news report claiming how much the stats have improved in the trial areas for the cashless card.

One question I do have is, if somebody moves out of those areas/zones, are they taken of the card and not included in the stats and drug tests?  Because I did wonder if that influenced the results.

Edited by BECZ, 06 September 2019 - 09:42 AM.

#2 Backtoschoolchef

Posted 06 September 2019 - 09:54 AM

Drug testing tends to just push people to take different drugs that aren't easily detected instead of giving up.  These days theres all sorts of scary chemicals you can buy over the net which could be much more dangerous than a known thing like cannabis.

So for that reason alone I think its not a good idea.

#3 Ozquoll

Posted 06 September 2019 - 09:55 AM

I don't want to say too much because I could rant for hours about the pointless nastiness of drug-testing. I think your (BECZ) supposition in your final para is correct, because some people would move to where they can get drugs more easily. Also - surprise surprise, the government's figures show an improvement in crime rates! They would say that, wouldn't they? It may be true, or the figures may be massaged in much the same way unemployment and GDP figures are.

Edited by Ozquoll, 06 September 2019 - 09:56 AM.

#4 katpaws

Posted 06 September 2019 - 11:26 AM

I'd need more details to really comment.

The concept though, of people having to jump hoops (or pee into specimen jars) for welfare, is abhorrent to me. Yes, there are some "cheats" out there, people who do the wrong thing, but I believe that humiliating and dehumanising people for the sake of a few dollars is wrong on so many levels.

#5 rainne

Posted 06 September 2019 - 11:46 AM

I think it's appalling. If I'm not subject to random drug tests, neither should someone who's receiving benefits. It's supposed to be a safety net, not a grudging charity handout that only the most deserving can get. If someone has no income, give them some money.

The cashless card is also awful. It stops people from making their own financial decisions about where to prioritise their money. It limits where people can shop: no more going to the markets just before closing to grab a few boxes of cheap veg, you have to stick to the main supermarkets. It's demeaning as all hell.

But practicalities aside, it comes from a mean spirited place. A place that says people are poor because they can't make good life choices. When every reputable study on this shows that it's the opposite: people can't make good life choices because they're poor.

#6 NannyPlumPudding

Posted 06 September 2019 - 11:52 AM

I wonder if they will be increasing funding for rehabilitation and various supports to enable them to get clean and be able to access welfare.

If not, they are going to see a rise in crimes - violent crimes, as people become more desperate and literally have no money to access. Those areas will become "no go" zones, further isolating the residents who need help and support.

Instead public transport services will be cut, investors won't own rentals in those areas for fear of getting properties trashed/rent not paid, shops will close because of theft which means less access to healthy eating and basic necessities, other shops will charge more to cover their losses plus other socioeconomic issues.

Drug testing can work IF they provide the support networks to go with it. But ultimately addicts will not change unless provided the tools and motivation. How can someone get clean without access to food, shelter and transport to get that goal?

The worst thing is that the above is already happening to some places and they are further being ostracized because of saving a few $$.

(I know the above does not apply to all residents and it is a really generalised account)

Edited by NannyPlum, 06 September 2019 - 11:53 AM.

#7 Bethlehem Babe

Posted 06 September 2019 - 11:53 AM

It’s patronising. “We want to help them get off drugs and into work.”

More than 40 welfare groups, including the St Vincent de Paul Society and the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS), have condemned the measure in the past, with the Australian Medical Association saying it would increase stigmatisation among the most disadvantaged in the community.

In the us, hardly any recipients were found to be using.

#8 katpaws

Posted 06 September 2019 - 12:06 PM

links to the proposal:



#9 MayaTheGrinch

Posted 06 September 2019 - 12:07 PM

It's so patronizing and comes from a horrible judgmental mean spirited place. You can't force people to change and taking away their safety net will do very little. More then likely cause more problems. And it will increase stigma, and likely wreck peoples lives and families. I wouldn't be surprised if it increased homeless rates too.

Also I'd love to know where all these magical rehab places are. I know in my area, the single one we have is strained to it's limits and there is no extra funding to expand the program.

Also just because you are on the dole doesn't mean you are using drugs. Frankly you would not be able to afford most drugs, more then likely. I'm pretty sure previous research has shown that very very few people are likely to be found to be using.

Oh and don't even get me started on the cardless cash situation.

Edited by mayahlb, 06 September 2019 - 12:08 PM.

#10 Lunafreya

Posted 06 September 2019 - 12:25 PM

There are also other ways to get cash.

#11 knottygirl

Posted 06 September 2019 - 09:30 PM

View Postrainne, on 06 September 2019 - 11:46 AM, said:

I think it's appalling. If I'm not subject to random drug tests, neither should someone who's receiving benefits.

Just as a point - many workplaces do have drug testing policies. My previous workplace had a random policy could drug and alcohol test anyone on the way into or out of the workplace. It was a condition of employment.

#12 Appleaday

Posted 06 September 2019 - 09:36 PM

I think it's sad and pointless

#13 EsmeLennox

Posted 06 September 2019 - 09:45 PM

It’s repugnant.

Why are people on Newstart the targets of making sure the money is spent appropriately (according to politicians)? Why aren’t we testing all the people who get FTB (or I should say middle class welfare)?

It is about punishment. And humiliation. And some kid of bull sh*t test of ‘worthiness’ and assumption that if you need Newstart you are ‘lesser’.

#14 Cimbom

Posted 06 September 2019 - 09:49 PM

Is the company that'll administer the testing an LNP donor?

#15 The new me

Posted 06 September 2019 - 10:02 PM

I don't have an opinion on drug testing at this point

I do however fully support the cashless card

I want people on welfare to have a roof over their head
I want them to have food
For their kids to have education etc

I don't want them wasting money on smokes, alcohol and gambling.  

I know people will find ways around the system, but I think most people are law abiding and they will shy away from any black market.  

Yes I have been poor, yes I have received welfare, yes I know people with mental health issues that hinder their ability to work full time etc.  please don't tell me I am entitled.  I genuinely want people to have enough money for the right things, but let's face it, there are a lot of people on welfare at the pokies having a smoke.

#16 EsmeLennox

Posted 06 September 2019 - 10:40 PM

I will never support the cashless card. Unless everyone gets paid by cashless bloody card.

Why is there an assumption that just because you’re working you’re doing a good job supporting/looking after your your family and people on welfare are not.

Here’s an idea...there are also plenty of working people having a smoke and playing the pokies. Why are they the righteous and people on welfare are not?

It’s paternalistic, unfair and disempowering.

Actually put appropriate supports in place to help people who may have addiction problems of whatever type, but don’t take away their autonomy and the right to have some pleasure in life.

#17 Anon63

Posted 06 September 2019 - 11:04 PM

I feel like the government should be drug tested everyday in parliament.

#18 Acidulous Osprey

Posted 06 September 2019 - 11:06 PM

View PostThe new me, on 06 September 2019 - 10:02 PM, said:

I don't have an opinion on drug testing at this point

I do however fully support the cashless card

I want people on welfare to have a roof over their head
I want them to have food
For their kids to have education etc

I don't want them wasting money on smokes, alcohol and gambling.  


You realise that they want to roll it out to everyone on welfare?  I receive the carer pension and if they succeed, I'll be on the bloody cashless card.  No mortgage, no debt, significant savings and I will be unable to spend my pension at markets or opshops or the bottle shop.

It's a bloody waste of tax payers' money and an insult to the vast majority of people on welfare.

#19 The new me

Posted 07 September 2019 - 08:02 AM

do I realise the want to roll out to everyone on welfare?

Yes I do
And I support that

Yes people who work also smoke and play pokies
But we can't stop them

I think smokes should be illegal for all the damage they do and cost to the healthcare system.  

Pokies are government endorsed addiction and also appalling.

Welfare is supposed to be a stop gap
To make sure people have food and a home etc
When kids go hungry because parents priorities are smokes and alcohol sorry but that is not acceptable

I know that this is not everyone

Spend your welfare on the priorities and spend your money on a trip to the bottle shop.

In an almost cashless society anyway (pay wave etc) I really can't see why this is a big deal.
And yes they may need to make it that it can be used at op shops etc, but that is just admin, not a reason to not go ahead with the system.

Edited for spelling

Edited by The new me, 07 September 2019 - 08:03 AM.

#20 TrixieBelden

Posted 07 September 2019 - 08:21 AM

It’s a tragic bid to curry favour with the kind of people who use the term ‘bludger’ and have nothing but contempt for people on welfare (and who never see the money they receive from the government as welfare).  

‘Drug testing’ is a pretty blunt tool.  Many substances are not caught by urine testing and it can be difficult to establish a timeframe for those that are (some substances will still be detected weeks later). Whenever I hear a politician refer to ‘drug testing’ as thought there is a test where an alarm goes off to indicate ‘this person used a point of meth at 0417 on 20th of August’ I know immediately they don’t know the first thing about it and should stop speaking until they do know something.

#21 IamtheMumma

Posted 07 September 2019 - 08:51 AM

I think its putting in the boot.

It will cost a lot more money than it would save because there won't be funding for rehab. They need to hire people to manage the funds (that is the job creation not the people who are unemployed) and the recipients will be cut off on a regular basis like now but with the added humiliation of lining up your groceries at Woolworths only to be told at the checkout your card is no longer valid.

Supermarkets will have to adapt their systems to allow for the card. Is the government going to be paying for that or will the cost be passed on to the recipient - another tax for being poor.

#22 kimasa

Posted 07 September 2019 - 08:54 AM

View PostThe new me, on 07 September 2019 - 08:02 AM, said:

In an almost cashless society anyway (pay wave etc) I really can't see why this is a big deal.

"Almost cashless society" in major cities.

The card has been initially rolled out in remote areas where this is not the case. Once you move out of major areas you do encounter many stores and markets that only accept cash. I can go to my local market at 2:30pm and buy $50 worth of fruit and veg for $10, but I have to pay cash.

It also limits sales of necessary items by second hand means. It is very normal nowadays to buy second hand school uniforms, furniture, appliances and so on over Facebook/Gumtree/Ebay and this forces people in to paying more for new because they can't access their own money.

#23 AnaBeavenhauser

Posted 07 September 2019 - 09:17 AM

I can't comment on the drug testing but I know the cashless card system is mostly welcomed by elders in the remote indigenous communities. They are grateful that the funds are now being directed to providing essentials to their families and not being spent on alcohol, drugs, cigarettes and gambling. It aides breaking the cycle. I understand this is not everyday suburbia Australia but it does have it's benefits in communities such as these which have seen horrendous abuse of drugs and alcohol with massive negative impacts on families.

Edited by AnaBeavenhauser, 07 September 2019 - 09:21 AM.

#24 EsmeLennox

Posted 07 September 2019 - 10:03 AM


Yes people who work also smoke and play pokies
But we can't stop them

Yes we can, we just won’t because they are a source of government revenue.

People deserve autonomy. Help those who need help (and by help, I don’t mean drug testing or a cashless card which limits choice and locks you into using more expensive shops where you get less for your money), leave others alone.

#25 Jane Jetson

Posted 07 September 2019 - 10:22 AM

View PostThe new me, on 06 September 2019 - 10:02 PM, said:

let's face it, there are a lot of people on welfare at the pokies having a smoke.

Oh here we go - look, it's the undeserving poor!

Let us ensure their lives are as bleak as possible, to distract the rest of the punters from the fact that we've been ripping jobs out of the economy for years.

Nobody suggest to the Coalition that we should bring back the workhouse, please. With support like this, they'd be in that.

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