So what is Indue? Indue Pty Ltd is the corporation that has been awarded the contract to manage the Cashless Welfare Card programme, and it’s underlying systems, that is guaranteed to make welfare recipients lives much harder while bringing in a lot of revenue for the people who own it. This is because Indue will earn $7000 to $12,000 (this figure varies according to differing reports) per person placed onto the cashless welfare card, so it stands to reason whoever owns that corporation is going to do very well out of the government coffers.
Okay then, so who are these wealthy, soon-to-get-even-wealthier, corporate owners who are as keen as mustard to get the cashless welfare programme rolled out nationally? Well, they are members of the Liberal and National Party and Indue Pty Ltd donates to various Liberal and National Party (LNP) branches around Australia. So there you have it.
No wonder Scott Morrison is so determined to foist the controversial and unwelcome cashless card on unwilling welfare recipients, at a cost greater than what it would be to just increase the Newstart Allowance (the payment mostly in the firing line here). Many in parliament have been pushing for Newstart to be increased to a liveable amount but Scott Morrison refuses to sign off on it. And why is he trying to get the legislation passed that will not only extend the trial period of the card in selected areas to 30 June 2021 (it is currently scheduled to finish on the same date this year)? Because it will also open the door to expanding the card’s use to welfare recipients nationally. So now you know why.
One of the main beneficiaries though will be Larry Anthony, former member of the Australian House of Representatives and current President of the National Party. He was also the former Chairman of Indue Pty Ltd and keeps his shares in Indue in his corporate family trust, Illalangi Pty Ltd. Other companies owned by Larry Anthony, and/or by the corporate trustee of his family trust (Illalangi) operate under sub contracts for Indue, generating their profits via dealings with Indue via Indue’s contracts with the LNP Government. The corporations are SAS Consulting Group Pty Ltd (a political lobbying group of which Indue is a client) and Unidap Solutions Pty Ltd (a digital IT services corporation that provides Indue, as well as the LNP Government with a number of IT services).
That’s quite a network of corporations and trusts, and is also a fairly standard practice among those wanting to muddy the waters around their connection to a particular enterprise, especially when they want to hide just how closely they are involved. Even more especially when they stand to profit so nicely. Thing is, Larry Anthony will continue to score from Government contracts with Indue, despite no longer being Chairman, because he still shares in the profits it earns, plus the profits from SAS and Unidap, via their connections with Indue. The cashless welfare card system will be a nice little earner for him. And for LNP members and supporters who will benefit from the government money initially earmarked to assist those in need.
Is it any wonder then that the LNP is so determined to push the legislation that would not only see the cashless welfare card trials extended, but expanded nationally? The cost per person forced to use the card will go straight into Indue’s coffers and where, from there, find it’s way back to members of the LNP Government. What these public funds won’t do is benefit those who really need them because they will never see a cent of it. And this is the Morrison Government’s preferred alternative to increasing the Newstart Allowance, which would have allowed those having to rely on it to be able to survive a little easier.
Incidentally, Indue is not a member of the Australian Banking Corporation so it is not bound by the consumer protection provisions of its Banking Code of Practice. Indue also stands to profit from the cashless card system and their involvement will help to create a two-tiered banking system in which most people will have a choice of financial providers. Those on the card, however, will be restricted to just one.
One of the biggest issues, aside from being forced onto the card, is that people wishing to get off it will find it close to impossible to do so. There is an exemption form, but it is six pages long, disturbingly invasive, and based on the type of questions the applicant is asked, no one would qualify as exempt. A person has to “prove” reasonable and responsible management of their affairs, including their financial affairs but “proving” them will be beyond reach. Stands to reason when, the more people confined to the card, the more fees will be generated for the personal gain of Larry Anthony and the LNP.
A cashless card system has been trialled before, in the form of the Basics Card, which was introduced in 2007 as part of the Northern Territory Emergency Response (made possible by suspending the Racial Discrimination Act) but was shown to have a negative impact on the families involved because it severely disrupted household finances, caused a lot of confusion about how to access the funds, and had a detrimental affect on the children of those families via a drop in birth weights, school attendance and general wellbeing. The Cashless Welfare Card, which is just another form of the Basics Card, is bound to show the same results. As mentioned in a previous post, the cashless card will have 80% of the recipient’s benefit put onto the card, with only 20% made available in cash, but mining billionaire, Andrew Forrest, wants that changed to 100%. Where does this man even come into it? How difficult does he want people’s lives to be? And how dare he, with all his billions, suggest inflicting something like that on people down on their luck! As recipients cannot withdraw cash with the card, how would they, if 100% of the benefit goes on the card, be able to put petrol in their car, or pay a public transport fare? Buy a newspaper or a cup of coffee? Pharmacy items? So few places accept the card as it is, so how on earth are people supposed to manage without any access to cash whatsoever? How are they supposed to live?
But the Larry Anthonys and Andrew Forrests of the world don’t stop to consider things like that. They are only interested in the profits coming their way, with no thought whatsoever to the hardship they are going to inflict on those so much less fortunate.
And that is just plain greed.