CASHLESS CARD: Labor Senator Murray Watt and Member for Bundaberg, Leanne Donaldson.
CASHLESS CARD: Labor Senator Murray Watt and Member for Bundaberg, Leanne Donaldson. Mike Knott BUN101117WATT1

One Nation divided on cashless card in Hinkler

BUNDABERG community representatives, including Leanne Donaldson, have told a Senate committee hearing they have not been consulted about the roll-out of the controversial Cashless Debit Card.

Labor Senator Murray Watt flew into Bundaberg yesterday to join the Member for Bundaberg in accusing Hinkler MP Keith Pitt of not listening to the community regarding the card.

"Leanne's done a fantastic job representing the views of the community and highlighting some real concerns about a lack of consultation with the community before the government embarked on this process,” Senator Watt said.

"We need to remember what is being proposed here are some pretty drastic measures to reduce people's own decision-making power about how they live their lives and what they spend their money on.”

Mr Pitt said opponents of the card need to learn what the word consultation actually means.

"What the individuals against the card don't want to admit is that there are many forms of consultation and substantial amounts have already been completed,” Mr Pitt said.

"My office did a direct mail-out to just over 32,000 constituents, phone polled around 500 people, sent around 5500 direct emails and received numerous phone calls to the office.”

Mr Pitt accused the supposedly apolitical protesters of being clearly motivated by left-leaning politics.

"One of the protesters against the card told the Senate hearing: '... we sat up in Bundaberg with no political connections',” Mr Pitt said.

"Yet just this week in Bundaberg this same group had a Labor Party sign in the CBD and a member of the group in Hervey Bay is running as a Greens candidate in the state election.

"This group is clearly motivated by politics, not the need to address serious social issues that affect our community directly and have done for many years.”

Senator Watt said One Nation's division on the issue also showed how dysfunctional they were.

"One Nation are divided on the issue, with the state candidate for Hervey Bay telling the NewsMail that he is opposed to the roll-out of the Cashless Debit Card due to poor consultation with the local community,” he said.

But One Nation's candidate for Burnett, Ashley Lynch, believes the card would reduce drug and alcohol consumption, with a flow-on effect of reducing domestic violence and ensuring children attend school.

"I think the idea has merit but I would like to see more consultation with the community to make sure we get this right,” Mr Lynch said.

"The people I have spoken with in general are in support of it. One Nation listens to the people.”

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