Thursday, 9 June 2016

Man on hunger strike over gov "welfare" card trial privacy breaches - Australia.

Forty-year-old Daniel Taylor is refusing to eat or use his cashless welfare card
In the Lieberals never ending war on the poor, and attempting to do so by demonising said poor, like they do in the US food stamp program, they have started a trial of a compulsory electronic welfare debit cards in Kununurra, Western Australia. By all means a remote community made up of 25% Aboriginals.

Why is a remote community made up of people who have little voice chosen for such a social/welfare experiment? Surely a suburb in Sydney for example (complete with various ethnicity's) would give a better indication of the effectiveness of such a program? Apparently Sydney suburbs have a higher vote footprint than an outback Western Australian little town?

Anyway, one of the people of Kununurra, WA, has gone on a hunger strike over him being enforced to undergo the indignity and trauma of this humiliating and discriminatory welfare card (which stops you from buying whatever the gov decides) and is currently up to his tenth day without food.

His concerns are mainly over privacy issues. The fact that a private company which runs the program is able to share his information with third parties. I guess entrenching his predicament as a welfare recipient and all the possible stigma that may involve.

So what happens then if you don't agree with this welfare card? Do you and family starve? Welfare is a human right under the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. As well as privacy. Article 12, and 22:
Article 12. 
No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks. 
Article 22. 
Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization, through national effort and international co-operation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality. Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Welcome to Australia under the Liebrals:
He says his drastic protest is intended to draw attention to community concerns over the controversial cashless welfare card trial, rolled out by the federal government in the remote eastern Kimberly towns of Kununurra and Wyndham in late April, and the South Australian town of Ceduna in March. 

The trial quarantines 80 percent of welfare payments on a card that cannot be used to withdraw cash, gamble or buy alcohol. 

In Kununurra 738 people are currently using the card out of a population of around 5500 people- 25 percent of whom are Indigenous. 

Mr Taylor - who is on the work for the dole scheme - says the card is not making a difference to those that really need the help in the town, with black markets springing up to circumvent the system. 

While he says there are broad community concerns about the lack of freedom imposed by the card, his primary concern is privacy. 

He believes the private company which administers the card, Indue, can collect and abuse the personal information of cardholders. 

“It was basically forced on us, we were given it to activate and we didn't sign any terms and conditions,” he says. 

“Once I read through - all of our information is shared and given to other government agencies, third parties.” 

Both Mr Taylor and his wife, who is Indigenous, have handed back their cards in protest. 

The couple are supporting a one-month old baby and are now living off the portion of their welfare payments that aren’t controlled by the government or deducted for rent- just $200 a fortnight. SBS