Who Owns Indue?

There is some misinformation floating around that only muddies the real issues surrounding the Department of Human Services polices on Income Management of people who receive Income Support Payments (Centrelink) under the Social Securities Act (notice I did not use the word “welfare” to describe it. Cos there is a difference).

One of the things I wanted to clarify so that people don’t misdirect their energy fighting myths and urban legends. You need to focus your energy on fighting the facts and the facts are that for over ten years Income Management has not proven to “work”. By work I mean achieve anything that has a positive outcome for the nation and the communities and people within it who are experiencing serious socio-economic issues.

If you haven’t already read my other previous articles about Income Management and Indue I recommend you do. Whether you get a payment – any kind of payment, even if you work and get Family Tax Benefit) – or not, you need to know what is going on with this issue. It doesn’t just affect people getting payments. It affects people paying taxes and revenue and people who vote for the members of our Parliament. You would want to know if your government wasted over $1.5 billion dollars with the intent to invest more into it, for a project that has failed over and over wouldn’t you?

The biggest myth floating around about Indue’s involvement in Income Management and the Cashless Debit Card is that members of the LNP own Indue or in any way directly benefit financially from it. They don’t. In fact no one person or group of persons own Indue.

Indue is owned by shareholders. The shareholders are financial institutions whom are of heritage banking origin ie members of COBA (previously known as Abacus Mutuals Association).
The Customer Owned Banking Association is the industry advocate for Australia’s customer owned banking sector.  It is owned by its 72 member institutions: 51 credit unions, 3 building societies, 16 mutual banks and 2 others; and a number of affiliate members. – From the COBA Website

Now these credit unions, building societies, mutual banks ect are owned by the members or customers. Each customer/member has one share. This share entitles you to having a say in how that bank operates, spends any profits etc and is usually voted on at the financial institution’s AGM.

What this means is, if you currently bank with Bank Victoria, or Police Credit Union/QUDOS Bank for example, you are a shareholding member. If your institution is a member (like the two examples provided are) of COBA then they are the shareholding owners of Indue. You get to have a say in the operations of your bank/FI at the AGM as a shareholder. Your bank/FI gets to have a say in the operations of Indue as shareholders. No institution can hold more than 15% of Indue’s Class A (voting) shares. Excess of Class A shares are converted to Class B (non voting rights) shares.

Shocked? Yeah I bet you are. If you’re anything like me all you want to see in your bank account is interest accruing, no fees and great deals on lending. You really don’t pay that much attention to how it all happens. Maybe we should be paying more attention. (EDIT: Not all COBA members have shares in Indue Ltd. Shareholders are those institutions who use Indue’s ADI services. Some institutions may use other the other ADI’s such as Cuscal, Australian Settlements Ltd or banks authorised by APRA as ADI (Australian Deposit taking Institutions)

So, as you can see from this information “the LNP” aren’t directly profiting from Indue nor income management. Neither is Andrew Forrest. So why is everyone paranoid about the two and their involvement? You will learn more about it in my previous articles but here is a bit of a summary:-

  • Income Management was first introduced by the Liberal Government under John Howard. This development started way back to a little earlier than 2007. It was around this time that Alan Tudge was a policy adviser to several members of the Howard Government. He had a particular interest in controlling how people spent their Income Support payments after working in the Cape York region.
  • Indue became involved in the government’s plan for Income Management when the BasicsCard system was an epic fail on so many levels. Larry Anthony was the CEO of Indue at the time.
  • There was an election. LNP lost. Labor had the task of making the whole mess better. It was under Labor that Indue were granted the first contract under the Income Management development scheme. There was influence from others on this decision and at the time Ministers moved through the Department of Human Services like a revolving door.
  • Billions of dollars, a few Prime Ministers and some years later Alan Tudge just happens to get the Human Services portfolio for his very first time ever as a Minister. Big job. Of course he was the right man for it after all, he was in this from the beginning.

There is still SO much more I have come across and am doing research on as far as this Income Management scheme goes and in particular the privatisation of social security payments but it’s moving faster than I can put it all together and explain in terms the average Australian like me can understand – bear in mind living with Parkinson’s I experience an increasing level of cognitive impairment making it hard at times to take it all in a break it all down but I’m doing the best I can. I’m doing it, because I don’t believe that the system this current government wants to implement is a justified cost effective way of improving the lives of people who get trapped in the cycle of welfare dependence. I don’t believe that a private entity should be able to profit from the social security system that contributes to making Australia a first world country.

Most of all I don’t believe that we have been told the truth over the past ten years. It’s been sheltered behind the meeting doors of policy advisers and businessmen seeking to access the multi billion dollar industry that is welfare and now it’s costing ALL the taxpayers of Australia. Past, present and future.

EDIT:

Stay tuned. This is going to get ugly.
Read more about Income Management by searching the Income Management tag on the site or using the links below

http://www.fridayology.net/since-census2016-has-everyone-concerned-about-privacy/

http://www.fridayology.net/imandindue/

http://www.fridayology.net/orimaevaluation/

http://www.fridayology.net/qdndisabilityandcdc/

Were we lied to or did was he ignorant to the facts?

This one is especially for my fellow QDN members. Those of you who were at the recent meeting at North Lakes with Federal Member for Petrie Luke Howarth and the Federal Assistant Minister for Social Services and Disability Services Jane Prentice may recall during question time, someone asked about the Cashless Debit Card.

The Cashless Debit Card (CDC) for those of you who haven’t heard about it yet, is the government’s latest scheme in Income Management of people who receive Centrelink payments. All payments aside from Aged Pension and Veteran’s pensions are triggers for a person to be placed on the card.

Once on the card, 80% of your payment is put onto it and the other 20% into your usual bank account. The 80% on the card is restricted to how you can spend it. The card cannot be used for cash withdrawals or transfers between accounts. It cannot be used for direct debit payments unless by agreement with Indue (the company managing the card scheme). It cannot be used to purchase alcohol or gambling items (except for lottery tickets). This means you can’t use it if you go to the club with friends for a drink. You have to rely on the cash you have in your regular bank.

Currently the card has been trialled in Ceduna South Australia and East Kimberley in Western Australia. The third trial site was announced this week as being the Goldfields region of Western Australia. The government and stakeholders in the scheme have expressed every intent to expand this nationally.

We raised our concerns about people on DSP and Carer payments being placed on the card with Mr Howarth who told us we had no reason to be concerned as it was not aimed at people like us. It was apparently aimed at people of working age on Newstart or Youth Allowance. However legislation and guidelines to the scheme specifically state as I mentioned above. ALL payments except for Aged and Veteran’s Pensions are trigger payments for a person to be placed on the card. When I found this information I then went and emailed Mr Howarth as he had invited me to do. His office told me he’d have to do some research and get back to me.

He still hasn’t gotten back to me. Now that the final evaluation of the scheme has been released and the government are blowing their own trumpets about how successful it was (that’s another story) and it’s very clear that they have every intention to continue to expand it, I wanted to make sure you are all armed with the information you need to know. This will be an election issue for us come the Federal election.

The review of the trial showed the numbers of people who responded to the surveys (you can read more about the evaluation and other articles I’ve written about this via the links below). I don’t know why Orima relied on people self reporting what payment they were on when they could have obtained that information from the Department of Human Services but if you do read my other articles you will see the entire review is flawed with inaccurate reporting and figures.

It is important though to note that there ARE IN FACT people on DSP and Carer payments who have been forced onto this card scheme.

Payment Type Ceduna East Kimberley TOTALS
Austudy 0 0 0
Abstudy 0 4 4
Youth Allowance 12 11 23
Parenting Payment Partnered 8 14 22
Parenting Payment Single 29 75 104
Newstart Allowance 102 146 248
Disability Support Pension 33 93 126
Aged Pension 2 0 2
Carer Payment / Allowance 10 14 24
Family Tax Benefit 30 78 108
TOTAL 226 435 661
6 People in total have volunteered to be part of the trial
Source: Orima – Cashless Debit Card Trial Evaluation – Final Evaluation Report

In fact almost half as many people as Newstart participants are DSP participants. There are 2141 participants all up but only 552 people were surveyed. Many have refused to state the payment they receive in the survey.

I have a whole range of concerns and issues about income management as a citizen but as a person with a disability it is even more significant. The difficulty I will have in changing my payment methods of my bills (I share expenses with other people) will be stressful. Not being able to transfer money to my kids or family or pay the small bills I pay by bank transfer will restrict me. Most of all, for myself as a user of mobility devices and a person with motor control issues, I struggle to insert my card into eftpos machines. The CDC has no tap and go feature which is the method I mostly use when using my card while shopping.

I am exploring if this means that the card discriminates against me on the basis of my disability. I also have a number of privacy concerns.

What we were mostly concerned about at the meeting though is why we should even have to be put onto such a demeaning scheme when on the flip side the government are telling us not to accept this kind of demeaning treatment and that NDIS will set us free. Why is it that we can be in control of thousands of dollars in NDIS funds but not our own income support?

If this card is supposed to be aimed at reducing crime, alcohol, drug and gambling problems then why are we being put on it? What are they trying to say?

If you want to find out more about it please feel free to read my other articles or get in touch with me to ask any questions. Most of all, we all need to ask our Federal representatives if they really understand what this is all about and what it will mean for us. And them come the election.

I’d like to believe Mr Howarth wasn’t lying to us and that he was just ignorant of the facts. That said if he was only ignorant and just going by the media releases the government have been putting out to make it sound good, then is he really doing his best to represent us?

Take care all.

Elisha “Friday” Wright

Further reading:

CDC Privacy concerns

Australia’s Biggest Welfare Scam – Income Management and Indue

Australia’s Biggest Welfare Scam – The Orima Evaluation of Indue

Australia’s Biggest Welfare Scam – The Orima Evaluation of Indue

Just when you thought it was as crazy as it could get discovering that Indue’s contracts alone for the famed Cashless Debit Card Income Management Project exceeds

$60 MILLION DOLLARS!

OF TAXPAYERS MONEY

Along comes the next contract joke… Orima.

Orima provide all kinds of research and evaluation services and do quite well out of government contracts (492 contracts, total value $58,680,064.16 between 2007 and now). Not a bad gig. Well just to do this evaluation it cost the tax payer

$160 000

You expect your money’s worth for that with data you can trust right?

Generally speaking after reading a number of the projects they’ve provided research for to various government departments, they’re very good at telling you what you want to hear. Reading the Final Evaluation of the Cashless Debit Card Trial you almost feel like they’re trying to woo Department of Human Services Minister Alan Tudge.

See, Alan and his acrimony for welfare goes way back to, well, probably since he was born he’s just that kind of guy. But before Income Management was an official government policy Alan was working away in the background on policies for welfare reform and as an adviser to ministers way back in the Howard Government…. well hasn’t he come a long way and how fortunate of him to get the Human Services portfolio to be minister of for his very first Ministership… or whatever they call it.

Talk about a ten year plan am I right?

So Orima were contracted to do the evaluation of the CDC trials in Ceduna and East Kimberley. It was a three part report and the final report which the LNP Government are now making their little memes about praising how successful Income Management is (it’s not really) is all because of the Final Evaluation.

To be quite blunt it is 303 pages of the most articulate waffle I’ve read since Tony Abbott’s last speech in parliament. They use all the buzz words and make it sound fabulous but lets be honest, it was nothing more than a market research survey.

I could go through all 303 pages and identify all the problems with the report but you’d get bored. I didn’t but I’m a statistics nerd who loves finding flaws in data. So I’ll give you the highlights. Bear in mind, I am only analysing the flaws in the evaluation not the trial/project itself… that’s for another story coming soon!

To give you insight, this is the objectives of the card that the evaluation is looking at (I just love how there’s NOTHING about employment oh, wait, next story)…

Starting on page 12 it outlines that it will evaluate the impact of the CDC on participants, families and the community. Did it reduce alcohol, drugs and gambling? Did anyone experience shame or social exclusion? Does the community feel safer? (yeah nothing about employment)

They even made all these pretty graphs to try and make their crappy statistics look more impressive.

The only graphs that caught my attention were these two… while the population of Aboriginal people in the trial zones is less than non Aboriginal people, the trial participants accounted for 75 – 80%.

To explain how they evaluate this they have pages and pages of waffle about Quantitative and Qualitative data and methods of collecting data.

There were two surveys done on participants. First in September 2016 about 6 months into the trial. That surveyed a whole 552 people (25%) (there are 2141 people triggered onto the card in the trial in both regions or about 21% of the population of both regions. 794 in Ceduna and 1347 in East Kimberly) the next was May 2017 with 479 people (22%). They’re pretty small sample sizes depending on which analytic method you subscribe to. For an issue as significant as one that could change the lives of millions of Australian’s it’s a rather nonchalant approach. In reality it’s nothing more than a generalised market research survey. You know, like the kind they stop you for in the supermarket when they just need ten minutes of your time and offer you a discount voucher for the product they want feedback on….

Cos that is exactly what they did to survey the community!!! No kidding. I’m serious.

What is even more outrageous is the extent the review goes to justifying it’s methods. There is more pages in wasted justification than there is on the actual results.

The report makes continuous claims that the target areas have had “significant reductions” however it provides very little “administrative” or factual data with all kinds of excuses like lack of availability (then perhaps it’s not long enough to do an evaluation on) and even that Police crime data is unreliable because it doesn’t reflect all the crime only the reported crime… what the? And Tudge and co. think this is reliable?

So lets have a look at the data and results.

Surveys/interviews

Focus Group Wave 1 Wave 2
CDC Trial Participants 552 479
Family of CDCTP 78 0
Community Not CDCTP or family 110 141
Stakeholders/Merchants/leaders 73 86

Drinking Less
The number of people who reported drinking less since being on CDC in wave 1 was 25% of the sample size. The sample size is much smaller than the total of the people interviewed. This is most likely because people were able to respond that they didn’t know or just refuse to respond to the relevant questions. So for this 25% the sample size was 345

25% of 354 is 86 people.

In wave 2 it “increased significantly” to 44%. The sample size was 231.

44% of 231 is 94 people.

I’m not a mathematician, but if my calculations are correct this significant increase of people reporting they drink less since being on CDC is 8 people. THIS IS THE CRAP THE GOVERNMENT IS FEEDING US ABOUT THE SIGNIFICANT REDUCTION IN DRINKING THANKS TO INCOME MANAGEMENT! They say a reduction of 44% in their memes and glossies and media releases because telling you the truth that 94 people self reported they’re drinking less just sounds fucking ridiculous. You know why? Cos it is. It’s ridiculous. Just like the card, this review and the stupid amount of money being spent on this so they can say an increase of 8 people are drinking less.

THIS IS GOING TO SAVE AUSTRALIA!

Mind you no one bothered to mention the report also states that since just before the beginning of the trial, tougher alcohol restrictions were introduced in BOTH trial areas. Ceduna in September 2015 restrictions on the sale of alcohol such as ID for takeaway alcohol, limits to purchase sizes and types of alcohol and banning on selling takeaway alcohol to people who resided in specific areas. In December in East Kimberly they started a trial of tracking the ID of people who were purchasing take away alcohol. These measures were very close to the start of the trial and therefore could also have contributed to some if not all of those 94 out of 2141 people who self reported that they are now drinking less than they did before the card. Oh happy day.

The number of people who reported they’re using illicit drugs less (by the way, it was NOT and anonymous survey. People had to provide ID… just saying):

Wave 1…. 24% n= 84 (n is the sample size). So 20 people
Wave 2…. 48% n=109. So 52 people

Yes a whopping increase of 32 people reduced their drug use during the trial. (According to a certain source cough Larry Anderson’s Say Yes to the Health Welfare Card crap page on facebook cough… this was enough to drive the local drug dealer out one of town. Yeah I’m calling bullshit on that too).

Then there was gambling less. Now Pokies as we know are the lion’s share in problem gambling even though other sources do contribute and much of the talk about the gambling problems in these trial areas was about pokies. Bear in mind in the last 5 years each year has seen a further reduction in pokie revenue (could we really be ready to blow up the pokies?) So that is obviously going to play a part in the reduction of the 12% loss of revenue in the last 12 months reported in the trial areas.

What you also need to know is that there are a whole 40 poker machines in Ceduna and 103 in the the areas outside the trial site that are used to aggregate the figures by the Government. Despite the reduction revenue is still pretty good at at $4.7 million before and $4.1 million now in Ceduna for a total population of around 4000 people (both trial areas – 4110 in Ceduna and 5139 in EK according to ABS Census 2016).  It’s about $1100 a year per person then compared to $997 now. Take into account that during peak holiday season the population of Ceduna almost and sometimes more than doubles, well, it is just so easy to see how the people who get less than $14k a year are the problem spenders on pokies.

It’s also worth noting that the Ceduna revenue equated to about 1.65% of the total state gaming revenue which works out to around $167 per person (figures are lazy and based on population rather than population aged over 18 but it’s generalised enough – still more factual than freaking ORIMA) You can see the spending on pokies in Ceduna is quite high… so lets see if it’s really the people on welfare making that 12% dent in revenue reduction.

People who self reported gambling less thanks to the magic CDC:

Wave 1 32% n= 140 so 45 people
Wave 2 48% n= 109 so 52 people

Yes still the report gloriously praises the “signficant increase” in the number of people gambling less thanks to the card increased from the early days to the later days by a whole 7 people.

So lets take the 794 people on CDC and the reduction of $549268 in gaming revenue. Assuming that the 48% bullshit statistic could be applied to the whole group reducing their gaming spending, that’s 413 people who haven’t. Tudge would have you believe that the 381 people gambling less have been solely responsible for the reduction which means they’d be saving $1329 a year each. Or $25 a week. Yeah, sounds like they have HUGE gambling problems.

If all of that isn’t enough of a farce the stats they’re touting as reductions in crime are actually based on the section of the review that came from the opinions of Stakeholders. Yes that’s right they surveyed the stakeholders and asked them if they FELT that there’d been a reduction in crime. Based on that they got this airy fairy statistic and THAT is the part the government has cherry picked out of the report to say hey look at the great job we’re doing.

If you actually look at the statistics of crime, you know real data, you’ll see that there’s been no significant change in anything over the past 12 months. However if you look at the periods before CDC you will see a different story.

In East Kimberley the increase in crime from the 12 months prior to CDC compared to now are incredibly alarming. Assaults have doubled, steal motor vehicle has more than tripled as has robbery while other crimes such as burglary have also had increases.

In Ceduna while over all crime statistics from Police in the Eyre West district show an over all reduction in crime compared to this time last year of around 10% there has been no continual reduction in the past 12 months. Assaults though are up as is fraud related offences and receiving or handling proceeds of crime. A very important note is that Alan Tudge is tooting his tuba about a reduction of non assaultive sexual offences being down 40% but what he didn’t mention was that other sexual assault offences are UP 40%. So there’s less slapping the barmaid on the bum in the pub but more raping her on her way to her car after work. Yeah sounds fucking awesome Alan.

For the most though there is an over all reduction in crime in Ceduna but police say it’s thanks to their better policing rather than any other so called government initiatives.

It is somewhat amusing that Orima were content to share the answers to their surveys to say it’s a Quantitative response yet didn’t provide any evidence of the apparent administrative data. Just the sources they claim to have examined.

There’s a whole lot more in the review I could flaw but really, isn’t this enough to tell you it’s crap? If Kimberley region has had income management since 2007 and nothing has improved since then, and crime has increased since CDC, surely they have to realise they’re pushing shit up hill? And surely the Australian tax payer has to realise how much of their money has been wasted on empty promises and the propaganda of rich people who would have you believe the poor are evil and will been the downfall of the country. Wake up Australia. Income Support Payments don’t cost you money. They save you money.

Related Articles
Australia’s Biggest Welfare Scam – Income Management and Indue

Privacy Concerns of Income Management by Indue

Australia’s Biggest Welfare Scam – Income Management and Indue

As the news spreads far and wide that the heroic LNP Government of the Abbott/Turnbull era is here to reform welfare and save us from ourselves, people are beginning to ask questions that no one wants to answer. The biggest question of all is just how the hell did we get ourselves into this mess in the first place?

We have one of the best Social Security systems in the world. Combined with other essential human services it ranks us 10th in the world in the Social progress index. We’re even 3rd in the Mercer Melbourne Global Pension Index 2016! So why is it under attack from our governments? Two words….. potential profit.

Welfare is a multi billion dollar industry globally. The REAL beneficiaries are the private entities who gain government funding to assist with or provide such supports. Often the same entities who demonise welfare recipients. Why would they do this? By demonising people who need support as people having their hand out they gain sympathetic support from the tax payers who for all good intentions believe THEIR taxes shouldn’t be GIVEN to people to spend on, well…. living. This support then allows private entities to offer “solutions” to reduce the need for welfare and bing bang boom someone is making more money than our budget allows and it’s not people on welfare.

So what happened for Australia to start believing we need this desperate reform? WHERE DO I START!? I won’t go right back to the beginning at colonisation cos we’d be here for years and you’d only end up confused and overwhelmed at learning everything you’ve ever been told is a lie….

It started when John Howard back many many moons ago in the 1990’s by invitation visited for the first time ever, an outback remote Aboriginal community. He had been invited because the Aboriginal people in these communities were battling to save their culture. The last of the lands where they were living in traditional ways were being destroyed by national and international mining conglomerates. With the mines came the mining towns established to house the mining workers who brought with them their culture. Just like colonisation, these things infiltrated Aboriginal communities. Alcohol, drugs, sexual abuse and poverty were just some of the issues they wanted to discuss amongst the big topics such as native land title, reconciliation and human rights of Aboriginal people. It did not go well for the privileged white boy from Sydney.

He didn’t hear the people on their issues. Instead he saw what he interpreted as deliberate neglect and abuse while at the same time felt insulted to be told he would still be considered a boy in Aboriginal culture during a talk from Elders who tried to explain their ways to the Prime Minister.

While there’d been plenty of reports written on Aboriginal life in Australia before 2007, none had really caught the attention of the then Prime Minister until the Little Children Are Sacred report. It was the outcome of the Board of Inquiry into the Protection of Aboriginal Children from Sexual Abuse commissioned by the Northern Territory Government. The key finding that most likely “inspired” Mr Howard to act was that both the state and federal governments were responsible for the problems happening and therefore they had to act to fix it and prevent further deterioration of Aboriginal communities.

Sadly NOTHING else stood out from that report that it seemed Mr Howard took in. There was NO consultation with the communities or the people. Instead, there was an intervention.

Naturally, rather than remove the dangers that were creating the social destruction of communities (everywhere in Australia but at higher rates in Aboriginal communities) instead the solution was to restrict Aboriginal people being able to access those things with cash. With an election looming and wanting to show the nation his strong stance in keeping Australia well controlled in a volatile era that saw the “War on Terror” play out, Howard believed he could win the conservative AND worker votes by showing the people he wouldn’t allow their taxes to be wasted by such primitive people who were clearly so vulnerable and lacking in knowledge they needed strong regulation. Thus, “income management” was born. Back then it was commonly known as “Quarantining Payments”.

Despite various leaders, departments and even the co writer of the report who also chaired the Inquiry, Pat Anderson asking how this intervention was addressing the issues highlighted in the report, the project carried on and still to this day there is no evidence that the intervention did any good. You could well say that the fact that we are still here dealing with the same issues some twenty years later, it did nothing but make things worse.

So in 2007 the first income management scheme was the Northern Territory Emergency Response. At this time it was also introduced as part of a trial in Cape York and a provision introduced for people to have their income managed voluntarily.

Howard however, lost the election of course not without creating a great deal of damage in relationships between the government and Aboriginal communities. This then left Kevin 07 Rudd with the huge PR task of reconciling without looking too soft.

The Labor Government then seem to have flown on past a number of red flags and handed out government contracts relating to income management projects like they were how to vote cards.

So 2008 was a little quiet on the Income Management front. Labor had some work to do. There were still legal concerns with Income Management being open to claims of racial discrimination so legal services were procured, policy was adjusted and legislation changed. Instead of just targeting Aboriginal people living in remote communities Income Management according to Labor should be a case by case method of assistance for people who fall into the definition of being “at risk”.

Policy Policy Policy definitions and all that jazz and in September 2008 the first BasicsCard was issued in Katherine in the Northern Territory. YES I AM NOT KIDDING YOU! Even after all the not being racist but…. talk, they still went ahead and targeted Aboriginal communities. However the BasicsCard was there on, used as a method of managing people at risk identified through various services.

The entire project was an epic fail. They had this great idea but when it came to implementation no one in the 185 roles within the Department of Human Services knew how to implement a practical solution that didn’t increase their work load by making it more difficult for people being put onto the card. Some genius just flaunted the idea of using a prepaid giftcard style system and then Minister for Human Services Joe Ludwig (ALP) signed off on it. ReD Prepaid Cards Australia were contracted almost $3.5M to supply the cards. It was plagued with problems, like most gift cards at the time, could only be accepted by certain retailers, many of which didn’t exist in remote communities, cards declined, cards expired, if you lost your card replacement was a pain in the proverbial so by March 2009 the Minister announced a tender would take place for a more permanent point of sale solution.

Now pay attention…. You’ll need to know this later…. The minister at the time was Joe Ludwig as previously mentioned. With a Bachelor of Arts and Law the economic background just wasn’t there. Of course we all remember the volatile time it was in Australian Politics then, cabinet shuffle, reshuffle, spill, reshuffle, more tea move down, election, reshuffle, spill and it all fell to pieces. Very very shortly after the tender announcement Ludwig was moved out and Chris Bowen was moved in. Now he’s the guy with the economics background but what was more important at the time was that his policy adviser was a guy named James Sorahan… remember this name you’ll need it later.

It was difficult to put out a tender when you don’t know what it is you’re asking for exactly. Despite a bunch of research contracts they were still none the wiser on how to manage Income Management. I know the irony isn’t lost on me either. So somewhere along the line… before a tender was finalised…..

Along comes Indue Ltd.

Now Indue has a number of subsidiaries and had grown from a card service to a credit union type financial service and has continued to grow from there with much success. Today, Indue wants to become a bank but to do so they need more capital cash. How do they get that? This ladies and gentlemen is how the biggest welfare scam of all time was birthed…..

Despite an audit declaring that while the project would probably never achieve it’s outcomes, it was found that the correct and ethical procedures were followed in the tender and procurement process of the Replacement Income Management Project. Of course we all know to get your foot in the door it helps to know a guy who knows a guy….

So remember that name I gave you before.. Mr policy advisor James Sorahan… here is another name. Larry Anthony. Larry at that time was the CEO of Indue. Larry is well known for being the son of Former Deputy Prime Minister and Leader of the National party, Doug Anthony. Were James and Larry mates? I don’t know but guess what James does now? He’s a mining lobbyist and Director of Taxation for the Minerals Council of Australia. Nice jump from policy adviser (he moved on from Human Services to the minister for resources and energy later before this gig). Guess who else is a mining lobbyist? You guessed it. Larry Anthony.

Now you may have seen heroic philanthropist (cough tax avoider cough) Andrew Twiggy Forrest pushing this whole healthy welfare concept of the Cashless Debit Card as it’s now become known. What is Twiggy’s main business? Freakin mining of course and in 2009 we were in the middle of the mining boom. But wait… it’s not quite fully connected yet.

So Minister at the time Chris Bowen whether he was aware or not, saw $23.3M worth of contracts granted to Indue Ltd for Income Management Project services within around six months.

Naturally when the tender was finally defined and put out the “primary contractor” was the favoured contractor and yep, they got the tender to continue. Between 2009 and now, Indue has benefited from our welfare system to the tune of $60.2M in contracts. That’s just the contracts!

Yes that’s right taxpayers… welfare has just cost you another $60.2M and that’s only the tip of the iceberg. Between the idea launch in 2007 and now more than ONE BILLION DOLLARS in contracts to external entities have been paid out in relation to the Income Management projects that so far…. have failed.

Now of course this is not unusual for a private entity to gain from government contracts and tenders. After all it’s a huge economy. The icky thing I find about Indue and the methods used to get what they’ve got is that they are profiting from WELFARE. From the care of our most vulnerable people.

Larry Anthony is no longer the CEO of Indue, he’s moved onto bigger and better things now. He’s the Federal President of the Nationals and Founding Director of the SAS Group. Guess who else has gained a storm load of government contracts through tender and procurement? Yeah, SAS. And guess when he founded his little company… 2009.

So Indue and the many connections within it have played a significant role in the design of what is to become our future. We aren’t just talking about young people on Newstart and Aboriginal communities here. This has been developed with the potential to expand across the entire nation to anyone and everyone who receives a benefit payment of any kind excluding (for the time) Aged Pensions and Department of Veteran’s Affairs payments. Yes tax payers… this means you too. Family Tax Benefit, Carer’s Allowance any payment you might get as an additional support to your income can and will be paid via Income Management some day soon.

Why is there a push to expand it so fast?

Okay so back to the mining boom and our mates James and Larry have moved on into areas that lobby for mining….. 2014 the mining boom busted. Poof. Like that the honeymoon was over. The government realised there was revenue to be had and they wanted their share. It then became less profitable for the mining industry to keep sucking the country’s resources dry and who should suffer greatly from that none other than Mr Twiggy himself. So in 2014 when those pesky Aboriginals had stood in his way long enough with all those annoy things like land rights and artefact protection he decided he would pick up where John Howard left off and save the Aboriginal communities from themselves.

Enter the Creating Parity report also known as The Forrest Review. Gee it must be good to have a hero status for donating to your own charities. If only you knew how many and how wide they spread. Not to mention how many of his mates and other people he wanted to persuade now have high paying jobs because of his “charities”. Creating Parity was a damning report that painted Aboriginal communities even worse than the 2007 Little Children are Sacred Inquiry. No admission at all that we created the problem, it’s all their fault. So the solution again was to control their money rather than remove the sources that cause the problems.

It’s much easier to control vulnerable people who have nothing than it is to control the continual supply of drugs, alcohol and gambling that they keep telling us are so bad that they are the downfalls of these areas of society who need their spending controlled. Regardless of whether you’re a tea-totalling strictly moral hardworking person who just happens to be out of a job at the time, you’re going to be branded a gambling alcoholic junkie and your spending will be controlled.f

And all the while Indue Ltd, it’s board members and shareholders will all be rubbing their greedy little hands together selling the drama to the taxpayers of Australia that welfare is going to be the downfall of our economy if we don’t let them get it under control. More people on the card means more money transfers to them which means larger cash capital. Once they have a big enough share of the welfare market to control…. they get to become a bank and all their wishes come true.

Does that help solve the actual anti social issues in society both welfare and non welfare related? Nope. If you stay tuned for the next episode of Australia’s Biggest Welfare Profiting Scam I will tear apart the next beneficiary, Orima and their very poor attempt to give the government their $160k worth in a 300 page report about nothing and how the PR people in government are selling the drama to our MPs.

 

Since #Census2016 has everyone concerned about privacy…

I’ve just completed my #Census2016 with great satisfaction. I’m a community service provider’s dream on the census. I am all the needs for services in an area. They wish there were more of me to quantify their funding desires. I have a disability, I’m of Aboriginal and foreign decent. I’m the child of a refugee. I have a low income. I require assistance due to a permanent disability and health condition. I don’t work but I do volunteer. I rely on public transport. I have children. I am all the needs dependent on the community for assistance. Do I get all that I need? Shit no. I make do with what I have and I’m often pushing shit up hill trying to get anything more than the minimum, but I’m good with that. I’m a fighter these days. Lets face it I have nothing better to do with my time right? Pft

I’ve been following the whole privacy concerns about the Census this year and I still for the life of me can’t see anything different about the last time I did it other than it was online and for the first time I can put no religion as an option for religion.

I’m not worried about putting the information in an online form since now that’s what Centrelink, Child Support, ATO, Medicare and a bunch of other government departments now force me to do and they know way more about me than the Census asked. I can’t lie to any of them since they’re all connected. Centrelink tells the ATO how much money I earn. The ATO tell Centrelink if I tell them about any additional money or if an employer tells them they paid me and I didn’t report it. Child Support tells Centrelink how much money my kid’s father gives me. Centrelink tells Medicare what kind of concession I’m entitled to and Medicare tells my doctor. Medicare tells my kid’s dentist how much money they’ve given them to spend on dental work and the dentist tells medicare how horrid my kid’s teeth are. The ATO even tells me how much interest I earned from my bank accounts. Thanks to this amazing capability I found two bank accounts I had forgotten about. Nothing in my life is a secret.

When it comes to questions that are an invasion of privacy, applying for Disability Support Pension was the most invasive process I’ve ever had to go through. Some might say you don’t get a choice with the Census… well… I didn’t really have a choice about DSP either. It was that or die starving and cold in a park somewhere.

When it comes to the collection of your private information and the sharing of it there’s no guarantee it won’t be shared somewhere. It was harder for me to get my medical records from the hospital than it was for my doctor. Go figure. Whether or not you have a choice is a matter of perspective. I have a choice whether or not I want to have a Facebook account. I had no choice whether I wanted to be treated in a mental health facility. I have a choice if I want Facebook to show my email, date of birth or relationship status. I didn’t have a choice that things about my treatment in a mental health facility were recorded without my consent or knowledge.

We have a choice to sign up for a rewards program that tracks your spending habits. We don’t have a choice about our pay provider tracking our spending habits… oh… wait… that’s only for “welfare bludgers”.

Ok, let me elaborate.

The federal government are very concerned about what people who “receive taxpayers money” are spending it on. See, some people have problems that are considered of an anti social nature. Some of those people, whether it be because of those problems or not, receive welfare benefits from the Department of Human Services, formerly known as Centrelink, formerly known as Social Security. We actually have a social security Act in Australia so that we don’t end up with a (ahem) poverty problem in what is a first world country. Any one who meets the eligibility requirements has the right to apply for welfare assistance in Australia. Some (particularly in government) don’t refer to it as a right though. They call it entitlement and apparently entitlement is a dirty word in 2016. The federal government are so concerned that all the people of antisocial nature are all getting hardworking taxpayer’s money for nothing that they want to restrict it even more than it already is. I don’t know about most people but the $470 odd dollars a fortnight I use to get on Newstart Allowance didn’t exactly get me a full fortnight’s party worth of drugs, alcohol and gambling, let alone keep a roof over my head, run a car and clothe and feed my kid but the federal government are so concerned that I might spend the money of hardworking tax payers on something self indulgent that they are now seeking a method to not only prevent it from happening but also track what I might spend “their” money on.

Okay Okay, let’s ignore the fact that I was prior to acquiring an incurable, progressively debilitating and degenerative disease through no fault of my own other than the stars I stood under, I was a hard working tax payer person. I worked so hard I had two taxpayer jobs for many moons. In fact, just because I had a second job, the great southern land laws meant I would be taxed MORE at that second job just because I chose to work harder. None of that matters when you stop doing it. You’re no longer considered by these people as a contributing member of society anymore and you’re suddenly beneath them. Never mind the fact that these said people are also paid by the taxpayer and when they STOP working for it still get paid by the taxpaying peoples. Now just don’t you worry about that.

Back to the elaboration part… So concerned about what welfare bludging peoples might be spending a taxpaying person’s money on, they are trying to introduce a method of controlling and tracking what we do with the “gift” we are given every fortnight.

 

It’s marketed as “The Healthy Welfare Card” but there isn’t much very healthy about it. It has been outsourced to a third party to do it (the first step toward privatisation) which is a company by the name of Indue. Indue are a company that provides payment management systems. What they’re doing for our government is providing a payment management system for people on Centrelink. It supposedly works just like a VISA card only you are limited to the amount you can withdraw in cash and you can’t use it at any venue that sells alcohol or gambling products or services. You will no longer use your traditional bank account for your payment to go into. Your payment will only go on this card and this card is your only access to your (their – the taxpayers) money. Of course this invites a whole conversation about the insurmountable amounts of issues this will cause people (oh but they have answers for everything apparently) but that isn’t my most significant concern.

Since we’ve been talking about information privacy, imagine your employer said from now on your pay will only go onto a card that we provide you with and we will track every transaction you use this card for. There’d be uproar. The civil libertarians, the unions, the Privacy and Data Security Commissioner, gosh even Get Up! would be all over that shit. No, you can’t do that to people right? Well that is exactly what Indue are currently doing to people on Centrelink. No, not all of us. Yet.

There are two trial sites. East Kimberly in WA and Ceduna in SA. Both are remote communities that have issues that many remote communities face and differ from more metropolitan communities. One of the biggest issues being lack of access to support services. So naturally the results of the trial are going to translate to every area in Australia right? Cos all of us welfare bludgers are the same.

Again back to focusing on the privacy issue… when you read through Indue’s privacy policy it’s quite frightening. I can’t help but question not only why is it necessary for Indue, a third party that is NOT a government department to have so much information about me but also why it’s necessary for them to share this information with OTHER third parties.

 

My mother’s maiden name? Seriously dude why don’t you ask me for my Netflix password too? What difference does it make to me being stigmatised by being identified by a one size fits all card, which benefit I get? My own bank didn’t even ask what country I was born in. Or my marital status. And they damn well don’t need my concession card details. What business is it of theirs if I have other bank accounts? I won’t have any freaking money going into them anyway.

Worse still… why is it necessary for Indue to track our transactions? And reading between the lines of the privacy policy suggests they may provide this data collected on me back to Centrelink (I’m guessing for a fee, also paid for with money from the taxpaying peoples). Why is it necessary for Indue OR Centrelink to know when and where I get my hair cut and how much it costs? Why do they need to know I had a donut with my coffee today? Do they really need to know about that Adult Shop purchase that was a gag gift for a friend? (Hey that’s the story I’m sticking with). They already know how much medication I take and where I buy it! Why do they want to know about my multivitamins?

Most of all… why does Indue get to profit from welfare? (Interest earned from money stored in bank accounts – cos lets face it if the national welfare bill is $240M per year then that’s some nice freaking interest earned even on a standard savings account). AND – if this is a service that at the end of the day MUST be privatised…. why was this never put out to tender? (Unless I totally missed that story, and if so, I want details.)

You think the Census was an invasion of your privacy? Please. Just pray you don’t end up on this card as a welfare recipient. They’ll know where you are, when you’re there and how much it cost you. Them. Oh, you know what I mean.