The shops are crowded, the plastic cards are working overtime, it looks like everyone is cashed up this Christmas. But are they? Is everyone going further into debt, just like the Federal and State governments in Australia?
Christmas is a great time to have a good time. But when the good time is over, and the credit card bill arrives so do the headaches. Unless you are a savvy shopper and do not go for the big expenditure items. Or are you like me and shop early? I spread my Christmas shopping over a few months and by the time December has arrived the credit card is cleared. No surprises for me in my email in-box from the bank, once the New Year arrives.
Human Rights and the Cashless Debit Card
There are some people who do not have much cash to splash this Christmas. That is, those who receive income support from the government. Those who are part of the Cashless Debit Card trial receive even less. Only 20 per cent is paid into their bank account whereby they can use as cash. The other 80 per cent goes onto their Cashless Debit Card. And with this comes conditions on how the money can be spent.
Does this arrangement contravene the human rights of individuals? That is, does it take away choice and decision-making? The short answer is ‘yes.’ It is dehumanising and stigmatising. There must be better social programs to support those who are jobless and at risk of substance abuse and gambling.
Firstly, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 4 states ‘No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.’ Across the world, countries including Australia, have made leaps and bounds in banning slavery. But more effort is required to address servitude.
Servitude is the state of being completely subject to someone more powerful. Could this be those who receive the Cashless Debit Card? Are they in servitude to the Federal Government?
The arguments for controlling what people do with their government paid income support payments are plentiful. It is for their own good. They cannot manage their money. They are spending their income support on alcohol and drugs. It is the taxpayer’s money they are wasting. And the arguments go on and on!
The Taypayer’s Money and the Cashless Debit Card
Where does the money comes from that is on everyone’s Cashless Debit Card? Is it the taxpayer’s money or is it the government’s money?
There are people who continue to harp on what is happening with the taxpayer’s money. The money that is taken out of their pay in tax. There is an inherent belief held by many that people who require government assistance, are wasting the taxpayer’s money. Well no, this is not so. It is time to rethink your arguments and challenge your belief systems.
It is the government’s money and it is the government who decides where their money will go. If they decide it will go on a Cashless Debit Card then that is where it will go. But is this the right way to go? Our political leaders are voted in to make ‘good decisions.’ Decisions that are in the best interest of the people of Australia. People and children who are dependent on income support from the government.
This year the Federal Government has been all cashed up. They have been busy borrowing money from the Reserve Bank. Then busy handing it out to those looking for work and stimulus payments to others who get income support and other government benefits.
Still not convinced that it is NOT the taxpayer’s money that is going on to those Cashless Debit Cards. If not, read the article by John Kelly where he explores whether the taxpayer’s money is a fallacy or fraud.
Are You All Cashed Up This Christmas?
If you are cashed up this Christmas, and not part of the trial for the Cashless Debit Card, then you have choice. You can make your own decisions what you do with your cash at hand. You can buy gifts or make gifts.
If you are a recipient of the Cashless Debit Card, by virtue of your postcode, you can always make a gift after a trip to the supermarket. You can buy the ingredients to make a fruit cake.
This year I gave two fruit cakes as gifts. One I bought and one I made. The bought one was expensive, but it went to a team of people who look after my eyes. I have open-angle glaucoma. The other cake, which I made and mentioned last week went to the medical team who look after my general health throughout the year.
I had enough cash on hand to buy both cakes but making a gift takes a little more effort. Also, as I mentioned last week, I am not sure everyone likes a home-made cake when they cannot be sure of the hygiene in its preparation. For the record, my hygiene practices in the kitchen are exceptionally good. Therefore, I am sure no hospitalisation will be required from eating my home-made fruit cake.
Cashed up or cashless this Christmas?
I know I would rather be cashed up and able to make my own decisions about where I spend my money. Yet, being cashed up does not mean I am carrying cash around with me everywhere I go. What it means is that I can flash my plastic debit card, the one NOT given to me by the government but by the bank, after I gave them my money!
What I like about having my own debit card is that I have choice. I am not told by the government where I can spend my money. I believe every Australian needs the same choice. After all, choice, without servitude is a fundamental human right.