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Tuesday, 11 September 2018
Page: 5978

Senator McALLISTER (New South WalesDeputy Opposition Whip in the Senate) (12:07): Then it might assist for me to put the opposition senators' view about this. We do not support these amendments. This is primarily because we do not support the expansion of the cashless debit card beyond the trials in Ceduna and the East Kimberley. It is also because we are concerned that the changes could reduce parliamentary scrutiny of the trials, where certain changes to trial areas would be enabled through a notifiable rather than a disallowable instrument. The purpose of the trial is to allow scrutiny of the effectiveness of that trial. If presented separately, Labor would support powers for the secretary in relation to reducing the proportion of income that is loaded onto the card. That is something we would be prepared to consider, but while they are clustered together we cannot support the amendments as a whole. We are of the understanding that, in circumstances of technical malfunction or natural disaster, changes could already be made quickly by the minister through a legislative instrument. It is our expectation that the government has the numbers in relation to this amendment. We are not at this stage seeking for parts of it to be considered separately.