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Wednesday, 14 October 2015
Page: 7580

Senator SIEWERT (Western AustraliaAustralian Greens Whip) (11:10): I will give this one more go. I will give you a real-life example. This is what happened to me. I got my whole wallet stolen. I could go into my bank, prove who I was through answering a series of questions and get enough cash to take me through at least till I got back home and for a few days after that. I was away. I could access enough cash to do that. I have a limit, just to stop people being able to go in and use my cards to steal my cash. There is a limit there, but it is quite a high limit, as probably most of us have, for the amount of cash per day. But I could get that money because I do not have a limit on how much money I can take out of the bank. A person on Newstart could do the same thing as me—go and prove who they were through answering a series of questions so that they could take money out. I think I actually took out $500 so that I had enough cash, because I knew I was not going to be able to buy things electronically. That is what a person in the same situation as me would want to do—take out enough cash so that they could access things before they got their card back. In this case, they cannot do that. They may have already used the 20 per cent that they can access for the two weeks of the pay cycle. Even if they have a little bit of that left, they may not have enough left, potentially, because there is a limited amount of cash they can get. So, yes, they can access the cash, but only a tiny amount. So what do they do then for the rest of the time, when they cannot access any more cash because they do not have the card? This is not a made-up scenario. It is a real-life scenario. That is why we are asking, because this is what it means to people on the ground when they are trying to get through this process. They will be surviving trying to use the card. You have got to think of what it means day to day, and this is a really live situation. Lots of people in the community travel quite long distances, but, even if they do not, it also happens if they are still in town and it is not the travelling scenario that I am outlining.