ALP resists policies that may help end the poverty cycle

ALP resists policies that may help end the poverty cycle, by Jennifer Oriel.

In the battle to win the moral high ground, Labor has adopted a populist approach to welfare. Like the Greens, it is renewing its commitment to the big welfare state. …

The Opposition Leader has announced Labor will scrap the cashless welfare card if it forms government. …

Preliminary data from trials showed that 41 per cent of CWC participants who drank ­alcohol reported drinking less frequently; 48 per cent who used drugs reported using drugs less frequently; and 48 per cent of those who gambled before the trial reported gambling less often.

Labor has been swift to point out the flaws in the program’s evaluation methodology, which is interesting given the ALP has poured millions into social policy over decades without requiring scientific evidence of efficacy. Despite claiming to want better evidence of the CWC program outcomes, the Greens and Labor tried to block further trials being held to test preliminary findings. …

The Green-Left has made a concerted effort to block welfare ­reform. In 2017, Greens senator Rachel Siewert ignored requests from indigenous elders to extend the use of the cashless debit card in remote West Australian communities. Elders believed it would reduce family violence and help children with alcoholic parents. …

The cashless welfare card operates by quarantining 80 per cent of welfare payments for food and other essentials. The remainder can be withdrawn as cash and used for discretionary items.

The reasoning behind the program is to empower welfare recipients by removing a major impediment to their well-being and capacity to thrive, namely addiction. …

While taxpayers are spending big on social security, the Coalition has overseen a ­reduction in welfare dependency to the lowest rate in more than 30 years. The government attributes the success to its job-creation initiatives.

Labor and the Greens have chosen a populist approach to welfare that appeals to compassion, but offers little in the way of concrete solutions to help people ­escape the poverty trap. …

The Coalition is right to focus on breaking the bonds of ­addiction so that individuals and families can be liberated from intergenerational poverty. The poverty trap ensures people remain dependent on the state for survival. The best governments work to remove impediments to human progress so that citizens are free to flourish and realise their potential.