The Liberal Members for Braddon and Bass, Gavin Pearce and Bridget Archer have betrayed over 70,000 Tasmanians with their refusal to stop the Cashless Welfare Card bill passing the House of Representatives.
Bridget Archer spoke against the bill passionately last week saying the cashless debit card is causing ‘damage’ and ‘stigma’ to participants and is ‘punitive’ and ‘intrusive’.
But when it came to the vote in the House yesterday, she failed to show up and match her words with action.
As a result, the bill passed the House of Representatives by one vote – 62 votes to 61. If Ms Archer had turned up and voted with the courage of her convictions the bill would have been defeated.
Ms Archer could have stopped the bill in its tracks and prevented the Morrison Government’s further demonising of welfare recipients.
Ms Archer exemplified the Prime Minister’s shameless practice of being all announcement, no action. Being there for the photo-op, but not for follow-up.
Meanwhile, Mr Pearce has previously offered qualified support for the trial of the card in Tasmania.
Ms Archer has said she’s heard from ‘distressed people’, including pensioners, who are anxious about the roll out of the card.
There can be no doubt that, if Mr Pearce was doing his job, he would have heard the same level of distress and concern from voters in North West Tasmania.
There are currently over 17,000 Tasmanians in Bass and Braddon on unemployment payments. In total, over 70,000 people in the two electorates are on social security payments including the Disability Support Pension and Age Pension.
Tasmanians have been loud and clear that they don’t want the cashless debit card.
If they’re not willing to listen, represent or vote for their constituents in the parliament, Tasmanians are right to ask: what is the point of Gavin Pearce and Bridget Archer?