The majority voted in favour of agreeing with the main idea of the bill. In parliamentary jargon, they voted against giving it a second reading, which means they can now consider it in greater detail.

What is the bill's main idea?

The bills digest supplies the following key points regarding the bill:

  • Enhanced Income Management (eIM) is a hybrid welfare quarantining regime which has replaced the Cashless Debit Card (CDC) regime. The Bill proposes to also replace the existing Income Management (IM) regime with eIM. Welfare quarantining restricts the way a portion of a social security recipient’s payment can be spent.

  • eIM is a hybrid regime in that it reflects the policy and legislative framework of the existing IM regime but uses an identical technology platform as the CDC regime to operate.

  • The Bill proposes to:

  • extend the eIM regime to include all the measures currently covered by the existing IM regime

  • allow individuals currently subject to the IM regime to voluntarily move onto the eIM regime

  • close the existing IM regime to new entrants and move all new individuals subject to welfare quarantining onto the eIM.

  • The Bill will allow the Minister to extend eIM compulsory and voluntary measures to new locations via legislative instrument, although the Explanatory Memorandum states there is no intention to expand the ‘Long-term welfare payment’, ‘Disengaged youth’ and voluntary measures.
  • The Government does not appear to have settled on a long-term plan for the future of welfare quarantining. The Government has stated its preferred option is a voluntary welfare quarantining scheme (except in Cape York) with the option to allow for communities to make referrals for compulsory welfare quarantining. A consultation process is ongoing.

How is this SmartCard different to the Cashless Debit Card (or Indue Card)?

Short answer: we're not sure.

The parliamentary library included a good discussion of the similarities and differences of the different welfare quarantining systems in the bills digest, but noted that:

This Bills Digest was produced at short notice to assist early consideration of the Bill. It provides an overview of some of the policy issues raised by the Bill as well as background information to help readers understand the policy context. The Digest does not include a detailed discussion of the Bill’s provisions nor does it canvass the views of stakeholders.

When comparing the systems, the bills digest explained the differences the following way:

The platform is essentially identical to the one used in the CDC regime. Former CDC participants will have the same welfare restricted bank account and can continue to use the same card. Eventually, CDC participants will be issued with a new card. This will look different and will have a new name: the ‘SmartCard’. As with the CDC and the BasicsCard, the banking services attached to the SmartCard—including the bank account itself, the physical card and the connection to financial systems—are provided by Indue. DSS officials told Senate Estimates in February that those moved from the CDC to eIM would keep the same bank account.

As the Traditional Credit Union (TCU) explains to card holders, restrictions on the card have changed (a policy change) but the differences between the CDC and the new SmartCard are its colour and its name. The new restrictions are pornography and tobacco purchases (restricted under IM but not the CDC).

One further difference is that no interest is accrued on funds in the restricted bank account.

The Bill brings all the existing IM measures into the new eIM regime’s legislative framework. One feature of this, is the ability of the Minister to add new locations through a legislative instrument. Unlike the CDC regime, there is no sunset clause and no need for the Minister to amend the Act to expand eIM.

With the Bill’s proposed amendments, the eIM regime has the potential to be easier for Government to expand than either IM or the CDC. It will combine IM’s less restrictive legislative framework with the CDC easier to expand platform.

Votes Passed by a large majority

Nobody rebelled against their party.

Party Votes
Australian Greens (100% turnout) 0 Yes 4 No
Adam Bandt Melbourne No
Stephen Bates Brisbane No
Max Chandler-Mather Griffith No
Elizabeth Watson-Brown Ryan No
Australian Labor Party (97% turnout) 74 Yes 0 No
Anthony Albanese Grayndler Yes
Anne Aly Cowan Yes
Michelle Ananda-Rajah Higgins Yes
Chris Bowen McMahon Yes
Tony Burke Watson Yes
Matt Burnell Spence Yes
Linda Burney Barton Yes
Josh Burns Macnamara Yes
Mark Butler Hindmarsh Yes
Alison Byrnes Cunningham Yes
Jim Chalmers Rankin Yes
Andrew Charlton Parramatta Yes
Lisa Chesters Bendigo Yes
Jason Clare Blaxland Yes
Sharon Claydon Newcastle Yes
Libby Coker Corangamite Yes
Julie Collins Franklin Yes
Pat Conroy Shortland Yes
Mark Dreyfus Isaacs Yes
Justine Elliot Richmond Yes
Cassandra Fernando Holt Yes
Mike Freelander Macarthur Yes
Carina Garland Chisholm Yes
Steve Georganas Adelaide Yes
Andrew Giles Scullin Yes
Patrick Gorman Perth Yes
Luke Gosling Solomon Yes
Julian Hill Bruce Yes
Ed Husic Chifley Yes
Stephen Jones Whitlam Yes
Ged Kearney Cooper Yes
Matt Keogh Burt Yes
Peter Khalil Wills Yes
Catherine King Ballarat Yes
Madeleine King Brand Yes
Tania Lawrence Hasluck Yes
Jerome Laxale Bennelong Yes
Andrew Leigh Fenner Yes
Sam Lim Tangney Yes
Richard Marles Corio Yes
Zaneta Mascarenhas Swan Yes
Kristy McBain Eden-Monaro Yes
Emma McBride Dobell Yes
Louise Miller-Frost Boothby Yes
Brian Mitchell Lyons Yes
Rob Mitchell McEwen Yes
Daniel Mulino Fraser Yes
Peta Murphy Dunkley Yes
Shayne Neumann Blair Yes
Brendan O'Connor Gorton Yes
Clare O'Neil Hotham Yes
Alicia Payne Canberra Yes
Graham Perrett Moreton Yes
Fiona Phillips Gilmore Yes
Tanya Plibersek Sydney Yes
Sam Rae Hawke Yes
Gordon Reid Robertson Yes
Dan Repacholi Hunter Yes
Amanda Rishworth Kingston Yes
Tracey Roberts Pearce Yes
Michelle Rowland Greenway Yes
Joanne Ryan Lalor Yes
Bill Shorten Maribyrnong Yes
Sally Sitou Reid Yes
David Smith Bean Yes
Anne Stanley Werriwa Yes
Meryl Swanson Paterson Yes
Susan Templeman Macquarie Yes
Matt Thistlethwaite Kingsford Smith Yes
Kate Thwaites Jagajaga Yes
Maria Vamvakinou Calwell Yes
Anika Wells Lilley Yes
Josh Wilson Fremantle Yes
Tony Zappia Makin Yes
Marion Scrymgour Lingiari Absent
Tim Watts Gellibrand Absent
Rebekha Sharkie Mayo Centre Alliance Yes
Mark Coulton Parkes Deputy Speaker Absent
Kate Chaney Curtin Independent Yes
Zoe Daniel Goldstein Independent Yes
Helen Haines Indi Independent Yes
Monique Ryan Kooyong Independent Yes
Sophie Scamps Mackellar Independent Yes
Zali Steggall Warringah Independent Yes
Kylea Tink North Sydney Independent Yes
Andrew Wilkie Clark Independent No
Andrew Gee Calare Independent Absent
Dai Le Fowler Independent Absent
Allegra Spender Wentworth Independent Absent
Bob Katter Kennedy Katter's Australian Party Absent
Liberal National Party (25% turnout) 2 Yes 0 No
Henry Pike Bowman Yes
Andrew Wallace Fisher Yes
Angie Bell Moncrieff Absent
Colin Boyce Flynn Absent
Garth Hamilton Groom Absent
Phillip Thompson Herbert Absent
Andrew Willcox Dawson Absent
Terry Young Longman Absent
Liberal Party (31% turnout) 11 Yes 0 No
Bridget Archer Bass Yes
Russell Broadbent Monash Yes
David Coleman Banks Yes
Paul Fletcher Bradfield Yes
Andrew Hastie Canning Yes
Zoe McKenzie Flinders Yes
Gavin Pearce Braddon Yes
Melissa Price Durack Yes
Michael Sukkar Deakin Yes
Bert Van Manen Forde Yes
Keith Wolahan Menzies Yes
Karen Andrews McPherson Absent
Scott Buchholz Wright Absent
Peter Dutton Dickson Absent
Warren Entsch Leichhardt Absent
Ian Goodenough Moore Absent
Alex Hawke Mitchell Absent
Luke Howarth Petrie Absent
Julian Leeser Berowra Absent
Sussan Ley Farrer Absent
Nola Marino Forrest Absent
Melissa McIntosh Lindsay Absent
Scott Morrison Cook Absent
Ted O'Brien Fairfax Absent
Tony Pasin Barker Absent
Rowan Ramsey Grey Absent
Stuart Robert Fadden Absent
James Stevens Sturt Absent
Angus Taylor Hume Absent
Dan Tehan Wannon Absent
Ross Vasta Bonner Absent
Aaron Violi Casey Absent
Jenny Ware Hughes Absent
Rick Wilson O'Connor Absent
Jason Wood La Trobe Absent
National Party (8% turnout) 1 Yes 0 No
Michael McCormack Riverina Yes
Sam Birrell Nicholls Absent
Darren Chester Gippsland Absent
Pat Conaghan Cowper Absent
David Gillespie Lyne Absent
Kevin Hogan Page Absent
Barnaby Joyce New England Absent
Michelle Landry Capricornia Absent
David Littleproud Maranoa Absent
Llew O'Brien Wide Bay Absent
Keith Pitt Hinkler Absent
Anne Webster Mallee Absent
Milton Dick Oxley Speaker Absent
Totals (67% turnout) 96 Yes – 5 No