Social Security (Administration) Amendment (Income Management Reform) Bill 2023 - Second Reading - Against compulsory income management
Passed by a large majority
No rebellions 67% attendance
The majority voted in favour of a motion to pass the bill, as amended, in the Senate. In parliamentary jargon, they voted to read the bill for a third time. This means it will now be sent back to the House of Representatives, where they will decide on whether to agree with the Senate amendments so the bill can become law.
The bills digest provided the following key points on 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.
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.
Nobody rebelled against their party.
|Australian Greens (100% turnout)||0 Yes – 11 No|
|Penny Allman-Payne Queensland||No|
|Dorinda Cox WA||No|
|Mehreen Faruqi NSW||No|
|Sarah Hanson-Young SA||No|
|Nick McKim Tasmania||No|
|Barbara Pocock SA||No|
|Janet Rice Victoria||No|
|David Shoebridge NSW||No|
|Jordon Steele-John WA||No|
|Larissa Waters Queensland||No|
|Peter Whish-Wilson Tasmania||No|
|Australian Labor Party (72% turnout)||18 Yes – 0 No|
|Tim Ayres NSW||Yes|
|Catryna Bilyk Tasmania||Yes|
|Carol Brown Tasmania||Yes|
|Anthony Chisholm Queensland||Yes|
|Raff Ciccone Victoria||Yes|
|Don Farrell SA||Yes|
|Nita Green Queensland||Yes|
|Malarndirri McCarthy NT||Yes|
|Deborah O'Neill NSW||Yes|
|Fatima Payman WA||Yes|
|Helen Polley Tasmania||Yes|
|Louise Pratt WA||Yes|
|Tony Sheldon NSW||Yes|
|Marielle Smith SA||Yes|
|Glenn Sterle WA||Yes|
|Anne Urquhart Tasmania||Yes|
|Jess Walsh Victoria||Yes|
|Linda White Victoria||Yes|
|Patrick Dodson WA||Absent|
|Katy Gallagher ACT||Absent|
|Karen Grogan SA||Absent|
|Jenny McAllister NSW||Absent|
|Jana Stewart Victoria||Absent|
|Murray Watt Queensland||Absent|
|Penny Wong SA||Absent|
|Jacinta Nampijinpa Price NT Country Liberal Party||Absent|
|Andrew McLachlan SA Deputy President||Absent|
|David Pocock ACT Independent||Yes|
|Lidia Thorpe Victoria Independent||No|
|Jacqui Lambie Network (100% turnout)||2 Yes – 0 No|
|Jacqui Lambie Tasmania||Yes|
|Tammy Tyrrell Tasmania||Yes|
|Liberal National Party (0% turnout)||Absent|
|Matthew Canavan Queensland||Absent|
|James McGrath Queensland||Absent|
|Liberal Party (21% turnout)||5 Yes – 0 No|
|Claire Chandler Tasmania||Yes|
|David Fawcett SA||Yes|
|Jane Hume Victoria||Yes|
|Matt O'Sullivan WA||Yes|
|Anne Ruston SA||Yes|
|Alex Antic SA||Absent|
|Wendy Askew Tasmania||Absent|
|Simon Birmingham SA||Absent|
|Andrew Bragg NSW||Absent|
|Slade Brockman WA||Absent|
|Michaelia Cash WA||Absent|
|Richard Colbeck Tasmania||Absent|
|Jonathon Duniam Tasmania||Absent|
|Sarah Henderson Victoria||Absent|
|Hollie Hughes NSW||Absent|
|Maria Kovacic NSW||Absent|
|Kerrynne Liddle SA||Absent|
|James Paterson Victoria||Absent|
|Marise Payne NSW||Absent|
|Gerard Rennick Queensland||Absent|
|Linda Reynolds WA||Absent|
|Paul Scarr Queensland||Absent|
|Dean Smith WA||Absent|
|David Van Victoria||Absent|
|National Party (0% turnout)||Absent|
|Ross Cadell NSW||Absent|
|Perin Davey NSW||Absent|
|Susan McDonald Queensland||Absent|
|Bridget McKenzie Victoria||Absent|
|Pauline Hanson's One Nation Party (0% turnout)||Absent|
|Pauline Hanson Queensland||Absent|
|Malcolm Roberts Queensland||Absent|
|Sue Lines WA President||Absent|
|Ralph Babet Victoria United Australia Party||Yes|
|Totals (51% turnout)||27 Yes – 12 No|
Turnout is the percentage of members eligible to vote that did vote.