Aussie MP Suggests Drug Users Should Be Stripped Of Access To Welfare
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There have been growing calls to re-evaluate Australia's welfare system when it comes to young drug users.
Liberal-National MP Andrew Laming is pushing for changes to Centrelink so that drug-addicted youths would no longer be able to use their welfare payments to pay for their drug habits.
With methamphetamine (also known as ice) dependence in Australia on the rise, Laming said he wants Youth Allowance recipients who appear in court or fail to fulfil job search obligations to be tested for use of the dangerous drug.
Following a positive hair follicle or urine test, Laming said he would like to see 80 per cent of the individual's allowance placed a cashless debit card to stop them from spending taxpayer money on drugs.
"There's more money in the system, there's more liquidity available to people who are addicted," Laming told Daily Mail Australia.
"It's likely that most addicts have started using before they reach the age of receiving independent Centrelink payments - but there are people that enter the cycle at 16 and potentially they could be using Commonwealth funding for their habit."
However, he did add that the pandemic has seen an increase in the price of illegal substances, including ice.
"There has been additional coronavirus supplement paid but also substances needed to manufacture ice can't be imported at the moment so the prices have gone through the roof," he said.
"It's impossible to say if they've bought more drugs but I'm just noting that there's more money in the system."
According to Cracks In The Ice, dependence on the drug has increased, with statistics indicating that methamphetamine is the highest consumed illicit drug in Australia, in both capital cities and regional sites.
Laming said it is crucial to identify and stamp out ice use in young people before it became a greater issue.
"For hardened drug addicts, you've already missed the boat. These interventions are about identifying as early as possible a user potentially in their first weeks of experimenting with a drug like ice," he said.
"It's about picking them up when they end up in court for a minor matter or fail to do their mandatory job search obligations at the age of 18 or fall out of school and end up running into problems.
"Under current arrangements, people can turn up to court multiple times and no-one even realises if they're addicted and that's a great tragedy. These reforms are designed at the gateway to be doing what we can to get wrap-around support involved.
He's not the only politician who is pushing for cashless cards for welfare recipients - Pauline Hanson recently took aim at welfare recipients in an explosive speech in which she declared they had 'lost their rights' on how they choose to spend the money.
In arguing the case for the card, Hanson unleashed a tirade upon welfare recipients: "That's what this card is about. It's not about a person's rights.
"When you go onto this card, you basically lose your rights as well. If you go on a welfare system, you've lost your rights."
She argued that people usually spend their welfare payments on baby items, food, clothing, shoes, toys and other goods for children.
But because it was concentrated on a card, it stopped the money from going to other places.
"That's why they are quite happy to be on the card. They can say: 'I can't give you money. I haven't got it.' Humbugging is in these communities. They know that family members are taking money from them," she added.