by Eliza Goetze
ARMED police were on hand for crowd control today when protesters showed up outside a meeting about the Cashless Debit Card.
But they were a little over-gunned.
"They had rifles. There were four cop cars," protest organiser Kathryn Wilkes said.
"There were eight of us women aged between 40 and 60 ... We were very peaceful.
"They're afraid of a bunch of sick women on the (disability support pension).
"If you pushed me over I'd end up in hospital. Most of us couldn't fight our way out of a paper bag."
The party gathered outside the Mantra hotel in Hervey Bay, where Human Services Minister Alan Tudge and Hinkler MP Keith Pitt were meeting local businesses, with signs including "Stop corporate profiting from Centrelink".
The meeting was originally to be held next to the Torquay Post Office but protesters caught wind of the late change to the Mantra.
"We had a laugh with the police - they said 'We didn't need to be here'," Ms Wilkes said.
"It was freezing at 6.30 in the morning. But we've got to do something.
"Ceduna (where the card is in place) didn't get as much as what we've got in media or recognition.
"It was all signed and sealed behind closed doors."
A spokeswoman for Mr Tudge said: "The police conduct their own assessments to determine whether an event requires their presence to ensure the safety of attendees - this decision lies entirely with them."
"The event was moved to the Mantra because it was a more suitable and secure venue."
Mr Tudge did not respond to questions about how the meetings went and whether he would meet with the public during his visit.