ALTERNATIVE OPTIONS: Lawyer and columnist Edwina Rowan asks those opposing the cashless card if they have a different solution.
ALTERNATIVE OPTIONS: Lawyer and columnist Edwina Rowan asks those opposing the cashless card if they have a different solution. Alistair Brightman

Bundy lawyer queries cashless card resistance

Edwina Rowan, prominent Bundy lawyer and NewsMail columnist

THE NewsMail reported some comments by education staff and the Acting Education Minister regarding the Cashless Debit Card on Friday.

I have the utmost respect for teachers as I am firmly of the view that both education and positive role modelling changes children's lives.

However, the narrowness of the arguments ignored critical historical and socioeconomic factors affecting welfare dependence.

It is beyond doubt that Bundaberg has a very high rate of social security dependence and it is, in my experience, both intergenerational and firmly entrenched.

By way of example, I recall representing a fellow in court who smugly told me that I had represented him, his son and his father who were all long-term welfare recipients.

While this has not been an isolated incident in my career, it is a moment of great poignancy.

It stood out as a moment of particularly great sadness, for the son who lacked motivation to find employment and had not benefited from positive role modelling throughout his formative years.

It is not simply our schools that need to be examined when weighing the benefits and detriments of the card.

Our welfare system was designed to create a safety net and to protect the most vulnerable people.

Our welfare system was not designed to enable alcohol use.

It was not designed to enable drug use.

It was not designed to facilitate those addictions that frequently lead to poverty and violence.

We cannot expect different results without a change to our current system of welfare.

I don't know if the card is the solution or a silver bullet to intergenerational welfare dependence.

But I do know there needs to be a critical and radical change to the current system.

I am sincerely interested in a solution.

To all the opponents of the card, I pose this question: what is your proposed solution to intergenerational welfare dependence?