Senator Anthony Chisholm and Hinkler MP Keith Pitt.
Senator Anthony Chisholm and Hinkler MP Keith Pitt.

Pollies clash as cashless card debate heats up

THE CASHLESS card has reignited a heated debate between two politicians.

Senator for Queensland Anthony Chisholm has fired back at Hinkler MP Keith Pitt, who singled out the Labor politician's recent public community forum in Hervey Bay about the controversial card.

Speaking in Parliament on Tuesday Mr Pitt questioned if any of the forum's participants were participants on the scheme.

Senator Chisholm responded Mr Pitt was "out of touch with his electorate".

The senator proceeded to reference one cashless welfare card recipient who attended the public forum and shared their personal experience.

"(Mr Pitt's) speech yesterday was not only out of touch, it is incredibly offensive to the members of the community that shared their deeply personal stories about the challenges they face every day on the Cashless Welfare Card," Senator Chisholm said.

"He should apologise to Jodie McNally (who) has chronic pain from arthritis and prolapsed discs, she doesn't gamble or drink alcohol, but has debilitating anxiety, which she says the card has negatively impacted on. Ms McNally has applied to opt out of this trial but has not heard anything since July."

He encouraged Mr Pitt to host his own community meeting. Mr Pitt said the forum was a publicity play.

"From what I've seen of the pictures, I don't know that there was a single participant at the meeting (and) I'm not sure that there was a single front-line service provider," Mr Pitt said.

"There were a handful of individuals who looked like they don't even belong in the electorate; they're not affected.

"If you want to consult with those individuals, call my office and we will put it together, we will put you with people who are actually on the card, who are participants who work there.

"Don't just roll up and think this is simply a media opportunity for you to move on with."