Welfare cards don't do the job

A $2.5 million government report into the cashless debit card is inconclusive on whether it reduces harm from alcohol, drugs and gambling, but has found people on the welfare cards are ashamed and embarrassed.

"It's ostrich policy - put your head in the sand," Labor MP Linda Burney told reporters in Canberra on Thursday.

"We do not believe there should be mandatory, universal application of a cashless debit card because people are on Centrelink benefits."

Social Services Minister Anne Ruston made the decision to extend the trial sites without any evidence and without waiting for the report, Ms Burney said.

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The cashless society from an ethical point of view

The debate about the move towards a cashless society has been at the center of the scene for several years, now. Various angles have been taken by economists, politicians, banking institutions and sociologists. Beyond the technicalities of the debate, lies the question of freedom, of inter-citizen solidarity and of governmental responsibility. The debate cannot remain in the hands of financial specialists, it is first and foremost an ethical, political and societal issue.

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