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    short answer, no, she has no shame. And just what is happening with the pilot sites where school attendance was linked to wlefare payments? No supporting evidence was ever advanced on that one either. Although there was quite a lot of adverse evidence, like most of the schools didn’t actually have attendance problems but who would care about that. A useless health and education spokesperson in opposition unable to defend medicare or public schooling and worse than useless as a minister.

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    One of the things that I’ve learned from 25 yrs in public health (yeah, slow learner) is that where a proposed initiative isn’t consistent with people’s (including politicians’) conception of ‘common sense’, you’ve got a real struggle. In other words, if logic suggests that something should or should not ‘work’, but you want to argue the opposite, you’ve got a marketing problem. I wonder if this is one of those cases: because the welfare quarantining approach would seem, on the face of it, to be an effective solution to a perceived problem (money being spent on the ‘wrong’ things), the presentation of evidence to the contrary needs more than the simple display of facts in order to be convincing. As numerous commentaries have also indicated, identifying exactly what the ‘problem’ is may also be the problem, and the present situation seems to be, among other things, a classic public health no-no: supply-side solutions expected to work in the absence of demand-reduction strategies.

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    David Dalrymple

    I have asked David Dalrymple to post this comment on this site for me as I am not a subscriber to Crikey. I have in the past and need to rejoin. My comments are as follows:

    The researchers are well qualified, the study is based on concrete sales data (not subjective anecdotal reporting like the Federal Governments own commissioned study) and it has the imprimatur of the highly respected Menzies School of Health Research. The stated conclusion is “income management independent of the government stimilus payment appears to have had no beneficial effect on tobacco and cigarette sales, soft drink or fruit and vegetable sales”. It is time to revisit the hype and spin that prevailed back in mid-2007 when this measure was introduced. The situation at the time was that Noel Pearson had developed a “fault-based” welfare reform proposal for implementation in Cape York. It was a proposal in which as a last resort income management could be imposed on particular dysfunctional or delinquent families along with a number of other arrangements, all in the context of close case management of the individuals concerned. Income management in that context had some chance of achieving a benefit because it was part of a package of case-managed measures targeted at particular individuals whose inability to exercise responsibility was demonstrated. The Commonwealth Government endorsed Pearson’s initiative for Cape York and then imposed a lazy and fundamentally different model on the NT, deliberately removing CDEP employees from work into welfare in order to achieve their objective. Rather than criticising the Federal Government for this, Mr Pearson praised and supported the intervention. The rest is history. To its great discredit, the current Commowealth Government has maintained the destructive combination of universal income management and the winding down of CDEP, asserting all the while that it sought to act on the basis of “evidence”. The evidence compiled in the Menzies report speaks for itself, as does the deterioration since the abandonment of CDEP in work participation, morale, and tidiness and general appearance of our communities. It is time for Minister Macklin to change course…..

    Marion Scrymgour MLA

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    Marion, just to let you and other Croakey readers know: you do not have to be a Crikey subscriber to comment at Croakey. All you have to do is take a minute or so to register at the Croakey website (sorry I know this is painful and time consuming but it is a requirement from Crikey in order to reduce risk of defamatory comments etc) – and then you can freely post comments.
    Thanks for engaging with the Croakey discussion.

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    Steve Gumerungi Hodder

    IMO, the MOST honourable Ms Scrymgour has stuck to her guns (despite being rejected & put in the corner by her own team previously) & (again, my own opinion) represented Indigenous Territorians truthfully.

    If Territory Labor holds a minority govt., wouldn’t this be a prime opportunity for Marion to hold govt. to ransom (account) on the way forward as Aboriginal residents want, instead of it being the other way for so long?
    Sink the Black Tampa!

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    David de Vries

    “The Commonwealth Government endorsed Pearson’s initiative for Cape York and then imposed a lazy and fundamentally different model on the NT”
    The terms ‘Basics Card’ and ‘quarantining’ continue to trick everyone into thinking welfare payments must be spent on food and clothing. The way it works is that a store gets registered to accept payments via Basics Card then they sell whatever except tobacco, alcohol and porn. This means non basics such as toys, sugary drinks, junk food, dvd’s etc. In towns in the NT there are toy shops that accept Basics. Smokers and drinkers still have cash for their needs.
    This implementation has caused a lot of angst, been racist, ineffective and lazy.

    Some ways forward were talked about at the AMSANT Fresh Food Summit, Tennant Creek 5-6 May 2010. One way presented was to develop some approved healthy lines and market them aggressively.


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