Plenty of interest in debit card trial meeting

The public meeting about the trial of the Cashless Debit Card took place last Saturday with around 120 people in attendance. 

It was good to see so many taking an interest. 

Assistant Minister Alan Tudge and Senator Nick Xenophon were in attendance. 

It is extremely hard to find an opportunity in busy diaries for representatives from the Australian Parliament to attend and it is very much appreciated that both were able to come to Ceduna.

There were, of course, a number of people who were not supportive of this trial but those in favour seemed to be in the majority. 

The most encouraging part of this process has been the level of involvement from the Australian Parliament. 

Assistant Minister Tudge has visited on four occasions, Senator Nick Xenophon twice, Rowan Ramsey has made several trips and Senator Jackie Lambie has also visited.

 The degree of concern, knowledge about the whole matter and interest from senior parliamentarians has been really heartening.

There is palpable good will for this important initiative to be trialed to see if it will be an effective method of solving what is a distressing tragedy whereby decent people are suffering serious harm because of addictions which are caused by alcohol, drugs and gambling.

Some behaviour at the meeting was disappointing and did not reflect well on the people who are opposed to the trial.

 There are better ways of expressing concerns than resorting to abuse, interjections and threats. 

This is not representative of how most members of our community conduct themselves. 

Many were embarrassed to see senior parliamentarians treated in a disrespectful manner.

There were earlier offers made to those in opposition for Assistant Minister Alan Tudge to meet with representatives of the group to listen to their concerns, to consider any things which could be done to alleviate some issues and to have a general discussion. 

These, together with an offer from me to get answers to questions, were refused.

Allan Suter

Ceduna mayor