‘They should not be able to have that power over us’

Aunty Carol Carter from the Bankstown area spoke to Solidarity about the decision to make it one of the new trial sites for Income Management

What are some of your concerns about Centrelink trying to find out who is vulnerable by asking people a lot of personal questions about how they manage their money?

I think that it’s wrong and it’s treating people not as individuals but as one block and branding us as if we’re cattle, and we can’t control our own welfare and we can’t budget. It vital we have our independence and we’re free to go into any shop and not be shamed by having to put a [Basics]card over.

That’s not building self-esteem or letting us have our culture, having personal questions asked of us, because we’re very private people and we don’t like anybody investigating into our personal selves.

What was your reaction when you heard Bankstown where you live was going to be one of the sites for the trial?

Very very angry, for them to deem me unfit—I’m on disability [pension]. They should not be able to have that power over us in the community, whoever it is.

Whatever culture you’re from, government shouldn’t be giving Centrelink the power to run our lives, and control our lives, that would be like I’m in prison.

As an Aboriginal person how did it make you feel to hear about what’s happened with the NT Intervention?

That’s very shameful, I cried when I heard of that. They just took everything away from them and humiliated them like they didn’t know how to live, and they’re trying to take their culture away.
We have to have that in place for our youth and keep culture hand in hand with education, and let people live as a community.

Don’t treat us Aboriginals like we’re animals, like we don’t have a mind of our own. That is absolutely disgusting, to have control over our lives and not let us live as we want.

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