Tony Abbott defends program, saying it has ‘a lot of potential’ for the welfare system in the rest of Australia

Pat Dodson has described the cashless welfare card as a “public whip” designed to control Indigenous people and said the federal government should focus on holistic solutions to problems of alcohol, drug addiction and violence in remote communities.

The Western Australian senator’s comments come on the eve of a week-long trip by the former prime minister Tony Abbott to the East Kimberley, which was one of the first two trial sites for the cashless welfare card program. He will spend time in the towns of Kununurra, Wyndham, and Halls Creek, and the remote community of Balgo.

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