Family violence rates have risen significantly in Western Australia’s east Kimberley communities since cashless welfare cards were introduced in April 2016, seemingly contradicting a key defence of the controversial income-management system.

The Guardian has obtained police data under freedom of information laws that demonstrates domestic-related assaults and police-attended domestic violence reports increased in the communities of Wyndham and Kununurra since trials of the card, which quarantines 80% of a welfare recipients’ payment, began.

In news that casts doubt over claims to the success of a program criticised as punitive and stigmatising, Melbourne University researcher Elise Klein lodged the freedom of information requests for police data. Klein argues the data demonstrates there is no definitive evidence to support making the card permanent — and in fact shows a link between the card, financial hardship and family violence.

“There’s huge amounts of money being spent here, and I guess the real question is, what other wonderful things could be put in place instead of this card?” Klein said.

The Department of Social Services has responded with claims that there is “no evidence” the cards caused an increase in domestic violence, attributing the rise in reports to more stringent reporting from police.


Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has responded to the death of Amy “Dolly” Everett, a 14-year-old girl from the Northern Territory who took her own life last week after being targeted by cyberbullies.

The death of Dolly, described as “the kindest, caring, beautiful soul,” by parents Tick and Kate Everett, has sparked an outpouring of grief and outrage across Australia but particularly within rural and remote communities, which face unique mental health challenges and a relative lack of support services.

Turnbull responded to the tragedy yesterday on Facebook, in a message touching on both Dolly’s memory and the importance of tackling cyberbullying.

“Dolly’s passing highlights the devastating impact that bullying can have on its victims,” Turnbull wrote. “Much more work is needed, from governments, health groups and the internet companies themselves, to prevent cyberbullying, stop it when it occurs and to minimise its impact when it does occur.”

The Prime Minister also directed young people who were experiencing cyberbullying to the Federal government’s website.

Responses have also involved farmers adopting the #doitforDolly hashtag ($), created by Tick and Kate as part of an anti-cyberbullying campaign, to speak about their own experiences living with both mental illnesses and bullying.

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“Mr Andrews has, I think, a lot of deep thinking to do, to firstly apologise to the people of Victoria for the mistakes that he’s made which has led to the resulting violence that has taken place.” — Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton demands Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews apologise for a state that, for anyone with Google could see, has just experienced its biggest crime rate drop in 12 years.


Opal creep: average fares rise 10 per cent since ticketing overhaul

Melbourne police say Daily Mail provoked African ‘gang flare-up’ scuffle

Climate change: Josh Frydenberg concedes Australia’s carbon emissions rose in 2017

Suspicious death of artist and mother in Brunswick an ‘awful incident’


Framing negative gearing the right way could have positive impactMichelle Baddeley (The Age): “Behavioural economics shows us that people do not always think so deeply and logically about their choices. How any changes to negative gearing are sold to us – as a loss or gain, as a one-off or ongoing, in terms of short- versus long-term costs and benefits – will impact how Australians react.”

Turnbull lets Abbott sap his energy as we strive for a clean futureMark Butler (The Australian $): “Any sensible energy policy must do one central thing: support the modernisation of our energy system. That means replacing old coal generation that will close in coming decades with cleaner and more flexible renewables backed up by dispatchable technology, whether battery or pumped hydro storage, gas generation or demand management. Delaying this inevitable transition isn’t a plan for cheaper, cleaner or more reliable power; it is a recipe for wasted time and resources, higher prices and pollution.”


Turnbull’s terrifying new ‘espionage’ laws endanger many innocent peopleGreg Barns and Anna Talbot: “In the criminal law generally, you have to intend to commit an act, but the bill no longer requires someone to have the intent to cause harm before they can be found guilty of espionage. There are many reasons that someone might think that it is important to publish information that fits within the broad definition of national security found in the bill. Many have done so already.”

Razer: Trump was tragedy, Winfrey would be farceHelen Razer: “To call current serious discussion of Winfrey as Democratic Party presidential candidate a farce is, for some, to call The Handmaid’s Tale a blueprint for utopia, and white nationalist Richard Spencer a bloke with some great ideas. Criticism of what can only be described as a grotesque proposal is scant. And it is grotesque to dream of a president who has long promoted the idea that “the universe” will provide all the wealth that social services won’t, if only you ask it.”

The Crikey pocket guide to Australia’s fringe-dwelling far-right groupsCharlie Lewis and Chris Woods: “The explicitly Nazi youth group Antipodean Resistance has made international news for targeting universities with xenophobic, anti-Semitic, Islamophobic and queerphobic propaganda, particularly during last year’s marriage equality postal vote. Their website is full of photos of the lads holding swastika flags, doing Nazi salutes, and — brave Aryan warriors that they are — using cartoon skulls to hide their identities.”