Tasmanian senator Jacqui Lambie will vote against the government's bill to expand the cashless welfare card into Northern Territory and Cape York and make it permanent in trial sites, despite previously being a supporter of the scheme.
Senator Lambie announced the decision on Wednesday as debate continued in the Senate where dozens of speeches are being made on the policy.
In a social media post, she said she wanted the cashless welfare card to end within six months.
"No extensions. No more last minute lifelines. The card's over, six months from now. It's over," senator Lambie said.
"Nobody goes onto it from now until then. It's closed to new entrants.
"And to prepare people for the exist of the card, you put in place genuine work training and placement services."
MORE ON THE CASHLESS WELFARE CARD DEBATE:
- Bridget Archer speaks of opposition to cashless welfare card, hopes to 'transition away'
- Tasmanian Liberal senator Wendy Askew backs in CDC expansion as chair of committee
- Senator Jacqui Lambie unlikely to support CDC trial extension
- Bridget Archer chooses to abstain from CDC vote, has full support of Tasmanian Liberals
- Archer wants focus on payday lenders rather than cashless welfare card
She had previously been a supporter of income management, but believed the government had not been "prepared to make it work". She also discussed her reservations in October about continuing the scheme in its current form.
Senator Lambie visited several trial sites in forming her opinion.
She said she believed the cashless welfare card had positive benefits for some, but it should not be a policy in isolation.
"Rather than treating the card like a single tool in the tool kit, government after government has treated it like the whole tool kit," she said.
"There are people who like the card, who are benefiting from the card, and who want to stay on the card.
"You can't dismiss their experience as being anecdotal. They're real. They're important too.
"But a failure of policy doesn't have to be a failure to everybody the policy impacts."
The legislation would make the Indue card trials permanent in rural parts of Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia, and roll out the trial to the Northern Territory and Cape York.
The Indue card involves quarantining 80 per cent of payments on the card, with 20 per cent in cash. Parts of the NT currently have the Basics card which is a 50-50 split.