PEACEFUL PROTEST: Kathryn Wilkes opposes the rollout of the cashless card in the Hinkler electorate.
PEACEFUL PROTEST: Kathryn Wilkes opposes the rollout of the cashless card in the Hinkler electorate. Amanda Coop

Protesters 'weren't a disruption' to MP visit

KATHRYN Wilkes says she was disappointed, but not surprised, that Hinkler MP Keith Pitt and Human Services Minister Alan Tudge failed to address her small band of protesters against the cashless welfare card when they visited Hervey Bay on Wednesday.

"We don't get a say because we're on welfare,” the Hervey Bay woman said.

"We're the nobodies.”

Ms Wilkes and seven other people gathered outside the Mantra to carry out what they described as a "peaceful protest” against the proposed roll-out of the cashless card in the Hinkler electorate. Mr Pitt and Mr Tudge met with business and community leaders to inform them about the potential introduction of the card in the area.

"We (protesters) stayed out on the footpath,” Ms Wilkes said.

"We weren't a disruption to anybody.

"We put our signs out and had placards. We stayed off the Mantra premises.”

She said it was "insulting” that their group had been viewed as a potential threat, with police tasked to be in place at the original site of the protest on the Esplanade at Torquay, before the MPs' visit was moved to the Mantra.

Most people who came out of the meeting had been "very pleasant”, she said, however the MPs did not approach the group.

"Alan Tudge walked out the front doors on the phone, took one look at us and then walked back in,” she said.

"They've go no intention of talking to us.”

Mr Tudge said following the meeting that the initial reaction to the card by the business community had been a positive one.

Community rallies against the card will be held today (Thursday) at the Hervey Bay Community Centre in Charles St, Pialba. The sessions, to be held at 1pm and 5.30pm, are open to the public.

Mr Pitt is invited along to the events, however Ms Wilkes says she does not expect him to attend.



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