The Australian government’s proposed random drug test trial for welfare recipients is not so random.
Traces of drugs including ecstasy, marijuana and ice will be sought using saliva, hair follicles and urine samples. If drugs are detected, the user could find their welfare quarantined.
But rather than doing people “a big favour”, as Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull put it on ABC Radio Wednesday, such data-based programs often disproportionately target those of low socio-economic status.
Concerns are already being raised that the trial undermines the needs-based focus of Australia’s welfare system. The use of data tools to profile people seeking help only adds to the problem.
How job seekers will be profiled
The characterisation of the testing as “random” is questionable.
The government says the testing will be “based on a…