An Australia Post ‘people’s bank’—a win-win solution for the nation
The best way to rein in the corrupt banking power of the Big Four is to re-establish a public alternative. Australia has not such a public bank since Paul Keating and John Howard privatised the Commonwealth Bank in 1996.
Christine Holgate has now moved on from Australia Post, but the government and board must be held accountable, and AusPost must become a people’s bank. Read the 11 May 2021 Media Release - The Australia Post fight continues—time for a postal bank!
For many reasons it is now more urgent than ever that Australia Post expands into a public bank. For one, the parcels business that drove its recent profit growth is about to run into real competition—from Christine Holgate! Australia Post has a monopoly on letters, but it has to compete on parcels, which, until now, it has dominated. Christine Holgate is a brilliant problem-solver, as her management of Australia Post proved, so don’t be surprised if Australia Post starts to lose revenue to Global Express. Australia Post needs a business model that enables it to permanently supports its daily mail service obligation; around the world, many national postal carriers have solved this problem by combining postal services with financial services that fill a void left by profit-hungry private banks.
Christine Holgate applied this approach to Australia Post when she became CEO in 2017. She expanded the existing Bank@Post agency service with the private banks, and explored the possibility of an Australia Post bank. This is what brought her into conflict with the private banks and the government, however, which is evidenced by the secret 2019 Boston Consulting Group review of Australia Post that recommended against Australia Post becoming a bank. Bob Katter shared his suspicion to the 27 April Australia Post Senate hearing that the banks may have had a hand in Christine Holgate’s removal, as they only agreed to her 2018 banking deal out of fear she intended to start a postal bank: “That threat was there”, Katter said, “and the banks had to give into the threat and they didn’t like it.” The Bank@Post deal secured the viability of LPOs, but it’s at the mercy of the banks agreeing to renew it; if Australia Post expands into a public bank, Australians would flock to do their banking at post offices, which would permanently secure the viability of the LPOs so they wouldn’t be at the mercy of the private banks.
Other reasons for Australia Post to expand into a people’s bank include:
- the aggressive rate at which the private banks are closing their branches and ripping out ATMs because they just don’t care about the marginal profits they make from retail banking; and
- the need for a no-frills public retail bank that can guarantee banking services for all Australians, which would not be allowed to discriminate against lawful businesses through “de-banking”, and which would support the cash payments system that the private banks are trying to scrap so they can turn Australia into a cashless economy (Christine Holgate ensured the expanded Bank@Post service included a commitment to supporting cash, which is available at every post office).
A postal people’s bank is clearly both in Australia’s national interest, and is the long-term solution for Australia Post. For that reason, the Citizens Party has drafted legislation, called the Commonwealth Postal Savings Bank Bill, for introduction into Parliament in the near future, as part of a national banking system that includes a national infrastructure bank. But for this solution to work, the corruption exposed by the appalling treatment of Christine Holgate and the Senate inquiry must be cleaned out. The government and the Opposition won’t do it—it’s up to the citizens of Australia. We must continue to demand accountability for this political crime against Australia Post and its LPOs, starting with the replacement of the entire corrupted board with a restructured board without political hacks that includes one representative each from the LPOs and the Australia Post staff—the most significant stakeholders in Australia Post with the most to lose from bad management.
What YOU can do to make a difference in this campaign
Get these flyers out into your community. Click on the image to Download PDF for printing or attaching to email.
Some places you can take one or all of them or email them to:
- Local post offices
- Local Federal and State Members of Parliament
- Local Councils and Chambers of Commerce
- Union representatives
- Community leaders, clubs and organisations
- Local businesses, especially those operating in shopping strips or immediate proximity to their local post office or in areas that have lost their local bank/s
- Anyone who values and relies on their local post office, including banking services