The Australian Alert Service is the weekly publication of the Australian Citizens Party.
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30 June 2021
Vol. 23. No 26
The Citizens Party’s fight for a postal bank is not about postal banking per se. The fight is the same fight Alexander Hamilton waged 230 years ago, when, as inaugural US Treasury Secretary under President George Washington, he invented national banking, to harness the power of finance, or credit, for the public good. The private banks despised Hamilton because public banking constrains their power. (JPMorgan Chase still owns the duelling pistols that Aaron Burr, the founder of the Manhattan Company that eventually became JPMorgan Chase, used to kill Hamilton.) The neoliberal hijacking of Australian politics and economic policy in the 1980s—which unleashed financial deregulation, privatisation, free trade and outsourcing of industries, budget cuts to essential services like health, union busting, and all the other measures that transformed Australia from an industrial powerhouse into a financial casino and raw materials quarry— started with the demand in the 1982 Campbell Financial System Inquiry report that all public banking institutions must be privatised, which they were. The fight for a post office “people’s bank” is a first step to again breaking the private banking monopoly in Australia, and open the way for a national banking system, which would include dedicated infrastructure and development banks, and, ultimately, reclaiming the Reserve Bank to function as a full national bank like the Commonwealth Bank in WWII.
It is evident that the postal banking campaign is having an impact. ABC Four Corners’ “Post Mortem” program this week on Australia Post acknowledged the Citizens Party’s role in supporting Christine Holgate and the Licensed Post Office Group, and the party’s campaign for a postal bank (p. 3). The National Party, for one, is scrambling to catch up. Barnaby Joyce’s faction of the National Party had strongly supported Christine Holgate and the LPOs. Joyce was the first major-party politician to admit the accusations against Christine Holgate were wrong, but the party was too subservient to Scott Morrison to do anything about it; some senior Nationals felt that their party should have achieved the inquiry, and became very frustrated that the Citizens Party, and then Pauline Hanson, were the ones to do it. This frustration fed into the support for Barnaby to return as leader, and, seemingly, an intention not to be left behind on such an important issue again.
On the last day of Parliament before the six-week winter recess, Nationals Senator Perrin Davey gave notice of a motion to support regional banking services, which is strikingly similar, if much weaker, to the Citizens Party’s draft resolution for supporting a postal bank. The motion reads:
Senator Davey: To move—That the Senate—
(i) accessibility to banking facilities is an essential community service for regional Australia,
(ii) regional bank branches provide vital services to our regional businesses, primary producers, manufacturers and elderly and vulnerable Australians who cannot easily access digital banking alternatives,
(iii) banks have closed or announced the closure of approximately 300 branches since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, including branches in regional Australia, and
(iv) there is a risk that, if not appropriately managed, these closures could detrimentally impact regional Australians;
(b) calls on the major banks to ensure that regional and rural Australians can continue to be serviced by bank branches where possible, and to re-double their efforts and not close rural and regional branches; and
(c) supports a parliamentary inquiry by the Economics References Committee into regional banking services that will inquire into the availability of banking services in regional Australia, including the impact closures of bank branches, and any other related matters.
The weakness of this motion is that it pathetically begs the private banks to do the right thing; however, it will likely have broad support in the Parliament, and it opens the door to discussing a real solution which can only come from a postal bank (see Almanac). We are the pace-setters on this issue!
In this issue:
- Four Corners exposes AusPost privatisation, but not full story
- Government of, by, and for … the people, or the banks?
- Sterling victims demand Senate inquiry
- Senator: Kill superannuation stone, cold dead
- Nationals react to Murray-Darling Basin pain
- NSW counterterrorism police deployed to silence criticism of government
- Naked fraud revealed by GameStop saga
- BRI brings crucial economic flows, cooperation
- US-China relations: A pathway for war-avoidance and cooperation
- A Postal Bank: I like it!
- The post office origins of the Commonwealth Bank
- ALMANAC: Mobilise your local community for a public postal bank!
- Citizens Party proposal would have headed off the housing bubble in 2008
Click here for the archive of previous issues of the Australian Alert Service