The Labor Party now owns the cash ban law. They have “Albowed” Morrison and the government aside to take charge of the law that, stripped to its essence, will jail Australians for not using banks.
Australians should call Albo and every Labor MP and Senator and demand to know why.
Labor MPs will scream till they are blue in the face that it’s not their law, it’s Morrison’s, but that’s a cop-out. Labor has the numbers to stop this bill, but instead they have fallen in behind the government to recommend in the final report of the Senate inquiry, released Friday, that Parliament pass the bill.
The most disappointing and dishonest part of Labor supporting the final report, and not issuing a dissenting report as the Greens did (an excellent job), is that it was Labor Senator Kimberley Kitching, who was on the Senate inquiry, who tweeted last Monday, 24 February:
“On the Senate committee looking at this, I was waiting for govt to provide evidence that their #cashban would actually impact current law-breakers (e.g. drug-dealers) rather than just inconvenience the elderly and people who don't like banks. So far… nothing.”
So how on Earth can Kitching and Labor turn around and support the bill?!
The final report has eight recommendations, most of which are weak. For instance, they recommend reviewing the penalties for one-off as opposed to repeat offenders, but not the draconian jail sentences, which no other country with cash restrictions has. And they recommend moving the exemption for personal and private transactions, i.e. cash gifts to family members and buying a car from a friend, from the regulation, which is easy to change, into the bill, which is hard to change, but they don’t recommend doing the same for withdrawing money from the bank—this exemption is still in the regulation and remains easy for the Minister to drop, effectively trapping people in banks.
The overall problem with these recommendations is they don’t make the bill more effective in combatting the black economy; they are only intended to make the bill slightly more palatable to the Australian public. They can’t make the bill more effective because the government couldn’t provide evidence this law was necessary in the first place, as Labor Senators demonstrated, which is why it should have been rejected outright.
Will Labor insist on the recommendations, or cave?
There is, however, one recommendation that could potentially defeat this policy, but only if Labor insists on it! In the list of eight recommendations, the first is that “the government review existing powers and trends in the digital economy to assess whether the bill is the most effective response to the black economy”. In other words, the government should review whether this law is even necessary, and if it would work.
If implemented, this recommendation would significantly delay the cash ban bill, and possibly even end it altogether, because a genuine review would prove that the claims of KPMG’s Black Economy Taskforce, which recommended the cash ban, were dishonest. That report is a fraud: the late Michael Andrew who chaired the Taskforce—the only Australian to ever rise to global chair of a big four international accounting firm, KPMG, which is notorious for helping its clients in megabanks and multinational corporations evade tax and launder money to the tune of tens and hundreds of billions—had the supreme arrogance and gall to characterise the black economy as a blue-collar problem! His report pinned the blame for tax evasion in the black economy on the likes of tradies, hairdressers, nannies, personal trainers and gardeners, while absolving his former multinational business and its corporate clients. Worse, this report shows that Labor, supposedly the party of blue-collar workers, swallowed it.
It would be shocking to most Australians that this Senate report is not binding on the government, even though it’s from the government’s own committee. And even though Labor politicians signed off on the final report too, the Labor Party is also not bound by it. It is entirely possible for the government to reject the recommendations in the report, and for Labor to cave and support the bill anyway.
The question is: will Labor at least insist on the recommendations, or will they cave, and be responsible for a law that jails Australians for not using banks?
Call Parliament and demand answers
It is crucial that we keep the heat on politicians over this report, and this week flood politicians in Canberra with calls demanding they account for this report. All politicians are in Parliament this week, so the calls people make will be amplified. Here is who must be called:
- Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar, who is the Minister responsible for this law. Demand to know what the government’s response to the committee report will be, and whether it will accept all the recommendations. Ph: (02) 6277 7230 Email: Minister.Sukkar@treasury.gov.au
- Labor leader Anthony Albanese. Demand to know:
- Why is it Labor’s policy to jail Australians for not using banks?
- Why is Labor supporting this law even though their own Senators proved there’s no evidence for it?
- Will Labor even insist on all the recommendations, or will it cave and pass it anyway? Ph: (02) 6277 4022 Email: Anthony.Albanese.MP@aph.gov.au
- All Labor Senators and MPs. Ask them the same questions as Albanese, about Labor’s cash ban law to jail Australians for not using banks. Click here for a list of all Senators; click here to search for your MP on Parliament’s website.
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