Following a week of public anger at the news that Treasury secretly dismissed over 3,400 submissions against the cash ban bill as just a “campaign by the Citizens Electoral Council”, Treasury has caved and published thousands of submissions on its website. Treasury now claims on its website that it received 3,620 submissions, all of which it has just published, minus 198 it calls confidential or unpublishable.
That said, the CEC knows of many submissions that are still unpublished, raising the question as to whether Treasury did in fact receive over 4,000 submissions, as the CEC was informed in September. Also, Treasury curiously redacted parts of the CEC’s submission, which was a strong condemnation of the corrupted process to benefit the corrupt financial system; all Treasury achieved by the redactions was to draw more attention to the CEC’s submission.
Click here for the CEC’s unredacted submission.
This mass-publication is nevertheless unprecedented in many ways, not least being that in almost all cases of government bodies receiving many submissions, even when the submissions are not ignored they usually only publish a small “representative” sample of submissions.
Treasury went from trying to ignore the submissions and misrepresenting them to the government, with no indication of any intention to publish, to suddenly doing a massive file dump of submissions.
What changed? We do know that in the meantime, they had received enormous, angry blowback, blasting them for the fact that they had misrepresented the consultation on the bill to the government. Remember the chronology: Treasury in late July had released the exposure draft of the bill on a Friday evening for a token two-week consultation. It is entirely possible that hardly anybody in Australia would have noticed, had not a public official in north Africa, who is an anti-money laundering campaigner, noticed it online (as it was billed as an anti-money laundering measure), and tipped off Australian anti-money laundering campaigner Helen Edwards, who tipped off economist John Adams who informed a number of people and organisations, including the CEC.
What happened next was stunning. In two weeks, Treasury received an unprecedented deluge of submissions from both experts and everyday Australians, the overwhelming majority of which emphatically opposed the bill. They weren’t form letters that someone just signed and forwarded on, they were the real thoughts of real people. And whether it was 3,620 or over 4,000, the response completely dwarfed the 30 submissions that a typical Treasury consultation receives on average.
Treasury’s report to the government should have been that its consultation had vividly demonstrated that Australians do not want this law. Instead it tried to misrepresent the response as the campaign of one organisation, but was caught out by the CEC’s FOI request, which sparked a blizzard of forceful complaint emails to Treasury by John Adams and many others. Now it has buckled under the heat and in so doing has proven that the bill has unprecedented opposition.
The lesson is: never give up! The machinery of government has become corrupted, but it gets away with it when the public grow demoralised and stop engaging. By engaging in large and growing numbers on issues such as the cash ban and “bail-in”, there are signs that the public is starting to force important shifts such as this one.
1 day to make your submission!
The most important thing you can do right now is to make sure you make a submission to the Senate inquiry by Friday’s (tomorrow’s) deadline. If you were someone who had been demoralised by Treasury not publishing or responding to your submission in August, and had thought that proved there was no point, as many had, take heart from this, shake your head clear and get back into the fight by getting your submission in ASAP. Who knows how many we can generate to the Senate inquiry, but every one is crucial in demonstrating the public opposition.
Include in your submission the fact that Treasury has now had to admit and publish that it received an unprecedented number of submissions opposing this law, and copy and paste this link to Treasury’s page so they can see the submissions for themselves: https://www.treasury.gov.au/consultation/c2019-t395788.
Click here for details on how to make a submission.
If you have already made a submission to the Senate inquiry, another thing you can do is make a supplementary submission, by emailing a message to the Committee with the link to the Treasury page (above), pointing out that the fact Treasury received so many objections in just two weeks proves the great majority of Australians don’t want this law. Call your email a supplementary submission. If we can generate enough of these in the next day it will ensure the Senators pay attention to what has happened in Treasury, which otherwise they wouldn’t know as Treasury had misrepresented the consultation process.
After tomorrow’s submission deadline closes, it is crucial that we continue to escalate this fight against the cash ban. The key is constant engagement. Here’s what you can do:
- Get copies of the CEC’s 4-page flyer explaining the cash ban to give to everyone you know, and the businesses in your area, and urge them to get involved.
- Sign and share the cash ban petition.
- Call and email as many MPs and Senators as you can, especially in the Labor Party, to register your opposition. Inform every MP about the Treasury submissions and email them the link (above) so they can see how many there were. Don’t assume the MP will already know—it’s far more likely they won’t know and they need to be informed by you.
- Join a delegation to see MPs and Senators. Many of these have already happened around Australia and have been very effective, but we should keep it up all the way through to February next year. Again, in many cases these delegations have informed MPs of information they should already know, but they have admitted they don’t, even though some have already voted on the law. Call 1800 636 432 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click here for copies of the new “Fight the totalitarian ban on cash!” flyer to distribute.