The 12 December “public” hearing of the Senate cash ban inquiry proved that the government has zero evidence or data to support its policy to ban cash transactions over $10,000. The hearing showed that despite the efforts to rig the entire legislative procedure of the cash ban bill, there is a very real chance of defeating it.
This hearing is essential viewing! The Senate Economics Legislation Committee deliberately notified interested parties only after 5:30 PM the night before so it would be too late for the public to attend, which worked. The few people who did attend reported an empty room. However, the Citizens Party has uploaded all the testimony in separate videos to YouTube so it’s readily available to everyone, to see the truth about the cash ban.
The most important testimony came at the end of the day from the architects of the law at Treasury’s Black Economy Division. All day ALP Senator Alex Gallacher and Centre Alliance Senator Rex Patrick had asked witnesses for evidence that the cash ban is necessary, to no avail. The Liberal chairman Senator Slade Brockman kept telling them they could ask Treasury those questions. When they finally did get to ask Treasury, the response was stunning: Treasury had nothing! They had zero evidence and zero actual data to back up their claims that Australia’s black economy is a growing problem, or that banning cash transactions above $10,000 would combat that problem.
Click here to watch the testimony from Treasury and the ATO.
Treasury’s Black Economy Division head Patrick Boneham used extraordinarily flimsy language to justify the law. Citing the 2017 Black Economy Taskforce report by the late former KPMG supremo Michael Andrew, Boneham said things like: “Michael thought there was a gap” in current sanctions against money laundering; and “it sort of made sense to Michael” to set the limit at $10,000. (Emphasis added.)
When Senator Patrick pressed him to explain the benefit of the bill for government revenue and of setting the ban at $10,000, Boneham replied, “It’s very hard to get data on this.” He claimed the Black Economy Taskforce heard evidence of unfair tax advantages and of criminals using cash, but when Senator Gallacher asked how many submissions had been made about businesses using cash to evade tax to get an unfair advantage, Boneham revealed that those claims had been made in “community hall” meetings, and were not based on surveys. He admitted there was no statistical data and that it is “anecdotal”.
Senator Gallacher said: “When you tell me you do a couple of town halls and people complain about cash payments, I can understand that, but I don’t think that’s empirical evidence.” To Boneham’s protest that it is evidence, Senator Gallacher shot back: “How many people have told you that? 10? 12? We’re looking for some data.” Boneham could only reply, “Well I think it is quite common knowledge that people get offered cash discounts.”
Watch for yourself, but Treasury’s pathetic testimony proved:
- They have no evidence to back up the stated purpose of this law, because of course that isn’t its real purpose, which is to trap Australians in banks;
- The thousands of opponents of the cash ban law around Australia who made submissions that both Treasury and the Senate inquiry suppressed, and who were blocked from attending this hearing, actually know more about the bill than Treasury itself; and
- Senator Alex Gallacher’s excellent and persistent questioning, which exposed Treasury and the other government witnesses as empty suits, indicates that the Labor Party are far from convinced about this law, which means there is a real chance to beat it.
The rest of the testimony, now available in a YouTube playlist, was also extremely valuable. The opponents of the cash ban who testified included the Australian Taxpayers Alliance, the NSW Farmers Association, the Australian Funeral Directors Association, and the Law Council. While the Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman doesn’t officially oppose the ban, they showed by their testimony they remain unconvinced.
The witnesses who supported the cash ban all represented the government, except for Dr Mark Zirnsak who represented the Uniting Church. Curiously, Zirnsak never indicated the Uniting Church’s particular interest, but zealously argued for the cash ban, and indeed for an even lower limit. The position of his church—which doesn’t pay tax—may be explained by its close relationship to cash ban pushers KPMG, which provides financial and audit services to the Uniting Church and its subsidiaries. Zirnsak credited KPMG’s Michael Andrew’s Black Economy Taskforce Report for providing the “evidence” of the need for the law—but that praise looked silly a few hours later when Treasury’s testimony proved that the supposed evidence was all anecdotal.
The Reserve Bank and AUSTRAC also testified and also demonstrated the extremely flimsy evidence basis for such a radical law that criminalises people for using legal tender.
Overall, the hearing proved we have well and truly won the argument against the cash ban, but now we must win the political fight. Between now and when Parliament votes on this bill, the Senate Committee, under pressure, has scheduled another public hearing in Sydney for 29 January—details will be forthcoming. Save the date, because everyone in the vicinity of Sydney who opposes this law should attend, so the Senators can see the depth of opposition in person. This will add to the pressure from delegations meeting MPs, and from phone calls and emails, which will either force the government to pull the bill, or persuade the Labor Party, which is already sceptical, to vote against it.
Click here to sign the petition against the cash ban and join the growing rebellion against the criminal banking cartel’s desperate push for greater powers to prop up their failing system at our expense.
Click here for copies of the new “Fight the totalitarian ban on cash!” flyer to distribute.