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May 13, 2021

Cash ban is a threat to democracy

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Dr John Langford-Smith, Ballina

A cash ban is a threat to democracy. A few weeks ago I wrote to the Senate Standing Committee in relation to the government’s proposed cash restriction legislation. While there were ‘in excess of 2,600’ submissions, treasury published only 140 of these in a deliberate breach of parliamentary guidelines and with bias to publishing those supporting the government. I have also written to Justine Elliot who voted to support this legislation, but have received no response.

While few people make cash transactions of more than $10,000, many small businesses rely on cash, and such legislation places stresses of compliance on both them and their employees. There will be a mandatory two year jail term for breaches of the legislation regardless of motive, including accidental breaches through serial payments totalling more than $10,000 by different employees.

Obtaining a bank account is not a right, and banks can cancel or refuse accounts without reason. Banks have already cancelled or ‘de-banked’ the accounts of businesses they disapprove of. Australian banks have collectively de-banked businesses engaged in cryptocurrency transactions, including cancelling the personal accounts of individuals and their families associated with the transactions, presumably as a warning to those who threaten their dominance.

Forcing people into banks makes charges unavoidable. There is also opportunity for unethical governments to de-bank those whose actions they disapprove of. Cash restriction legislation may seem innocuous, but is a serious threat to democracy. Cash restriction is sufficient to facilitate totalitarian control by unethical governments, and should be avoided, at all costs.

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  1. I to am against the legislation of restricting cash and I wrote to a number of politicians. I recently read a very misleading article from the Reserve Bank regarding this matter. What I found misleading about it was it comments on negative interest rates. One of the issues of restricting cash is it forces people to use a bank account for which they incur charges. Reserve Bank commented that negative interest rates a unlikely in Australia so people should not be concerned that they would be forced to pay a bank to keep their money. This is so misleading – how many people have money in a bank account for which the interest they receive (if any) is less than the bank charges for utilising that account – I recently received a bank statement the interest I received was $0.94 and the charges for that account were $2.15.


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