- The proposed law applies to payments of more than $10,000
- Political party One Nation says it will vote against the bill as it attacks the basic liberty of free exchange
- If this cash ban is enacted, the government will impose more restrictions
Australians could face jail for a two-year sentence and be fined up to $25,200 under the proposed law that limits the use of cash to $10,000. Last month, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg quietly introduced an exposure draft of the legislation called the Currency (Restrictions on the Use of Cash) Bill 2019.
The proposed changes were first introduced in the 2018-19 budget. The Federal Government's Black Economy Taskforce recommended changes, arguing the measures would help in reducing crimes like tax evasion and money laundering.
A number of stakeholders have called on the government to withdraw the proposed laws. The law, if passed would get into effect on January 1, 2020.
Under the Watch of Big Brother
Australian political party, One Nation has already indicated that it would vote against the bill as they fear it would leave the bank deposits of people vulnerable to negative interest rates.
“Flushing ‘Mattress Money' out of the shadows and back into bank accounts will leave deposits vulnerable to negative interest rates, prompting those with savings to spend the cash on investments or consumption items,” Senator Pauline Hanson said.
Economist John Adams said the proposed law would curtail civil liberties of Australians and stated,
“Australians should have the fundamental economic and civil right to protect their private wealth, independent of the commercial banking sector.”
Matthew Lesh of the Institute of Public Affairs told ABC,
“This establishes a creepy precedent, foreshadowing a future in which you are only allowed to make purchases that Big Brother can watch.”
The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry is also against this bill, which said in its 2018 submission to Treasury that this policy will do “little to nothing” to curb illegal activity.
“Cash is legal tender and its value must be protected, not undermined.”
Petition to stop the bill from trapping Australians in banks
Now, a petition on Chang.org to “Stop Scott Morrison from banning cash to trap Australians in banks,” has been made that is already signed by 6,932 people and the number is fast increasing.
The petition argues that this bill will “strip individuals of their right to privacy in financial affairs, and trap them in private banks, unable to escape policies such as “bail-in” and negative interest rates.”
It further says, the private banks have already imposed “unreasonable restrictions” on Australians’ ability to access their own cash and if this ban is enacted, more restriction like withdrawing can be removed as well. The supporters want the Parliament to scrap this bill and
“respect the right of Australians to use cash for privacy and as an alternative to the banks.”
It further wants the authority to crack down on the multinational banks, corporations and big four accounting firms, one of which KPMG was that wrote the Black Economy taskforce report and is “already lobbying for the limit to be reduced to $2,000.”