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In this week's Australian Alert Service
20 June 2018

Breakthrough! Wilkie seconds Australian Glass-Steagall bill

Independent Member for Denison in Tasmania Andrew Wilkie has stepped forward to second Bob Katter MP's private member's bill for a Glass-Steagall separation of Australia's banks. Katter and Wilkie gave notice on 19 June that they will introduce the Banking System Reform (Separation of Banks) Bill 2018 on Monday 25 June. Glass-Steagall is now in play among Australia's lawmakers.

Both Katter and Wilkie deserve support for their political principles, and courage to take on the banks. Bob Katter is a conviction politician when it comes to banking, driven to fight for reform by the destruction that banks have wrought on productive agricultural enterprises throughout Australia. He is one of the few politicians to recognise bank regulator APRA's complicity in the banks' crimes. "The APRA has not and never will be a watchdog", Katter blasted in a 29 August 2017 media release. "It will be as it always has been; a lapdog and the carnage that has been wreaked upon the Australian people by the oligopolistic powers and greed of the banks." Andrew Wilkie is a courageous Australian who came to prominence in 2003 when, as an analyst at the Office of National Assessments, the nation's peak intelligence body, he resigned over the Howard government's rush to war in Iraq on false intelligence. As an MP, he has taken on the powerful gambling lobby—a good warm-up for fighting for GlassSteagall, which is designed to lock financial gamblers out of the banking system.

The real credit for this breakthrough, however, is due to all of the people who have participated in the Citizens Electoral Council's campaign by contacting their members of parliament. It cannot be overstated how crucial all of the emails, letters, phone calls and visits to MPs have been, in achieving this breakthrough. This is a manifestation of true citizenship, as it is ordinary people acting on their responsibility for the common good of the nation as a whole. It is striking to MPs that their constituents are making the effort to contact them on an issue that is usually left to economists and financial experts— MPs are used to people only getting fired up on local issues, or trendy, media-promoted "green" or like causes. While the banking issue has been red-hot in recent years, it was bank victims putting the heat on politicians, whereas this Glass-Steagall mobilisation has recruited citizens to elevate their passions to engage their elected representatives not out of narrow self-interest, but on a crucial policy issue that is in the national interest. This breakthrough proves the power of political persistence.

Of course, having the Glass-Steagall bill introduced is only the beginning of the fight. We must increase the engagement with all MPs, and expand it to constituency groups, such as trade unions, small business organisations and chambers of commerce, and the like, to force the major parties to debate it. The government has the power to shelve this bill and not debate it; it is up to us to educate the public and recruit masses of people to the fight, so that they don't dare. Blocking a debate on this bill will be seen as protecting the criminal banks, which, with the royal commission under way, neither the government nor the opposition want to be seen to be doing.

What the major parties will likely do is delay action on Glass-Steagall by saying they want to wait for the recommendations of the royal commission. This is sophistry, because it is not in the royal commission's purview, even though it has strayed into examining vertical integration. More importantly, it ignores the reality that we are plunging headlong towards a financial crash, of which there is a sudden density of warnings (p. 3). This reality will increasingly dawn on everybody, including politicians, but unlike the last crash in 2008, this time the solution will already be in Parliament, in our bill. Keep fighting!

Articles include the following:

  • Sudden density of warnings of financial crisis
  • In financial crisis, no check on APRA's bail-in powers
  • 'Borrow to build' is best done through a State Bank
  • Demand tariffs will inflict more electricity bill pain
  • Pacific 'security fears' over China are made in Canberra
  • Crossroads for 'Indo-Pacific': containment or cooperation?
  • Attention turns to Glass-Steagall, to strip power from banks
  • Rising US suicide rate demands profound national change
  • New tariffs are self-inflicted wounds on Trump's entire policy
  • G7 and Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summits
  • Singapore summit: a path to peace and security opens
  • We have a seconder for Glass-Steagall, fight for a debate!
  • What do Australians really think about China?
  • ALMANAC: The 'ignoble liars' behind Bush's deadly Iraq war


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