Citizens Electoral Council of Australia

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It will keep you updated of strategic events both in Australia, and worldwide, as well as the organising activities of the CEC.

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In this week's Australian Alert Service
15 August 2018

Get ready for the great Glass-Steagall debate!

The bank separation debate is powering on, despite the tendency of the Australian political system and media to distract the public with the most emotive and politically charged issues, be it euthanasia or an Australian republic. The urgent need to break up the too-big-to-fail banks is at the forefront of the minds of a growing number of Australians, including political leaders.

With the Greens' call for a full bank separation (p. 3) the pressure is now on the Labor Party, as it was with the drive for a banking royal commission, when for a number of years Labor was the only party in opposition not to support an inquiry, until Bill Shorten back flipped before the 2016 election. The Financial Services Royal Commission never fails to dredge up worse and worse examples of bank criminality, which is fuelling the momentum for bank separation. The Greens' move also reopens an old wound, however, which is the 14 February passage through Parliament of a law, the Financial Sector Legislation Amendment (Crisis Resolution Powers and Other Measures) Act 2018, which provided extraordinary crisis powers to the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) to recapitalise banks by robbing ordinary people through "bail-in".

On that occasion, Greens finance spokesman Senator Peter Whish-Wilson professed his faith in Australia's financial regulators, and with seven other Senators passed the APRA emergency powers bill "on the voices", i.e. without a formal vote. This is a moment that will be long remembered. But Whish-Wilson has already been forced to eat at least some of his words, given that his remarks preceded the shocking findings of the banking royal commission. He has now acknowledged, as he could no longer deny, that the regulators are not doing their job, they are just "fiddling around the edges".

In his 14 February speech on the APRA bill Whish-Wilson made a pledge which is soon to become a live prospect: to debate Glass-Steagall legislation. "The next issue" raised by submissions to the Senate Economics Legislation Committee which examined the APRA bill, he said, "was the implementation of the Glass-Steagall legislation in Australia. While I think that would be an interesting debate, and if someone wants to put up a private member's bill or the government wants to bring it on, we can have the debate about a structural separation in our economy." He went on to say he didn't think such legislation was necessary, but, "By all accounts, let's have the debate. It would be a very interesting one if someone were to introduce such a bill into parliament."

He ended his remarks, saying, "My belief is that nothing, probably, would have satisfied them [the CEC-led opponents of the APRA law], except having the Glass-Steagall Act enacted here in the Senate today." That is true, and will remain true until that day comes. As long as the CEC exists in this country and the financial system continues to loot, gouge, bleed, fleece, and steal from the public and the productive economy, exposing the nation to financial catastrophe, we will ensure Australians do not let him or any other politician rest.

Whish-Wilson is not the be-all-and-end-all, but as a former investment banker he is indicative of the reluctance of most politicians to truly challenge the power of the banks. The crisis here and internationally has forced him and the Greens to shift, and so will others as they feel the heat of popular outrage as Whish-Wilson experienced during the Senate committee inquiry on the APRA bill. Now we must train our fire on the Labor Party; if we force a shift in a handful of MPs we can force parliament to debate Glass-Steagall. There is momentum to start the debate in the Senate, which on 14 August voted unanimously for a Katter's Australian Party motion to extend the royal commission, another move indicative of the ferment on this issue, which will only grow.

Articles include the following:

  • Greens, experts echo Katter and CEC on full bank separation
  • Mortgage crisis set to explode
  • The 'free market' subversion of Australia
  • G20 financial engineers aim to commoditise infrastructure
  • Currency crisis can trigger chaos, or new system
  • Is imperial strategy driving HSBC's move to Paris?
  • HSBC: The criminal enterprise facilitating imperialism
  • HSBC: The bank of opium
  • US-Iran confrontation can trigger a big war
  • UK Defence Secretary brings 'Global Britain' agenda to USA
  • South China Sea breakthrough smooths path
  • Turnbull's China 'reset': all style and no substance
  • Complaining won't change anything—campaigning will!
  • No national direction without control over banking
  • ALMANAC: Lessons for a recovery: The WWII economic mobilisation Part I

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