14 April 2015: Federal member for Kennedy and KAP Leader Bob Katter today signaled the intention of farmers to take banks all the way to the High Court in order to win the battle against intimidatory banking practices in the farming industry in Australia.
Mr Katter’s calls came after the airing of a 60 Minutes story this week, featuring Mr Katter, which showed the techniques used against farmers in an effort to get them to ‘voluntarily’ give up their properties.
“Banks do not just foreclose, they’re using duress and even mis-representation to get people to agree to terms without putting them into receivership,” he said.
“The veil of secrecy which surrounds their dealings with farmers when taken away will reveal, in my opinion, gross obscenities.
“We are determined that it will be illegal to get people to sign contracts of confidentiality using inducement and duress. We will see them (the banks) all the way to the High Court”.
Mr Katter has already asked the Treasurer to require all banks and lending authorities to provide to Parliament the full and complete wording of confidentiality clauses inserted into lending documentation in the last two years.
Last week a Senate Committee quashed hopes of an ARDB (Australian Reconstruction and Development Board) at the Federal level but at the same time some Government members called on cabinet to introduce further drought assistance measures. Bob Katter today supported comments by State Member for Mount Isa Rob Katter that the Government’s actions demonstrated nothing but total hypocrisy.
“They’re just show ponies. So far all this Government has done for farmers is offer another $100 million in concessional loans. At the “Last Stand” meeting in Winton in December last year farmers overwhelming rejected concessional loans as they don’t want more debt.
“It is a waste of time having white papers and green papers into agricultural debt, all that politicians are doing is making themselves look like they care. I defy anyone to point out to me a white paper that has produced a positive result in the last 20 years and they have cost tens of millions of dollars.”
Mr Katter said that to him the answer was simple and very much alive at the State level where KAP members Robbie Katter and Shane Knuth hold a strong position in the Queensland Parliament.
“For all of Australian history governments have set up ARDBs authorised to prudentially borrow money at the Government rate, currently 2.25%. The Government takes over the bad debt of the bank, at a reduced sum, and then loans the money back to the farmers at the Government rate of 2.25%.
“We’re not asking for a bailout, in fact the last time this was done in Queensland on a major scale in sugar, the government made a profit. But this is the first time in Australian history where a crisis of this size has arisen without the remotest effort to put in place an ARBD.
“I don’t mind free market fundamentalists the LNP and ALP saying paddle your own canoe, we’d be happy to paddle our own canoe, I just wish we weren’t up the creek in a barb wire canoe,” Mr Katter said.