The Australian economy can no longer stand banks taking more than $20 billion each year

15 May 2015: Off the back of the Senate Inquiry into financial advice services and worsening examples of rural lending practices, KAP Federal Member for Kennedy Bob Katter today demanded that the Government call a Royal Commission into bank lending practices in Australia.

Mr Katter appeared on Alan Jones’ 2GB Radio this morning to speak about the case of 80 year old Charlie Phillott who was evicted from Carisbrooke Station by the ANZ Bank just over 12 months ago. Carisbrooke Station had been in the Phillott family for over 50 years.

Mr Jones criticised the ANZ Bank for asking Mr Phillott to re-purchase his station from the bank for $590,000 or take $25,000 cash and “bugger off”.

Mr Katter said today that Charlie Phillott’s case was just one of many examples of improper and irresponsible rural lending practices that his office had seen and called upon the Prime Minister to launch a Royal Commission into the banking industries lending practices as a whole.

“It’s quite clear from the paperwork that we’ve seen that Charlie Phillott was taken from a debt of $1.5 million to $2.2 million in the space of two years,” Mr Katter said.

“This little Aussie battler is an Australian hero; he pioneered Yeoman’s Keyline Irrigation which forms the basis of all big picture irrigation in Australia.

“But the bank at their discretion jacked his debt up even though during this period, according to the paperwork that we’ve seen, Charlie had never missed a payment.

“All the while the ANZ CEO received $10.7 million last year and the bank’s own profit was a record $7.3 billion.

“Their profits have been made over the broken backs of those like Charlie Phillott, the best and finest of this nation.

“And as Alan Jones points out continuously, the banks got a $10,000 million dollar golden handshake from the Federal Government in the form of a guarantee during the Global Financial Crisis – when they were in trouble, the Australian people bailed them out, but the banks can’t find a piddly amount to bail our farmers out.”

Mr Katter criticised all banks for stridently opposing an Australian Reconstruction and Development Board (ARDB), which would have allowed them offload what they claim are bad debts. The ARDB proposal sees the Government take over the bad debt of the bank, at a reduced sum, and then loan the money back to the farmers at the Government interest rate, currently 2%.

“Not only would the banks not give any temporary relief to this small sector of their business in this time of great need and stress, on the contrary they bumped interests rates up and have rejected a proposal which would have seen their debts paid out and these farmers pull through.

“We’ve never asked 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 where the Government has not put in place an ARBD.

“It is about time that the Government showed some kind of responsibility, maybe there are some people in this country who still have some scintilla of conscience.

“We demand that the Government now look to a Royal Commission and we will be having discussions with the cross bench Senators over the next week to make that happen,” Mr Katter said.