A Royal Commission to investigate banks took a step closer after two senators and two Lower House members vowed they would push the Coalition Government into establishing an inquiry as soon as possible.
Bob Katter, One Nation senators Rod Culleton and Malcolm Roberts and the ALP member for Herbert, Cathy O’Toole at a Townsville meeting on Saturday condemned current banking practices.
They agreed that for Australia to survive record bank foreclosures and business failures, the banks had to operate within the law.
Speakers believed the Coalition Government would not take any action to rein in “unlawful” banking practices which had caused multiple suicides, family break-ups and business failures around the nation.
Western Australia One Nation senator Rod Culleton slammed the record number of foreclosures describing how he too had been a victim of “dodgy” banks.
“Banks operate like organised crime,” Senator Culleton said.
“I’ve had a litany of evidence come into my office of receivers sinking the boot into their customers.
“That’s what they think about the lamb chop on their plate; enough is enough.
“The banks seem to think they are above the law because they’re unregulated, we’re going to change that.” He said if banks did not support their customers through thick and thin, he’d support the creation of a sovereign rural bank to assist farmers.
“We’re here to correct things and we’re in support of a sovereign rural bank where the beneficiaries are the people who bank with it,” he said.
“It’s important the public realise if we lose our agriculture and our rural people we will be in strife and we will lose the quality of our food.”
Member for Kennedy Bob Katter told the crowd of 50 farmers, small businessmen and home owners the banks own the Australian Government.
“Banks have the only government guaranteed business in Australia,” Mr Katter said.
“We only need one vote to get the royal commission but in 16 years no member has ever crossed the floor in Federal Parliament when it comes to banks.”
“My office has details of nearly 100 cases of banking malpractice that has ruined businesses and families.”
Supporting the One Nation senators and Mr Katter was Member for Herbert Cathy O’Toole saying she too had banking industry misbehaviour in her sights.
“We need Australians to believe they can have confidence in the banks and financial institutions that serve us,” she said.
“And we aren’t even measuring the holistic cost to the people affected in our communities.
“The first place you’d want to have a look at the additional costs is in healthcare, people’s physical, mental and emotional health has been destroyed; families have been destroyed and suicides are occurring.
“All these things have a huge impact on the social structure of community in addition to the financial impact.”
Burdekin-district sugar industry advocate Margaret Menzell agreed a royal commission was needed but warned the meeting the Australian Banking Association was gearing up for a massive publicity blitz to ward off the establishment of an inquiry.
Nine resolutions were passed by the meeting calling for the establishment of a royal commission, abolition of the arbitrary appointment of receivers by anyone, condemning the actions of government in allowing banks to act with impunity, creation of a development bank for primary and secondary industries and infrastructure, the role of police is to protect the public and then property and forbid the use of police to reinforce property repossessions, restore a grand jury system to deter corporations from engaging in unconscionable and unlawful conduct and restore compliance with Chapter 3 of the Commonwealth Constitution, property to be found disposed of unethically must be restored, the terms of reference include an investigation of the creation of credit by trading banks, a moratorium be immediately imposed on forced property sales.
All resolutions passed unanimously.
Peter Spencer case funding in limbo
Funding for the Peter Spencer court case appears to be in limbo and possibly could be cut.
Farmer Peter Spencer made the headlines when he sat up a pole on his property on a hunger strike for 52 days in 2009.
He was protesting over his over his right to clear native vegetation on his property in south-east NSW and later began demanding that he be compensated for a loss of carbon credits.
This formed the basis of a court case that went all the way to the High Court, centring around native vegetation and carbon credits, and whether farmers are owed compensation from the Commonwealth acquiring credits from Australian farmers.
Sources close to the Spencer camp say that they have been informed that the fighting fund assistance, previously forthcoming, to back the legal fight against the Commonwealth has been stopped, and they claim they have been left high and dry, just as they are due to go to trial.
But the Australian Farmers Fighting Fund says that’s not accurate.
Chairman of the AFFF, Hugh Nivison, says the fund had only committed to funding the process of legal discovery and it’s now looking at the documents to see if any more assistance is warranted, according to the merits of the evidence.
“It is a complicated issue and we want to have a look at the evidence before we make a decision on where we go to from here,” he said.