Australians Unite Against Government’s Planned Cash Ban

Australians were whipped up into a frenzy earlier in the year when the Coalition government introduced the Currency (Restrictions on the Use of Cash) Bill 2019 in an effort to ban cash payments of more than $10,000—with exemptions included to reduce the threshold. Mainstream coverage of the controversial bill has dwindled in the months since. So, what’s the latest on the bill?

On September 19, the Australian Senate referred the provisions of the cash ban bill to the Economics Legislation Committee for inquiry and report by February 7 of next year. With the window for submissions having closed on November 15, the committee has just recently published 145 of the 2,600-plus items of correspondence it received. This came after a whopping 3,620 submissions were sent to the Australian Treasury earlier in the year.

Among the 145 submitters were several well-known Australian businesses and citizens. Gumtree—a popular online marketplace company—was one such submitter. Penned by head of government relations and public policy Luke Aitken, Gumtree warned that, “despite exemptions that will allow for consumer-to-consumer transactions of more than $10,000,” the restriction on business-to-consumer transactions “could have a detrimental effect on both businesses and consumers.”

Another notable submitter was Blockchain Assets founder and chief executive Ian Love. In his 14-page submission, Love addresses three aspects of a would-be Australian cash ban: (i) human rights and the importance of cash to freedom and liberty, (ii) the exemption for ‘digital currency’, and (iii) the insidious rise of the surveillance state.

Flight Centre Travel Group—Australia’s largest travel retail agency—was another to voice concerns regarding the bill. In its submission addressed from financial crime compliance head Julian Hunn, Flight Centre said it “supports the introduction of an economy-wide cash payment limit.” It did, however, express four concerns it has with respect to “the implementation of the draft legislation.”
To read through the three above submissions—and the 142 other publicly accessible submissions—click here.

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