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A controversial law that would have banned cash payments over $10,000 and imposed two-year jail sentences on people evading the ban has been killed in the Senate.

Source : PortMac.News | Independent :

Source : PortMac.News | Independent | News Story:

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Law to ban cash for purchases of $10,000 or more dead
A controversial law that would have banned cash payments over $10,000 and imposed two-year jail sentences on people evading the ban has been killed in the Senate.

News Story Summary:

But, Zombie like, don't be surprised if the move to limit your legal use of cash is revived at some stage.

The now-defunct law could return in some other iteration once the COVID-19 pandemic has passed.

On Thursday, following a motion moved by One Nation, the Senate officially dumped debate on the legislation, which has unofficially become known as the "cash ban" law.

Officially it's called the Currency (Restrictions on the Use of Cash) Bill 2019 and it was supposed to take hold in January.

The Government had said the delay in bringing it forward was due to them prioritising the emergency economic response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

But it's also likely the law's demise had something to do with the fury that swept across the Liberal party's core membership base — and among a number of federal MPs, who described it as "antithetical" to the party's values.

Despite a series of amendments, the Federal Government faced the prospect of Liberal senators rejecting the proposed law in the Senate.

The cash ban bill is, for now, dead, but how long before we see a bill like this return?

We are living in a world where cash is fading in use as a means of payment, and regulators, including the International Monetary Fund (IMF), have made no secret of their desire to be rid of it.

The COVID-19 pandemic has only accelerated the trend away from cash towards digital transactions.

Restaurants and retailers have been encouraging their customers to use electronic payments to slow the spread of coronavirus through physical contact.

There's no evidence that transmission of the virus via banknotes is any greater than transmission via other frequently touched objects, such as credit card terminals or PIN pads (since all would have to be properly disinfected to prevent the virus spreading).

Some retailers have refused to accept cash during the crisis.

Others have been testing whether there's consumer appetite for cash-free stores.

Major retailer Woolworths was trialling cashless supermarkets in a few of their metro stores where cash payments were already in decline.

And governments around the world are moving to a cashless society.

A number of countries have already banned the use of cash for transactions over a certain level, and central banks around the world, including the Reserve Bank of Australia, are researching a move to central bank digital currencies (CBDCs).

It's worth noting that while cash withdrawals are not as high as they were before the pandemic, cash still is being withdrawn by millions of Australians, even while many of us were under lockdown.

Reserve Bank of Australia payments data shows there were more than 44 million cash withdrawals worth $10.4 billion in December 2019.

The latest available figures, for September 2020, shows this was down to almost 33 million cash withdrawals worth about $9 billion.

Also at the onset of the pandemic lockdown in March, as many of us stockpiled toilet paper and baked beans, wealthier Australians withdrew thousands to millions of dollars in cash.

The RBA had reported that cash hoarding has 'Abated'.

Will concerns about Orwellian motives fade as time passes?

As more people move to digital forms of payment, it's possible that some people's fears about a move to a cashless society also fade.

During the cash ban bill debate, several federal MPs and stakeholders raised concerns that the law would create an Orwellian state and push people into "the clutches of the banks".

There was also much stakeholder concern, including from groups like the Law Council of Australia, about the hefty penalties attached to the now-defunct law.

It would have seen Australians land in jail or face fines of up to $25,200 if they used cash for purchases of more than $10,000.

One Nation senator Malcolm Roberts, who put forward the motion to abandon the cash ban bill on Thursday, said: "This is a fantastic win for all Australians, particularly rural and elderly Australians where the use of cash is still prevalent.

"This bill was never about tackling crime or money laundering, and instead criminalised the use of legal tender, cash, for everyday Australians."

On the other side of the political spectrum, the Greens are also celebrating the defeat of the cash ban.

While a Senate inquiry had given the proposed legislation the thumbs up, the Greens had put forward a dissenting report raising concerns the law would restrict people's civil liberties.

"It was trying to crack a walnut with a sledgehammer and was naively utopic about a world without cash," Green's economic justice spokesperson Nick McKim (Pictured) said after the defeat of the bill.

Story By | Nassim Khadem


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Comments  

0 #1 Tony 2020-12-08 16:41
According to the Bank of England recently, cash is making a preferred come back over digital and credit. So much so that 5hey have had to do a rock take on just how much is out there and circulating. Which they seem to be struggling with.
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