Mass Surveillance by Another Name: Cash Ban Bill Scrapped by Senate

A proposed Bill to ban cash payments of over $10,000 died in Australia’s Senate. However, anyone paying attention to the federal government’s record on safety over freedom should stay tuned… the Bill will eventually return in some form.

The Bill highlights the language used by the government to crack down on everyday Australians’ spending their money without government surveillance:

“The Black Economy Taskforce final report found that large cash payments can be anonymous and untraceable allowing businesses to under-report their income and to offer consumers discounts for transactions that reflect the businesses’ avoided obligations”.

“The cash payment limit sends a strong signal to the community that the government will protect the rights of honest businesses and their families from unfair competition from those who want to avoid their obligations”.

The reasons for the Bill were twofold:

  1. To ensure that the federal government collects tax from businesses.
  2. To ensure that criminal organisations can’t make and receive anonymous payments, thereby bypassing banks, and hence bypassing the government’s ability to trace transations.

The “rights” language is interesting, failing to mention Australians’ rights to financial transitions over $10,000 without government surveillance. Here we see two competing versions of “rights”: Negative rights, rights from government intervention, and positive rights, rights imposed by the government upon businesses.

Of course the cash ban attempt is mass surveillance by any other name, the next manoeuvre in an ever increasing objective to have the government gain access to every aspect of Australians’ lives: Phone calls, SMSs, emails, Google searches, Facebook likes, location data, web sites visited, and now financial transactions.

Moreover, it’s no secret that powerful organisations and activists want to ban cash payments altogether. Undoubtfully COVID-19 has driven many people to ditch cash for other payment options, including debit cards & Apple Pay. Both technology companies and companies recommending cashless options are inadvertently playing into the hands of government, intelligence agencies, and global organisations such as the IMF.

Last year, KPMG lobbied the government to reduce the cash limit to $2,000 and openly said they favour a “low limit, high punishment” approach to cash transactions.

As I pointed out, once the door is opened to a cash ban in Australia — no matter the amount — there is only one natural cadence: Cash bans will continue, never recede, until cash is completely outlawed. You might think that this is an exaggeration, although there are many examples of government intervention — even if it takes decades — beginning with good intentions and becoming completely unfit for purpose. Mass surveillance is the obvious example.

Unfortunately some journalists are calling claims of an “authoritarian cash ban” a conspiracy theory, as if the federal government doesn’t already conduct mass surveillance on Australians every single day, as if the federal government isn’t telling us, “it’s for you own protection”, as we were told after the Snowden revelations came to light.

Good riddance.