Greens calling for a people's bank and universal basic income

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A “People’s Bank” and universal basic income (UBI) will be the focus of Greens Leader Richard Di Natale’s National Press Club speech today, along with claims that the Government is aiding and abetting a banking system that has failed all Australians.

Senator Di Natale’s vision for a people’s bank involves low-cost mortgages and cheaper everyday banking through more competition with existing big banks.

“Banks are now an essential service. You can’t have a job or get government support without having a bank account,” the Senator told Fran Kelly on Radio National today.

“In the face of ongoing misconduct and price gouging, it’s time for government to step in and ensure that there is a low-cost banking service, backed directly by the RBA, which is focused on the everyday savings and mortgage needs of customers.

“It will help turn around the recent decline in home ownership rates. It will also help stem the flow of lazy profits to the banks and inject some real competition into the banking sector.

“It’s the only way we can force them to actually provide a public benefit, instead of distorting the economy and loading up the financial system with risk.”

And, in an attempt to separate itself from parties who have ‘stolen’ previous Greens policies, such as the royal commission into banking, changes to negative gearing, eliminating franking credits, superannuation caps, the banking levy and marriage equality, the Greens will reveal plans for a universal basic income that guarantees a fairer go for all Australians.

The UBI would ensure that Australians have better access to adequate income and social services.

“With the radical way that the nature of work is changing, along with increasing inequality, our current social security system is outdated,” said Mr Di Natale.

“It can’t properly support those experiencing underemployment, insecure work and uncertain hours.”

The Greens have also called for more government intervention on climate change and a government-owned energy retailer that would help to bring down power bills in a re-regulated market.

When questioned as to what another, albeit it publicly owned, bank would really do to help Australians, Mr Di Natale said: “So much of this money, these record super profits made by the Big Four banks, should be circulating in the economy, boosting infrastructure, public education, essential services and universal health care. They’re the sort of things, we should be doing with this money, not $42 billion profits lining the pockets of shareholders.”

Listen to Richard Di Natale’s interview on Radio National

What do you think of this idea? Do you trust the idea that a nationalised bank would help first-home buyers and guarantee lower banking fees? How do you feel about a universal basic income?

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Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca is a voracious reader who loves words. You'll often find him spending time in galleries, writing, designing, painting, drawing, or photographing and documenting street art. He has a publishing and graphic design background and loves movies and music, but then, who doesn’t?

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73 Comments

Total Comments: 73
  1. 0
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    Our Reserve bank is owned by the Rothschild family and so is the American Reserve bank. We are in perpetual debt to them. Breaking away from them would be a great move. Iceland did and are doing better than ever now.

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      Yes Jackie and the RBA has two main functions.
      To control inflation and ensure employment. In my opinion it is failing in both these areas.

      Regardless of the scammed CPI figures inflation is rampant and we all know what a dismal failure ensuring employment is turning out.

      Packing up the Central Bank and telling the IMF to rack off would be a good start to sorting out the mess they have put us into.

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      Jackie, what planet are you on? That is the sort of nonsense (the RBA is owned by the Rothschilds) that was spruiked in Germany in the 1930s – and look how that ended up! This country has not suffered a recession since 1991 – thanks in part to the efforts of the RBA. The conventional wisdom when I studied economics, was that a recession could be expected every 8 – 10 years, going on past experience. We have a lot to be thankful for in this country, and don’t need the idiocy of comments such as yours!

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      Big Al, Jackie’s comment is exactly what you would expect from a left leaning socialist. She makes wild comments with nothing factual to back them up.

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      The Reserve Bank of Australia commenced operations as Australia’s central bank on 14 January 1960. This was the culmination of a long journey towards central banking, which had begun much earlier. The full story is told in a monograph prepared for the anniversary by Professor Selwyn Cornish of the Australian National University.[1]

      Central banking functions had historically been carried out by the Commonwealth Bank of Australia. A publicly owned commercial bank since its inception in 1911, the Commonwealth Bank had progressively assumed wider central bank responsibilities from the 1920s. By the 1950s, however, it was no longer tenable for the central bank to both regulate and compete with the private banks. Therefore, the Reserve Bank was established to continue the central banking activities, while the commercial functions were placed in the Commonwealth Banking Corporation, which in time became the CBA as we know it today.

      On 14 January 1960, when the Reserve Bank opened for business it had 1,800 staff from the Commonwealth Bank, including the Governor, Dr H.C. ‘Nugget’ Coombs. The Reserve Bank also maintained the same board and, importantly, the same charter.

  2. 0
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    We used to have a people’s bank it was called the Commonwealth bank and having it kept the other banks honest or as honest as they can be. So I agree let’s start another one. This idea will frighten the other four banks more than anything else. If we do let’s not sell it again.

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      I may vote green even though they are as crazy feminist as the labor party.

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      We might have some difficulty getting people to invest in a new financial institution and without money coming in first there is none to lend. Agree the CBA should never have been sold, got our home loan thru them half a century ago.
      A postal bank would be good like they have in Europe – checking accounts and payment facilities first; later on we could see whether
      term deposits and personal loans would be possible. Home loans for
      25 years might be more difficult to achieve. The RBA would have to be convinced about the equity in a new bank.

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      Jim if they offer a decent return on term deposits retirees will flood them with money.

    • 0
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      Tib – you’re right. At the moment I am getting 2.4% for a commitment of 12 months, deemed at 3.25%. Suppose getting the deeming rate would already be an attraction. I think only the Military Bank gives deeming rates but that is in Canberra.

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      Geez you are a scary lot! I well remember when Bob Brown advocated the closure of all mining in this country. When asked what the miners would do, Bob reckoned there would be plenty of jobs going as park rangers, and we would have a massive tourist boom. Now Bob, (and it would seem also, you, Tib), knows about this money tree, that is like a magic pudding and you keep plucking twenties and fifties off it, and there is a never ending supply. Make sure you keep it secret, although there are a few state Labor premiers who also seem to know of its existence, and if, heaven forbid, Shorten gets the keys to the Lodge, he will be raiding it with ‘gay’ abandon, so it might be put to the test! Come on, you lot, when have the Greens ever produced a rational economic thought? It is just not in their DNA!!!

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      Big Al I don’t remember Bob Brown wanting to close all mines? I do remember when the greens wanted to close down wood chipping in Tasmania. Which never seemed to make them any money and replace it with tourism. Tourism seems to be that states biggest earner these days , so they were right. At the time the right were still pushing forestry which never made them any money at that time, the right has always been a bit backward. Even the right has caught up now. Someone must of drawn them a picture with crayons.

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      And who started off the privatisation of the Commonwealth Bank, Keating of course, and he let it go for a song.

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      Abee I don’t agree with the privatisation of some industries no matter who is responsible.

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      I disagree Tib about the CTB keeping others honest. Until the banking sector was deregulated, all banks had their interest rates controlled by the RBA. Each state had a state controlled bank which was also regulated by the RBA. All banks in Australia fell under the regulations of the RBA, including the CTB.

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      OM the way I see it if the government has a bank that the four main banks have to compete with they should be able to do that comfortably. After all it’s a government run business. But the government bank will be carefully regulated, so it won’t be gouging and if the other banks want to compete neither will they. When we try to stop gouging with private banks at the moment all we hear is their BS and lies and no change. A government bank will drive change.

  3. 0
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    Oh for heavens sake
    This looney tunes party are at it again

  4. 0
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    So the Greens policy is to nationalise, banking and energy supply.

    Mr Di Natale might want to pause for a moment to realise that most of the banks’ shareholders are ordinary Australians who have a superfund!

    And just note he is also taking credit for the following:royal commission into banking, changes to negative gearing, eliminating franking credits, superannuation caps, the banking levy and marriage equality. And they also want more aggressive action on ‘climate change’.

    So next election you will know who to blame!

  5. 0
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    A Universal basic income paid to all after age 65 makes a lot more sense than the never ending form filling out by people of pension age who are dependent on the old age pension, self funded pensioners are also treated unfairly by not being given a health care card. The Universal Basic Income combined with payment of tax on the combined income from the UBI and self funded income would make life a lot easier, and more pleasant, for everyone.
    Re the nationalisation of banks. The gov’t has proven it couldn’t run a chook raffle so there is no hope it could deal with a bank even by paying the CEO billions of dollars for merely warming a seat.
    When I was growing up there were several other banks as well as the current big four or five, now they all seem to have been taken over and merged with the big four.
    We do have the Bendigo Bank which, as far as I know, isn’t owned by any of the major banks.
    We used to have the Commonwealth Bank which was Australian owned and deposits by the public was backed by the Australian Government against the failure of the bank so the people’s money was safe.

  6. 0
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    Sounds great- but without a FULL and unbiased set of projections as well as a complete understanding of how banking works, these comments may be yet another “green fantasy”. But let’s look at their details- soon- not just before an election.

  7. 0
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    The loopy greens want a never ending cash coming out of the hole in the wall and destroy businesses at the same time.

  8. 0
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    This red ragger socialist idiot would have us all in red uniforms, goose stepping down the road if he ever got into power. Thank god there are enough of us that don’t want the communist experiment in this country. The man is a raging lunatic who should have been committed years ago. As usual, this publication only printed the parts of his statement that they think is favorable to their line of thinking. He also said everyone should be paid The same basic wage (not politicians of course) irregardless of whether they worked or not, now tell me who is going to work if you can get the same remuneration if you don’t work. LOONEY TUNES best describes this madman.

    • 0
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      Everyone should be paid the same basic wage. Proof? You sound like a one nation voter?

    • 0
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      Tib, if you looked elsewhere on the internet you may have seen the full report earlier today on face book, and what I have stated on here was exactly what that lunatic said. He is close to being certifiable. Then again, those who are blind enough to vote for his party come under the same category as well.

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      arbee my eldest works on farms as a labourer. He is a mechanic by trade and keeps the irrigation systems and machinery running. Some fencing and help with mustering etc. A mechanic gets $19.60 an hour. Farm labour is hard work.

      He recently was unemployed for a few months due to health issues.

      The welfare payment for the family was only $50 less than his wage.
      But they also get discounts and benefits.

      He works because of work ethics and his own desire to be self sufficient and provide for his family. Certainly not for the money.
      He wants to set a good example to his children.

      He is devastated that his labour is deemed to be worth no more than the unemployable who will never work.

      I’d say a lot of families are exactly like this after a decade of no wage growth but welfare being CPI adjusted.

      It’s a disgraceful situation and it is the Fair Work Commission to blame.

    • 0
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      It’s not a recent thing, Rae. From the early 70s to the early 90s, I worked for 2% more than unemployment benefits and my costs of holding a job were 8% of my income. I’d have been way better off on benefits. Like your son, I worked because I have a work ethic, and I wanted my children to have a work ethic. Ultimately, sickness forced me out and on recovery I was unemployed after a lot of stress and frustration, I confess I stopped looking for work. I took benefits and started a business. Best thing I ever did – but it didn’t feel right until I convinced myself that the system forces people to be dishonest, and it’s not their fault.

      I paid my debt many times over, but now I’m at that point of resorting to what I consider unethical conduct again, because I am suffering for doing what’s ethical and good for the nation, and it seems both Government and Opposition are determined to make it impossible to be SFR unless you are filthy rich. And sadly, many here are very happy to see struggling SFRs bashed and beaten and forced to live on less than the pension. Little wonder hundreds of thousands manipulate to claim a pension they don’t need – thus making the OAP problematically expensive and driving call to delay retirement.

      It would make far more sense for OAPs to support a demand for a system that respects and encourages people who strive to be self-sufficient. Cutting the number of pensioners, instead of increasing it, would improve the chances of pension increases.

  9. 0
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    The Greens just don’t stop coming up with these ideas LOL. All in the name of the people and the environment of course.
    I am still not sure what a people’s bank is to achieve?
    We had a “people’s Bank” the CBA.
    So the RBA will issue 1st mortgages with a competitive rate to doubtful borrowers? on a 60% debt to valuation ratio then…. wait for it… one of our retail banks will pick up the 2nd mortgage?? But here’s the bit that had me ROTFL, the 2nd mortgage would be issued at such a competitive rate that the purchaser would have an overall lower commitment.
    LOL!!!
    Di Natalie you’re only going to convince bank haters that this is a good idea.

    • 0
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      at last a comment that states the truths of this greens proposal, not only do they want other banks to pick up the outstanding 40% they also want to guarantee that this so-called people’s bank be guaranteed to be the main creditor and be paid out first the total amount owed to their bank, backer the rest, can anybody see other banks putting their hand up to lend money on that basis?
      2nd the price of houses will go through the roof, see when 1st homebuyers premiums came in or 1st homebuyers received the bonus
      as for some of the above comments, Tib I am surprised by yours in regard to decent returns on the elderly investments, if that bank charges borrowers 3% how much do you think they will pay you on your investment and as for your comment that tourism is the greatest investment in Tasmania, sorry to say it is the assistance of every other state in Australia through their GST to keep Tasmania from going bankrupt and for all this you can thank the greens, able assisted by labor, for running Tasmania into the ground, believe the greens and be prepared for judgement day, the fairies in my backyard are looking better by the day.

    • 0
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      Tasmania only has Tourism and logging. The wood chip company has been losing money by the millions. It’s not viable at all. We just don’t need all that paper any longer. China doesn’t want it and won’t pay much for it. Certainly not enough to cover production.

      Something is very wrong inside banking and debt in Australia. The proof is the APRA Bank Bail In Legislation snuck through the Senate recently.

      All of this is merely another distraction so people don’t panic.

      Wait until rates start rising. I wouldn’t be holding bank shares or hybrids now and also be able to sleep well at night.

    • 0
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      Tasmania’s economy has been given a real boost with the FTA’s. They are always short on farm workers now.
      Don’t know why Tasmania closed hydro generators?? I know they didn’t do well by selling power to Victoria then buying it back at a higher price, but surely that was no reason to close down hydro?

  10. 0
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    With globalisation across the world, many systems have been broken: fair wage bargaining system, financial systems, monetary control system, fiscal control system, and above all the Keynesian economy.

    John Keynes believed in capitalism on the basic that it is a good system within a closed economy. In a capitalist system, people earn money from their work. Businesses employ and pay people to work. Then people can spend their money on things they want. Within this closed economy, a country may have a competitive advantage over other countries, for example, exports of our excellent wool and quality minerals. Other countries import their goods to our country. Under this economy, we have an entire network of producers, distributors, and consumers of goods and services in a local, regional, or national community.In this environment, government can control through the manipulation of the monetary policy and/or fiscal policy and balance the trade accounts through tariff. RBA can control inflation and employment through monetary policy, providing the leakages from our economy is controllable. In other words, profits generated in Australia are not leaving our shores and lining the pockets of overseas shareholders and profits earned locally are taxed for their dues.

    Globalisation is a game changer. The global economy has changed the mobility of resources, labour, capital and finance without boundary. The conglomerate of companies, international corporations, organisations with heavily subsidies and supports by foreign governments in the name of free trade agreements and competitions torn-up our fair wage system through imported labour, resulting lower wages for our labour market. Consequently, lower wages, lower income tax. Mobility of international companies allows leakages of corporate taxes from our economy. Privatisation of our public utilities would save governments’ outlays in the short terms but the public (you and I) is paying for them through our nose over a generation or more. These public utilities are usually bought by foreign billionaires or big companies, whose shareholders are mostly overseas. Guess where the profits generated in Australia will ended up? Foreigners can also borrow money from our Banks, but they don’t pay taxes here and their profits don’t plough back to our economy. If foreigners or foreign companies borrow big from our Banks, guess who are supporting the Banks, yes, we are. I wonder to what extent the risk of these foreign borrowings from our Banks will bear on their ability to borrow money on the world market, i.e. IMF?

    Secondly, I still cannot understanding how globalisation works on the credit rating for our economy. This rating is important for our Banks to borrow money in the world market.
    Our governments can no longer have a good grip of our economic basics to influence employment, wages, inflation or deflation, rectification of budget deficit, tax reformation and above all stimulation of our economy. The more the government believes in small government and an invisible hand in a free market in the name of democracy, the less the government can govern our economy, protect and defend its citizen. If anyone thinks that a big tax cut to big companies will generate job and increase wages in the context of globalisation, he or she is blind to see these leakages from our economy. This tax cut may work for a closed economy but for a global economy, there is no chance in a million or a billion. Keynesian theory on capitalism is no longer applicable in globalisation. Big money rules to the extend no single government or state can control the beast, just look at Facebook and other social medias……no rules or governance over these operations.

    If political parties or governments try to look towards to pensioners, self-retirees and low-income earners for solutions over the “Beast”, please dream on.

    • 0
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      An excellent explanation and frightening as our Government and Public Servants seem unable to negotiate or regulate to prevent Australia becoming poorer and poorer.

    • 0
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      Rae, the PM and his government can do something about it. However, it will take a strong PM, Foreign and Trade Ministers to do something about the “Beast” through the G20 by promulgating the following: –

      1. International companies and conglomerates should show their causes why they should be allowed to come this country. While granting them an ability to earn a profit, their profit must plough back to our economy through taxes and local shareholders. This is important that we decide who come to our country, the circumstances they come, how they come and what rules they should operate and observe. Just like what Johnny Howard said about the refugee.

      2. The Productivity Commission and the Fair Work Commission should be working together and set the rules who and what circumstances foreign workers can come to this country. The accountability of these Commissions should be transparent that the supply of labour is justifiable in terms of demand and the benefits to our economy. This is to ensure that our labour market is not being exploited by any commercial business of all sizes.

      3. ASIC and ACCC should have a broader role in examining the equilibrium between shareholder values and customer services, who are sharing the same pie of profit outcome.

      4. ATO and Foreign Affairs and Trades should work together, finding a set of rules to encourage foreign investment in this country at the same time this investment will benefit our economy through taxes, research and development and also benefits to members of G20. We would like to have a fair tax system for a fair work and the burden of social security be shared fairly from top earners to low income earners.

      5. ATO, ASIC and ACCC should have a role in establishing governance and surveillance of digital intelligence and social media, including online purchasing.

      6. All free trading agreements are subject to all the vet by the rules mentioned 1 to 5 above.

      7. All boarder security should be based on all the rules sets in 1 to 6.

      8. Continuous surveillance and prevention of economic leakages from our country and exploitation our systems to protect and defend our boarder and citizens and to preserve our heritage and values.

      These are by no means an exhausting list to plug the leakages and to tame the “Beast”. If you can think of anything to add onto this list, you are most welcome.

    • 0
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      Let me see if I understand?

      You both agree that we are at the mercy of foreign investors who pay next to no tax, and that we no longer operate in a closed domestic market but a global competitive one.

      With this in mind you feel the best solution is to make Australian businesses pay higher taxes?? How does this strengthen the Australian economy?

    • 0
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      Adrianus, the basic of the argument is that laissez-faire regime is not the answer to the solution to our problems we are in. We desperately need a tax reform for a fair distribution of wealth from top earners to low income earners.

      Traditionally, majority of the tax revenue to government is income tax. With the stagnation of low income tax, this income tax is no longer a fair share for the distribution of the national wealth for all our needs.

      For those who believe in capitalism of free market in a closed economy cannot see the Keynesian theory and rules cannot be applicable anymore. Big businesses with billion dollars empires dictate.

      They become unmanageable, uncontrollable and ungovernable. Just imagine, a giant company of Facebook and Google with mega billion dollar empires paying no tax, answer to no one, and no single government or state on earth would like to tackle them.

      If they make billion of dollars in our country, should they plough back their profit in our economy through taxes and dividends to our local shareholders?

      What I am trying to say is, local businesses should pay tax according to the local taxes. Foreign companies, which make profit in Australia, should pay their share of profit according to their privilege of earning a giant profit in Australia. Stop the leakage and you stop the imbalance of distribution of wealth and our national needs.

    • 0
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      Curious, if shareholders dictate then should we not ask the question. How do we get more of the population into share ownership? Isnt that the surest path to having some control over your financial destiny?

      I could never understand why the unions/Labor strongly opposed employee share schemes?
      The only possible motivation I could think of is the Fabian concept of keeping the proletariats down. Lean mean and hungry if you like?? Interestingly the average wage is rising faster than a soufflé.

    • 0
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      Adrianus, Johnny Howard wanted Australians to buy more shares, so we all have a bit of Australia’s companies. However, the volatility of the share market with overseas influence scares a lot of mum and dad investors. Additionally, even the big investors like superannuation funds cannot influence the share market, as the share market in the world stage is just too big for the control over our “financial destiny” as you call it.

      Not even any government or any state in the world can control this mega dollar share industry. I don’t know whether you remember the rise of the tiger economy in Asia. At that time, the trillion dollar US superannuation funds invested in the Asian shares and at the height of these markets the US super funds sold the shares and left the Asian countries with a disaster aftermath.

      Shares as an investment vehicle is good. However, governments over the world believe in capitalism of free market and have no clues how to regulate this industry, which has a lot of speculations in shares, futures contracts and other gambling form of contracts. Many companies and private investors got burnt.

      As to why unions/ Labour strongly opposed employee share schemes, once you own shares, you are a shareholders of a company. You own a part of the company. The concept of shareholder value does not go well with the concept of employee values or customer value. The bottom line is more important than looking after your employees or customers. Just look at the four big banks.

    • 0
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      I see, so the share market is too big to be controlled? In what way should it be controlled other than the existing laws and procedural regulations? If you’re referring to control of volatility then why does it need to be controlled? I agree owning shares can have some risk. I think what you’re saying is that risk should not be shared with employees or customers because they have a different view of trade because it creates profit. Is the bottom line really that important? If employees and customers aren’t accepting of business practice then do they feel uncomfortable enough to work or buy from this company? Why should we be making sure the banks don’t make a profit? Is it because the government doesn’t want them to pay tax? The big 4 banks paid almost $12 billion in tax for the 2016 year. They are our biggest tax payers.
      In 2016, banks paid $25 billion in wages and salaries to staff, $26 billion in dividends to shareholders – many of whom are mums and dads and pensioners – and $66 billion in interest on bank deposits and bonds.

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