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way that the nature of work is changing, along with increasing inequality, our current social security system is outdated,” said Mr Di Natale.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