A former senior ministerial advisor has observed to the Citizens Party that the date of the second cash ban hearing, 29 January, is too late to affect the findings of the Senate committee’s report due 7 February.
This is therefore a token hearing to placate the public’s anger at the government’s clear contempt for the public consultation process over this bill. The government is used to being able to sneak such legislation into law with minimal public engagement, but they haven’t been able to do that with this cash ban bill, and their actions prove they aren’t happy.
That said, whatever the government’s intention is, it is up to us to ensure this hearing is an opportunity to affect the inquiry anyway. The final report is not the issue—that will always reflect the government’s view—the real issue is the way the Labor Party and cross-benchers vote, as they have the numbers to defeat this bill. They are represented on this committee by ALP Senator Alex Gallacher and Centre Alliance Senator Rex Patrick, who both did an excellent job questioning the witnesses in the first hearing, which proved the government has no evidence for either the need for this law, or whether it will work.
The way to maximise the impact of this hearing is for opponents of the cash ban to make sure they attend, so the Senators on the committee get to see for themselves the depth of the public opposition. As soon as details are available, we will publicise them.
Remember—never give up! There is a real chance to stop this bill if we fight all the way to the end.
What you can do
Save the date and plan to attend the hearing if you can.
Call and email your MP to get them to watch the key Treasury testimony from the first hearing, especially the two minutes of this clip when ALP Senator Alex Gallacher asks Treasury for evidence of the need for this law (it will play from the right spot; play through to when Gallacher demands: “We want some data!”. Copy and paste this url to email to them: https://youtu.be/bmZbN54UWpg?t=1204
Write short, punchy letters to the editor about the hearing, the way the government is trying to rig this inquiry, and other dramatic news such as the massive Victorian State Liberal Party Council vote against the cash ban.
While there will be a few quiet weeks over Christmas, be ready to go hard on this early in the new year.