Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Tuesday, 4 June 2013
Page: 5177

Mr CRAIG KELLY (Hughes) (22:09): I rise to tonight to issue a warning to all Australians that their and their children's bank accounts are at risk of seizure by this Gillard Labor government. In yet another example of how chaotic, dysfunctional and incompetent this government has become, late last year, in a desperate attempt to prop up its budget, it passed legislation through this parliament enabling it to raid private bank accounts, trousering over $100 million this year, by declaring any money in any bank account as unclaimed simply if the owner of that bank account had not made a deposit or a withdrawal in three years.

There are many genuine and legitimate reasons why an account may be left untouched for three years. But that does not matter. In Australia today, if you have a bank account and you have not made a deposit or a withdrawal within the past three years, that bank account is liable to seizure by this Gillard Labor government. Just a few examples of this government's plundering money from private bank accounts. On 22 May a 77-year-old pensioner, Mr Alan Duffy, arrived home after spending 21 days in hospital following a quintuple heart bypass to find that $22,616 he had saved for once he was out of hospital had been taken and given to the government. On 25 May Seamus Hadfield, aged five, and his younger brother Eamon, aged three, found that almost $3,000 had been raided from their bank account. Their parents said at the time: 'We were pretty shocked. Who expects to see their kids accounts closed?' That is happening around our nation today. And on 1 June a 47-year-old mother of two, Marget Frankln, found out that $157,644 had been cleaned out of her bank account and used to prop up this government's debt. Mrs Frankln said she was 'shocked and angry beyond belief' when she found $157,644 had been taken from her account, leaving her with a zero balance.

But the government is not putting this money in a safe place. Although citizens can get it back, it is a process that could take months. The government is estimating to get $100 million this financial year from raiding citizens' bank accounts. And in nothing other than a giant Ponzi scheme, they are planning to pay it back next financial year having raided more bank accounts.

But the Gillard Labor government is not the only government in the world that is guilty of raiding private bank accounts to prop up its reckless spending. Recently, in Zimbabwe of all places, a Zimbabwean high court judge ordered the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to pay back US$1 million it seized from the bank accounts of mining companies at the height of the country's economic problems in 2007. The article, published online in New, states:

THE RBZ, which is saddled with debts of more than US$1 billion, has admitted raiding private bank accounts to help fund the Zimbabwean government's operations.

Speaker, that is exactly what we have here. Our government is doing exactly what the Zimbabwean government has done—that is, raiding private bank accounts to prop up its reckless spending and to fund the running of government. At least the Zimbabwean judge said:

There can be no doubt that the right to private property is one of the sacrosanct rights protected by the law the role of the courts is to protect bank deposits.

He added:

There is little doubt that the plaintiff should be protected against the arbitrary deprivation of its equity deposited in a bank. As a matter of policy the security of bank deposits should forever be protected by our courts. Our law, which protects ownership of property, is founded on a rock of wisdom.

Well those principles may apply in Zimbabwe, but they do not apply under this Gillard Labor government. So the warning is clear: for anyone who has a bank account in Australia, you need to make sure that you withdraw or deposit at least $1 from that bank account. If you do not do that within three years, this government will plunder it. (Time expired)