Tag Archives: The Age

RBA & Treasury Coverup – Data Culled At Behest Of Banks

6 Dec

Being the first Tuesday of the month, there’ll be lots of attention on the Reserve Bank today, with many hoping for another cut in the official interest rate in time for Christmas.

So I thought that today, we might take a closer look at the RBA too.

Remember that critical joined-at-the-hip relationship between our Big Four banks, and the government’s balance sheet, that your humble blogger has been banging on about lately?

The relationship that means our government must get its budget back in shape, else its guarantees that are the only thing propping up our zombie banks will lose credibility with the ratings agencies?

Michael West at The Age has been looking at those government guarantees too. His investigation has dug a little deeper into the dark heart of our government-banker kleptocracy (my emphasis added):

Public information turns confidential – RBA culls data

The Reserve Bank of Australia and federal Treasury have been systematically purging public information from their databases at the request of the big banks.

During the course of an investigation into the wholesale funding guarantee, BusinessDay found large swathes of information relating to the use of the guarantee had been expunged from the http://www.guaranteescheme.gov.au website.

This culling of public data follows revelations here last year that the corporate regulator, the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) had been deleting evidence of the waivers it had provided to liquidators.

Commitment to transparency?

Now the RBA and Treasury appear to have made an even greater mockery of the government’s “commitment to transparency and accountability”. The funding guarantee scheme is an unprecedented concession for the banks – they are underpinned by the taxpayer and, thanks to sovereign largesse, cannot go bust.

Nonetheless, almost all detail relating to more than $100 billion in taxpayer-guaranteed funding has vanished. Only the details of current guarantees survive.

We can only surmise that both the government and the banks are trying to pretend there was never any corporate welfare in the first place. For the banks’ part, it is harder to justify $10 million executive salaries for running a taxpayer-guaranteed institution.

And for the government’s part, the censorship can only be put down to an obsequious backpedalling on previous public commitments in order to appease the powerful banks.

Unconvincingly trying to rationalise their role in the purge, Treasury responded that public information about sovereign support for the banks had suddenly become confidential.

“Further data on liabilities issued under the Scheme by individual participating institutions is not provided on the Guarantee Scheme website for reasons of confidentiality,” a spokesman told BusinessDay.

It was the sort of line which would have made Sir Humphrey Appleby proud.

With Europe in disarray, and the impending prospect of further taxpayer support for the banks – the RBA has recently foreshadowed relaxing the rules on what assets banks can swap for RBA cash – this is hardly the time for there to be any question over the integrity of public institutions and their information.

[click the link to read the entire article, including how the RBA and Treasury tried to cover-up in response to Mr West’s investigations]

None of this should come as any surprise to regular readers of barnabyisright.com.

There are already very big questions over the “integrity” of our public institutions.

As we saw in Funding For Policy Scandal – Australia Is A Kleptocracy, our very system of government means that our political parties depend on bank loans to fund their election campaigns.

Why?

It is because the parties do not receive their multi-million dollar handouts from the public trough – a distribution which is based on % of the popular vote – until after the election, when the actual number of votes received by each party is confirmed.

So, they have to go hat-in-hand to the banks, begging for loans, in order to mount their campaigns in the first place.

If that is not a relationship of dependency that is absolutely ripe for corruption, then I don’t know what is.

There really is “An Unholy Alliance Of Politicians And Bankers Versus Ordinary People”

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Grattan Slums For Tanner’s Crumbs

2 May

Here at Barnaby Is Right we have documented numerous lies and deceptions perpetrated by former Finance Minister (and now Barnaby-envier), Lindsay Tanner.

Now he’s back, spruiking his new book.  And no great surprise that The Age’s political editor Michelle Grattan gives this self-confessed snake-oil peddler some free advertising.  Nor is it a great surprise that she fails to do the right thing – (ie) tear Tanner a new one – over his admissions as to how he and the rest of the Labor ‘gang of four’ blatantly set out to mislead and deceive the public over the nation’s finances:

As the budget approaches, his insights into the conjuring that goes on are valuable. He became adept at “the dark arts“, he confesses, “using some of what are now the standard tricks employed to maximise political appearances”.

These included switching between different forms of accounting, choosing different indicators of spending “according to which . . . suited the argument better”, classifying annual spending as capital, and making commitments beyond the years of the budget period.

When you hear, for example, on budget night what the government is doing on mental health, remember Tanner’s salutary warning: “It sounds impressive when the responsible minister announces that health spending is to increase by $1 billion dollars over the next four years, and it sounds even better when we’re told that it will be at record levels. But there’s a fair chance that we’re being misled by such claims…

“The lesson is simple: whenever a politician cites spending figures to show what a fine job he or she is doing, examine the fine print very carefully.” Indeed.

Does Tanner really think that we’ll give him any credit now, for trying to make money from exposing the kind of deceitful accounting “tricks” that he himself conspired in?

Does Grattan really think that it’s good enough for the political editor of a leading broadsheet to simply brush over as mere “conjuring” these blatant admissions of Government ministers engaging in deliberate misleading and deceptive conduct?

Worse, one even senses an overtone of gratitude from Grattan for Tanner’s “valuable” “insights”.

Her obsequious sycophancy concludes:

One thing is certain, however: politics misses him. The Labor ministry is the weaker for his departure.

No wonder the political illuminati in this country are so disconnected from (and often reviled by) normal, “average” Australians, (ie) all those outside of the commentariat’s own incestuous little circles.

The morality of Grattan and her ilk is almost as “flexible” as that of the politicians (and former politicians) under whose tables they slum, awaiting their daily crumbs.

Digging A Hole For Ourselves

5 Mar

From The Age:

In a series of speeches in recent days, senior economic officials from Reserve governor Glenn Stevens down have spread the same message: the brief interruption of the global financial crisis is over, and Australia has gone back to where it was – into a resources boom so big it will dwarf the booms of the late ’60s and early ’80s.

The Reserve Bank’s best and brightest argue that this will be good for Australia because it will allow us to earn more income now than we would if the minerals stayed in the ground for a few more years.

With the greatest respect, I sharply disagree. I think we need a national debate on whether it really is in our interests to try to sell off our mineral wealth as rapidly as possible, as our economic leaders believe…

We need to think hard about this. The implicit argument from our officials is that we should allow otherwise-viable industries to be put down in the interests of making room for us to extract as many minerals now as possible.

This is wrong: not just because they are picking winners, or just because China, too, has its vulnerabilities and could fall, but because you don’t put all your eggs in one basket.

We need to keep a mix of strong, diverse industries to guarantee our future. We need to debate how we do that, and learn from how others do it.

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