|Issue No 90||30 March 2001|
Jim Maher on the Bastard Banks
IF it looks like a bum, sounds like a bum and smells like a bum then there's a pretty good chance what you're dealing with is a bum as those rounded, backward-looking men from the Australian Bankers Association continue to prove.
Their mid-week attempt to clothe themselves in respectability with fee-free accounts for seniors, pensiors and Commonwealth health card holders was an insult to the rest of the community.
Really, it was about heading off Labor's announcement that, in Government, it would legislate to curtail some of the banks' more outrageous bumming off the rest of us.
Legislation, of course, is an anathema to bankers and their backers in the Howard Government. These people believe in self-regulation which is code for doing just as they damned-well please to whoever they want.
Self-regulation is a close ideological ally of market freedom which amounts, it this case, to rogering with impunity then paying some wizened old hack under the table to dissemble on the airaves, and bugger listeners' freedom to know the truth.
It is the freedom to sack thousands, close branches, cut services, change rates unilaterally, renege on deals with customers - you'd be dead-set mad to bank on getting cash you're entitled to out of ASB or Commonwealth ATMs on Parramatta Rd - whilst, in return, jealously guarding the right to ramp-up fees whenever you feel like it.
Ahem, just one question here, assholes - fees for what?
Oh, I get it, you want the freedom to charge me for the privilege of lending you my money - okay, but what about when the boot's on the other foot?
Fair dinkum, all this, and they've got a captive market.
Here's one freedom a few Aussie wouldn't mind being able to exercise - the freedom to never have to darken their doors again.
Unions and the Labor Party, alike, seem to have forgotten the old demand to be paid in cash.
After walking past closed banks and being dudded by an ATM, yet again, on the way to interminable queueing, the old mattress starts to look pretty attractive.
Even the prospect of having your wages direct credited to the Jolly Green Giant has a certain practical appeal. At least you'd get better, cheaper access than any bank is likely to privide.
So, good on the pensioners and card holders. They're getting no more than they deserve.
But what about the rest of us, ya bums?
Interview: On the Up and Up
On the eve of new figures showing the slide in union membership may be bottoming out, ACTU secretary Greg Combet takes stock of the state of the movement.
Unions: Organising Theory
Labor Council’s Chris Christodoulou reports back from this week’s ACTU Organising Conference
Economics: The Failure of the Third Way
In his presentation to this week's ACTU Organising Conference, John Buchanan painted a dark picture of the emerging labour market.
History: Emblems of Unity
The Gregory J. Smith Collection of Trade Union badges was auctioned today in Sydney. Smith compiled a book on 763 of his remarkable collection which was published in 1992.
Legal: Della's Compo Plan
Labour lawyer Richard Brennan places the NSW workers compensation reforms under the microscope.
International: East Timor Goes Union
Workers in the fledgling nation have established their equivalent to the ACTU to build a safety net for workers.
Satire: Management for the Post-Industrial World
A new management fad is sweeping the post-industrial world, which has major social and political implications at the macro and micro level. We have called it "Purge Management Strategy" (PMS).
Review: Surviving The Temptations of TV Island
Cultural analyst Mark Morey rakes over the coals of American TV culture to find very little is there.
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