In early May 2010 IMF Australia was being swamped by bank customers dismayed by the bank fees charged by the largest Australian banks. Despite transactions costs of less than $1, the banks were often charging between $15 t0 $65 in Australia.
IMF established FinancialRedress.com.au to enlist bank customers in a nationwide class action. The company had 20,000 supporters for its actions before the Australian Securities & Investment Commission (ASIC) ruled that it would (favour the banks) by not giving IMF access to disclosure information from the bank.
The move highlights the cozy relationship between the government and the banks. The first responsibility of the government ought to be to protect the legal rights of its citizens, and yet here was a case of a government agency acting as an obstacle to the people reclaiming an estimated $5 billion in bank fees which clearly many Australian bank customers consider excessive.
The other important responsibility is to define objective principles for rights. Unfortunately the West has not really given full recognition to those political rights sanctioned by the United Nations under the Declaration of Human Rights, as well as other declarations. Many countries argue that these rights do not reconcile with their own political systems, or that they have already protected these rights. The reality however is that only limited protection is offered. Another problem is the failure to protect economic rights. Political rights which do not extend to economic rights are superfluous because in a highly organised society no one can afford to lose all of their economic wealth. The gross violation of economic rights is imposed under the rhetoric of economic rights. The problem is that governments have conjured up economic rights (with the help of vocal socialists and liberals) which constitute impositions upon the rights of others. This is logically a contradiction in terms. i.e. Your right to free health care is an imposition upon doctors to provide that care, and an opern-ended commitment by others to finance it. Rights have ceased to be 'protections', and are not imposed as 'obligations'. The manifest outcome of such a system is that economic values are no longer earned, they are assumed as entitlements. We have long recognised the failure of socialism, but we refuse to acknowledge the slow drift to values within Western society towards fascism, as we saw in Germany in the 1940s. We are once again failing to learn from history. Germany was particularly vulnerable because of its philosophical legacy of Kant, Hegel, etc. Today, you might be surprised how reverred these philosophers are among Western academics.
Another possible explanation for the government's move is the recognition that they ought to have acted sooner. Their tardiness in regulating the banks could possibly be censured by the Supreme Court.
We are accustomed to governments fighting for freedom in far-away lands, but such actions by government highlight the spectre of fascism in our own backyards. The plethora of statutory law developed in recent years appears to be limiting the recognition of our Common Law rights to justice. The difference between Common Law and Statutory Law is the nature of how the law is developed. Common law is based on principles of justice. Statutory law is arbitrary. It balances arguments, but it does not seek rationality, integrity or to resolve disputes. Readers might like to ask themselves to what extent these outcomes are rational. A great number of statutory laws were enacted to address the flaws in previous enacted laws. The problem is that one arbitrary law is held out of context, requiring another arbitrary law to correct loopholes or exceptions. The result has been an ineffective, costly legal system, and true arbitrary outcomes, where people have no certainty over their outcome. For this reason, few people have the finances to challenge outcomes, nor to seek legal remedies. The consequence is thus an asymmetrical and arbitrary relationship with governments and corporations, which very much defines fascism. People expect to see goose-stepping military battalions marching done the street, but fascism is, like other forms of tyrannical collectivism, an expression of the ethical principle that your interests as an individual are arbitrarily subordinated to the good of society. That is an arbitrary standard, so society often declines into a state tyranny where it is the good of the government which is preserved with the help of media, banks and large corporations fearful of being marginalised. Here is a case of the government siding with the banks. Here is a display of fascism.