Bank Secrecy in Australia: Terrorism Legislation as the New Exception to the Tournier Rule
Monash University - Department of Business Law & Taxation
June 25, 2012
Journal of Money Laundering Control, Vol. 8, pp. 56-65, 2004
Like the heavy handed legislative response to 9/11 contained in the US Patriot Act, Australia has passed new legislation to attempt to suppress terrorist financing. The legislation imposes disclosure obligations on banks to detect and to disclose terrorism financing to law enforcement agencies. This legislation has now introduced further breaches to traditional bank/customer confidence, amounting to new a Tournier exception.
This article supports initiatives to counter criminal activity such as politically-motivated violence so long as it is consistent with basic democratic rights, but questions the cost/benefit of Australia's recent changes on practical grounds and on civil liberties grounds. Earlier versions of bank disclosure laws in the US did not identify the funding for 9/11 and have had limited effect on the 'war on drugs'. Will these new banking laws in the 'war against terror' be any more effective? New laws being easier to make than to unmake, are these the kinds of laws that Australians want on the statute book long after the war on terror is over?
Number of Pages in PDF File: 19
Keywords: banking law, banker-customer relationship, exception to bank secrecy, Tournier's case, terror legislation, Australia
JEL Classification: K22, K42, N20Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: June 25, 2012
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