6 Things Governments Might Do To You This Xmas:
5. Wealth Confiscation
24 December 2011
A reader asked us to comment on the following: 'Der Besitz von materiellem Gold und das Risiko, dass der Staat (In Australien oder anderswo) es einem auf fiese Art und Weise wieder wegnimmt.'
In other words, what is the risk of gold confiscation, in Australia and elsewhere? Here's the part of the reader's email, quoting from the blog Gold Chat, that will make you look twice:
Australian law already has a mechanism in place to require delivery of gold to the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) - Part IV of theBanking Act 1959. There is no need for the Government of the day to have to rush new legislation through that may attract public comment or opposition. All that is required is the Governor General to proclaim that Part IV shall come into operation.
Notice how your gold must be delivered to the RBA, not the Treasury.
Here is the wording of the Act in case you don't believe the blogosphere.
...a person who has any gold in the person's possession or under the person's control, shall deliver the gold to the Reserve Bank, or as prescribed, within one month after the gold comes into the person's possession or under the person's control or, if the gold is in the person's possession or under the person's control on any date on which this Part comes into operation, within one month after that date.
We've excluded from the quote the exemptions for rare coins, and gold 'used by that person in connexion with the person's profession or trade'. The second exemption is the one we're banking on as newsletter writers.
Here's another interesting twist: Section 115 of the Australian Constitution says 'A State shall not coin money, nor make anything but gold and silver coin a legal tender in payment of debts.'
To be honest, Australia's monetary history is a bungled mess of private currencies, British currencies, pegged currencies, precious metals, and the Australian dollar nearly ended up being called the Royal or Dinkum. Add to this the right of the government to confiscate gold and the constitutional kerfuddle about gold and silver, and you get complete confusion.
Of course, it's pretty unlikely that Quentin Bryce will decide to confiscate your gold over Christmas. At least this year.....
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