Thursday, December 27, 2007

Queensland Transport sending advertising material for Citibank

Dear Anna Bligh

You may recall that early in 2007 I delivered to your electorate office some advertising material from Citibank that had been sent to me by Queensland Transport together with my Vehicle Registration Renewal. I understood from your electorate office staff that some inquiries were made to Queensland Transport at that time and that I was informed that the practise was to be discontinued.

This week I received another Renewal Notice and discovered that the practise of sending out Citibank advertising material continues till the present time. Now that you are the Premier of Queensland you will be in a position to end this practise.

I will set out for you what I find objectionable about the practise:

1. It is not the business of government to be selling products or services for the profit of private corporations. Government services should remain discreet from the profit imperative of private business. Similarly, government should not be favouring one business over any other.

2. This current practise implies that the Queensland government is accepting payment from Citibank for delivery of their advertising material, privileging Citibank over other business corporations, which compromises the integrity of government and could lead to perceptions of conflicts of interest.

3. Many members of the electorate have signs on our letterboxes saying "No Junk Mail" - so we should not expect private corporations to sneak their sales material into our homes on the back of government renewal notices or information.

4. The inclusion of advertising material with government renewal notices implies that Citibank has some kind of endorsement from government that would be quite improper and inappropriate and could provide considerable embarrassment for government.

5. Household indebtedness is a major problem in Australia which could drive the economy into recession. At this time it is particularly inappropriate for the government to be associated with any attempts to lure members of the public into credit deals that are beyond their means to repay. Quoting from the Citibank material: "Save money now by paying only 4.9% pa on outstanding credit card balances you transfer". By any interpretation this is an invitation to easier finance and higher indebtedness.

6. The US Sub-Prime Mortgage crisis has already led to thousands of American low-income earners to lose their homes. The crisis in the finance sector makes the association or perceived endorsement of the Queensland government with any bank or finance companies not just improper but also unsafe and a threat to the integrity of democratic and accountable governance.

I hope you will now act to cease this practise.

Yours faithfully

Willy Bach