The Martin Place business community is today sweating on Joe Hockey’s decision whether to declare the atrocities committed by the grub Man Monis – who all of Australia hopes is presently rotting in hell – a terrorist act for the purposes of the Terrorism Insurance Act 2003.
Although no-one really knows why the grub did it (although most suspect it was because he was a fucking unhinged narcissistic lunatic rather than an ideologically driven wannabe martyr), given Jughead’s repeated poll-driven declarations that he was a terrorist it appears a no-brainer that the Fat Man will declare the siege an act of terrorism and the wealthy business owners of Sydney’s eastern suburbs will be recompensed for their presumed trading loss by the Australian taxpayer, including the workers trapped inside the Lindt cafe.
Unfortunately for the workers themselves – the actual people subject to the terror inflicted by Monis; the traumatized victims who may be unable to work for months or years due to the nightmares that haunt them – there will be no insurance payouts: no workers comp, no income protection payments, no health insurance, no mortgage insurance.
Nil, zip, nada. And as for the families of the victims who lost their lives in the horrendous crime? Sorry. your loved ones life insurance doesn’t cover being murdered in this sort of circumstance. The government victims of crime office is just around the corner. Please form an orderly queue to fill in your application to access counselling.
The reason for this debacle is that almost insurance policies contain an exclusion clause ruling out any liability of the insurer for damages caused by acts of terrorism, despite the fact that such an eventuality is well beyond the policy holder’s control. It’s the reason that the Terrorism Insurance Act was enacted in the first place, because in the wake of September 11 insurers refused to insure people, businesses or governments for loss caused by terrorist acts. It bit into the shareholders dividends, and in a world where the value of your life is measured by your net worth that’s just not on.
Former MP Gary Johns is an expert on equating your value as a person to the value of your earnings – I am sure he can explain the whole thing to you.
Normally right-wing governments would shrug their shoulders and say hey, that’s market forces, but in the case of the insurance exclusions it wasn’t so easy, because it threatened to shut down a huge number of industries including aviation, hospitality and mining, for if companies couldn’t insure the large amount of capital they had invested in plying their trade then they wouldn’t ply it at all, and would put their gazillions in the bank instead. So the Jellyfish slithered in, and spineless Peter Costello – that lifelong lover of market forces – rolled onto his back and declared the situation a market failure.
And then Little Johnny Howard stepped in, bravely stumping up the average Australian’s tax dollars to ensure that business was protected by introducing the Terrorism Insurance Act and setting up the Australian Reinsurance Pool Corporation, backed by a $10 billion taxpayer guarantee to ensure that business owners wouldn’t lose out if a terrorist affected their trade. Our erstwhile then-PM even appointed Peter Costello’s close mate Joe Gersch to run the joint.
Gersch, a long-time Toryl and former director of the right-wing Liberal Party front the Sydney Institute – stamping ground of husband and wife Tories Gerard and Anne Henderson- is a pro-Israel activist and a supporter of Jewish oppression of the Palestinians. Some may suggest that he was a strange selection to head a government body concerned with terrorism, but hey, some people also believe that Palestinian families who had lived in their homeland for centuries shouldn’t have been dispossessed by immigrants from Europe, the US and Russia, so there’s no accounting for crazy beliefs.
And as for the common people who may fall prey to the tyranny of terrorism? Bah, let them eat cake. No soup for you peasant!
Here’s what the Terrorism Insurance Act covers:
(a) loss of, or damage to, eligible property that is owned by the insured;
(b) business interruption and consequential loss arising from:
(i) loss of, or damage to, eligible property that is owned or occupied by the insured; or
(ii) inability to use eligible property, or part of eligible property, that is owned or occupied by the insured;
(c) liability of the insured that arises out of the insured being the owner or occupier of eligible property.
And here’s what is doesn’t:
The scheme does not cover residential property or contents of residential
property, and does not cover Commonwealth or State Government property.
The Regulations also exclude contracts of insurance for other matters including
workers’ compensation insurance, marine insurance, aviation insurance, motor
vehicle insurance, life insurance, health insurance, private mortgage insurance,
medical indemnity insurance and professional indemnity insurance.
The Liberal Party – Building a Stronger Australia. Yeah right.