6. Reserve Bank of Australia. Where does money come from?

Djiniyini Gondarra and Richard Trudgen talk about money in Australia, including where it comes from.

Money is produced and held in the Reserve Bank in Melbourne and is made under strict laws and regulations.

It cannot be given straight to the government and the money cannot come out of the bank as a gift. The only way it can come out of the Bank is by trading old money in, with new money coming out. (Government bonds are not talked about in this podcast)

Where does money get its value from? Money gets value from the production of goods/services by all the workers in Australia. The value does not come from gift giving.

How money is used and comes from the Reserve Bank is much like how Yolngu used other items in a similar way to money in the old days. Objects such as possum fur and tobacco or special dedicated food.

Some Yolngu think that a very rich person like the Queen makes all the money. However it’s the Queen who is dependent on us, the people, for money. Both the church and the government are also dependent on all of us who are workers for their money through taxes. Some people, both Balanda and Yolngu, want to depend on the government for money, or are waiting for the Governemnt to pay them, but the truth is the government gets its wealth strength from the production of the worker in Australia.

Djiniyini discusses the traditional Yolngu tax collection system. At their traditional Parliament Yolngu collected revenue from the people and it took on a special status where it became “government revenue” called “grave food”.

Australian national debt is explored, explaining that in 2007 Australia owed 320 billion dollars to the rest of the world. The example of purchasing a house is used, discussing loans, mortgages and possible repossession for lack of payment. The NT government is also in debt and now has to pay half a million dollars, just in interest, for the money they owe every day. The only real way we can pay back this debt is by producing and trading things.

Djiniyini talks about the impact of buying imported goods rather than local goods and how this impacts the economy and the national debt.

The question “is it OK to get a pension from the government?” is answered, saying that if you worked all your life and paid tax life then it might be good for the Government to look after you. But if you are just dependent on the government all your life then everyone is in debt.

Reiterates that wealth is created by producing goods/services through work and that this is the same across the world – production and trade gives value to money.


Podcast recorded in 2007 by Aboriginal Resource and Development Services. (ARDS)

Note: Yolngu Matha is an extremely complex and effective language, especially in the economic realm, and so much more is said in the podcast than what appears in the English summary above.

Dhäwu ga ŋorra dhawal mala gammurruw