Bank inquiry a sham
25 Nov 2016
THE HON MATT THISTLETHWAITE MP
SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY
MEMBER FOR KINGSFORD SMITH
MATT KEOGH MP
LABOR WASTE WATCH SPOKESPERSON
MEMBER FOR BURT
MADELEINE KING MP
MEMBER FOR BRAND
Labor has issued a dissenting report for the House Economics Committee’s review into the country’s four major banks.
We said this Government-dominated inquiry was a stitch-up from the start. This was an inquiry designed by the big banks, for the big banks. And now Government committee members have released a report that might as well have been written by the big banks.
Labor believes that the revelations of scandals, the cover ups and the empty apologies during the committee hearings prove beyond question that we need a Royal Commission into Australia’s banking and financial services sector.
Anything less will simply prove that Malcolm Turnbull is the best friend the big banks have ever had.
The Turnbull Government should stop protecting the big banks from scrutiny, and start standing up for thousands of ordinary Australians who have been ripped off by a rigged system.
The report provides a snapshot of the brief inquiry, including revelations of prior discussions between the Government and the banks around preferred dates and details of the inquiry, as well as the Government’s desired outcome of a banking tribunal.
Committee evidence demonstrates scandals and customer rip-offs continue, victims remain aggrieved, no executives have lost their jobs and bank structures still incentivise pushing products on customers that may not be in their best interest.
Government recommendations raise more questions than they provide answers:
- There remains no detail around the Government’s desired banking tribunal, including how it will operate, how it will be constituted, and what procedures would apply. The Government want this to be determined by another review.
- The Government recommend expanded roles and niche inquiries for ASIC, ACCC & APRA but provide no additional funding.
- An ill-conceived breach of licence conditions reporting regime that could compromise larger investigations.
The inquiry completely failed to shine a light on the full extent of the wrongdoings of the big banks, as 20-minute slots to question bank CEOs proved unsurprisingly inadequate.
Through this process the Government has ignored the wishes of the Australian people who deserve a better banking sector.
Having clearly demonstrated the inadequacy of this approach, Labor committee members recommend the Government immediately move to establish a Royal Commission into the banking and financial services industry.
A Royal Commission into the financial services industry should examine issues such as:
- how widespread instances of illegal and unethical behaviour are within Australia’s financial services industry;
- how Australia’s financial services institutions treat their duty of care to their customers;
- how the culture, ethical standards and business structures of Australian financial services institutions affect the behaviour of these institutions;
- whether Australia’s regulators are really equipped to identify and prevent illegal and unethical behaviour;
- comparable international experience with similar financial services industry misconduct and best practice responses to those incidents; and
- other events as may come to light in the course of investigating the above.
This Royal Commission should be initiated without delay to ensure justice for victims of banking misconduct and restore public confidence in the Australian banking sector which has been badly damaged by the string of scandals in recent years.