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    BANKING TRIBUNAL BACKDOWN: TURNBULL CAN'T EVEN DELIVER THE PROMISES HE MAKES TO HIS OWN MPS

    Government MPs who have stood up for banking victims and supported Labor’s calls for a Royal Commission have no choice but to come good on their promises.

    Yesterday's decision by Malcolm Turnbull to abandon the promise he made just two months ago to establish a new Banking Tribunal and take “real action” for the victims of banking scandals shows just how far he will go to protect the banks.

    Malcolm Turnbull has shown he puts protecting the banks before keeping promises to his own colleagues. 

    Only a Royal Commission will bring justice to the victims of the banks. 

    Labor has consistently called for a Royal Commission to shine a light on the misconduct in the banking sector that has ruined thousands of Australian’s lives.

    Now we call on Government MPs who know that only a Royal Commission will do, to stand with Labor to send a clear message to Malcolm Turnbull that the time to take action is now.

    George Christensen promised banking victims he would vote to support a royal commission, and last night Warren Entsch told ABC Radio that it was either a Tribunal with appropriate enforceable powers or a Royal Commission.

    Warren Entsch was right when he said yesterday on ABC radio that this is "all about the victims". 

    Labor will continue to fight for a Banking Royal Commission because we know that it is the only thing that can deliver the systematic, structural and cultural change that the banking and financial services sector needs.

    The time has come for Government MPs who support a Banking Royal Commission to stand up for the victims and join Labor and establish one. 

    WEDNESDAY, 7 DECEMBER 2016

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    WORKERS MISS OUT WITH UNPAID SUPER

    A new report released today by Industry Super Australia (ISA) into unpaid super has found millions of Australians are missing out on their entitlements every year, confirming the need to get to the bottom of how and why this is occurring through Labor’s newly-established Senate inquiry.

    Under the Superannuation Guarantee (SG) employers are legally required to contribute 9.5 per cent of wages into the account of every worker over the age of 18 earning $450 per month.

    But the ISA report found about one in three SG employees are missing out on some or all of their super because their bosses aren’t doing the right thing.

    It also found that workers aged under 30 were most likely to miss out, with 37 per cent of 20-24 year-olds losing SG payments from their employer, compared with 23 per cent of 50-54 year olds.

    The report estimates that a staggering $3.6 billion per annum is not being paid by employers, with workers missing out on an average of $1,489 – the equivalent of four months of superannuation contributions.

    If this was allowed to continue lost super earnings could reach $66 billion by 2024. This would not only put significant further demand on the age pension, but it would also deny hard working Australians the superannuation payments they are legally entitled to.

    That is why last week Labor initiated a Senate inquiry to investigate the extent of unpaid super across Australia and what needs to be done to ensure compliance with the Superannuation Guarantee requirements. Today’s report from ISA will provide important information to support this work.

    The Senate inquiry into unpaid super will focus on:

    • investigating how much superannuation is being withheld in Australia;
    • whether the existing frameworks are adequate to enforce the Superannuation Guarantee; and
    • whether the Australian Tax Office has the appropriate level of resourcing to enforce the Superannuation Guarantee.

    Labor are the architects of Australia's modern superannuation system and we will always work to protect it so that every Australian can live a dignified retirement supported by all the superannuation savings they are entitled to.

    While the Turnbull Government is ideologically obsessed with stripping back the rights of working people, Labor will always stand up and ensure that employees legal entitlements are paid and paid in full.

    The inquiry into unpaid super is scheduled to report in mid-March 2017.

    MONDAY, 5 DECEMBER 2016

    Senator Katy Gallagher is Labor's Shadow Minister for Small Business and Financial Services

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    GEORGE IS A FRAUD ON BANKING ROYAL COMMISSION

    Big-talking Nationals MP George Christensen has exposed himself as a massive fraud, siding with his Liberal mates to deny Queenslanders a banking royal commission.

    After promising just a couple of days ago to cross the floor and support Labor’s calls for a royal commission, Mr Christensen voted against Labor’s motion in the House of Representatives tonight.  

    George Christensen talks a big game in Queensland, but as soon as he’s in Canberra he does whatever Malcolm Turnbull tells him to do.

    Malcolm Turnbull has George Christensen on a short leash – it’s so short, he can’t even cross the floor of the parliament to support a royal commission into Australia’s banks.

    When Mr Christensen returns to Mackay this weekend, he should explain to his constituents why did the exact opposite of what he promised.

    He should explain to his constituents why he is letting the big banks get away with all the rorts and rip-offs that have hurt families and small business owners in Mackay.

    Malcolm Turnbull’s refusal to establish a Royal Commission proves he is the best friend the banks have ever had.

    He will give a $50 billion tax cut to big business and the banks, but he won’t do anything to stop the rorts and the rip-offs.

    George Christensen might pretend to be different to Malcolm Turnbull, but they vote exactly the same way. They’re both protecting the big banks from a royal commission while giving them a massive tax cut.

    George Christensen promises bank victims in his electorate that he’ll help them get justice, but he actively fights against a royal commission in Canberra. What a total fraud.

    Only a royal commission can deliver the systemic, structural and cultural change that the banking and financial services sector needs. And only Labor will deliver a royal commission.

     

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    LABOR ESTABLISHES SENATE INQUIRY TO HEAR CASES OF FINANCIAL RIP OFFS

    Labor has today established a Senate inquiry to examine cases of wrongdoing in the banking and financial services sector and to allow victims of financial misconduct, scandals and rip offs to have their voices heard.

    The Senate voted 40-25 in favour of the establishment of the inquiry with only the Government Senators voting to oppose it.

    The inquiry will also look closely at existing legislative and regulatory frameworks to ensure they have Australian consumers best interests at their core.

    Malcolm Turnbull’s continued refusal to establish a banking Royal Commission means that those who have been ripped off and left with nothing have no way of having their stories heard. Labor wants to change that.

    The inquiry will examine:

    • The impact of misconduct in the banking, insurance and financial services sector on victims and on consumers;
    • The impact on consumers of executive and non-executive remuneration as well as incentive based commission structures and fee-for-no-service structures;
    • The culture and chain of responsibility in relation to misconduct within entities within the sector;
    • Any failures that are evident in the regulatory or legislative frameworks for the protection of consumers;
    • The adequacy of legal advice and representation for victims of misconduct; and
    • The availability and adequacy of redress and compensation for victims.

    The inquiry will include the impact on small businesses. It would also look into the social impacts of consumer protection failures in the financial services sector.

    While Labor believes that a Royal Commission would be the superior vehicle to examine these issues and hear these stories, the Prime Minister has acted as a road block to proper justice at every opportunity.

    Mr Turnbull’s refusal to establish a Royal Commission proves he is the best friend the banks have ever had. He will give a $50 billion tax cut to big business and the banks, but he won’t do anything to stop the rorts and the rip-offs.

    This committee will provide an immediate opportunity for people all around Australia to put their experiences on the record and give their opinion on what needs to change in Australia to better protect consumers into the future.

    But we know that only a Royal Commission can deliver the systemic, structural and cultural change that the banking and financial services sector needs.

    TUESDAY, 29 NOVEMBER 2016

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    TURNBULL GOVERNMENT MP BACKS LABOR’S CALL FOR A BANKING ROYAL COMMISSION

    After a week of bad news for banking customers, Turnbull Government MP George Christensen has acknowledged what the Australian community has long known: we need a Royal Commission into the banking and financial services sector.

    After previously falling into line with Malcolm Turnbull’s flawed plans for a banking tribunal and other half-hearted attempts to put off a full inquiry, last night George Christensen took to Facebook to publicly state his support for a banking Royal Commission.

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    Mr Christensen’s intervention shows that even Malcolm Turnbull’s own backbench no longer supports him in running a protection racket for the big banks.  

    It's now time for the Prime Minister to stop being the best friend the banks have ever had and act in support of banking customers and the victims of bad bank culture.

    Labor has consistently called for a Royal Commission into Australia’s banking and financial services sector because we know that this is the only way to bring about the systemic, structural and cultural change that our banks so clearly need.

    Much like his leadership, Malcolm Turnbull’s efforts to block a banking Royal Commission are looking shakier by the day.

    SATURDAY 26 NOVEMBER, 2016

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    CANBERRA FAMILIES AND AUSTRALIAN TAXPAYERS BOTH LOSE IN BARNABY JOYCES FLAWED $25 MILLION PLAN TO MOVE APVMA

    It says everything you need to know about the Coalition’s shocking decision to relocate Canberra’s Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority that the only voice they can find to endorse it is a former television presenter.

    Barnaby Joyce’s decision to uproot 175 public servants and their families from Canberra into his own electorate was never about good policy and today we have confirmation of that.

    The APVMA relocation is opposed by every industry group in the sectornearly 90 per cent of APVMA staffthe ACT Government, the Coalition’s own cost-benefit analysis, the Liberal Senator for the ACT and even the Prime Minister.

    The relocation flies in the face of good governance. It is not in the public interest, it's not in the interests of affected stakeholders and it is definitely not in the interests of the taxpayer.

    Whilst the decision to move APVMA has been rejected by everyone except for the Deputy Prime Minister himself, we now know that it will cost more than $25 million of taxpayers money just to satisfy this blatant political exercise in pork barrelling.

    The fact this ridiculous proposal is proceeding is a yet another example of the chaos and dysfunction of the Coalition Government and a weak Prime Minister who is being held to ransom by an increasingly militant National Party.

    This is also a full scale attack on Canberra and the Canberra workers and their families who have been placed in the impossible position of having to decide whether to move their families or lose their jobs simply to satisfy the arrogant political desires of Barnaby Joyce.

     Malcolm Turnbull needs to take responsibility for the actions of his out of control Deputy Prime Minister. He needs to step up, take control and intervene to stop this senseless waste of taxpayers’ money.

    This is a joint release with Labor's Shadow Assistant Minister for Cyber Security and Defence, and Member for Canberra Gai Brodtmann MP. 



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    ASIC CASH CONVERTERS INVESTIGATION DEMONSTRATES NEED FOR ROYAL COMMISSION

    Labor today welcomed the ASIC decision obliging Cash Converters to pay back over $10 million to loan consumers for failing to comply with Labor’s consumer credit legislation.

    The National Consumer Credit Protection Act 2009 was enacted by the previous Labor Government in response to growing concerns about improper behaviour by payday lenders.

    Cash Converters was found by ASIC to have breached its obligations under the Act by failing to properly assess the particular circumstances of some loan customers, thereby granting loans to some customers who may not have had capacity to pay them back.

    “Representing the interests of vulnerable consumers in our community is important to Labor,” Mr Hammond said.

    “Payday lenders must not prey on vulnerable consumers,” he said.

    “We should never forget that misconduct like this has a real human impact, and can cause very serious personal hardship. The number of examples that keep surfacing is highly concerning,” Ms Gallagher said.

    Labor will continue to argue the case for a Royal Commission into Australia’s banking and financial services sector. Only a Royal Commission will allow misconduct and its impact on victims to be fully brought to light. Only a Royal Commission will get to the bottom of the systems and culture that allow this sort of poor practice in the financial services sector to occur.

    ASIC’s media release is available at http://asic.gov.au/about-asic/media-centre/find-a-media-release/2016-releases/16-380mr-cash-converters-to-pay-over-12m-following-asic-probe/.

    WEDNESDAY, 9 NOVEMBER 2016

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    A SUPER SYSTEM THAT’S FAIRER & A BUDGET THAT’S BETTER OFF

    Today Labor proposes a superannuation reform package that is fairer than the Government’s and delivers more substantial budget repair.

    The Turnbull Government’s superannuation changes have been a stuff-up from the start.

    After attacking Labor’s responsible and fair superannuation reform proposals, the Government announced a rushed and flawed package in the 2016 budget.

    Malcolm Turnbull’s retrospective changes undermined confidence in the retirement system and sparked another civil war inside the Liberal Party.

    After caving in to George Christensen, the Government has announced a revised package which overwhelmingly benefits high-income earners, opens new tax loopholes, and fails to deliver substantial budget repair.

    The Turnbull Government is chaotic and incompetent – its shambolic superannuation changes are proof of that.

    The current superannuation system delivers half of all tax concessions to the top 20 per cent of income earners. That isn’t fair or fiscally sustainable.

    While the Government has scrapped its flawed and retrospective changes, the current proposals do not go far enough to return fairness to the system, or to deliver substantial budget repair.

    Labor’s proposed reform package will improve on the Government’s proposals by $1.4 billion over the forward estimates and $18.9 billion over the medium term.

    If the Government is serious about strengthening the superannuation system and repairing the budget, it will sign up to Labor’s responsible proposals.

    Labor’s superannuation reform package includes:

    • Lowering the annual non-concessional contributions cap to $75,000;
    • Lowering the High Income Superannuation Contribution threshold to $200,000; and
    • Opposing the Government’s new superannuation tax loopholes.

    Lowering the annual non-concessional contributions cap to $75,000

    The Government’s proposal for a $100,000 annual cap on non-concessional contributions remains too generous.

    Parliamentary Budget Office analysis has shown that only 0.7 per cent of taxpayers made non-concessional contributions worth more than $100,000 in 2012-13. More than 86 per cent of taxpayers made no non-concessional contributions that same year.

    Labor’s proposal better targets this concession while also ensuring workers on low and middle incomes can still make substantial one-off contributions if their circumstances allow it.

    Lowering the High Income Superannuation Contribution threshold to $200,000

    The Government is proposing that people earning $250,000 or more a year pay a 30 per cent tax rate on concessional superannuation contributions above this amount, rather than 15 per cent.

    Labor proposes to lower this threshold to $200,000.

    PBO analysis estimates that less than four per cent of taxpayers would be affected by this change, which will deliver substantial improvements to the budget bottom line.

    Opposing the Government’s new superannuation tax loopholes

    The Government is continuing with its plans to open up new superannuation tax loopholes.

    Labor will continue to oppose these new tax loopholes. It’s ludicrous for the Government to be proposing new loopholes when it should be cracking down on existing ones.

    Allowing for catch-up concessional contributions and tax deductibility for personal superannuation contributions will overwhelmingly benefit high-income earners, while having a massive impact on the budget.

    These loopholes will cost the budget about $12.3 billion over the next decade. This is fiscally reckless, especially given the budget is already under pressure and our triple-A credit ratings are under threat because of the Government’s economic mismanagement.

    Labor will finalise its position on the Government’s legislation when it is eventually presented to the Parliament. But we urge the Government to accept Labor’s responsible proposals, and work with us to deliver superannuation reforms which are fairer and better.

    Under Labor, the superannuation system will be fairer and the budget will be better off.

    For more information on Labor’s superannuation package visit http://www.alp.org.au/making_superannuation_fairer_fact_sheet

    FISCAL IMPACT OF LABOR’S PROPOSALS – COSTED BY THE PARLIAMENTARY BUDGET OFFICE:

    Measure

    Total to 2019-20

    Total to 2026-27

    Lower the annual non-concessional contributions cap to $75,000

    20.0

    1,070.0

    Further lower the High Income Super Contribution threshold to $200,000

    688.0

    7,310.0

    Oppose the introduction of catch-up concessional contributions

    100.0

    6,000.0

    Oppose changes to tax deductibility for personal superannuation contributions

    700.0

    6,300.0

    Interactions

    -70.0

    -1,820.0

    Total impact – Labor amendments

    1,438.0

    18,860.0

    Total Government package

    3,064.0

    13,730.0

    Total Budget improvement

    4,502.0

    32,590.0


    TUESDAY, 8 NOVEMBER 2016

    This is a joint media release with Labor's Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen MP.

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    BANKS FEE RIP-OFF: 200,000 MORE REASONS FOR A ROYAL COMMISSION

    The revelation that Australia’s biggest banks have spent years charging over 200,000 customers fees for services they did not receive is yet more proof we need a Royal Commission into the banking and financial services sector.

    ASIC’s Financial Advice: Fees for no service report reveals AMP, ANZ, CBA, NAB and Westpac groups will have to pay almost $180 million in compensation because yet again they have failed to do the right thing by ordinary Australians.

    The report shows customers who initially signed up for financial advice have been charged thousands in fees for services they did not even receive – in some cases years after they had any contact with their bank.

    It shows that there were great systems in place to record incoming revenue, but very little to ensure that customers were actually getting anything in return for the fees being charged. Customers were even charged fees for advice from financial advisers who had left or retired, and for ‘services’ that involved nothing more than three unanswered phone calls. 

    Labor has long argued that our banks and financial services providers are putting profits before people, and Australians are paying a heavy price. Today’s report on fees for nothing comes after a steady drip of scandals and rip-offs involving dodgy financial advice, unpaid insurance claims and small businesses having the rug pulled out from under them. Where does it end? 

    Only a Royal Commission can get to the bottom of the culture and practices that let these problems fester in the banking and financial services sector, allow victims to be heard and identify the changes needed to give Australians confidence that these scandals won’t happen again.

    Every day Malcolm Turnbull stands with the big banks against a Royal Commission is another day he fails to protect ordinary Australians from the rip-offs – big and small – that just keep coming.

    Senator Katy Gallagher is Labor's Shadow Minister for Small Business and Financial Services

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    LABOR NOTES CODE OF PRACTICE SEEKS TO IMPROVE LIFE INSURANCE INDUSTRY

    Labor notes the first ever Code of Practice which is an initial step towards improving standards in the life insurance industry.

    Life insurance is an important way for Australians to financially protect themselves and those close to them. It can provide essential funds and income protection in times when they suffer from illness, injury, disability or the death of a close family member.

    Labor believes that this first voluntary Code is a step in the right direction but much more work needs to be done to rebuild consumer trust and confidence with life insurance in light of the recent cases of mistreatment of holders of life insurance policies.

    Labor notes the concerns of consumer advocates who say that greater thought needs to be given to issues including:

    • Claims timeframes that apply for life insurance products that are attached to superannuation accounts which appear to be neglected in this Code
    • The independence of the ‘relevant’ medical specialist who does not have to be independent of the insurers under the Code
    • The medical definitions of certain conditions associated with claims, and,
    • The status of the Code under the existing legal framework in Australia where it appears not to be enforceable in a court of law.

    Labor will be watching the proceedings of the current Joint Parliamentary Committee on Corporations and Financial Services into the life insurance industry closely.

    We will also be keeping a close eye on how this Code is implemented and will continue to work with consumer advocates and the insurance industry with a focus on improving protections for consumers within the life insurance industry.

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