There is nothing a weak Prime Minister won’t do to protect the big banks from a royal commission.
Scott Morrison only a few days ago was trying to defend the banks' decision.
Then he was embarrassingly forced into line by Mr Turnbull a day later.
Now the best the Government can do in some sort of wet lettuce exercise, is to give a reference to a Liberal-run House of Representatives Economics Standing Committee.
Let’s call this for what it is – it’s what you do when you want to be seen to be doing something but can’t possibly be seen to call a Royal Commission into the financial services sector.
We all remember the embarrassing saga in April this year of the Treasurer arguing that all you needed was the regulator, ASIC, and that there was no need for a royal commission or another inquiry.
The Prime Minister and Treasurer acknowledge they checked with the big four banks before making this announcement. That was awful nice of them.
This idea that a once a year appearance at a House of Representatives Economics Committee hearing run by the Liberal Party will change culture is ridiculous.
How will annual appearances which may occur months and months after one or two rate changes or other events, help make banks accountable?
Homeowners lose money every single day between when banks refuse to cut rates and when they appear before the committee – does anyone really think the banks are going to pass on cuts today because in six or twelve months’ time they’ll have to come to Parliament and explain why?
Bank CEOs have fronted committee hearings before. Does anyone suggest that’s created cultural change?
And why was the Prime Minister so keen to give a reference to a house committee as opposed to a joint committee?
The Australian people can have no confidence that a Liberal-dominated committee will be able to or have any interest in holding the big banks to account.
Following several high profile scandals and rip-off after rip-off, the only way to improve the culture in our banks is a royal commission.
THURSDAY, 4 AUGUST 2016
This is a joint media release with Chris Bowen MP, Labor's Shadow Treasurer.