BANKING ROYAL COMMISSION

Today, Australians have witnessed one of Malcolm Turnbull’s greatest failures of leadership.

Malcolm Turnbull has spent 601 days fighting Labor’s call for a Royal Commission into the Banking and Financial Sector.

Just 48 hours ago, the Prime Minister said:

“We have made it clear that we are not going to establish a royal commission”

TURNBULL – DOORSTOP - 28 NOVEMBER 2017

It says everything about Turnbull’s values and priorities that he only agreed to Labor’s Royal Commission when the banks told him he had to. 

He ignored the pleas of families and small businesses, he rejected the words of whistle-blowers. But when the big banks wrote him a letter, he folded the same day.

Turnbull has always been – and always will be - on the side of the banks. 

He has let the rorts and rip-offs continue for more than 18 months so he could protect the banks and protect his job. That is unforgivable.

If Mr Turnbull had have listened to Labor, we would’ve had a Royal Commission and it would have been done by now, with its recommendations being implemented.

We are deeply concerned that even today, the Prime Minister said a Royal Commission was “regrettable”. 

Turnbull and his Government voted in the Parliament more than twenty times to protect the banks from a Royal Commission.

Australians have every right to be cynical about today’s announcement.

For a successful and comprehensive Royal Commission into the financial services sector to now occur, it is critical that the Opposition is formally consulted.

Failure not to consult will raise serious concerns and doubts about the way in which the Royal Commission is constituted, given that Malcolm Turnbull and Scott Morrison have spent the last 18 months doing everything to avoid one.

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SLOMO CONFIRMS CABINET LEAK REPORT ON BANKING ROYAL COMMISSION

Today’s report of Cabinet leaks over a Royal Commission into the banks is further evidence the Prime Minister shutdown the House of Representatives to try and shutdown such an inquiry into the banks.

The Cabinet leak was confirmed by Scott Morrison on morning radio.

“You wouldn’t expect me to go into what the deliberations of Cabinet are but you also wouldn’t find it puzzling that the Cabinet would from time-to-time consider you know these sort of issues, I mean of course they would.”

 MORRISON, ABC RADIO AM, WEDNESDAY 22 NOVEMBER 2017

Malcolm Turnbull has not only lost control of the Coalition backbench, and the Parliament, but as reports today suggest, he’s lost control of the Cabinet.

Such a clear leak from the Cabinet as soon as the Cabinet adjourned shows how much confidence the Cabinet has in Malcolm Turnbull’s judgement.

The Prime Minister and his Cabinet colleagues are so out of touch, that they’re reduced to leaking on each other and jostling for the top job instead of governing for all Australians and holding the financial sector to account.

It’s hard to work out what Malcolm Turnbull is trying to avoid more these days – a Coalition party room meeting, the House of Representatives sitting or a meeting of the Cabinet.

Federal Labor has had a clear and consistent policy of a Royal Commission into the financial sector for well over 18 months now. If Malcolm Turnbull had listened to Bill Shorten at the time, such a Royal Commission would have reported by now with the Government working through the implementation of its recommendations.

Whichever way you cut it, time is running out on Malcolm Turnbull running interference for the banks on a Royal Commission into scandals, conduct and culture.

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LABOR WILL WORK WITH NATIONALS TO ESTABLISH BANKING ROYAL COMMISSION

Reports today that Senator Barry O’Sullivan will introduce a Bill into the Senate to establish a banking Royal Commission is good news particularly for those who have suffered as a result of banking scandals and misconduct.

Labor welcomes Senator O’Sullivan’s support to establish a Royal Commission this year and commits to working with him to deliver majority support in the Senate and across the parliament for the legislation.

Labor hopes that Senator O'Sullivan is genuine in his support for victims of bad banking conduct and isn't just playing political games with the divisions and dysfunction that are tearing the Turnbull Government apart.

For years now, thousands of Australians have been arguing for a Royal Commission to hold the banks to account and the Turnbull Government has consistently rejected these calls.

Labor will hold Senator O'Sullivan to account on this. Years of scandals, misconduct, illegal conduct and unethical practices has caused serious harm to banking customers.

The Nationals talk a lot about their support for a Royal Commission into Australia's banks.

Now they have the opportunity to help deliver one.

FRIDAY, 17 NOVEMBER 2017

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GOVERNMENT DELAYS PAY DAY LOAN REFORMS UNTIL 2020

The Turnbull Government has announced further delays to changes to pay day loans that were recommended over year ago, leaving vulnerable Australians to continue getting ripped off on loans that often plunge them further into debt.

At the same time that the Minister for Small Business was trumpeting the Government’s year old promise to reform current laws saying the legislation is “something to look out for” he also announced that any reforms would have a further 12 month commencement delay after passage through the Parliament. 

Labor has been calling for the legislation to come forward for more than a year now but all we have seen is inaction and empty rhetoric from the Turnbull Government on small amount credit contracts.

If this Government was serious about protecting consumers from dodgy lenders and unfair consumer leases it would have produced legislation as a matter of urgency following expert recommendations handed to the Government more than 18 months ago.

Malcolm Turnbull and his Government just can’t be taken seriously on protecting vulnerable consumers, whether it be overdue changes to credit card laws or small amount credit contracts.

The Prime Minister has had 15 sitting weeks to introduce the legislation over the past 11 months, but has failed to deliver on his Government’s own promise.

Next week provides another opportunity for the Minister to introduce small amounts credit contract legislation to the Parliament so we can stop ‘looking’ for the reforms and start protecting consumers from the rip-offs that these reforms will deliver.

FRIDAY, 13 OCTOBER 2017

This is a joint media release with Labor's Tim Hammond MP Shadow Minister for Consumer Affairs.

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CREDIT CARD REFORM LONG OVERDUE

In May 2016 the Treasurer promised reforms to address unfair and excessive credit card fees and charges but some 16 months later, he is yet to deliver on this promise.

18 sitting weeks after the Treasurer promised these reforms in response to a Labor-led Senate Inquiry, he has failed to even introduce legislation to the Parliament that would deliver these important changes.

The promised reforms would improve competition and consumer protections, improve disclosures to customers on fees and charges, tighten responsible lending obligations, and rein in unfair interest charges and are urgently needed to ensure Australians get a better deal on their credit cards.

According to the Government’s own figures, currently there is around $52 billion of debt on the 16.7 million credit cards issued in Australia, with the average balance sitting at $4,730.

If Australians are going to get any relief from unfair and excessive fees they will need the banks to reduce their fees but we also need to have the Government follow through on its promise.

Following on from abolishing ATM fees, the banks should now build upon this and rein in other excessive fees, including credit card late payment fees.

It is only when these two things happen that credit card holders will get a fairer deal from their banks.

If the Treasurer is serious about credit card reforms the legislation he promised more nearly 18 months ago should be introduced in the next sitting week in October. 

TUESDAY, 26 SEPTEMBER 2017

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LABOR’S ROYAL COMMISSION CALLS LEAD TO BETTER DEAL FOR BANK CUSTOMERS

Labor welcomes the Commonwealth Bank's decision to abolish ATM withdrawal fees and strongly urges other banks to follow suit as a matter of urgency.

The $2 fee to use another bank's ATM has been enjoyed by the banks for too long at the expense of consumers.

This fee has been unfairly chipping away at people's savings little by little for years and today's decision has shown that the game is finally up.

There is no doubting that Labor's calls for a Royal Commission has led to this decision being made by the Commonwealth Bank today.

This is yet another reminder to Malcolm Turnbull and Scott Morrison that they need to abandon their defence of the big banks and take up the side of consumers by establishing a Royal Commission.

There hasn't even been a Banking Royal Commission and we are already seeing the pressure of it, by seeing the ATM fees removed. 

Imagine how we could get better banking for all Australians if we had a Banking Royal Commission.

SUNDAY 24 SEPTEMBER 2017

 

 

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ASIC INDEPENDENCE AT THREAT WITH APPOINTMENT OF JOHN O’SULLIVAN

Reports today that the Turnbull Government intends to proceed to appoint John O'Sullivan as Chair of ASIC threaten the independence of and bipartisan support for this important regulator. 

Labor makes it very clear, we will not support Mr O'Sullivan's appointment, should it proceed. 

Labor does not do this lightly. We do this in light if our most serious concerns and our respect for the importance of ASIC's independence. 

The reputation of the corporate regulator and its leadership team must be beyond reproach and so to appoint Mr O’Sullivan would raise serious questions around ASIC’s independence and its ability to command trust across markets and the Parliament.

On 24 June this year, in response to earlier reports that this appointment was receiving serious consideration by the Turnbull Government, Federal Labor provided a clear warning on appointing such a partisan figure linked to the Utegate affair which clearly tainted Malcolm Turnbull, to such an important economic institution.

There were emails released as part of the investigations into the Utegate affair which showed contact between Mr O’Sullivan, then Chairman of Credit Suisse’s Australian investment banking operations, and disgraced Treasury official Godwin Grech.

Mr O’Sullivan has been a Liberal Party member in Mr Turnbull’s electorate, a President of the Liberal Party’s Wentworth federal electoral conference and previously donated to Mr Turnbull’s Wentworth Forum.

Australia has well-respected economic regulators based on a tradition of non-partisan appointments.

If the Prime Minister and Treasurer were so foolhardy as to proceed with this appointment, this matter would go directly to the poor judgement of the Prime Minister and Treasurer.

To be frank, it would be a clear sign that Malcolm Turnbull has learnt nothing since Utegate.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission has a vital role to play in regulating financial conduct and protecting Australian consumers and the last thing it needs is this sort of controversy fixing itself upon ASIC’s leadership team.

WEDNESDAY, 20 SEPTEMBER 2017

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

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WORKERS WORSE OFF UNDER TURNBULL GOVERNMENT

The Centre for Future Work at the Australia Institute’s report released today reveals that employees stand to lose $100 billion in retirement savings due largely to a number of poor Government policies. 

The reportThe Consequences of Wage Suppression for Australia’s Superannuation System,  shows that wage freezes, cuts to penalty rates and enterprise agreement terminations all contribute to reduced superannuation savings.

These are all policies the Turnbull Government supports.

At a time when wages growth is at record lows, this Government wants to cut penalty rates, freeze wages for its own employees and encourage the termination of agreements, all of which contribute to reduced superannuation savings.

We are seeing too many examples of workers missing out as a result of decisions made by the Turnbull Government, which is hurting the economy, prosperity and growing inequality.

The Turnbull Government should give up its ideological and anti-union attack on industry super funds and focus on policies that maximise superannuation balances for Australians in their retirement years.

It is increasingly evident that this Government sees unions as their political enemy and a threat – and rather than focusing on improving wage growth or job security, it is obsessed with fear campaigns and ripping away the structures that support workers. 

This government is dysfunctional and divided and is only united when it is attacking workers and their unions. 

Under the Turnbull government we are headed to a low-wage, easy-to-hire, easy-to-fire society.

MONDAY, 18 SEPTEMBER 2017

This is a joint media release with Brendan O'Connor MP, Labor's Shadow Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations.

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BANKING FLAWS EXPOSE LOOPHOLES FOR CRIMINALS

Concerning new reports in Fairfax newspapers today of money laundering under the noses of our big banks is yet another reminder of the Turnbull Government's failure to call a Royal Commission into the banking and financial services sector.

The reports raise serious concerns of loopholes and questionable banking practices that are creating opportunities for drug dealers and other criminals to funnel money offshore through Australian accounts.

What else has to happen before Malcolm Turnbull and Scott Morrison admit we need a Royal Commission into the Australian banking and financial services sector?

Recently we have seen allegations from AUSTRAC against the Commonwealth Bank about significant breaches of anti money laundering and terrorism funding laws and now there is an investigation by the prudential regulator APRA.

These are incredibly serious revelations and the government needs to explain what safeguards will be put in place to stop this behaviour from happening.

This behaviour appears to have been happening right under the noses of the big banks, but not enough is being done to stop it.

Labor will not stop calling for a Royal Commission to address the systemic, structural and cultural issues in the banking sector.

FRIDAY, 15 SEPTEMBER 2017 

This is a joint media release with Labor's Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen MP and Labor's Shadow Assistant Minister for Treasury Matt Thistlethwaite MP.

 

BANKING FLAWS EXPOSE LOOPHOLES FOR CRIMINALS

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SECOND-RATE NBN LEAVES NSW SMALL BUSINESS REELING

NSW small businesses have reported the NBN is costing them an average of $9,000 through delays, disruptions and loss of sales.

Of great concern, 43 per cent of the 850 businesses surveyed by the NSW Business Chamber reported being either dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with the NBN.

This figure is nearly three times greater than the 15 per cent dissatisfaction rate claimed by the Turnbull Government.

Further, 39 per cent of those surveyed reported having to wait more than four weeks for their NBN connection to come online, 15 per cent waited three to four weeks, 16 per cent waited one to two weeks and just 30 per cent waited less than one week.

In an interview with ABC breakfast radio a spokesman for the NSW Business Chamber said it was “stunned by the responses”.

                Source: ABC AM, 12 September 2017

This comes on the back of the Council of Small Business Australia (COSBOA) expressing the frustration of its members:

When people think NBN, they think fast internet but then they sign up and find they are getting slower speeds than they were before. We were told it would be so fast it would shock us. It has shocked us but not because it’s fast.”

By abandoning Fibre to the Premises in 2013, then having to play catch-up by rushing the flawed multi-technology mix, the Government has undermined the NBN experience for small business.

Only Labor understands that small business needs fast and reliable broadband to compete in the 21st century.

TUESDAY, 12 SEPTEMBER 2017

This is a joint media release with Michelle Rowland MP, Labor's Shadow Minister for Communications.

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