In the final hour of Malcolm Turnbull’s cover-up committee, it was finally confirmed the Treasurer has been secretly colluding with the CEO of one of the big four banks to protect them from a Royal Commission.

BRIAN HARTZER, CEO OF WESTPAC: I mean the course of the conversation [with the Treasurer] it would have been noted that there was a proposal to have a royal commission and the Government has instigated this set of meetings -

MATT THISTLEWAITE: As an alternative? 

HARTZER: Um, well, that would be one way to characterise it, I don’t remember it being put that way.

House of Representatives Economics Committee – 6 October 2016 (link to vision)


This is a damning admission which shows Mr Turnbull has no regard for ordinary Australians who feel let down by their bank and he is only interested in protecting the banks.

This week the CEO’s of Commonwealth Bank, ANZ, NAB and Westpac all freely admitted to significant and systemic failures within their banks.

One by one the CEO’s turned up to the Committee and admitted their failures to customers. One by one the CEO’s apologised and promised to do better. And then they left, protected by the Turnbull Government and safe in the knowledge that they won’t need to return for another year.

But for the victims of dodgy financial advice and banking scandals who weren’t given the opportunity to have their voices heard this week, the admissions, apologies and promises to do better are simply empty words.

 The banks openly admitted to widespread failures and problems within their organisations with examples of fraudulent conduct, professional misconduct, illegal or unethical behaviour, overcharging on fees, inappropriate financial advice and staff performance incentives designed to cross-sell bank products.

The apologies and promises to make things right have been given before. But nothing ever changes.

Customers continue to get ripped-off and thousands of Australians remain devastated by the failings of the banking and financial services sector.

Labor will continue to stand up for the many thousands of Australians who have lost their homes, retirement savings and businesses, who weren’t given the opportunity to have their say this week.

Among the mix of spin, contrition and obfuscation, there were hints of the real problems that lie below the surface of our banking sector.

Australians learned that:

  • The Commonwealth Bank has had to pay a further $11 million in compensation to clients who received dodgy financial advice, on top of more than $50 million already disclosed. About 10 per cent of the 6,000 cases reviewed so far have warranted compensation – and there are still many cases left to resolved.
  • After media scrutiny of its CommInsure arm, the bank has reviewed and paid out at least 17 claims it had previously denied and continues to review others – despite this not one person has lost their job.
  • Several of the ANZ traders implicated in the Bank Bill Swap Rate rigging scandal are back at work while the matter is still being prosecuted by ASIC through the courts.
  • ANZ was made aware of a serious case of fraud in relation to loans worth almost $1 billion, but it took them six months to refer the matter to ASIC and the police.
  • ANZ has reported 45 financial planners to ASIC in the past year alone – but can’t say what’s happened to their clients or whether compensation has been paid.
  • Not a single NAB senior executive lost their job over the financial planning scandal, in which 750 customers received bad or no advice.
  • Westpac acknowledged the bank had investigated cases of customer incomes being inflated on loan paperwork but refused to give more details 

The only way to get to the bottom of the rip offs, give a voice to those affected and prevent these scandals from happening again is to hold a Royal Commission.

Labor and the Australian community will not be distracted from this by Malcolm Turnbull's cover-up committee.



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