House debates

Wednesday, 31 August 2016


Banking and Financial Services

10:01 am

Photo of George ChristensenGeorge Christensen (Dawson, National Party) Share this | Hansard source

If we want to talk about courage, let's talk about courage. Let's talk about what this government is going to do and what this government is doing right now. We know that there is a problem in the banking industry, so what we have done and what we continue to do is something unlike what those on the opposite side do: we are taking action. They want to have a very expensive inquiry that is only going to provide recommendations to government. And when are they so brave to do this? When they are in opposition.

They had plenty of time while they were in government. They had plenty of different scandals that occurred to actually come up with something brave: the Opes Prime margin lending scandal, the CBA financial planning scandal, Storm Financial planning scandal, Trio Capital, Great Southern north, another breach of reports by CBA financial planning, MF Global, Macquarie Equities Limited, Banksia, CBA again. All of that happened under Labor's watch, while Bill Shorten, while the Leader of the Opposition—sorry, Mr Speaker—was responsible for financial services.

He could have done something then. They are very, very weak in government; very brave in opposition. But, instead, we are taking action as a government, and we have already commissioned the financial system inquiry, the Murray inquiry, a broad root-and-branch review of Australia's financial system that was opposed by Labor. The then Treasurer, the member for McMahon, said—and I said it in the motion: 'The financial system is strong, well regulated and well managed, and I have not seen a case for a full-blown inquiry.' They are once again brave in opposition; blind in opposition, little mice in government.

I have to say with the Murray inquiry we have accepted all but one of the 44 recommendations. We have gone to ASIC. We have strengthened ASIC. We have strengthened ASIC with a range of different powers and with more resources and, as a result, three of the four big banks are currently before them, being investigated, being prosecuted. And I have to say I do applaud the work of the government here in establishing the Ramsay review.

The Ramsay review is going to be very, very important, because what trumps a big expensive talk-fest is actual action. Having a tribunal, a one-stop shop set-up, which is what the Ramsay review is tasked with looking at—a one-stop shop, perhaps a tribunal that can go and assess individual complaints that consumers bring before that tribunal. They can go and assess them to bring the banks before it, ask the banks questions, pursue perhaps penalties, but certainly provide compensation to victims of banks. I have to say that is what a lot of us have been looking for. That sort of action trumps all of the talk that these guys have, all of the talk that the Labor Party has—again, these people are lions in opposition but mice in government when it comes to the banking industry.

We have taken action. Can I just say one further thing. These guys might be mice—


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