House debates

Tuesday, 12 February 2019

Matters of Public Importance

Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry

4:24 pm

Photo of Cathy O'TooleCathy O'Toole (Herbert, Australian Labor Party) Share this | Hansard source

Those in the Morrison government should really be ashamed of their lack of action in assisting people who have been victims of very poor practices from the banks. This government has clearly put the interests of banks ahead of the victims and working Australians. Just like everyone else in Labor and across the country, I am sick and tired of having to drag LNP members to do what is right when it comes to the banks. I was disgusted that Prime Minister Scott Morrison and the LNP members voted 26 times against the banking royal commission. Has the Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, or the Treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, apologised to the Australian public for voting against a banking royal commission? No, but clearly they should.

I was disgusted when the Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, and the LNP members voted to give the big banks a $17 billion tax handout whilst the banking royal commission was underway. I was sick and tired of having to fight the LNP Morrison government to extend the banking royal commission so as to allow the commission to travel to regional Queensland. The Morrison government ignored those calls and ignored regional Queenslanders. When I was first elected I was absolutely shocked at the number of people who came into my office with boxes full of paperwork, demonstrating how they had been victimised and had lost everything. I was sick and tired of having to fight for the banking royal commission report to be released. Finally, it has been, after all the rigmarole. After the constant dragging of Prime Minister Scott Morrison and the LNP to the table to do just what was right by the Australian people instead of their big-profit, best-friend bankers, we finally got the report.

You would think that Australian workers, Australian families and, importantly, victims of the banks could rest easily because finally something could be done, but no. Instead, now Labor, the Australian workers, families and victims have to go through another fight with this government. We have to fight for the recommendations of the banking royal commission to be legislated. I am shocked and outraged. I am disgusted that those opposite are putting their banking friends ahead of the Australian public.

The Morrison government have confirmed that they have no intention of legislating recommendations before the election. Let me tell LNP members how things work in the real world. If an ordinary worker decided to show up for only two weeks in four months, they would be sacked, so why do the LNP think that it's okay in this place to show up for two weeks in four months in 2019? Why does Prime Minister Morrison get to show up for only two weeks out of four months to do what he is paid by taxpayers to do—that is, govern? If a doctor received an important report that could prevent a disease from spreading, that doctor would be at work immediately. That very same day they would be reading the report and taking action to help their patients and to prevent the spread of the disease. Instead, we have an LNP government who don't want to hold their banking mates to account and who will not even put forward a piece of legislation to help out the victims of the banks. They would rather delay any action and delay any redress for the victims.

The royal commission's damning report revealed a culture of greed in Australia's banks that led to shocking mistreatment of customers. It revealed unconscionable, corrupt and potentially criminal behaviour in the banking and financial services sector. As Commissioner Hayne said in his final report, 'The financial services industry is too important to the economy of the nation to allow what has happened in the past to continue or to happen again.' But the Morrison government is allowing this to continue and the potential victim list to grow by refusing to put forward legislation that supports all recommendations in the banking royal commission report. The Morrison government has failed to accept the recommendations of the royal commission, using weasel words to back out of at least 14 recommendations. I know that the longer this government takes to act on the findings, the longer the list of the findings they will back away from will get.

Not only is the government not accepting the entire findings of the commission's report; the Morrison government is even voting in favour of banks regarding Labor's amendments to protect Australians. Just recently LNP members voted against Labor's amendments that would have seen greater penalties and longer jail sentences for dodgy bank executives. Even when Labor is trying to help victims, those opposite work for the banks and not for the Australian people. My message to the Prime Minister and LNP members is really quite simple: if you can't even be bothered to show up for work and to act in the best interests of the Australian people, then call an election—and call it now—and allow the Labor Party, a party for the people, to govern this great country. (Time expired)


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