Thursday, 25 February 2021
National Consumer Credit Protection Amendment (Supporting Economic Recovery) Bill 2020; Second Reading
There is absolutely a congruence between access to credit, home ownership, superannuation and priorities in life, as well as the principles that sit behind them around empowerment for individuals and families. That's why these issues have such a relationship. The shadow Treasurer spoke specifically about home ownership, access to credit and the ability to borrow from the bank. Access to other forms of capital are a critical part of that story, too. The dishonesty from the Labor members who oppose regulation and legislation that remove restrictive lending comes from a fundamental misunderstanding of credit availability. You just need to listen to the Reserve Bank of Australia's governor, who often appears before the Economics Committee. I see the former deputy chair of the Economics Committee in the chamber right now. He knows that, when the Reserve Bank governor comes before the committee, he tells us exactly what his attitude is towards economic conditions and circumstances and the issues before him. Every time the Reserve Bank governor came before our committee last year, he spoke about, and was asked questions about, Australia's restrictive lending laws. He said that the guidance notes that were being issued by the regulators were directly hampering the capacity of people to access credit.
More critically, the removal of restrictive lending laws would not lead to the ridiculous circumstances boasted by those on the opposition benches. The macroprudential framework that has been put in place by the regulators would ensure that lending was appropriate. What we wouldn't have is needless paperwork and needless delay to 'yes'. We wouldn't have needless situations where young Australians who want to buy their first home miss out because the law gets in their way. What we want to do is make sure that the law not only protects consumers but also empowers them.
That's why empowerment through home ownership is so critical. Under our current laws, not just in restrictive lending but in other areas, like the prioritisation of superannuation over home ownership, we see the empowerment of capital at the expense of the consumer—at the expense of the citizen. That any member could sit in this place and say they're going to put capital before citizens and their empowerment, you'd have to start to question who it is they're here to represent. It's only citizens who vote for them, and they vote for them to come into this place to stand up for them, their community, their family and their country.
That's why I support this legislation. The pattern of behaviour from our opponents has been to stand up for capital at the expense of citizens. We on this side of the chamber are in favour of laws which empower citizens over capital.
Opposition members interjecting—
I hear some protests from members opposite, like the member for Kingsford Smith, who should know better about making sure that young Australians, new Australians and low-income Australians can have their opportunity at the Australian dream too. That's why the current laws don't work and why the current laws don't protect people, but pity them. Our focus is on what we need to do to mobilise people—individuals, families, communities and country—to be successful. That's what we want to empower: every Australian's chance at their own success.