Wednesday, 9 August 2017
Commonwealth Bank of Australia
That the Senate—
(i) claims by AUSTRAC that the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) handled over 53 000 transactions through so-called Intelligent Deposit Machines (IDM) that were in breach of Australia's anti–money laundering and counter-terrorism financing laws,
(ii) claims that the CBA repeatedly failed to meet its reporting obligations despite being aware of patterns of activity in some accounts that were suspicious and indicative of money laundering,
(iii) claims that the CBA appears to have allowed those undertaking suspicious activity to keep their accounts open and to continue to make transactions using IDMs, and
(iv) the CBA's ongoing failure to restore public trust in addressing cultural shortcomings; and
(b) calls on the board of the CBA to withhold all bonuses for the CEO, Mr Ian Narev, and all other executives with responsibility for the bank's IDMs and money deposited through IDMs.
I rise to support Senator Whish-Wilson's motion concerning AUSTRAC's action against the Commonwealth Bank of Australia—otherwise known as the CBA. The civil penalty proceedings initiated in the Federal Court against the CBA for serious and systemic noncompliance under the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2016 shows that the CBA has become the bank of choice for terrorists and criminals. CBA should be renamed the Criminal Bank of Australia, given the more than 53,000 violations of law that have been alleged. As soon as time allows, I will be moving my personal banking out of the CBA into a local credit union. I suggest that others do the same. This is the only way the big boys at the CBA will take notice. I will not support a bank that supports terrorists.
Labor will not be supporting this motion. We did put some sensible amendments to the Greens, including inserting the word 'allegations' throughout the motion, as these are currently allegations that will be prosecuted and tested within the Federal Court. We also do not believe that it's the appropriate role of the Senate to give a view on the pay and pay outcomes of particular private companies or individuals. We made a further suggestion that this motion be amended to include Labor's policy of establishing a royal commission into Australia's banks, as we believe that is the only way to get to the bottom of the systemic failures and cultural issues within the financial services sector. Unfortunately, the Greens were not prepared to accept those amendments. It is for those reasons that we cannot support the motion today.
When this was filed in the Federal Court, AUSTRAC said in the very last sentence:
The effect of CommBank's conduct in this matter has exposed the Australian community to serious and ongoing financial crime.
We don't know whether this is going to be a criminal case or a civil case at this stage. But let me tell you what is criminal: that's the amount of money that the CEO and the executives of CommBank get paid. It is very clear that, if you think the CEOs of these big banks are paid too much, go to the right of the chair, and, if you don't think they're paid too much, go to the left of the chair.