Thursday, 7 December 2017
Commonwealth Bank of Australia
I seek leave to amend general business notice of motion No. 659 standing in my name for today relating to the Commonwealth Bank of Australia.
I move the motion as amended:
That the Senate—
(a) acknowledges that the Commonwealth Bank of Australia's alleged53,700 breaches of the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006 (Cth), significantly contributed to the Government's decision to launch a Royal Commission into the banking industry;
(b) calls on the Commonwealth Bank of Australia:
(ii) if ordered by the Federal Court of Australia to pay a civil penalty, not to pass on, directly or indirectly, the costs of paying the penalty to its customers;
(c) calls on the Government to closely monitor the Commonwealth Bank of Australia to ensure that if the Commonwealth Bank of Australia is ordered to pay a civil penalty, that the costs associated in doing so are not passed onto its consumers, directly or indirectly; and
(d) calls on the Minister representing the Treasurerto table a report to the Senate within 12 months of the decision by the Federal Court of Australia, detailing whether or not the Commonwealth Bank of Australia has passed on the costs of any civil penalty the Commonwealth Bank of Australia is ordered to pay, to its customers, directly or indirectly.
I seek leave to make a short statement.
Senators may be aware that proceedings have been brought by AUSTRAC in the Federal Court against the Commonwealth Bank regarding an alleged 53,700 breaches of the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006, which no doubt contributed to the government's decision to launch a royal commission into the banking industry—the quasi-monopoly enjoyed by the four major banks. Statements have already been made that any cost imposed upon them by the intended royal commission will be passed onto consumers. In these circumstances, I seek the Senate's concurrence to monitor whether the costs associated with any civil penalties or orders that may be subsequently made against the Commonwealth Bank for its illegal actions are not simply passed onto consumers.
Australia has a strong and robust anti-money-laundering and counterterrorism-financing regime. As the matter is before the courts, it would not appropriate for the Senate to support this motion. The government established a royal commission into banking and financial services to uncover misconduct and provide advice to government on preventing such behaviours in the future.
Question agreed to.