Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and those 111 bankers, planners and advisers

Opposition Leader and MP for Maribyrnong Bill Shorten in Hansard on 31 August 2016:

No less than eight members of this cowardly government have previously called for a royal commission, and I am confident that there are many more who now support this move.

What is the case for the royal commission? We just cannot leave it to ASIC, despite what the government said. We need a royal commission. Let me go through the scandal. Whilst one does not presume to be a predictor of the future, let me describe the last few scandals and let's have a guess if it will happen again. The journalists and whistleblowers expose the scandal and there is a public outcry that follows. Maybe even some of the brave hearts opposite are outraged, with their crocodile tears. But then it is characterised as an isolated incident—mid-tier rogue sort of gunmen going off on their own—and not the conduct of the whole bank. There are heartfelt promises that it will never happen again. Perhaps there might even be a special inquiry by ASIC, APRA or a government appointed panel. And do you know what happens a few months later, Mr Speaker? We do it all again because the banks do not respect the government. They are not worried by the government's calls for action because they know that with this mob in power nothing will ever happen.

What we need is real action. Australians are sick and tired of the scandals being investigated after the harm and the damage is done. They are sick of the phoney apologies and they are sick of the speeding fines that this government issues to the banks. We need public scrutiny. The systemic problems of a royal commission require public scrutiny. Since 2009 at least 111 bankers, planners and advisers have been quietly sacked from their companies or reported to ASIC for misconduct. That is more than one a month. Australians do not know what led to these sackings or what any internal investigations uncovered afterwards.

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