Planners blamed for royal commission flip flop

Federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten says he chose not to pursue a royal commission into the financial services industry when Labor was in office because "going after" financial planners was more important at the time.

Mr Shorten was responding to questions yesterday on the Today show about why he was pushing for a royal commission now, when he had the opportunity to do so when he was the Financial Services minister.

The opposition leader said other investigations took priority at the time.

"I think most governments have one royal commission in them and we chose to act on the royal commission into responses to child abuse. I think that was the right sort of royal commission to do and at the same time we really shook up the financial planning industry," Mr Shorten said.


"We thought that going after the financial planners was the right way to go... We decided that the financial planning end of the wealth management industry needed reform and we had to fight with the opposition then, law after law and it came to vote after vote."

Mr Shorten's comments come as the government unveils a $127.2 million reform package designed to strengthen the powers of the corporate regulator.

A statement from Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison issued yesterday said the "measures will equip ASIC with stronger powers and funding to enhance surveillance capabilities, better enabling our corporate watchdog to combat misconduct in Australia's financial services industry and bolster consumer confidence in the sector."

Despite the surveillance shake-up, Labor is standing firm in its support for a royal commission, with Mr Shorten saying he wants to further scrutinise the financial services industry.

"In the last 12 months, we've seen a large bank provide insurance products and then when people who've bought these products in good faith and in trust seek to claim upon them, we found the active conspiracy to defraud people and deny them their justice," he said.

"Enough is enough. We've hoped that the banks would improve, we've tried legislative mechanism after legislative mechanism but the problem isn't just the law, the problem here is the culture of banking and financial services in this country.

"So, the Labor Party is seeing this royal commission as a last resort but I tell you what, anything less than that is going to see more people in the future be ripped off and that's what we desperately want to stop."

Planners blamed for royal commission flip flop
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