Coalition heavyweight backs royal commission

Former Coalition minister Andrew Robb reportedly urged the government to pursue a royal commission into Australia’s banks, sparking fresh debate on the subject.

Shadow minister for financial services Katy Gallagher yesterday pounced on reports in the Fairfax press that Mr Robb pressured Minister for Revenue and Financial Services Kelly O’Dwyer to hold the controversial inquiry into the banks and financial services industry.

“I just want to make a few comments about Andrew Robb's call for a banking royal commission,” Ms Gallagher said in a doorstop interview in Canberra yesterday.

“More and more we are seeing people come out, including on the government benches and now a senior former minister, try to talk sense into this government about a banking royal commission and yet we see the blind refusal from this minister and continued refusal from this government to stand up for the victims of banking malpractice, poor banking culture and establish a royal commission.”

As a former Cabinet minister who ran John Howard’s successful election campaign in 1996, Mr Robb is an influential figure in Coalition politics.

However, Ms O’Dwyer told ifa the government remains opposed to a royal commission despite the attempted intervention by the former minister.

“The government does not support a royal commission into the banking and financial services sector, because a royal commission will not benefit consumers or the Australian economy,” Ms O’Dwyer said.

“The government is already pursuing an ambitious and broad financial system reform agenda, including the strengthening of ASIC, and this agenda is well on the way to being implemented.

“A royal commission will cost the Australian taxpayers millions of dollars and will take years to complete.”

According to data released by the Australian Bankers’ Association, 46 per cent of Australians support a royal commission into the banks, while just 11 per cent opposed the initiative.

By contrast, an ifa straw poll conducted in July 2016 found that 87 per cent of financial advisers opposed a royal commission, with just 13 per cent in support.

 

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