Bank inquiry bill heads to lower house

A Greens co-sponsored bill is set to enter the lower house in search for support on a banking and financial services inquiry with similar powers to a royal commission.

Yesterday, the Banking and Financial Services Commission of Inquiry Bill 2017 passed the Senate, and will now go to the House of Representatives.

In March 2017, Greens Senator Peter Whish-Wilson described the bill as “bold”.

“This essentially is a royal commission that is instigated by the Parliament and that reports to the Parliament,” he said.

“When we went down this path, we thought to ourselves, ‘This Prime Minister is never going to call a royal commission into the Australian banks. This Prime Minister is running a protection racket for the financial services industry in this country’, and we looked at how we could hold the Prime Minister to account.”

Mr Wish-Wilson said while Senate inquiries rarely lead to change, a parliamentary commission of inquiry, like a royal commission, allows for the search of premises, seizing of documents and offering of immunity to witnesses.

“This parliamentary commission of inquiry into banking and financial services will have the resources, and it will take time to get to the bottom of these issues,” he said.

Yesterday, a statement from Senator Katy Gallagher said Labor supports the legislation due to the "complete failure" from the Turnbull government to establish a royal commission.

"Labor will continue to do everything we can to get to the bottom of the systemic failures and cultural issues within financial services sector, ensure that consumers are protected from the rip-offs and scandals of the past and that Australians banking and financial system remains strong, profitable and well led," the statement said.

"Under Malcolm Turnbul,l the big banks will get a tax cut but under Bill Shorten they will get a royal commission."

 

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