Bill's Speeches

MOTION FOR A BANKING ROYAL COMMISSION - HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, PARLIAMENT HOUSE - THURSDAY, 1 SEPTEMBER 2016

*** CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY ***

We will never, never, never give up seeking justice for the victims of banks and financial services. We will never, never, never give up seeking a banking Royal Commission. 

How pathetic is this government? In our time in government they opposed every reform we made to financial services. The only other issue they fought as hard was action on climate change.

And then we get the sheer hide of coming in and saying that he's the only person that will do anything on banking. You can see the fingernail marks in the concrete as they're dragged kicking and screaming to action on reform of banking.

Every time there was a vote in the previous parliament, 2010 to 2013, every time. Not once, not twice, but on 21 separate occasions, these cowards and defenders for malfeasance in the financial services sector voted against Labor reforms.

And since then we've seen more and more scandals. And today I had the privilege, and I was humbled, to meet victims of financial crimes and financial malfeasance.  

And this government has the cheek to patronise the victims. What they said was 'oh, there's other means'. Don't they understand that the victims we've been seeing have tried to do everything?

They've been to the Financial Ombudsman. They've been to the lawyers. They've dealt with the liquidators. They've been let down from pillar to post.

Labor has arrived at the position, recognising that every other measure has proven inadequate.

There is a pathology in our banking and financial services system which is sick. It does not mean that we don't want to see banks do well, but I cannot accept the proposition that the only way our banks can be successful is by leaving a trail of misery.

The cost of thousands of people losing their financial services and accounts and poor treatment by banks.

The cost is measured not just in the change down the back of the couch at a Liberal Party function. It is real. Divorces, anxiety, depression. And the most common victims are people in their 50s and 60. People on the land. People in small business. People who've paid the school fees, who've worked hard and they wanted to put some money aside for their retirement, and they get no justice and they get ripped off.

And then these pale apologies over here, say there's nothing we can do about the banks. They say that a banking Royal Commission will change nothing. Well nothing else has worked.

And we've seen this government retreat in an untidy fashion. On 10 April, the Prime Minister says 'nothing to do here, it's all working okay’.

20 April, he then says 'maybe we need to look at giving the regulator more powers'. Then after the election they dream up the idea of a muted parliamentary committee controlled by the party for big banks. And then they propose 'we'll have a tribunal!'.

Talk to the victims. The Financial Ombudsman Service can only compensate up to $500,000. They never give awards. The victims of banking and financial scandals are brow beaten into settlements of ten and twenty thousand dollars.

And the people here know that!

And this is the party who represents the seedy end of financial planning. They will not go to the centre of the issue which is the big banks.

There is a business model in this country which puts profits ahead of people. We will never give up on a Royal Commission. The Senators voted this way. 

We may succeed tonight or we may not, but I give the Government fair notice on behalf of people who want justice: that we do not regard this Royal Commission as anything other than the last resort, long overdue for justice for a generation of people. A generation of our fellow Australians who've been mistreated and let down by the system.

This Commonwealth of ours is a Commonwealth for the people, not a Commonwealth for the banks, and we will never give up!


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