MONDAY, 11 APRIL 2016
SUBJECT/S: Royal Commission into financial services industry
CARRIE BICKMORE, HOST: We're joined now by Opposition Leader Bill Shorten. Bill, you personally voted no to a Royal Commission to the banks a year ago, you've now changed your tune why is that? Is it because bank bashing is a real vote grabber?
BILL SHORTEN, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: No, I think that after another year that we've seen of the scandals, and you listed some of them, financial planners not living up to the expectations of customers, people with life insurance policies being dudded out of their legitimate insurance claims. No, I think in the last year we've waited and waited to see banking clean up its own act but there are just too many scandals. Indeed Malcolm Turnbull said last Wednesday that you just can't just keep sweeping these problems under the carpet. So that's why Labor has put a stake in the ground and we've said there should be an inquiry into seeing how widespread the problems are in banking. I mean banking is so important to every Australian. We need to have the best culture, the best ethical standards that we can possibly extract out of our banking sector.
WALEED ALY, HOST: I understand the point that you're making, but I will confess it does have the whiff of politics about it. I know how incensed everyone in the Labor Party was about the union royal commission, really angry about it. It just feels like you're just having a whack back at the Coalition itself and also its support base.
SHORTEN: No, what incenses people in the Labor Party is tens of thousands of people getting ripped off.
ALY: But Mr Shorten, that's exactly the argument that the Coalition was making about the unions. Lots of people got ripped off as a result of union embezzlement and corruption which came out in that. If you're going to say that was unacceptable to look into, that wasn't a big problem, how can you stand here now on the same principles and say this is any different?
SHORTEN: Well, I think at the start of the show, the start of this segment, you listed 73 separate examples from this year.
ALY: No, no they weren't from this year. I should clarify that, sorry.
SHORTEN: Sorry, from 2009 to this year. But you know, how many scandals do you need before you realise there's a systemic problem? Every time there's been a problem, from forest investment managed schemes, through to financial planning, through to allegations about rate rigging. At some point we've just got to say enough is enough. Did you know that since 2009 banks around the world have had to pay $200 billion in penalties for their conduct? You know, I'm a bit surprised that the Government says nothing to see here. They've cut the funding of the regulator by $120 million. A Royal Commission is different to the current cop on the beat, it can join the dots. It's got the broadest possible powers of any government inquiry. And Australians - I mean banking is so fundamental to everyone, from our mortgages to our credit cards.
STEVE PRICE, HOST: But isn't that the point Mr Shorten that Scott Morrison made, that it is fundamental to the stability of the economy. If you have a Royal Commission into the banks, aren't you saying to offshore investors that the Australian banks aren't stable and is it worth spending $50 million on a bank witch-hunt?
SHORTEN: Well if you follow Mr Morrison's logic to its conclusion what he's saying is we're willing to tolerate bad ethics, bad culture and the rorts because any proposal to make the bank sector healthier, something which gives us more confidence, is bad for business.
PRICE: But are you saying the regulators that we currently have are not doing their job are you?
SHORTEN: I'm saying they're under-resourced, and at a certain point you've just got to look at joining the dots. There has been scandal after scandal. There are thousands of people who've literally lost hundreds of thousands of dollars, now we can keep crossing our fingers and hoping that things get better. No, Labor wants to see the healthiest possible banking sector. I can't believe that the Government is saying that they'd tolerate an unhealthy banking sector, one which doesn't try and extract the best ethics. I mean this is fundamental to our future and that's why Labor is going to stand and fight for the consumer and make sure that there is - we understand how widespread the problems really are.
PETER HELLIAR, HOST: Bill when quizzed about the Royal Commission idea, Treasurer Scott Morrison got a little personal today. Have a look.
VIDEO OF SCOTT MORRISON: Bill Shorten is up there in his ill-fitting suit, puffing up his chest and saying we need to thump the table.
HELLIAR: It wasn't today, I apologise, but asking as a man who enjoys a relaxed fit as well, did he go a bit far there Bill?
SHORTEN: No I think the problem is that Australia's got an ill-fitting Treasurer.
HELLIAR: That's a zinger, a live zinger!
ALY: That's incredible, you know what, we can't top that Bill, we're going to let you go. Thank you very much for joining us.