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Abbott Government must come clean on four pillars



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CHRIS BOWEN MP SHADOW TREASURER MEMBER FOR MCMAHON

SENATOR THE HON PENNY WONG LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION IN THE SENATE SHADOW MINISTER FOR TRADE AND INVESTMENT LABOR SENATOR FOR SOUTH AUSTRALIA

MEDIA RELEASE

ABBOTT GOVERNMENT MUST COME CLEAN ON FOUR PILLARS

Labor is concerned about reports that a new international trade agreement may require Australia to make significant changes to policies for our banking and financial services industries.

A draft text for the new Trade in Services Agreement includes provisions which could undermine Australia’s “four pillars” policy, which rules out mergers between the country’s big four banks.

The four pillars policy has served Australia well.

It strikes the right balance between allowing Australia’s financial institutions to achieve the scale needed to operate in global markets while maintaining competition, which is in the interests of bank customers.

The draft Trade in Services Agreement could also restrict the ability of Australian Governments and regulators to protect consumers and to ensure the stability of the financial system.

The global financial crisis demonstrated the need for regulatory flexibility to deal with changing economic conditions and commercial developments in the financial sector.

Labor is also concerned that the Abbott Government is adopting a position in the TiSA negotiations which pre-empts the outcomes of the Financial System Inquiry which the Treasurer established last December.

Joe Hockey and Andrew Robb need to publicly explain whether the Government is considering significant changes to the regulation of the banking and financial services industry as part of the Trade in Services negotiations.

These reports support Labor’s calls for greater transparency and public consultation in trade negotiations - a stance which has been backed by the Productivity Commission.

FRIDAY, 20 JUNE 2014

MEDIA CONTACTS: JAMES CULLEN (Bowen) 0409 719 879 SACHA FENTON (Wong) 0467 784 528