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Monday, 8 October 1984
Page: 1786


Mr HOWARD —I ask the Treasurer a further question which follows the earlier question he answered. Did the Treasurer meet on 7 June representatives of the Australian Bank Employees Union and the Commonwealth Bank Officers Association? Did the union representatives ask him for the right to scrutinise applications for foreign bank licences? Did the Treasurer indicate that there would be no particular problem, provided confidentiality was right? Did he also indicate that he did not want any cowboys coming into Australia in the form of foreign banks? Indeed, did the Treasurer at that meeting give those union representatives a cast-iron guarantee that any foreign banks allowed into Australia would have to be closed union shops?


Mr KEATING —I did meet the bank unions, although I am not sure of the date.


Mr Moore —Oh!


Mr KEATING —It was reported. Do not members of the Opposition read the newspapers? I met with them and with the Australian Council of Trade Unions for four hours. They did propose that they scrutinise the bank applications, which I found to be totally unacceptable, and I rejected that course. I indicated to them that as far as the Government was concerned we wanted competition in the banking sector, we would take on board institutions which were of undoubted financial strength and we would expect that the union practices which prevail at the moment in terms of employment in the banking system would be at least the standards which we would expect from any potential applicant.