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Thursday, 27 May 1993
Page: 1617

Senator McMullan —On 11 May 1993 (Hansard page 377) Senator Watson asked me the following question without notice:

  Did a Commonwealth official suggest or apply pressure on the Commonwealth Bank of Australia to improve its profit performance and dividend distribution. What is the Minister's response to the decision by the bank to make 7,500 of its staff redundant when the bank is operating profitably. Could the Government please explain where is the poor performance of the bank or the lack of managerial judgment that warrants such retrenchments in recessionary conditions.

  The Treasurer has provided the following information in answer to the honourable senator's question:

  The CBA's decision to reduce staff numbers was taken in the context of a major restructuring of the CBA's business operations and after detailed consideration of the issues over several months. The decision reflects a commercial judgment by the CBA Board and management. The Government considers that it is inappropriate to intervene in the commercial decisions made by the CBA Board and management because the CBA is a publicly listed company where the Commonwealth is one of many shareholders. It is to be expected that the CBA, like any other business organisation, would continuously strive for improved profits and dividends for its shareholders.