Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard   

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Monday, 14 October 1996
Page: 4066

Senator KERNOT —My question is directed to the Assistant Treasurer. Does the minister agree that three major decisions of this government have benefited banks: one, allowing banks unlimited access to superannuation through retirement savings accounts; two, not proceeding with prices surveillance on banks fees; and, three, appointing as the chair of your banking inquiry a person who is already on the record as supporting bank mergers? Will the minister confirm whether the Chairman of the ANZ Bank, Mr Charles Goode, is still a trustee of the Liberal Party and a director of major fund raising organisations for the Liberal Party? Of course, banks make donations to political parties. But does the minister agree that there is the potential for a conflict of interest when the corporate hat and the political hat overlap? Does the minister think that the Prime Minister's code of conduct should be broadened to deal with this?

Senator KEMP —Senator Kernot has raised five or six questions. I have to say that I am sorry to see that Senator Kernot is joining this bandwagon today. One thing I had hoped, Senator Kernot, is that you would assist us to raise the standards in this place. I am not sure that the imputations made in your question do anything about raising the standards.

Senator Bob Collins —Have a crack at answering the question, Rod.

Senator KEMP —Have our government's decisions benefited banks? We hope our government's decisions have benefited banks. They have benefited people in small business and people right across the economy. That is the nature of why we are in government: we are in government to ensure that we can bring benefits to sectors of the economy so that, hopefully, we can tackle this massive problem of unemployment. In relation to benefits, Senator Kernot has raised some particular points, but I do not think the conclusion flows from those points.

In relation to Charles Goode, I do not have any particular information I am able to give you, except that I regard him as a most honourable man. I will check to see whether, in relation to your question, there are any other matters I wish to bring before this chamber. Senator Kernot, I am sorry to see that you of all people in this chamber have jumped so shamelessly on this bandwagon.

Senator KERNOT —Madam President, I ask a supplementary question. Minister, the question is about potential conflict of interest between the corporate and the political hat overlap. What mechanism will you, as the Assistant Treasurer responsible for superannuation and banking policy, put in place to separate the roles of Mr Goode as a Liberal Party trustee, Chairman of the ANZ Bank and your former employer for five years at the Institute of Public Affairs? Can't you see that people need to have confidence that banking policy is being made not just in the interests of banks but in the interests of consumers as well?

Senator Patterson —You never asked them once about the unions, did you? Never!


Senator KEMP —Senator Kernot got one thing right and, obviously, there was a bit of research in this. Charles Goode was the President of the IPA when I was Director of the IPA. That is why I can say he is a most honourable and decent man, and a great Australian. I am sorry to hear the imputations which have been raised in the parliament.