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Thursday, 13 September 2018
Page: 63


Mr BROAD (MalleeAssistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister) (15:45): It is very easy to be very wise in hindsight, and I hark back to 2017 and 2013. There was no royal commission under Labor. I must say, under Prime Minister Rudd, the banks came to you and you guaranteed them but didn't ask for anything in return. Everyone is on a journey. You might start off as a Green and then you might become a Labor person and then you might eventually evolve into being a Liberal—but, when you see the light, you might join the National Party. It has taken some time to bring us to this point, and I thought it would be wise for people to have a listen to a bit of history to give you an idea of why regulation of finance is not something that is new and is something that needs to be looked at. On 4 March 1933, FD Roosevelt said:

Nature still offers her bounty and human efforts have multiplied it. Plenty is at our doorstep, but a generous use of it languishes in the very sight of the supply. Primarily this is because the rulers of the exchange of mankind's goods—

as in the banks—

have failed, through their own stubbornness and their own incompetence, have admitted their failure, and abdicated. Practices of the unscrupulous money changers stand indicted in the court of public opinion, rejected by the hearts and minds of men.

True they have tried, but their efforts have been cast in the pattern of an outworn tradition. Faced by failure of credit they have proposed only the lending of more money. Stripped of the lure of profit by which to induce our people to follow their false leadership, they have resorted to exhortations, pleading tearfully for restored confidence. They know only the rules of a generation of self-seekers. They have no vision, and when there is no vision the people perish.

The money changers have fled from their high seats in the temple of our civilization. We may now restore that temple to the ancient truths. The measure of the restoration lies in the extent to which we apply social values more noble than mere monetary profit.

I point out that regulation of the banks is nothing new. The need for a strong spotlight on the regulation of the banks must take place in every society fairly often and fairly thoroughly. That was in 1933. You cannot, unfortunately, get to a point where you can just trust the ethics of moneylenders. Their ethics must be held to account by a certain amount of transparency and a certain amount of regulation.

I would add that banks actually are a partner for Australians to achieve the standard of living that they must and hope to achieve. At the end of this royal commission I do not want to get to the point where a young person who wants to be able to purchase a house has a bank that is so regulated against it that they won't be able to achieve and access finance. We must be very careful on this point. One of the things that helps young Australians get ahead is that they can access finance. So, when we think about bank regulation, we must have transparency but we must also make sure that that transparency does not lead to a level of restriction where our young Australians cannot access finance. If you increase the wealth of the citizens of a country, you increase the wealth of the nation. It is still a concern to me that our banks have not got to a point where they give recognition to a person who may have three years of rental experience. They've proven that they've got the capacity to run a budget and proven that they have the ability to service and make provision. That should be, I think, seen as capacity for them to be able to get a loan.

So we do need to have regulation of our banks. We do need to have a strong royal commission that brings this to fruition. Those opposite missed an opportunity in 2007 to 2013. It took our side of parliament a while to come to this point, and I must it was the National Party who was instrumental in bringing it to this point. As a result of this royal commission, we must finish with a situation where banks can be trusted, institutions can be strong and young Australians who want to purchase a house are able to purchase a house. The two things outside of government that must be committed to is that if you want to have a job, you can get a job, and, if you want to be able to purchase a home, a modest home, you should be able to purchase one. If you get those two parts of your society right, you'll have a very, very strong society. This royal commission has a purpose. You should have done it when you were in power. We're now eventually doing it. It's the right thing to do. May we come up with a strong society as a result of it.